What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation

Previous Events

Washington | Thursday, February 12, 2015

Is Rock ’n’ Roll All About Reinvention?

Eddie Van Halen

Eddie-Van-Halen.2.12.15

Moderated by Denise Quan, Contributor, Rolling Stone

What makes rock ’n’ roll quintessentially American? The answer may lie in our talent for innovation and reinvention–two subjects no one knows better than Eddie Van Halen. A Dutch immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, Van Halen created an iconic American band–and kept it relevant for five decades by continually reinventing it. As a performer, songwriter, and inventor of instruments that allow musicians to make sound in new ways, he redefined how the guitar is played and designed. Is reinvention the definitive quality of the art of rock ‘n’ roll? Rock icon Van Halen discusses his American journey, and how he’s reinvented himself, his band, and the way the guitar is played.

*Photo courtesy of Clay Patrick McBride.