Eddie Van Halen and the Future of Humanity

This morning I watched a 2015 Eddie Van Halen interview on YouTube. He talked a lot about various guitar geek stuff. He also shared some of his family history. His father was Dutch, a native of Holland. Dad was a professional musician and traveled the world. While in Indonesia, then a Dutch colony, he met Eddie’s mother. They moved together back to the Netherlands where, as an Indonesian, Eddie’s mom was legally a second class citizen.

Eventually they moved to America, to Pasadena, California. Eddie’s dad had to work as a janitor, his mom as a maid. At school Eddie and his brother Alex spoke no English and were often beaten up by white bullies. Sound familiar?

Yes, eventually Eddie Van Halen and his drummer brother Alex made it big in music and got a piece of the American dream (presumably including citizenship). It was a combination of talent, luck, and being able to connect with an audience despite, and maybe a bit because of, the prejudices of the music industry.

Why do we tolerate living in a society where only a small percentage of people are able to fully utilize their capacities, follow their passions, and not have to worry about things like rent, health care, or student debt? We live in the richest country on earth. There is no good reason why we can’t all thrive, free of the hate and poverty that is built into our system.

Oh, we’re the lost generation
I hold fate from a string
Lookin’ for a direction
Reachin’ out for anything
So, dream another dream
This dream is over

“Dream is Over,” Van Halen

Lee Ballinger, CounterPunch’s music columnist, is co-editor of Rock and Rap Confidential author of the forthcoming book Love and War: My First Thirty Years of Writing, interviewed Honkala for CounterPunch. RRRC is now available for free by emailing Ballinger at: rockrap@aol.com.