Eddie Van Halen was born in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He moved to Pasadena, California when he was seven, and spent the rest of his childhood there.
Van Halen was raised in a Dutch Roman Catholic family. He was just a baby when this particular institution was castrating young boys to “cure” them of homosexuality, but Van Halen appears to have been spared this fate.
Despite his church’s sordid past, Van Halen still feels a strong connection with God, pretty much giving God the credit for everything that happens in his life. He thanks God for turning his hard work into great guitar riffs, and also credits Him when he’s not playing well.
I just believe that when you play long enough you’re able to execute with your fingers, whatever God gives you… And God’s got a sense of humor, too–sometimes he gives me shit, 'cause not everything I do I like.
You’d think the guy would take some credit for all that practicing he did as a kid, but he won’t even take credit for the hard work of staying sober after years of alcohol and drug abuse.
Yeah, I thank God on my knees that I’m alive and obviously to be sober and to be working with my son. I’m so damn blessed it’s beyond words.
Van Halen is obviously devout toward God, but not necessarily the Catholic Church. According to some fans’ recollection of an interview in a now out-of-print teen magazine, Van Halen got his girlfriend pregnant in high school and she got an abortion. That’s a big no-no with the Pope. He also got divorced, which isn’t quite as big of a deal, but still frowned upon. The Catholic Church prefers that its members stay in terrible marriages.
Van Halen doesn’t speak too much about politics to the press, but we can definitely categorize him as liberal. When John McCain’s campaign used the Van Halen song, “Right Now” at a rally in 2008, Eddie and his band-mate and brother Alex issued a statement saying “Permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given” to the presidential hopeful to play the song. The Grand Old Party never has had much luck with those Hollywood/musician-types.
He is also a supporter of public education, and music education programs in particular. Van Halen donated 75 of his guitars to several Los Angeles public schools in early 2012. He recognized the great things music had done for his life, and wanted to pass it on.
Music education and families are dealing with the economic times, and I wanted to help them. If I can help a kid discover a liking, or even a passion for music in their life, then that’s a wonderful thing. Music has provided a good life for me and hopefully it can help make life better for others with this donation.