When Jan Van Halen brought his family over to Pasadena, California, from the Netherlands in 1962 – Eddie once commented that they arrived “with $50 and a piano” – he can scarcely have imagined the mayhem his offspring would wreak on American popular culture. Jan was a freelance saxophonist and clarinettist who was versatile enough to find work in a number of musical styles, from classical to big band, though in California he had to supplement his musical earnings by washing dishes. Meanwhile, his Indonesian-born wife, Eugenia (nee Van Beers),
Of course, race is merely a social construct and all that. But knowing that Eddie was (hmm, mebbe 1/4) partly genetically Indonesian makes his looks make sense to me. For years I’ve looked at his picture – no, not at a votive shrine on the desk, just when you do see it – and thought, hmm, odd. This, as with the silhouette of the two faces and the candle flame thing changes the perspective and it all makes sense.
Of course, what this really shows is the inherent racism of the American system. The quarter-caste immigrant was only the best guitarist in the world on one listing, not them all.