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.

9 thoughts on “Ahhhhh….”

  1. Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, BB King, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Prince…

    Not sure there’s much racism in the respect shown to guitar players.

  2. The van Halen brothers were at best 1/4th indonesian stock. You can tell, got a lot of “peanut-butter**” around here, and got some in the family. The mothers’ maiden name is also a big hint. Full indonesians very much did not take dutch surnames. (nor were they allowed to..)

    Two of my nephews are 1/4th indo. You’d *swear* they’re two prime examples of what certain germans envisioned as the Ideal.. Until you see them moseying about a Pasar, and you can spot the facial structures.. 😉
    ([grumble]They also get Free Food “because they’re skinny”, while their just-as-skinny blandja uncle gets no such preferential treatment.. And indo nosh is good..[/grumble])

    ** “pindakaas”, lit. peanut-cheese –> peanut-butter

  3. ‘nee Van Beers’ tells me that she was a Dutch expat. Kim Du Toit is, for example, an African American – just not in the traditional sense.

  4. Grikath: Yes, Indo nosh is good. I managed to enjoy it most times I visited Netherlands on business, and we visited Amsterdam for my 60th birthday specifically so I could indulge. Not too common here – we tend to have Thai restaurants as the main non-Chinese Asian food.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Geoffers October 8, 2020 at 7:55 am – “Not sure there’s much racism in the respect shown to guitar players.”

    Eric Clapton?

  6. Django Reinhardt, and he was a pikey for heaven’s sake. Or should I say “traveller”? No, that would be cultural appropriation from metropolitan people; the indigenous people where I live would say “pikey”. But that’s cultural appropriation by me because I’m not a local; where I grew up they were “tinks”.

    Golly, it’s difficult being woke.

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