Alex and Eddie Van halen moving from Holland to the USA . Before Eddie Van Halen became one of the best guitar shredders in the world, him and his older brother Alex were adorable little Dutch boys living in Amsterdam (see photos 2 & 3). Their father Jan professionally played saxophone and clarinet. During World War II he was arrested for being anti-German, and transported to Germany where he was forced to play propaganda music. After the war, he took off to Indonesia (the former Netherlands/Dutch East Indies colony) where he met Eugenia van Beers, who was of Dutch-Indonesian descent. They got married and in March of 1953 the couple took a boat to the Netherlands (aka Holland). Two months later their first son Alexander Arthur was born, and two years later their second son Edward Lodewijk. Shortly after, the family moved from Amsterdam to Nijmegen as father Jan had been offered to play in the Royal Air Force orchestra, which was based in that city. In March of 1962 the family emigrated to the USA to start a new life in California. While on the Holland-America Line boat (see photo 4) to the promised land, father Van Halen joined the on-board band and had his little boys play during the intermission. Some sources claim that this was to help pay their fare for the 9-day boat ride, as they hardly had any money. Alex and Eddie (who are now both naturalized US citizens) were classically trained on the piano (with Eddie even winning a few prizes), but eventually they switched to guitar and drums respectively. Yep, that's right! Alex started playing guitar, and Eddie picked up drumming. While Eddie was doing his paper route to pay off his drum kit, his older brother started playing on his drums however and happened to be the better drummer of the two (photo 6 shows Alex drumming in a band with his father on saxophone). So, Alex decided to try the guitar in stead (photo 5 shows 12-year-old Eddie with his first guitar and his mom). And well, the rest is pretty much history... On a side note, Alex and Eddie's dad (who played clarinet on a track on Van Halen's 1982 album Diver Down) passed away in 1986, while their mom died in 2005. .
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