Kool & The Gang Leader Speaks About Touring With Rockers Van Halen
Kool & The Gang “Jump” On-Tour with Van Halen:
An Interview with Robert “Kool” Bell
by A. Scott Galloway
The minute I heard that `70s soul stalwart band Kool & The Gang was embarking on four months of North America touring with arena rock domineers Van Halen, I was struck with equal parts shock, intrigue and hope. Shock because though we’ve recently witnessed super successful combo tours by the likes of Earth Wind & Fire with Chicago, both of those Black and White super groups were major pop acts with a not-so-surprising number of mutual fans. But Kool &the Gang – with its trajectory of early jazz-funk roots followed by disco domination and finally all out pop crossover in the `80s – appeared to be the kind of band that Van Halen’s hard rockin’ legion of followers might sneer at with utter disdain. Leave it to returning original Van Halen front man David Lee Roth – the Ringling Brother impresario of rock – to push past all that noise like just so many lions through rings of fire.