In the halcyon days of progressive FM rock radio, it would not be uncommon to see, say, Tina Turner or Stevie Wonder open for the Rolling Stones. Or Jimi Hendrix open for The Monkees. These days, those concert pairings are practically unheard of. That is until Kool & the Gang were asked by Van Halen to open shows on their upcoming tour, which gets underway on February 18 in Louisville, KY. Kool & the Gang co-founder Robert “Kool” Bell thinks opening for Van Halen is not that much of a stretch, saying, “We had big hits in the 80s, and so did they. They’ve been kind of like a party band on the rock side… Most of the time we have a crowd that’s 80 percent white. Plus we do a lot of international dates with Def Leppard, Meat LoafChicago, Elton John… So I think we’ll survive.”

The show will be in New Orleans on June 26.