IN THE NEWS:

Eddie Van Halen teams with LL Cool J

Borrowing a page from the late Michael Jackson's playbook, LL Cool J has tapped guitar legend Eddie Van Halen to collaborate on two cuts from the rapper's forthcoming album, "Authentic."

Borrowing a page from the late Michael Jackson's playbook, LL Cool J has tapped guitar legend Eddie Van Halen to collaborate on two cuts from the rapper's forthcoming album, "Authentic."

Van Halen's six-string work will turn up on the tracks "Not Leaving You Tonight" and "We're the Greatest," the latter of which the guitarist co-wrote with LL Cool J, according to a press release.

"The thought of me playing guitar to hip hop was definitely left of center, but I was intrigued and I agreed to meet and listen to what [LL] had," Van Halen said in a press release. "I was not only inspired by the songs I heard, but LL's enthusiasm, his down to earth personality, the freedom he gave me to co-create and his willingness to, for the very first time, sing the chorus on 'We're The Greatest.' It was like a breath of fresh air that I needed as an artist and an individual."

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"This album was born out of my true love for music and I knew Eddie shared that same vision for authentic music," LL Cool J added. "I approached this song with the utmost respect for Eddie and his fans, and became friends with him through the process. I was humbled to watch a genius at work and collaborate with such a legendary and visionary artist as Eddie Van Halen, and to bring our two worlds together, was an exciting opportunity. I am thrilled he was up for the ride."

"Authentic" doesn't hit the street until April 30, but a 90-second sample of "We're the Greatest" is posted at the popular Van Halen News Desk fan website.

Van Halen's work with LL Cool J is reminiscent of his 1984 collaboration with Michael Jackson; the guitarist laid down the guitar solo on the late pop-singer's smash hit "Beat It."

In addition to teaming with LL Cool J, Van Halen has thrown his weight behind up-and-coming singer/songwriter Jennifer Hope, whose recently released debut album, "Velvet Fire," was sponsored by Eddie Van Halen and produced by Warren Huart (The Fray, Aerosmith). More information is available at Hope's website.

Aside from his work on "Authentic," Eddie Van Halen has been mostly laying low since wrapping up a 2012 tour in support of last year's "A Different Kind of Truth," Van Halen's first new album since 1984 to feature original frontman David Lee Roth on vocals, and first-ever release to feature the guitarist's 21-year-old son, Wolfgang Van Halen, on bass.

Next up for Van Halen are a pair of April festival dates in Australia, three June concerts in Japan, and a July 20 headlining performance at the Rock USA festival in Oshkosh, WI. The Japanese dates were originally set to take place last year, but were postponed after Eddie Van Halen underwent emergency surgery for an acute bout of diverticulitis, a digestive disorder.

 

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