Hear Eddie Van Halen jam R&B, rock classics with Cheech Marin in newly unearthed audio from 1985

Eddie Van Halen (left) and Cheech Marin onstage in the 1980s
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images, Ron Eisenberg/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Over the course of his four-decade career, electric guitar god Eddie Van Halen made relatively few onstage appearances without the world-famous band that bore his and his brother Alex's surname.

One of the rare occasions that did find him performing without his bandmates, though, was a May 12, 1985 charity concert that aimed to raise money (opens in new tab) for the Malibu Emergency Room.

That evening, Van Halen teamed up with Cheech Marin – of Cheech and Chong fame – for a lighthearted but action-packed set of classic R&B and rock tunes, with a couple of Cheech and Chong favorites thrown in for good measure as well. 

Audio of that evening's Cheech/Van Halen show recently surfaced on YouTube via The Tapes Archive (opens in new tab), and you can hear it for yourself below.

All told, Marin and Van Halen (together dubbed the Van Hey Mans) ran through a small handful of tunes – covers of Marvin Gaye's Ain’t That Peculiar and The Troggs' seminal Wild Thing, plus renditions of Cheech and Chong's Mexican Americans and Born in East LA.

Unsurprisingly, the audio quality of the set – which took place (opens in new tab) at the Firestone Fieldhouse at Pepperdine University – isn't exactly pristine, but you can still hear Van Halen let it rip at multiple points, wowing the enthusiastic crowd with the world-beating, tap-heavy fretboard fireworks they'd have normally only seen at a stadium.

Marin and Van Halen weren't the only ones bringing the star power to the Firestone Fieldhouse that spring evening, either. The benefit concert's bill also featured (opens in new tab) the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, Stephen Stills, Dave Mason and Jim Krueger, with Jane Fonda, Michael Landon, and Valerie Bertinelli – Van Halen's then-wife – also making onstage appearances.

The surfacing of audio from the 1985 Malibu Emergency Room concert comes just a month and a half after rare Super8 footage of Eddie Van Halen playing an early configuration of his legendary Frankenstein guitar was posted online.

Though initially lacking sound, the footage was, just days later, synced to audio.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.