Rare audio of Eddie Van Halen performing with comedian Cheech Marin at a charity gig in 1985 has recently surfaced online.
The concert took place at Pepperdine University’s Firehouse Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif. The event was a fundraiser for the Malibu Emergency Room, known as M.E.R.
Van Halen’s then-wife, Valerie Bertinelli handled the introduction, dubbing the unlikely partnership Van Hey Man. From there, the guitar god and comedian took the stage, backed by a full band. Together, the group ripped through a four-song set.
First up was a cover of “Ain’t That Peculiar,” Marvin Gaye’s hit from 1965. Next, Marin introduced what he described as “a song of social relevance,” before launching into “Mexican Americans,” a tune made famous in 1980’s Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie. This was followed by another Marin original, “Born in East L.A.,” a parody of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” that was released by Cheech and Chong as a single in ‘85. The last song of the set was an altered cover of the Troggs’ “Wild Thing,” given new lyrics.
Throughout the set, Van Halen took several opportunities to deliver blistering guitar solos, much to the joy of the crowd in attendance.
Prior to the final song, one of the band’s members joked that their lead singer was “Cheech Lee Roth” – poetic, given the timing of the performance. The charity gig took place on May 12, 1985. Just a couple of months earlier, David Lee Roth had informed Van Halen that he would be leaving to focus on his solo work.
Roth, as all rock fans know, was later replaced by Sammy Hagar. Still, in an alternate universe, it’s fun to imagine Marin fronting the real deal.
Listen to the 1985 Van Hey Man performance below.