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Kool and the Gang: Still Cool and Opening for Van Halen

Kool and the Gang didn't only contribute to the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever but also for that of our party lives. Few bands' songs are so universally recognizable and still stay so freaking funky and cool from generation to generation. "Too Hot" shows you how you chill out a little when things are getting a bit too sticky. "Celebration" is the least annoying wedding/bar mitzvah/nightclub jam of all time. And "Ladies' Night" -- need we explain the continued relevance of this tune? 

The band is still working and still together. These guys are involved in like a million projects, including a potential reality makeover show called Making It Cool, which encourages former musicians to pursue their musical dreams. They're also opening for a super-guitar-solo and sash-heavy Diamond Dave-headed 2012 Van Halen concert tour. Robert "Kool" Bell told us that though they gig around the world, playing jazz festivals and casinos, this is the first real tour they've done in more than ten years. 

Bell says of his time with Van Halen: "It's been great! David Lee Roth saw us in England last year at the Glastonbury Festival," he explains. They were putting together the reunion tour, and Roth asked the rest of his band if they'd be into having Kool and the Gang open for them. "They scratched their heads; 'What's your angle David?'" Bell laughs. It just all came together. 

Kool and the Gang will be performing "kool rock," which means all of the favorites. No one will be confused about what's coming up next; they'll simply be pleased. Bell's favorite song to perform is "Celebration," so make sure to show Kool some extra love during this tune.  

Bell is based out of Orlando and New Jersey, so coming this far south isn't an unusual occurence. They have a new album they're working on to come out next year. Bell's working on a soul project with his brother, a "Just Kool" project with musicians like Bootsy Collins and his other very happening and talented friends. A Mama Mia/Jersey Boys type musical is being created with their songs, which will likely heat Broadway the hell up with disco funk. 

Musically, Bell is into everything from Coldplay to Chris Brown. "It's definitely on our iPod," he said of tour mates Van Halen's jams. "The music today is more dance-driven," he notes pointing out Lady Gaga, Bieber, and Beyoncé. But, "On the touring side," he thinks music remains the same; bands are "still out there doing their thing." And lucky for us, Kool is still out there being cool, doing its thing. 

Kool and the Gang opening for Van Halen at BankAtlantic Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise, on Tuesday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. Visit bankatlanticcenter.com

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Liz has her master’s degree in religion from Florida State University. She has since written for publications and outlets such as Miami New Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Ocean Drive, the Huffington Post, NBC Miami, Time Out Miami, Insomniac, the Daily Dot, and the Atlantic. Liz spent three years as New Times Broward-Palm Beach’s music editor, was the weekend news editor at Inverse, and is currently the managing editor at Tom Tom Magazine.
Contact: Liz Tracy

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