Being in the school band just got a whole lot cooler for some of the kids in the Los Angeles area: Eddie Van Halen has teamed up with the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation to donate 75 guitars from his personal collection to schools that don't have enough funding to pay for instruments. For Van Halen, it was a simple case of giving back -- as he put it simply, "Music education and families are dealing with the economic times, and I wanted to help them."

Of course, the donation also had a lot to do with Eddie's desire to share his lifelong passion. "Music is the universal language," he explained. "It has the ability to transcend and convey every human emotion that exists without saying a word. Music kept me off the streets and out of trouble and gave me something that was mine that no one could take away from me."

Continued Van Halen, "If I can help a kid discover a liking, or even a passion for music in their life, then that's a wonderful thing. Music has provided a good life for me and hopefully it can help make life better for others with this donation."

The donation comes at a great time when Van Halen are as active as ever, as they're currently ramping up to promote the release of the band's first album in 14 years. Due Feb. 7, 'A Different Kind of Truth' finds Van Halen reuniting with original lead singer David Lee Roth for their first full-length collection of new material with DLR on vocals since 1984. The set's leadoff single, 'Tattoo,' was released this week.


Watch the video for Van Halen's 'Tattoo'