I used to wake up to the sounds of conga drums and cowbells being played from fire escapes in Spanish Harlem; to listening to the top ten songs on AM radio and 6 of them were James Brown records; to watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show; to playing the recorder and the steel pan in grade school, music has had its eye on me for a while. So much that I used to hang OUTSIDE the Copa Cabana, the Cotton Club and the Mark 4 because I was too young to get in to hear the music.
My life changed when my God-Father, Benjamin Ashburn, a liquor dealer in Harlem, founded and managed The Commodores. The original drummer got drafted into the Army and my Uncle Benny gave me the drum kit he had to leave behind. I thank the Lord to this day for my Uncle Benny and the path he opened up for me when he pulled me out of my good government job, dropped me off in Tuskegee, Alabama at the home of Lenny Guice and told him to show me what to do and take care of me. That was 1969.
My first professional job was working at the Apollo Theater for The Commodores in 1971. Back then the acts were scheduled to perform Thursday through Sunday with 2 shows on Saturday and a matinee on Sunday. I stood on top of the 200-gallon oil drum dry ice fog machine behind the curtain to make sure that the lid did not fly off when I lowered the ice basket into the hot water.
Since then I have been blessed to travel around the world working in the entertainment industry. The list of the people that I have met and continue to keep in touch with will always stand out to me as the greatest gift that this life has to offer.
So…. I guess I have been a ‘Roadie of Color’ all of my life.
I am humbled and honored to be a part of the ‘ROADIES OF COLOR UNITED’ family.
Here is a partial list of the recording artists and events that I have had the pleasure working for and with.
The Commodores Johnny Gill Joe
Platinum Hook Ralph Tresvant Con Funk Shun
Three Ounces Of Love Rick James Kindred-The Family Soul
The Fatback Band Teena Marie Wyclef Jean
GQ The O’Jays Maxi Priest
The Force MD’s Gerald LeVert Dru Hill