By Kato Hammond
I am guessing by now that (if you’ve read the Washington Post article) we all know exactly what Rare Essence meant when they titled their 30 Year Reunion show “Past, Present and Future!” On Sunday night September 11, the inner city goovin wickedest band alive delivered the past and the present to a crowd of about 3000 people. And this morning they’ve capped it off announcing the “FUTURE” — which is: along with the addition of their newest female singer, Ms. KiKi (formally of the go-go band CCB) — three former members Donnell Floyd, Derek Paige and Bojack will be returning full time to the band effective immediately, or rather… beginning with their next show coming this Friday at the Tradewinds.
Will this change the current dynamics of the RE show? Of course it will.
I spoke with Andre “Whiteboy” Johnson who simply states that one of the things that the change in the band does is allow the “bringing of the horn section element back into the band. Previously, during the times when Lil Benny would join them on stage, it would be he and Roy Battle holding down horn parts. But of course as of lately, Roy being the only horn player in the group, that basically cut out the dynamics of that element.
NEVER SAY NEVER:
Over the past month and a half, rumbles of murmur on the circuit, as well as the social networking sites were filled with folks’ inquiries regarding D.Floyd’s recent departure from his own band Familiar Faces and performing on the Chuck Brown stages. Well now all the speculation and murmur can stop. However, although D.Floyd is now back in the Rare Essence camp, he will continue doing shows with Chuck… at least for a minute.
How did this come about?
Well as Donnell puts it, “Somehow it just seemed that the stars kind of aligned right at the point where they [RE] had an opening and I didn’t really have a current spot.”
“For the longest time, people have been asking will Donnell ever get back on the stage and perform with RE,” Whiteboy states. “But what people don’t really know or understand is that although Donnell did leave the group and start his own band, he and I still remained friends and always stayed in contact over the past 8 or 9 years. There would be times when he would call and ask me questions such as, ‘What would you do regarding such and such?’ And there would also be times when I would call him and ask the same. There was no animosity and never any undercutting.”
Although they differ in a lot of ways, the one thing that D.Floyd and Whiteboy do share in common is the never ending passion for always swinging for the fence.
In fact, when it comes to Rare Essence in general, one thing that cannot be denied is their alway shooting for the fence. And over the years, whether it would be shooting professional videos for their music or paying thousands of dollars to have national artists come in and record songs with them — with many of them ending not as successful as they would liked — to this day they still have never stopped shooting for the fence. And bringing in a new decade on a new page with a new outlook is a prime example of that.
AS FAR AS THE 31 YEAR REUNION IS CONCERNED:
Just hours after their 31 year reunion show had ended, rumors had already began to circulate that there would be a Part Two. When I mentioned this to Whiteboy and asked if it was true, his only response was, “If enough people ask for it, then maybe… down the road.”
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