It’s been a few years since The Fatback Band have been in the UK, but this September the band return to London for a one-off date at the Clapham Grand, part of the London Soul Weekender. Led by drummer and arranger Bill Curtis, the Fatback Band were responsible for some of the most funkiest tunes recorded in the seventies, as well as some of the best eighties soul songs including of course the UK smash hit ‘I Found Lovin’’. Whilst other acts of the day gained fame and fortune, the Fatback Band struggled – particularly in America – to gain the longevity and admiration of funk and soul fans that they deserve. For us at TFSR, whether it be ‘(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop’, ‘Backstroking’, or ‘Keep On Steppin’’, The Fatback Band are in our eyes funk music royalty.
Earlier on this year we at TFSR spoke with Bill Curtis about his career, and the struggle of the music business today which you can hear below via Mixcloud. In anticipation of their upcoming London show, we caught up with Bill Curtis to see what’s been happening in the world of Fatback:
So Bill, how’s things with you and the group? You’ve just released a new single ‘Get Your Head Out Your Phone’…
“Things are going quite well with the band. We have made a few changes in the group. As you know guys have other things they would like to do and goals to achieve and music keep changing: we have a new lead vocalist Desmond Humphrey, new Bassest Zachery Guinn, we added a young lady Taneshia Fisher and on sax Robbie Locks. Our latest with the new group ‘Get Your Head Out Your Phone’ and ‘Don’t Leave Me Now’; we don’t get that much air play on our new music, guys are not into pushing new music now days especially coming from an older group like ours. I think their are many factors involved why they don’t and don’t care to go into right now.”
We’ve lost several big name soul artists, including Louis Johnson, Percy Sledge, BB King, and of course Ben E. King. Do you have any memories of these artists, or working with these artists? Is it true that Ben E. King recorded with The Fatback Band?
We did lose a few big soul artists this year. I had the pleasure of working with more of them from time to time, we went to Africa with Brother Johnson in the 80’s and BB King we were an opening act on few of his shows; BB and I played a lot of chess together when we got a chance. Now Ben and I go way back to the fifties, we played so many show together, hung out a lot. Benny recorded with the [Fatback] band and his son did too. [They did a particularly good song together called ‘Evil’]. One thing can say about those guys they never changed regardless how big they got.
Finally, we’re excited that your back in London this September…
We be back in the UK in September at Clapham Grand; don’t know if we can work one of the new song in are not, but we going to put a lot music in your face – it will be a night you want forget for a long time. You can bet your bottom pound on that.
Having seen Bill and the Fatback Band a few years back, TFSR can testify that it will certainly not be a night you’ll forget in a hurry! Tickets to The Fatback Band at London’s Clapham Grand are now on sale on AGMP, make sure to pick some up for this is sure to be one of the best gigs of the year.
You can here The Fatback Band’s new release ‘Get Your Head Out Your Phone‘ on Spotify here, check out the ‘Cool Mix‘ – it’s brilliant: