Known for classic hits such as ‘Celebration’, ‘Jungle Boogie’ ‘Ladies Night’ and ‘Get Down on it’, Kool and the Gang will be funking up the dance floor at the Gold Coast Convention Centre tonight, and they won’t be alone. Joined by The Jacksons, The Pointer Sisters and The Village People the Gold Coast Convention Centre will be host to this year’s Summer Series Motown Party of the year.
Writer Nicole Browne had a chat with Kool (Robert Bell) to discuss the tour and to find out more about how this band has managed to stay on the tour circuit and remained so influential for over 50 years.
Wow, all these greats on tour together! I think that might get a bit wild!?
It is going to be off the chain! Off the record! It will be some crazy celebration. We have all been friends for years, so for us, getting together and touring like this is going to be everything you ever thought about your whole life and after. We just can’t wait to get to Australia and perform for you all.
Kool and the Gang have been touring and making music for over 50 years now. What have been some of the influences that have inspired your sound throughout your career?
You know, it is great to be a classic, we have stood the test of time. We always listen to other artists and it has been other artists that have influenced us. In the early days when we began as the Jazziacs, we were influenced by the old jazz greats, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Nina Simone, Soul Train, Roy Tiger. Then when we established as Kool and the Gang, we kind of took a little bit of everybody, by playing their music, putting it into ours and creating this fusion that became ours. We have an eclectic sound, it isn’t just one genre it is a mixture of everything. Now a days we still listen to everything. If you aren’t open to other artists you are going to cut yourself off. If you love music like we do it is always going to influence you. It doesn’t change, it’s just different”
You have seen a few decades in your time in the music industry. Naturally music has evolved, each decade has brought something to the next one, musically what has been your favourite decade?
The 70s, hands down! The 70s was a time of transition – everything was moving towards nothing and it ended on the disco floor. It was a very influential time. Coming out of the 60s with all the activism, the protests, that all landed in the mists of 70s and the time was very inspirational. And then it all fell when it hit the 80s. (laughs)
Over your career technology has come so far also, which brought with it sampling. Kool and the Gang are the most sampled RnB band out there. How did it come across to a band who had been around since the late 60s, to have their music sampled and used by other musicians
They must have liked it! To have put our music into their music and sing over the top of it, that is a big compliment to us, we appreciate it. In a way the technology was surprising but in another way it was just part of the evolvement. We became writers of their music, it made our catalogue a lot bigger. We had Will Smith, Public Enemy, Madonna, The Prodigy, Ice Cube, so many. Also we had copyright, so it just makes us more money at the end of the day. (laughs)
So what we can look forward to when you come and play for us in Australia this year?
Well we are all looking forward to coming to your country, coming down under. Not sure why they call it down under when it is a round planet! We are looking forward to performing for all you people, singing along and dancing with you. It is going to be a great party!!
Don’t miss this party of a lifetime. You can catch Kool and the Gang, The Jacksons, The Pointer Sisters, and The Village People Tuesday 15 January at The Gold Coast Convention Centre. Tickets here.