THE STONE CITY BAND
THE STONE CITY BAND — 2020
The Stone City Band is arguably one of the most prolific troupes to emerge from the international punk-funk music scene since the founding of the cyclopean age of cosmic funk. With a distinctive style heavily immersed in 1970s punk, the Buffalo, New York, sextet is gearing up for a year 2020 run on as many cities and towns as conceivable to spread the gospel of funk to its legion of aficionados. With an arsenal of recognizable gold and platinum, award-winning hit tunes, such as “Super Freak,” “Ghetto Life”, “Mary Jane,” and “Fire and Desire,” six original members of the band are prepared to reintroduce these and countless recordings, past and recent, to an enhanced worldwide audience. Performing members of the group are Lanise Hughes (drums), Tom McDermott (guitar), Levi Ruffin (keyboards), Nate Guido Hughes (percussion), Oscar Alston (bass), and Danny Lemelle (horns). These original members performed the original instrumentation for Rick James’ concerts and the studio recordings of his greatest hits and more. While performing with Rick, the band enjoyed a separate contract with Universal/Motown (Gordy) Records (under Rick’s label), which allowed them, like many other acts, to become a recording, backing, and performing act within themselves. The band became a double threat with the ability to headline concerts and provide musical direction for star solo acts. Through the years, they’ve scored three solo albums entitled In N Out, Out From The Shadow, and The Boys Are Back. In 1983, the Stone City Band released the hit single “Ladies Choice’ under Motown. In addition to their songs cascading across eclectic airwaves, the talented group of seasoned musicians have made limitless appearances on live television for in excess of four decades. When performing on TV, their electric presence draws viewers in so quickly it is as though they were being pulled inside the TV with the live audience, moving and grooving with the band. Besides the late night talk shows, the band has performed at the Grammy Awards, the American Music Awards, the Soul Train Awards, and others. The sound of the Stone City Band has stood the test of time, and that is the result of an elevated level of professionalism both musically and personally. In this digital age, their sound can be found in recordings representing a slew of artists traversing many musical genres. Some observers may wonder: “How have the original members been able to stay out of the news with career-ending negative press?” Although the entertainment industry affords limitless temptations to young musicians who become stars, eating many alive, the band repeatedly receives a clean bill of health from industry insiders and John Q Public. According to bandmembers, it is important to set a “good public image” as young people are natural imitators of their public idols, especially musicians and athletes. “Our objective,” according to another team member, “is to provide enjoyable music and the finest example that imperfect people can. Everyone makes mistakes, but we try to stay clear of things we might regret.” When it comes to music, the band possesses spandex-like flexibility, a creative resilience uncommon to most popular bands. And although funk is their primary lane, the band’s eclectic ingredients contain servings of rock, R&B/soul, pop, and reggae. The proof is in the pudding and the volume of artists sampling their tunes, all hoping a mere whiff of creativity emanating from the classic Rick James and the Stone City Band made famous will stick to them.
For the 2020 touring season, the Original Stone City Band is made up of original Universal/Motown /Gordy recording, producing, and touring musicians Lanise Hughes, Tom McDermott, Nate Guido Hughes, Levi Ruffin, Oscar Alston, and Danny Lemelle. The same lineup will kick off the upcoming season. 1978, The Stone City Band with Rick James as lead and producer, recorded the enduring hits “You and I” and “Mary Jane.” And it was in 1981 that James released his most successful album, Street Songs, which contained “Give It to Me Baby” and his mega-hit “Super Freak.” They, too, were in collaboration with the Stone City Band. Two more hits worked their way into the team’s gargantuan swell of memorable classics: “Fire and Desire” and “Ebony Eyes,” recorded with Teena Marie and legendary Smokey Robinson, respectively. In 1990, MC Hammer sampled “Super Freak” for “U Can’t Touch This,” winning Best R&B Song at the 1991 Grammy Awards, and it is the hook he is most identified with. Also important to mention is the Stone City Band and Rick James recorded and performed all of the original music used in Hammer’s colossal hit. In 2019 the band released the single “Funky Reggae,” a funk-thumping dance number with a touch of Jamaican style pop. It is good to dance and chill to and is available at Amazon.com and other digital outlets. For 2020, Stone City Band management is planning an increased number of live shows and will promote new releases. We wish we could share the number of wonderful surprises that will please loyal fans and new ones just over the horizon. Stay tuned as the Stone City Band embarks on an endless journey of wholesome entertainment fit for music lovers everywhere. By Phil Brown
KIM A. STAIRS
Phil C. Brown