By Rick Coates
Few musicians can take credit for actually creating a music style, but when you ask who was responsible for the disco music scene of the early 70s, one Howard Wayne Casey comes to mind.
Casey founded the KC and the Sunshine Band in 1973 and is the force behind such hits as (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty, Give It Up, Keep It Comin Love, Thats The Way (I Like It), Im Your Boogie Man, Get Down Tonight, and Boogie Shoes. Along with the Bee Gees and Donna Summer, KC pioneered the disco music and dance scene.
Howard Wayne Casey, nicknamed KC, brings his band to Northern Michigan this weekend to the Odawa Casino Resort in Petoskey. The Saturday concert will be the bands first appearance in Northern Michigan in years.
I am looking forward to it up there. Is it snowing yet? I love the snow, laughs KC. I have been checking the weather up there and see that it has been great all summer. But truly I like the snow. I live in Miami and we dont get snow, so I love it because I get to see it and then leave it.
KC is enjoying a resurgence of his music. He appeared last year on American Idol and many of his songs (he was the primary songwriter) are played at sporting events. And try going to a wedding and not hearing a handful of KC and the Sunshine Band songs. His music is so popular that his songs have appeared in over 200 major films.
But there was a time when he was ready to throw it all away.
In 1984 I got in a serious car accident and almost died. I was burned out on the business and the politics of the business and being told when to smile, said KC. So I retired from performing.
KC stayed away until friends encouraged him to come back.
I was still doing drugs and one day I said to myself I had to make a choice, drugs or my career, said KC. Well, I chose my career and I am glad I did, because it is so different for me now.
Well, when I came back I was very nervous. I have always been a nervous person, but I was worried people wouldnt take me back, said KC. That my music had been passed by. But at the same time, after quitting drugs I became more comfortable and accepting of the person that I am. To be honest that period in the 70s when I was on top was the loneliest period in my life.
Despite his trials and tribulations over the past 37 years, KC says he never lost sight of his identity.
In a way, I have always been two people, Howard Wayne Casey and the stage personality KC. Most people know me as the latter. But through it all I have remained true to myself: Howard Wayne Casey who, a handful of times a year has this alter ego, KC.
While KC is happy to see his music remaining popular and even reaching a younger generation, dont expect him to write any new songs anytime soon.
I am done with that. Its not that I dont get ideas -- I do -- but I dont want to go down that road anymore, said KC. The business has changed so much that I prefer to do about 100 shows a year. Records die out but the live show doesnt.
KC says he is very energized today at the age of 59 and sees himself on the road as long as the people will come to see him.
I look out in the audience and I see kids to grandmas, it is really cool, said KC. What I am really enjoying is playing a lot of initimate venues, I hear that the Odawa is a smaller venue so we are excited.
So should people bring their Boogie Shoes?
Definitely, said KC. KC and the Sunshine Band is not a sit-down concert. It is a partnership and we expect the crowd to do their part.
So what does the king of disco do when he is not touring?
I live pretty close to where I was born in southern Miami and I like just chilling with my friends, said KC. Right now I am currently failing as a mother duck. I live on this canal and a mother duck this spring was killed by a raccoon and she left behind some eggs. I decided to do some research on the computer and figured out how to get them to hatch. Well one of the ducklings survived and I am now trying to reintroduce it to the wild and it is just not working out very well.
KC may not know how to raise a duck, but he probably knows how to do the Disco Duck (the Rick Dees 1976 number one hit), but with a string of his own number one hits KC probably wont play that one. Tickets still remain for the Saturday night KC and The Sunshine Band concert at the Odawa Casino in Petoskey. For additional details or to purchase tickets go to www.odawacasino.com or call (877) 442-6464.