Family Affair: Full Force
There are not enough words in the music industrys secret how to guidelines to describe the devotion that Full Force has displayed in making quality music. Three brothers Bowlegged Lou, Paul Anthony and B-Fine and three cousins Curt-t-t, Baby Gerry and Shy Shy have made music a part of their bloodline. Over 25 years in a cruel industry have not jaded the Full Force approach to innovative professionalism, nor has the time aged their perception of youthful energy. Their story is more deep and wide than the oceans of activity most people will travel in a lifetime. Bowlegged Lou shares some of his special Full Force memories with flashy humor and charm, never letting the listener miss out on the importance of their persistence:
"We were all in high school and junior high school 1975 or 1976 or something like that, and we started out performing at the Apollo Theater. That was our first major show after we started performing in Brooklyn at all these little shows. Back in the day every week on Wednesday night was an amateur show, just the same as what you see on TV everybody would compete, you would rub the tree for luck, and you could win first, second or third prize. We entered and won first prize our first go-round we were singing this song called Cloud Nine which the Temptations did years and years ago, but back then our name wasnt Full Force, we called ourselves The Amplifiers. We won first prize four weeks in a row, cuz you had to win four weeks in a row to appear on the professional show. We got to appear with the Whispers at the Apollo Theater. Honi Coles was the host; he was a famous tap dancer back in the day. We were like the little Jackson 5, we sang and played instruments but we mostly sang. That was before the jheri curls of course.
"Its amazing how people still ask us yall dont wear jheri curls no more, and I say back in the day, like in 85-86, everybody was wearing jheri curls! People act like Full Force were the only people wearing jheri curls. Keenan Ivory Wayans used to make fun of us so much on his various talk shows Ive got them all on tape because that serves as inspiration for us, but I remember on In Living Color they did this thing called the Jheri Curl Telethon with Jim Carey hosting in his Jerry Lewis [impression], and he said many people have been affected by the deadly jheri curl disease such public figures as Full Force! and they showed a big picture of us with our jheri curls it was hilarious.
Full Force has worked with some of the worlds best and brightest to the undergrounds most memorable. Their production roster is top-heavy with hit makers with very few bricks UTFO, Lisa Lisa, Cheryl Pepsii Riley, Patti LaBelle, James Brown, Bob Dylan, Monifah, Samantha Fox, LFO, Teddy Riley, Selena, Backstreet Boys, NSync, 3LW, Blaque, M2M, and Britney Spears.
"We did that because we couldnt get a record deal as Full Force the group. My father Lucien George and my uncle Cito got us involved in the business, took us to the Apollo and managed us, but our former co-manager at the time, Steve Salem, was the one to actually encourage us to be producers. We were never thinking about producing anybody, all we thought about was Full Force the group. He was the first person who encouraged us to write our own material because we were doing a lot of cover songs. He said hey listen guys, your tapes are getting returned back to you, maybe you should produce other acts and who knows, you might get success that way and you guys will get attention as Full Force and I was like to hell with that man, I dont care about that who ever heard of an R&B band producing anybody?. I was so adamant against doing that. But we went out and got these guys from our neighborhood, Dr. Ice and Kangol Kid they used to break dance for us on our shows then they got Educated Rapper, and we did a record with them "Roxanne Roxanne".
"My brother B-Fine was the one that came up with the concept for that, because actually "Roxanne Roxanne" was the b-side of a song called "Hangin Out" which was on vinyl and that was the one we were pushing for the single. DJ Red Alert was the one that discovered that b-side. We said no! youre playing the wrong side! and he said no no no Im playing THIS side this is the hit and Roxanne was born.
"We wrote a song called "I Wonder If I Take You Home", and we went and auditioned girls to see whose voice would suit it, and Lisa Lisa went out of course. She was brought to us by Mike Hughes of Cult Jam who was a neighborhood friend, and she was auditioning with a lot of original songs that he wrote they were horrible. Ill never forget being by the bathroom when she was auditioning, the song was so horrible I was laughing til I cried but not visibly I had to keep hiding myself. But before she left she was so pretty, and she was Hispanic and we felt that there was no Hispanic anybody doing any kind of commercial music at all at the time.
"We said, Lisa, before you go, why dont you sing something that we know, that were familiar with and thats when Paul Anthony asked her to do For Your Eyes Only by Sheena Easton and she sung that and she was on pitch on key and everything it just turned out that the song that Mike Hughes wrote for her sucked. She became the first Latina to be in this whole commercial Hip Hop dance thing. After Lisa Lisa, Full Force got a record deal of their own. "Alice I Want You Just For Me" was a top ten record and was a big hit in England."
"We worked with Samantha Fox, she was in London, and we brought out songs that she really didnt want to do at first Naughty Girls Need Love Too and I Wanna Have Some Fun, and those were her two biggest records."
"When they called us to work with James Brown we were blown away. They called us to do his whole album. It was the time when everyone was sampling him, and unfortunately it was also the time of him [having troubles], and every time we saw Eddie Murphy he would blame us man, yall the ones who got James Brown goin crazy as a joke, but the thing about it was it was still great working with Mr. Brown. We had to always call him Mr. Brown in the studio because we heard rumors that he was hard to work with and no one intimidates us but hes a legend. We had a great time working with him."
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