The Brick House was one of the toughest joints I ever played in ... Guys would drink and fight one another like circle saws. Bottles would come flying over the bandstand like crazy and there was lots of plain common shooting and cutting. But somehow all that jive didn't faze me at all. I was so happy to have some place to blow my horn.
I've known the glory of the stage and the glory of the spotlight. I still crave it. I want to be on 'American Bandstand' and 'Soul Train' as a solo artist. As a producer, songwriter and arranger, I help other artists say what they want to say. But on my records, I say what I want to say.
I think the most important thing that I can offer young musicians is once you get up on the bandstand, understanding that you're now asking this prayer to come through you. When you think about music it's got to be that way. Just the thrill of being able to play another note, not to win anything or get a trophy.
How did we lose our culture? Black people used to all do the same thing on Saturdays. We all watched "Soul Train" and "American Bandstand", got our fashion and dance tips, and then we emulated it and bought those records that we heard. Now it seems like there is no culture. The school of fish are all separate. Everybody's just randomized, listening to their own thing in their earbuds, and there's no uniformity. That bothers me.
How great musicians demonstrate a mutual respect and trust on the bandstand can alter your outlook on the world and enrich every aspect of your life, understanding what it means to be a global citizen in the most modern sense.
I am the Alexander Graham Bell of the phone company, the Christopher Columbus of America because after 'The Twist' everything changed, .. Watch the films from 1958 up to 1959, and watch American Bandstand during that time. After the song came out, everything was different.
I started to study the flute in 1951. The flute has been utilized by African-American musicians as far back as the early Twenties. If you take a look at some of the old pictures of Chick Webb, then you will see the flute right there on the bandstand among the woodwinds.