Moon in Scorpio

If an artist is ever blessed enough to experience this, that moment when they are truly in that zone of creativity where they feel the presence of the divine as they create in a recording studio, (without self-delusional stimulants. i.e. WEED) then they can understand the way we felt as we were making this album.

Moon In Scorpio was made in the aftermath of our greatest commercial successes, Ghetto Heaven and the production of Paula Abdul’s quadruple platinum album Spellbound. (THAT’S RIGHT I SAID PAULA ABDUL AND PROUD OF IT! So all you, you all ain’t that deep MO FO’s and they did that RUSH RUSH bullsh… Music is music, well, not really, but for the sake of my argument right now it is. And the Paula money paid for the Hummer, and the Porsche, and the Rover, and the houses in the country (yes, those are pictures of our house and our cars above), fans ‘rolling up’ on us, 

and the girls by the pool, and the threesomes, you know screams for the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost in the middle of the night, long island ice teas, and pass the sun tan lotion please, Mr. Leo SOUL FOOD! dinners, and the affairs and the breakups, and the heart breaks, divorce, child support payments, I PROMISE IT’S ON IT’S WAY… and the sex, violence, tax problems (Sandra you still owe me $20,000 you… And Miss Lady At The IRS thanks for working with me I’m going to do better next time… and the playa hating deceitful friends, you know whom the fuck you are! And the depression, the drama, thoughts of suicide… losing a best friend, dying and sick parents ONE BIG VH1 BEHIND THE MUSIC LOAD OF …. WHOA! 

It paid for all that… And we paid for all that. Was it worth it? 

And is the moon in Scorpio? What does that mean? Well even now as I write about this album, things come up. Things hidden are now seen. The spirit is resurrected. The scorpion becomes the snake, which becomes the eagle that becomes the phoenix. 

A little producer’s album turns into some ones hope for just another R&B group doing track dates, which turns into a soul trio, an acid jazz (WHAT THE FUCK IS ACID JAZZ? And stop calling us that!) music collective that turns into a ROCK BAND! in the truest sense of the word. 

It’s not the guitar in ones hand that makes the band rock, it’s the rebel in their hearts.

 Moon In Scorpio was not an experiment. Was Sgt. Pepper an experiment? Okay Moon In Scorpio wasn’t Sgt. Pepper. We’re black. Call it Sgt. Peppercorn. 

Relative to what was around in 1992 it might as well have been. 

We became a real band with this album. We created without fear. We thought it might be our last album anyway. And it was… for a while. 

The music began to find it’s right place sonically. We recorded the majority of the album live. Our band for this album and for life, (well at least most of them) whether they’re playing with us or not were… 

Tom Hammer on keyboards. (Yo, yo, why the white guy gotta go first? PLEASE! Lets stop all this racial stuff. I just thought of him first. But why did our manager make him be the one to make sure we got to the gigs on time? Mmmm?) Tom also co-wrote with Sandra, Shelter, one of the great ballads on the album. 

Rocky Bryant, who is one of the best drummers in the world., blessed us with his always thoughtful and musical playing . And I’d like to formally apologize on behalf of The Family Stand for not picking you first when we auditioned drummers. (Jeff knew you would take some of the band’s sex symbol label away from him so… that’s how it went down) Okay, f… it, it was me. And I got tired of girls asking who the drummer was. I kept telling them I wrote the songs dammit! 

Moonie Pusey, one of our two lead guitarists, plays nothing like his last name might imply. His solos are brilliant, particularly his solo on Shades Of Blue. Monnie was also an important contributor to our previous album, Chain. As I mention Monnie I must always mention his beautiful wife, the great artist and poet, and I’m just scratching the surface of her, Faybiene Miranda. As she is a part of him, she is a part of us also. 

Our other guitarist was the legendary Ronny Drayton. The legacy of lefty liquidity locking down long solos of luscious love tones never lacking or languid in their nature, but always lavish, yet lucid in their representation of the guitar’s link to the ladder towards the eternal… Mother fucker you bad! But calm down you ain’t Jimi my nigger… But you the second baddest lefty ever… so if he’s Sandy Koufax, you’re Lefty Grove relative to this conversation and your solo on The Education Of Jamie, always makes me cry. It is a transcendent moment. 

Myra Singleton played the bass. 

In addition, others contributed… 

Sorry, let me go back. Myra Singleton played the bass and WE HEARD WHAT YOU SAID! WE HEARD THE LIES YOU TOLD. And I saw you try to trip Sandra on stage! 

But time heals all wounds. Myra’s performance on Plantation Radio was really amazing. And she was an excellent performer on stage… when she wasn’t trying to trip Sandra or ham it up for the audience.

In addition, others contributed greatly to the making of this album… 

Rock guitar icon Vernon Reid from Living Colour made a guest appearance on the solo to New World Order. Pianist and producer, Fred Zarr, played on Free Spirit, this album’s jazz instrumental. Jeff’s beautiful and tasteful jazz compositions, which highlight his great saxophone playing, have been an integral part of most of our albums. 

Engineer, Rod Hui did a great job in the mixing and recording of this album, much of it was done at Green Street recording studios in Soho. 

Clare Fischer, perhaps the greatest string arranger in the world, orchestrated arrangements for Winter In My Heart and Quiet Desperation. Clare Fisher’s work on various albums, most notably for me, on Chaka Khan and Rufus albums, and several Prince albums. 

Prince… 

Let me take this opportunity to say, what many have said before, that Prince is probably the greatest pop music genius of his generation. I’m of that same generation as is all of us in The Family Stand. HOWEVER!!!!!! It’s time to set the record straight… 

THIS IS FOR WHOM IT MAY APPLY… (come on, we know it’s just a minority … we want all of you to give our new CD a super gassed up review, or at least a fair chance) 

So … Here is a note to you if you are one of the INTELLECTUALLY LAZY, MUSICALLY IGNORANT CRITICS OUT THERE without a sense of generational and historical perspective or accuracy as it relates to the experiences of people of color. I make this statement within the following context. Almost all those critics who have dismissed us as some Prince inspired or purple cloned group for example “Peter Lord’s Prince like vocals on Quiet Desper… FUCK YOU… You think only one light skinned nigger knows how to YODEL! Most of my ancestors came from Africa (and when I’m trying to get a date at a strip club I say Brazil, The Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico also) but some of my people came from the Swiss Alps. They invented yodeling there. 

Every “black” act doing something different wasn’t Prince (well most of those guys were). Just like every black guy with a guitar ain’t Jimi! 

(Okay I know that one section in Shades Of Blue sounds like… well… LATER FOR YOU!)

This is something that comes from the mouths of I HAVE TO SAY mostly white critics whose sense of refined critical analysis seems to escape them when it comes to the music of artist who happen to be black. The point being, is that if you grew up at a certain time lets say… THE LATE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES… you would have had common artistic stimuli effect your creative development.

So to now fully understand MOON IN SCORPIO and The Family Stand as compared to Prince and the majority of his work, I’ve worked out an easy to follow INFLUENCE CHART for all of those too lazy, or corrupt to do the work. 

INFLUENCE CHART 

The Family Stand Prince
Sly and The Family Stone Sly and The Family Stone
The Beatles The Beatles
Graham Central Station Graham Central Station
Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix
Led Zepplin Led Zepplin
Chaka Khan and Rufus Santana
The Isley Brothers Parliament Funkadelic
Earth, Wind, And Fire Brothers Johnson
Donny Hathaway Stylistics
John Coltrane Miles Davis
STEVIE WONDER JAMES BROWN
NO PUNK PUNK

A LOT OF SIMILARITIES of course but the key points of departure are the STEVIE AND J. B. factors. Of course we love James Brown and are influenced in a general sense, but James Brown’s influence on Prince is clearly more profound, as is Stevie Wonder with the Family Stand. The campy and Punk side of Prince doesn’t even exist in our music. And our lyrical styles are quite different. 

I will say this in conclusion… THERE IS NO DOUBT WE ARE FROM THE SAME PLANET!… 

But I will no longer sit back without formally responding to the marginalizing attacks on our artistic integrity by critics who don’t understand the reasons for what might be similar in our work to Prince because of their lack of desire or interest to do the homework. I RATHER YOU SAY WE SUCK THAN WE’RE DERIVATIVE WITH NO ARTISTIC VISION OF OUR OWN. 

ENOUGH!!! Already… But what’s a website for but to get your shit off in your own little cyber world. 

There was no such thing as a cyber world when Moon In Scorpio was released but we knew it was coming… the New World Order… and some other things also. Check out the words to Sky Is Falling. Okay, maybe we didn’t know anything but something was speaking through us. Didn’t The Education of Jamie turn out to be the Education of of O. J. and all of Us? (side note Jamie K. where are you?)
The album is released… We tour Europe… and then

Our Quiet Desperation becomes almost silent… and then… 

“John Wayne √ęs gone Woodrow Wilson’s resurrected
The Snow man fears he’s unprotected is the Moon In Scorpio
New World Orders get seen for what they are 
the same old folks trying to hold on to power
is the Moon, is the Moon in Scorpio…

Boom shock… A yeah boom, boom shout it
Boom shock… A yeah boom, boom shout it
Is the moon in scorpio…” 

Life takes over for a while. But we do return… eventually.

(PL)