19 October, 2007
Sir Earl Toon Of Kool And The Gang Speaks The Honest Truth At The Dallas Songwriters Association Meeting
Some days it is just an amazing life. I've been a Dallas Songwriting Association member every since Lisa Lazo got me involved as a featured performer and host at her LIVEMIX networking events in 2006. A couple of months ago DSA PR coordinator Jose Volante started telling me that he met a guy named Earl Toon. I said, " You got to be kidding - I thought he lived in New Orleans". Jose told me that Katrina forced Earl to relocate to Dallas. In case you've been in Antartica for the last 30 years, Earl Toon played and wrote songs for Kool and the Gang - notable writing credit mentions are "Celebration" and "Ladies Night".
Then Jose blows me away when he tells me that Sir Earl Toon agreed to come to the monthly DSA meeting and participate as guest speaker. I said, " That's just awesome - it'll be the best event the DSA has ever done for the membership" And I get to meet him! An old Motown kid like me gets to meet a true legend...wow...
I was not only right, but Sir Earl Toon was an inspirational speaker beyond his words about his life, craft, and passion. I learned that Toon was the student of the legendary Otis Blackwell. Again, in case you've been exiled to the dark side of the moon, Otis Blackwell was one of the Brill Building songwriters that changed the world of music fovever - its not an overstatement that his music changed the world - period. Toon worked as a teenager alongside the writer of hits like "All Shook Up", "Return to Sender", and Jimmy Jones' "Handy Man". (Just to name a few - the list goes on and on). Earl spoke a very long time and knocked me out by his constant deep feelings from the heart concerning his life, blessings he has received, and love for music and inspired all the songwriters/musicians in the room. I was just taking it all in. It was so quiet in the meeting you could have heard a needle drop on the 33 1/3 LP - if there would have been a record player. The passion in the man's words is only magnified by the songs he writes and records.
And a further demonstration of the force Earl Toon has become as a producer and visionary, He brought along a couple of his favorite friends/artists, "PHILharmonic" Nieve and Tradeoff - artists from Earl's own production group - Y.M.O. Enterprises (Yours.Mine.Ours). In Earl's own words, "Ol' school, nu' school, middle schoolers sound, that's Y.M.O. for the future. That's Y.M.O. TODAY." What a cool vibe ...
Oh yeah, we also got to meet Carla, Earl's friend, who is an awesome designer with a cool line of products and clothes - check out http://www.rhinestoneartist.com for more information about Carla's line of merchadise. The website is written in French -
And after the inspirational conversation by Earl and a rare priviliage to hear one of his new tunes featuring one of Earl's Y.M.O. artists, a lively Q&A session commenced- Then the membership brought my namesake Mary Dawson up to the stage to share the monthly song critique duties with Sir Earl and Philharmonic. Mary Dawson is a great songwriter that teaches at SMU and has a new book out called "To Get Somewhere In The Music Business" (published by CQK books) and is getting fantastic reviews. I hear there is a Billboard feature in the works. It was very cool to hear the criticisims and praise from Dawson, Toon, and Nieve. Lazo and I were testing our comments against the panel - we had many similiar opinions...
I have been a member of the DSA for a little over a year. Jose Volante did an outstanding job getting Sir Earl Toon to come to the Dallas Songwriters Association monthly meeting. Volante has been improving his craft and his power and Sir Earl said some very kind words about Jose in front of the membership. That act of kindness by Sir Earl was awesome to witness and I think that gesture put Sir Earl in the top echelon of musicians and human beings. Thanks Earl! Celebration ( I could not resist saying that).
Chevis is the son of New Orleans soul-singer Charles Brimmer and his mother Andrea is the daughter of the great, legendary, Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famer Fats Domino. Being an All-American Basketball Player, he started at the University Of Colorado and ultimately graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans in '05. Randy "Spider" Weber has worked with artists such as
Kool & The Gang, Boyz II Men, Brandy, Jimmy Cliff, and Paula Abdul to name a few. He is currently touring with Frankie Beverly & Maze.
Philamer "PHILharmonic" Nieve, protege of Sir Earl Toon, and native of New Orleans, was one of the top Loyola graduates of his '02 class of the College of Music. He began playing the piano at age 5 and performing recitals at age 6. He debuted with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at age 13 performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto #1. He has an appreciation for several styles of music and is well versed in digital recording, and writing & production with Sir Earl Toon for Y.M.O. Enterprises (Yours.Mine.Ours.). Also please note that artists such as Dani, G LaBeaud, Tradeoff, Gio, 3 Fold, and Freddy Fig are all artists of Y.M.O.