Harry Wayne Casey is better known as "KC" from KC and the Sunshine Band, which he founded in 1973. KC co-wrote and sang the band's smash hits "That's the Way (I Like It)," "Shake Your Booty" and "Get Down Tonight," plus "Boogie Shoes," which appeared on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Enjoying immense popularity in the 1970s and beyond, the band has sold more than 100 million records and won three Grammy Awards.
KC and the Sunshine Band will be performing at the Chumash Casino Resort at 8 p.m. Thursday. So put on your boogie shoes and get ready to shake your booty!
Tickets are available by clicking here.
KC talked to Noozhawk about the upcoming show and the disco era. Click here for the full interview, including more on the development of the KC and the Sunshine Band sound and news about an album coming out in a few months.
• • •
Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming show?
Harry "KC" Wayne Casey: It's almost a two-hour show. It's all the hits, and I try to keep everything familiar in the show instead of doing obscure stuff. There are some snippets of some songs from the 1970s, and there's some instrumental stuff that happens because of the changes that are going on, whether it's me or the dancers or whatever. But pretty much the show is choreographed and it's a production, and everyone participates in the show. You know, I go off a couple of times to get out of a sweaty shirt into a drier one. There's musical interludes, and there's all this stuff that's in a normal show, really.
JM: My understanding is that you guys didn't really identify as a disco band, although when you got the song ["Boogie Shoes"] onto the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack you kind of got lumped into that.
KC: You know, when I was creating, I felt music had gotten really dark. I set out to make an album with all up-tempo dance songs, happy music type of thing. I knew that there was this thing happening. Clubs were spinning records, so I knew there was this thing that people were wanting to probably dance more. So that was kind of the birth of what kind of became disco music, I would imagine you would say.
It became named "disco" in 1978 or whatever when Saturday Night Fever came out. Then they tried to kill it with the Disco Sucks or whatever demolition thing [Disco Demolition Night]. And then they changed the name to punk music, and then it went from punk back to dance, and it's been dance ever since. And it's bigger than ever.
JM: It seems that the sounds of disco are making a comeback in recent years.
KC: You think? [laughs]
JM: Do you feel vindicated at all? Because I know you had a hard time with music critics and so on back in the day.
KC: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, again it never went away. You can't be more disco than Madonna was in the '80s.
JM: To you, what was the good, the bad and the ugly about the "disco era" in the late '70s?
KC: I don't know why there's a good, bad and ugly. It was a wonderful period of time. To me, it was a celebration of everything that everybody picketed for in the '60s and everything, for peace, for love, for understanding, for acceptance. It was the culmination of all of those wishes and dreams of all those people that went and fought for us and died in the Vietnam War. It was the ending of the war. You know, it was just a celebration of all of that sort of stuff, in a way. It was kind of like the turning point for all of us as people, I believe.
JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything about yourself or the band?
KC: No, I mean, I don't know. I mean, critics have constantly tried to tear us down, like you said. I think we mean a lot to pop culture. Even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has decided ... . They wait until Donna Summer dies to put her in there. But if you ever go there, there's a whole section of music missing from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. How can you do that? How can you just ignore a complete era of music? You know, we changed music like Elvis Presley did, like The Beatles did, and we haven't gotten any of that credit for it, or whatever. You know, maybe in due time, maybe somewhere down the line in history it'll all come together.
Click here for the full interview with Harry "KC" Wayne Casey.
— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.