KC and the Sunshine Band's Harry Wayne Casey: "I Don't Believe in Getting Bored on Stage"
I've never played a board game with Harry Wayne "KC" Casey, but I'd be willing to bet I could beat him at Operation, because the man has a knack for getting things stuck in people's heads.
Chances are his music has infiltrated your own subconscious since he founded KC and the Sunshine Band in 1973. He was only 22-years-old then, working at a record store, but he always knew what he wanted to do. And for 41 years, he's been doing it.
KC, as he politely let me call him in our interview, is still touring today, and this Friday, January 24, he will play at the Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, FL. And he'll do it because he wants to. It was clear when speaking with KC, that music and entertaining are still as fun to him as they were in 1973, when the word booty didn't exist, and this little band from Hialeah was making music as fresh and innovative as anything around.
New Times: Has being from Florida, and especially Miami, had an affect on your musical style? Aside from the name of your band?
Harry Wayne "KC": You know, I think it did. I mean, Miami always was kind of a little different than the rest of the country as far as music for some reason. I know a lot of times hit records were hits down here but didn't make it very far outside of Miami. I think we just had our own little rhythm going on down here. I'm sure it played a very important part in what became KC and the Sunshine Band.
Do you think if you started somewhere other than Miami, you wouldn't have experienced as much success?
That I don't know. I knew I was going to be in the record business and I just happened to get to the right place and it all kind of happened for me. It's hard to say what would have happened if I left. Luckily I didn't have to leave. I kind of always knew that this was going to happen for me. This is what I wanted to do. I just didn't know if it was going to happen here or if I was going to have to leave to do it.
Well, KC and the Sunshine band experienced a good amount of success overseas before you experienced all the success in the states.
We were having success in the states, but things got bigger in Europe before they did here.
Do you think that was a positive? Getting some experience in Europe before making it big in America?
I don't know. I was making records for people, I wasn't making records for certain countries. I was having some success in America, even though it wasn't on the top 100, it was on the R&B charts, which was pretty good -- to have a record on Billboard's R&B charts. Since what I loved was R&B music, getting the top 15 or top 18 on the Billboard R&B chart was quite an accomplishment for a kid from Miami. So I don't think I looked at it that way, or thought of it that way. Since all the music was being made here, I don't think Europe had any effect on what eventually happened here. Actually, our first big hit in Europe didn't do well here at all.
Why do you think that is?
This happens with all artists. There's British artists that have hits here that can't get them off the ground there. They pick different records to be on the radio over there. It's kind of an interesting situation. I know a lot of times when we're touring overseas I have to go back and look at what records were hits there so I can play the right songs for the shows.
That's something I've noticed about your shows. You give people what they want. You don't shy away from the hits or play some of the more obscure or deeper cuts.
Yeah, I try not to do that. I would actually rather do a cover in my show that's familiar to people than do some obscure cut that the majority of the audience may not totally be aware of.