For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein shares with us about our May 1991 show with the Ohio Players. We did five shows with the guys – were you at one of them? Tell us what you remember!
Growing up in England, I had a fascination with the Ohio Players for a couple of reasons: the song “Love Rollercoaster” was a favorite when I was a kid, and as I got a little older, I also became intrigued by their album covers – they were risqué to say the least. [laughs]
When we started doing the Groove Academy shows, the Ohio Players were obviously on the top of our list to bring out to New York. The group no longer had all the original members, but it still had Diamond on drums and Sugarfoot Bonner on guitar.
Sugarfoot was definitely a precursor to Prince and Larry Blackmon. They both pretty much stole from Sugarfoot – he was a huge influence for them.
The live show was mesmerizing, and of course the songs were absolutely amazing. They did “Sweet Sticky Thing,” “Heaven,” “Free” and of course, “Fire” – all soul and funk classics.
We loved working with the Ohio Players so much that we did about five shows with them in the end. This was the second show we did with them – one of three shows at SOBs. Another show took place at a venue called The Grand, and finally, we also had them for our 5th anniversary in Bryant Park where they headlined.
One of my fondest personal memories was taking band out for barbeque at a joint called Brother’s BBQ – it used to be around the corner from SOBs. These guys knew their barbeque, and they were duly impressed. I’ll never forget seeing Sugarfoot putting salt in his beer – I’d never seen that before. When I asked him what that was about, he explained to me that that was the way you could drink beer and not get drunk. I tried it, but I didn’t work for me.
Sugarfoot actually passed away earlier this year, and while he is missed, I feel fortunate to have had many fond and happy memories with the Ohio Players.