Pop Quiz: Study Up on the Tunes of Texas' Teen Titans
We've really got to thank filmmaker Mark Landsman. Not only did his 2010 documentary Thunder Soul put the story of Houston's legendary Kashmere Stage Band on to the silver screen, but it also helped revive the band itself.
Nobody called them "band nerds."
After reforming with a handful of Kashmere High School alumni and students to promote the film at festivals and other events two years ago, the mighty KSB is now having too much fun to quit. You can catch the former teen titans of jazz/funk Saturday night at Fitzgerald's, and you should.
While Landsman has helped greatly to spread the story of Dr. Conrad "Prof" Johnson's musical vision and legacy, the songs that spawned a thousand breaks remain largely unknown to many, even in the Kashmere Gardens 'hood that spawned the soul nearly 40 years ago. Luckily, crate-digging isn't dead yet.
Because the late, great Prof believed so strongly in education, Rocks Off has here assembled a septet of essential Kashmere Stage Band cuts to help educate our readers on the high-schoolers' indelible impact on funk soul and hip-hop.
The quiz begins as soon as the bell rings at Fitz on Saturday.
7. "Thunder Soul"
The term "thunder soul" describes the Kashmere Stage Band just as perfectly as can be. That power blowing out of that big brass section can't be faked. Thirty-eight years later, it's still stunning that these solos are coming from high-school kids.
6. "Super Strut Pt. 1"
The drumming that opens and closes "Super Strut Pt. 1" is the kind of beat that helped make KSB an essential piece of wax in any B-boy's record collection. A funky guitar solo provides the Kangol hat on top of this fat gold rope of brass and snare.
5. "The Zero Point"
If this song can't get you dancin' in your seat, Kashmere Stage Band probably just ain't for you. In addition to some pretty fantastic horn runs, the students got to put their voices on wax for this track. Three decades later, we're still talkin' 'bout the Zero Point.