Thursday, July 26, 2007
A Stone Family Reunion on the Sly
'Tis the season for nearly forgotten music groups from the 60s, 70s, and 80s to be performing free concerts at city parks and plazas all across the nation. But every summer, one band always seems to be mysteriously absent from the series line-up sponsored by the local oldies radio stations, and that's Sly and the Family Stone.
Surely it's not because they weren't famous enough. The funky bi-racial (they were the first major American group to combine white and black members) Family Stone had several hits in the late 60s and early 70s, including Everyday People, Hot Fun in the Summertime, Dance to the Music, and Higher. My good, late friend Joe Pope who attended Woodstock told me they brought the house down at the infamous music festival. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. So what happened to them?
It turns out a few members of the Stone are actually currently touring - at paying venues - across the U.S. and Europe this summer, sans frontman Sly Stone, who pretty much retired from the music business in 1987 after serving time for cocaine use. The group has had several different members through the years, but in 1969 consisted of Larry Graham, Freddie Stone, Gregg Errico, Sly Stone, Rose Stone, Cynthia Robinson, and Jerry Martini. Rose Stone, Cynthia Robinson (it wouldn't be a Stone show without Cynthia growling "All the squares go home!") and Jerry Martini are the current members participating in the tour. Sly Stone is said to come out on stage for special appearances, but does not perform.
The official site for this latest incarnation of the band (which is calling themselves the Family Stone Experience) including tour dates is www.familystonemusic.com. Don't you wanna get higher?