Joe Little Cleveland Own Rude Boys

[00:00:00] Hey, what’s up? What’s up everybody? You tuned in to another episode of Strategic Moves. I’m your host, Ken, do. This is a place where we bring art, culture, politics, and business all together, and we do it every Sunday right here on this channel. But when I’m not shooting this channel, I’m the owner of strategic resources where we specialize in political campaigns, public and governmental relations.

We’ve been doing it right here in Cleveland for over 20 years, and I met some very interesting people along the way, and I want to help make your next move a strategic move, and this program gives me an opportunity to do just that.

So if this is something you think you’re interested in, I need you to hit that like button. Hit the subscribe button and hit the notice Cation bell as well, so you’ll know the next time when someone’s coming on our program. And guess what? Today y’all, you see your shirt? I got on, I got on my royalty shirt because I got Cleveland royalty in the house r and b royalty in the house.

You know, when the music used to be good and everything was like, yeah, I’m gonna tell you I was flashing back because I, I didn’t tell you who this artist [00:01:00] is, but you’re gonna know in a minute. I was flashing back on the gentleman who was coming on and he has one big hit song everybody all knows. But then I put his album on because I said, let me put, went through and y’all came up and put on the cd.

I started really flashing back on how many other songs on that album were hits to. To me, the one song that’s the greatest to me wasn’t the best song on that CD to me,

If you don’t know, I’m gonna play this little video so you’ll get a chance to know a little bit about who he is.

And so everybody in the house, let’s welcome Joe Little to the program. Y’all. Mr. Little, what’s going on, sir? What’s up, king? Oh, man. Everything’s, everything’s, everything’s great, man.

We just wanted to welcome you to coming onto our program, man. This is one of the greatest opportunities for me as a podcaster and new artist out here, to have someone just like you, man, because I know what you’ve done to Cleveland, for Cleveland as it relates to music and your career. Me [00:02:00] and Latif was talking just the other day, and we was talking about the song it, it’s written all over your face.

 And I know you just got back from the UK and I really appreciate you coming here cuz you just got back right from the UK and wanted to talk about how that song is almost 30 years old, isn’t it? Yeah man, it came out in 1991 and you still flying around the country and people are still out there listening to that song.

So, man, that’s a big feast. Bill, welcome for being on our show, man. Aw man. Thank you kindly. Ken. Ken I appreciate you having me here on your show. Oh, not a problem man. Absolutely. So tell us a little bit, you know, our program works out that we talk about this’s a Cleveland thing, a greater Cleveland thing, everybody’s like neighborhoods and where you started from.

So, Joe, tell us a little bit about where you come from, man, you, you from Cleveland, you actually grew up here, right? Absolutely. Just from East Cleveland, Ohio. Okay. You were born and raised? Went to Chambers Elementary School. Oh, okay. Okay. Kirk. Okay. Shaw went to a couple other High school is Collinwood.

 Junior [00:03:00] Marshall. Little short stays, but I represent East Cleveland Short High school Cardinals. Oh, show. Oh, okay. You know what I mean? So, yeah. But just grew up in, in East Cleveland, man, you know, just a kid at the age of 40 that just knew I wanted to sing and love music.

And just really honed my craft and, you know, I stayed stayed in the house really a lot. Yes. My mom taught me how to use the record player. And I chose to stay in the house instead of play. So, lemme ask you, you had brothers, sisters? Yes, I had siblings, but you know, I let them go outside and play.

And you stayed home and you was in the music? I stayed home. I stayed. Really? Yes, sir. So you did mu was your family in the music though? My, my gra my grandfather, which was my mother’s father Samuel Kirkwood. He was a big time gospel singer on the west coast. Okay. Out, like in Oakland, the San Francisco area.

 And you know, kind of got my gift passed down from him through my mother and my aunt. Okay. And so, you know, I got a piece of that gift, you know, from him and from the, you know, the higher power Uhhuh. [00:04:00] And just been working with it since I was like four annoying, really knowingly knowing that I wanted to be a singer and be in music.

So, so was your family like in the church or any of that stuff that you were singing in church or any of that kind of thing? Yes. I started off singing in church Temple Baptist Church. Where the pastor was Reverend Ae Campbell Jr. Okay. 7,500 Cedar Avenue and you know, south ourselves, the great big family man.

So really that’s where I got my first start, my first time singing in front of people, my first solo. What was your first solo? It was a song called I Love the Lord. Really? Yes. And we called him Uncle John, John Campbell, who was the brother of Reverend Ae Campbell. He gave me the song, put me on assignment to learn it.

And you know, I went home and me and my mother rehearsed it. My mom went over it with me very carefully and I got it down and then the big Sunday came. Wow. And I got, got my chi, my time to shine because that’s how I looked at it as a kid. And, and how old were you? At that time I think I was probably like about eight.

Whoa. Yep. [00:05:00] Around between eight and nine? Yeah. About eight and nine years old. Yep. Wow. Was you scared? No. No. Really? Absolutely not. So you knew this what you was going to do? Oh yeah, absolutely, man. Just as a child, you know, I used to sing and people would look at me like, wow, okay, you sound good.

And so I kind of knew that I, that I was on the right path. And so I just continued to practice at home. Listen to records and I’ve studied all the greats, whether it be through Gospel 70 Soul country. Pop. Who was your inspirations? Stevie Wonder, of course. Yeah. Who’s my favorite?

 Frank Sinatra. Is another singer that I love dearly. Gospel wise I, I was listening to James Cleveland back then, but yeah. Vocally, James Moore. And then, you know, I wanna, was listening to commission and the wine, his gospel, and then really took on the John Pke, who he became really great friends.

Yes. So, oh, so you know him? Oh yeah, that’s Uncle John. Man, that guy. I like him. I, [00:06:00] I, I around that time, like you say, man, I started listening to John b Kee and also, so Yeah. Oh yeah. I studied him extensively. So those are some of the people that I, I studied over the years. And you know, that’s, did, did you sing in high school and were you with the guy at the Absolutely.

And Thailand shows and all that stuff. Everything, everything that I can, everything that I can get involved with. So really started off at, at Church Uhhuh and then I got my, my second opportunity outside of church, cuz I sang there consistently. When I got to well, kind of like when I went to Ecla Park Elementary, I had a my first.

A music teacher who inspired me was a, you know, a guy named Mr. Eridge. You know, at the time he’s a white guy and we, we studied a lot of pop songs. You know, songs like summertime Demand That Shot Liberty Violence. And just a lot of like pop culture songs. And so they’re, you know, I felt comfortable because I really love pop songs.

I used to watch all the black and white movies. And [00:07:00] watch Frank Sinatra, who is one of my favorite Dean Martin. Yeah. People like that. I love big band man. That’s one of the one, one of my favorites. I actually did some big band tunes. I repaid. Yeah. Some Frank Sinatra songs. That King Cole.

Okay. I made some of his stuff. Okay. Like, you know, and I really had a lot of fun with it. That’s real singers, right. Music. Exactly. You can’t play with it. You gotta hold your notes. Right. Right. You gotta really do it properly, so. You know, I love that. And it conditioned me and showed me like, everything ain’t all the bells and whistles you need.

 You just need to have a great tone, textures and breaths. So, so, so you sung your way through high school? Pretty much. And was you into groups there? Was you a group of guys singing, or you was always Nah, just a solo artist really. You know, just doing all the different talent shows around Cleveland.

 I, I was part of every talent show that you can name. I may made it be known that I wanted to come and I wanted to win. So I was very, very confident young man. I wasn’t, didn’t think I was better than other people. I just knew that I was good [00:08:00] and I understood that I really wanted to make it.

I wanted to be, I wanted to. You know, grow up to be accomplished. When it came to music, I wanted to win awards. I wanted to win number one. I wanted to have number one hit songs. That’s where you was going. Right? That’s what you wanted to do. I, I ate it, slap it, and all that other stuff that come with it.

So, so when were you, when did you get to that point where you knew that, all right, I’m going to be getting into this group with the Rule Boys, and maybe I’m going to go down that path? Well I started off me and my best friend, Mark Jenkins. Okay. We still best friends been knowing him since he was five and I was six.

 We would always just practice singing together. And so the fir my first taste of singing with someone was with my friend Mark. Okay. We had a song called I Really Love The Lord that we sung together in Church at Temple. And so we was kind of like a team. Okay. But I didn’t really look at it like a group.

Okay. Next I met a guy named Edward Buddy Banks. [00:09:00] Who would become one of my, my one two punch with me with the Rule Boys. I met him at Temple Baptist Church, him singing. And like, man, when this dude opened his mouth, I was like, wow. Wow. Like just blown away. He like, was really great.

I had never heard nobody in person. Right. Other than James Moore. Singing person that was just on a level of a true vocalist. Right. And so I tapped in with him and just was like, Hey man, I want to get with you and I want to sing. You know, I want you to teach me some of the ropes and train me.

 So we got together, so we end up putting together a gospel group called Power. Hmm. Which was consisted of buddy Mark Jenkins. A guy named Eric Davis. Okay. And myself. Okay. And we started rehearsing and we went around to different churches singing as a group. Okay. So that was my first group

that I sung, sung with was a group called Power. We actually got a, started off singing at this place called The Your Alternative. Hmm. That was up on kinsman, that a guy named [00:10:00] Sonny Jones. Had opened up. It was a gospel nightclub. Really, his daughter name is PJ PJ Jones. She works at 1 0 7 in 93.

 And so we started off singing there, and then we went to a host of churches and sang together. Okay. But we soon converted. So, so, well how, how, when you say that and all to say that, what, what was the conversion? Well, buddy, it came to me and he was just like, man, I want to do r and b. And so he was just like, he was, he was, before then, you really didn’t think about doing r b.

Yeah. Yeah. I did. I mean, I, I sung gospel because it was a way of life for me. I came up in the church. But no, I sung plenty of r and b. I sung more r and b than I did church music. Okay. But it was about, even I, I said it was even because I studied. Gospel music a lot, but I, a lot of the r and b legends I studied heavily.

So when you guys were, I’m go back there, but when you guys were doing the gospel tours and the, the thought process was to maybe take a career in building a gospel career and singing, was that in your mind or [00:11:00] was you just really just trying to figure out your way through it? Before I decide which path I was going to take, I wanted to be r and b.

You knew all along wanted to r and b. You knew along that I wanted to be r and b. Okay. I mean, that’s, that’s what, what what I wanted. But I, you know, I was truly inspired gospel wise because along the way during my gospel days the guys named Jodeci. They were a group. And kc.

They were called little Cedric and Hailey Singers and that was Right. And so that’s KC and jojo. Right. They were part of that group, and then year, years later, I seen them part of Jo to see. Exactly. But you know, so it just gonna show you a lot of, lot of the nineties groups. I don’t wanna go too far ahead, but we, most of us are, like, from the church.

Correct. Correct. You know, because Joseph c and them they were on the guy’s album before Father Mc. Father mc. Correct. You wanna treat, treat, treat him like, like you want to be treated. Exactly. Exactly. So, yeah, that, that, you, you were totally correct about that. Yeah. So, you know, I, I always wanted do r and b, but gospel was.

I don’t wanna say a [00:12:00] stepping stone, but it was just, you know, where I started at. And I, I really loved the gospel music. Especially when the contemporary era came. When the Winans came. Right, right. Commission and no gospel. The gospel is the core man. I mean, oh yeah. It, it, it keeps you grounded.

It’s good music. Oh yeah. No doubt. So you say, then , take a chance and get out here and do some r Yeah.

Buddy buddy came to me. He was like, look man, we need to start a group, you know, in, in this group. You know, we need to call it the Rule Boys. And I was like, the Rule Boys. I’m like, where’d you get that from? He said, off a button on Prince Jacket on the controversy album. He said, man, I just think Prince is calling out.

For me to start a group called The Rule Boy, that’s just how he said it, man. And so I’m like, all right. You know, because at that time, man, I, I really looked up to Buddy. I love him. So whatever buddy said Uhhuh, I was like, all right, man, whatever, you know? He was, he was just like the leader.

You know, as far as vocally teaching me how to do stuff. So I was like, cool. And so bud Buddy my best friend, [00:13:00] Mark Jenkins. And a guy named Blackie. Okay. We call him Jeff Rossier. Okay. We started a group called The Rule Boys, and he had Jeff Ross had a studio on the west side built in the basement of his house.

Mm. Which was the first studio I ever, like, I had never recorded before. Wow. Wow. And so Jeff had the opportunity for us to come in and write and use his studio. So for the ver very first time we went in and we recorded a song called All the Love I Have for You. Hmm. Which me Buddy and Mark wrote.

And it was the first time I got to hear myself. Singing. And so that was, we was really trying to start the group, you know, it was the, the start off. But we was just trying to like, really write some songs, get some stuff recorded. We took some pictures and was trying to get it going on, but then there was another transition as soon came after that.

So when you, when you say that and you had songs already you had in your mind that you wanted to write, how, how do you write a song? Man, I’m just, you, you gotta, you know, people will say, I just wrote this song, man. How, where do you get the [00:14:00] inspiration to write a song, like the song, your first song you wrote?

What was your inspiration when you guys say, we gonna write this song? You remember how y’all put that together? Buddy played the track. And I just started writing a song. I’ve been searching far near for a love that can’t compare to the love that I’m giving. Girl, you know, my love is real cuz I’m expressing the way I feel through this song that I’m singing.

Mm. So that was the first song that I ever wrote to music and it was called All the Love I Have for You. Mm. And so, I mean, it was just like natural because of the kid. I used to write songs but I didn’t have any music, so this was the first track that I ever had a track to write to. You know?

And then soon after that Buddy did another song and I wrote a song called This Love That was would become one day on our second album as the Rule Boys National Worldwide. Hmm. And so at that time I was just writing. Mm-hmm You know, what I felt what came from inside. What came from inside. Wow. It’s sort of like poetry a little bit, huh?

Absolutely. I’ve never been a poet, [00:15:00] but when I look at songwriting the lyrical content, I see that. It is poetry, especially when you try to make it rhyme. A lot of the songs over the years I wrote, it was all about the rhyming because of course I come from the initial hip hop era. Okay.

And I love rap music. You know? And so I was just like, okay, well, you know, if I can make a nice dope song and just make it rhyme a lot Okay. And say some stuff, you know, some use of metaphors and different things. You know, it could come off good with the r and b.

So I concentrated really on rhyming within my song. Was it within your song? So what was the next transition then you say? So the next transition you know, we made some moves with, with the First Rule Boys, with with then the, the second the second part, part two was a band. And so we constructed a Rub Boys band.

And so it was buddy. And myself. And we picked up a new member with, in Melvin Sifi. We had a guy on drums named Rick Scoville. We had a guy on base named Kyle [00:16:00] Morris. And we had a guy named Troy Henderson that played keyboards along with a guy named Bud Field Potts. Wow. And we were the rule boys still.

Wow. And so therefore, we put the, put together a band. We started rehearsing in the basement of Kyle Morris’s house in Cedarbrook in East Cleveland. Wow. In, in Cleveland Heights. Right around the, around the corner from your daughter’s school. Okay. The Heights Tigers, you know what I’m saying?

So we was over on Cedarbrook practicing in the basement daily. And then another transition came where Bud Field Pots, he left and we picked up Larry Marcus, who would come with, who would become, you know, the guy that was instrumental in like, really getting us to do original songs and writings and singing.

 And so we would go to different clubs and bars and we would be singing and, you know, Have our band going, which in that, in those days, I really wasn’t singing a lot. It was really more so Melvin and Buddy really, you know, I was playing keyboards on the part. I used to have one song I played baby Face.

I Love You Babe. And I’d get on the keyboard and play my little [00:17:00] baseline. You know, but other than that I was kind of like a background singer, have a little leads here and there, but Buddy and Melvin were mainly the lead singers. So how do you determine who’s the lead singer in a band?

Well then, I mean, I felt as if I could be a lead singer, but these guys, they were entertainers. Ah. So they knew more about the staging and the styling. Okay. And so I was really like a standup straight singing guy. So I really was learning, learning and beginning groom to become, you know, the lead.

But what happened was is Larry Marcus took me up under his wing and I would go over to his grandmother’s house Okay. On miles. And he had a nice little four tracks, eight tracks set up. And he would had songs he wrote, and he would want me to sing it. Hmm. And so, I mean, I was like, well, what about Buddy and Melvin?

He was like, nah, man. He like to tune. He was like, your voice, your voice. He said, your voice, I need to, I need you to sing these songs. And so therefore, you know, I would go over Larry, which we call Bingo. House. And we [00:18:00] would just, I remember a hot room, room was hot as hell, man. And we would be sweating.

I’d take off my shirt and just get busy. He would teach me the songs and I would sing it. Mm. And he developed me as a Lee Singer recording wise. Wow. So show wise, I was still like, cuz we did a lot of, we didn’t have our own songs. We were singing cover songs. Right. I guess. Right, right. So, you know, cool.

But all along in the back ch back in the back room. I’m doing all the originals, you know, setting the tone. Okay. You know and so that’s just how it started. And so as we went on, we, we eventually started doing Our own songs that Larry wrote. And he had a guy named John McCurley who was gonna back us and put some songs out.

 So we did a song called Rock That Booty. Right. We had a song called, you know, you, you, you Must Know Magic. Mm. Those are like the two first originals that I, we had as the Rule Boys Uhhuh. And we was gonna put it out, but some unfortunate things happened and we wasn’t able to put it out. We were all set, [00:19:00] ready to go to the radio with Lynn Tover and everything, man.

But rock that, that booty right? Yeah. Rock that, rock that booty. Right. How did rock that booty? Right. Go man. Rock that booty. Right. Roll it to the left. Shake it all around. Yeah. You know, you might have to revisit it. Nah man, I’m, nah, I ain’t gonna do nothing like that. But it was funny and you must know Magic was a song about a girl that was like, Had like cast a spell on the guy.

Really? Yeah. And it was just like, you must know magic You now have sound like it might have something going. That’s, that’s kind of cool. Yeah. That sounds, it’s corny though, man, in nowadays, but back then, yeah, it was, it was hitting, you know? But it, it could probably be reconstructed in a way where it could be put out, you know, give it to the Migos.

And so that’s what we did. We Right. So that’s what we did. We started doing our own songs, but yet, and still we were still gigging and doing, you know, down in [00:20:00] Akron and Canton and up in Cleveland and Okay. Different places dating. We would be doing, you know, little clubs and bars, you know, they called it Chitlin circuit.

Yeah, the Chitlin circuit. Right. And so that, that’s where it was. We were right there. And then another change came. Uhoh, this is the big one, right? It’s the big change. Okay. How did that one I was waiting ask, so I’m gonna, how did that one go? Yeah, this is, this is unbelievable, man. I mean, you know, You, you know, Ken, all my life, man, I, I used to tell my friends, you know, outside and at school

that one day I was going to be, you know, I was gonna make it right. And I was gonna win awards and I was gonna have number one, his songs. And man, they would laugh at me, you know, and then they would be laughing at me cuz they’d be like, Joe Little can’t come outside. Look, I don’t want to come outside.

 You know, I want to be in the mirror practicing and Right. You know, just at the record player studying and singing and learning songs. And so that, that this next change was like really [00:21:00] surreal. So in the time being, I left home early, I left, I left home early because I just didn’t want to, I was really being just disobedient.

I didn’t want to go by my mom’s all right. And my dad’s rules, so I left. Home while I was in high school. Okay. And a guy named Levi Massey took me up under his wing. And kind of groomed me the rest of my teenage years. But during that time I was still running around with Buddy.

And initially, you know, doing the gospel group with power. And so it circled back around to, to where so, so, so, cause I’m a nosy, go ahead. And this is my show. No problem. This so, so bro, you know, so you left home. Cause you know, we get to that point, you know, I Absolutely, I understand you left home, but you still stay grounded a little bit because you say you were still doing the religious.

Stuff. So you were still going? Yeah, but Ken, I was in the streets too, bro. Yeah. So I was in the streets. So the, the music was kind of keeping, [00:22:00] I’ve never let go of it. And that’s what was keeping you in the spiritual? It kept it, but I was in, in the streets. Right. Drug paddling, selling drugs. I understand getting involved in gang understand gang and stuff.

Understand. But I still kept my core values and still music still. You had some sinner with a thing. Yeah. All right. And that’s what came, this still was my thing. And so this next step that came was like surreal. So during this time I met a guy named Eric Nolan. Graham. Okay. Who now was in the ojs.

Okay. But at the time I met him, he was singing background for Dennis Edwards, who was one of the lead singers of the Temptations. So I was really blown away. I’m like, wow, you sing background for Dennis Edwards? And I’m like, this is like the first time I’m subjected to someone that’s really connected to the industry.

 And so, you know, he would always tell me Man, I know Gerald Levert and the Laver. No, I know Lavert. The group Lavert and the ojs and the ojs, they managed a group that I’m with now and you know, Walt Eddie and, you know but I know them. I’m like, you know, Lavert [00:23:00] like, oh, okay, cool. And so me, another point in my life is the Gong Show scene.

Right. Which I discovered with Eric. He showed me, you know, going to places, the competition, they put up the numbers. It was a lot of bars that had the Gong Show song. The went only here around. Yes, man. Really? So that was a whole nother circuit. This was after my talent show circuit. I went and started singing around adults.

Okay. Which was a whole nother level. So when I get here, I’m like, whoa, these people on another level. I’m just a teenager singing in talent shows. Standing up, you got guys dropping on they knees and doing all this stuff. You know, guys like Tony Taylor. And Leroy Simmons, right. And like all kind of different singers that I was seeing

you know, Reggie Walker from Glass Tier. So I was seeing these guys and I’m like, whoa, this is a whole nother level. Right. But it taught me, so within that, Eric took me to the reason why it was a club in Shake Square, right. Owned by [00:24:00] Ron Bolton. One of the Cleveland Browns and his wife Kuia.

Yep. And he would take me there and so there. On a certain, I think it was Thursday nights, Evelyn Wright, the jazz singer, still singing Yes, yes. Would be there. And so Binky introduced me, Greg Nolan Binky Right. Introduced me to Evelyn and she would let me come up and sing with her. Wow. So I used to come up on Thursdays, look forward to, and you know, back then she was a big deal.

Oh yeah. She was a big deal. She was a big deal. But this reason why it was a big deal because when I go in here, there’s a bunch of grown people to me. Right, right. And they like people and then they having people come sit in and sing. And I’m like, wow, man, this is so I’m learning, man. There’s some great singers.

 You know, I found out that like, yeah, I still got more work to do. Right. You know, so in that time, it was the same time I was in the Rude Boys and we was gigging. So I told, one night, I told Buddy, I was like, man, you should come up to the reason why, man. They be going, they be jumping, man.

There’d be a lot of people up there singing. I said, you probably know everybody up there. And they be mentioning your name, man, you should come up there with me. So one night Buddy came with me, he met me up there. [00:25:00] And Evelyn let us come up there and sing. And so we up there singing this song called Everything Must Change.

Hmm. So at the corner of my eye, I look on the steps that they used to go down, and I see Gerald Levert and I’m looking at Gerald. I’m like, I’m like damn to myself. I Gerald Levert. I said, Hey, everybody here we got Gerald Levert from Levert Man. Gerald, why don’t you come up here and sing with us? And Gerald looking like you, like grown me up.

Like, dude, who is you? But see what’s crazy before I get to the store, I had met Gerald like probably a year before that. Because Eric took me up to the, the Vert mansion and I’ll never forget they had Casanova. He was like, man, they up there rehearsing. Come on, I’m gonna take you up there.

And so I went up there and I’ll never forget it was a side door to the mansion and I stood in the door and there they was. Wow. Like, I’m looking at these guys like, that’s lavert. And I’m like, tripping. So the rehearsal end, we come out, you know, Gerald come out and Eric’s like, man, this is my little brother, man.

You [00:26:00] know, Gerald meet Joe Little? And I started cracking jokes on Gerald. And Gerald was like, man, where you get this dude from? Where’s you cut from? Crack jokes. I started cracking. Just, I don’t, man. I was, I was wild. I started just, you know, being real familiar with him. Like I knew him and just talking and saying stuff and cracking jokes.

Uhhuh. He was like, man, where you get this dude from? Like, man gone like, like, yeah. So this is my second time seeing him. Right. Okay. And so I don’t know if he remembered me from that time. Okay. But I’m like, Gerald, come up. So Gerald came up, oh. And we sang, we sang everything must changed, man. And we blew the spot up, dude, you and him?

Me, Gerald, and Buddy. Wow. We blew it up. And so afterwards he was like, yo man, he’s like, man, y’all brothers can go. He was like, man, I want y’all to meet me tomorrow, man. Cause I want to hear some more. Man. I, I, I wanna work with y’all. Really Just like that. He did that dude, my, the inside of me. It was just overwhelming.

I could not believe it, dude. Well, I’m telling you this story right now. I’m just reliving it and wow. I could still feel the feeling [00:27:00] that I had at that time. And so, man, I couldn’t sleep that night. I went home, I’m walking across the floor like, man. And so the, the next morning came and I’m, I’m like, you know, we ain’t got no cell phones back then or nothing.

 All I got is a pager. Right. And I’m just like, I called Buddy on the house phone, like, man, come on, we got the address. Meet me up there, you know, at the house. So we get up there, we meet, we get to the door, knock on the door. A guy named Andy Gibson comes answer the door. Who would be the president of Trouble Productions?

 We would learn. We went up these stairs and went to the right. Looked in, looked in the room, and Eddie Levert was sitting there and I’m like, Uhuh, wow. Like, this can’t be real. I’m instantly nervous. Wow. For the first time in my life. Wow. I’m nervous. You know why you was telling this whole story? I, I was thinking about Joe, but I always was thinking about Eddie.

I was like, Eddie, in my mind, I was like, boy, I care. This was, I messed felt to me. Eddie Levera, man, I, I can remember as a kid in front of the record [00:28:00] player listening to Brandy. That was my favorite OJ song. Right. But I knew about them, of course, because like I told you, I studied the Graces as a kid.

Right. So I done seen them on Soul Train. Right. I done seen him on the awards and on TV and on in books. And so I’m looking at this dude and I’m like, dad, he little, I thought he was a big dude, little dude. He like, he was a little dude. And then he be like, Hey, all y’all doing, come on in. And so Gerald’s like, dad, these the guys.

And Gerald was like, really excited. Really? I’m like, dang man. Damn. He was like, dad, these the guys I told you about last night, man, these, these boys could sing. Right. And so he was like, all right, let, let me hear what y’all got, man. You sound, I’ve been the wrong guys forever. He was like, yeah, man. You know?

Yeah. And so right before we got ready to sing a, a phone call came. And it was Steve from Troupe, they had just had a number one hit. Wow. Mama C took that, Gerald and Eddie wrote, and they was on the phone like, Gerald Eddie, thank you man. We appreciate you all. So they wrote that [00:29:00] song, Gerald Mark Gordon and Eddie Levert wrote Mama Cita for Truth.

Really? And I’m there on this day that this guy’s calling, talking about, we just got a number one record, thank you to y’all. I’m like, oh yeah, I’m in the right place. Oh yeah. I’m like, I’m you there with Eddie Levert man. And I’m with Eddie, listen, I’m there with Eddie Levert. Come on, Gerald Levert and Troop Justin called talking about, thank you for writing the number one hit song.

Right. I’m like, Hey man, this is, this it, this is it. This is it. And so we went, we, we sang. I sang first. And I sound like crap to me. What did you sing? Now, I don’t even, I think we sung everything. Must change the same song. You tried to go right back again? We went back at it and I sung it, but I was nervous.

My mouth was dry. And my, did Gerald sang I to sing it with you? Or he told No, Gerald just wanted us to sing it. He wanted him and his father. Okay. And so, I mean, to me, I guess it was good enough. But to me, I felt like, oh my God. So Buddy came and knocked it out the park. He did his thing.

 And he’s like, dad, I told you, I told you, man, what you think? He’s like, they all right? He’s like, [00:30:00] man, dad, man, whatever man. He’s like, man, I’m working with y’all. Whatever. Really? And the rest is history from there, man, we I started hanging out. So I started hanging out with Gerald Moore. I started rolling up on the spot, like, yo, what’s up?

He like this dude. And he’s like, I was like, man, you don’t remember me the first time you met me. He was like, man, that is you, ain’t it? He was like, man, you a adamant little dude, ain’t you? Because once you done told me, we down Uhhuh. That’s it. You gonna see me? He said next morning. He, like, when we start, so they had just got the 90.

They, they had just got the studio on 93rd and way. Okay. Right. And so I used to pop up, pop up at the house, go, you know, like, what’s up? You know? He like, all right, what’s up man? And so I’ll never forget, man, and this is before we even came out one night before we even really start working. One night I came up and there was tour buses out in front of the the big mansion.

 On south Park and Lee. So I’m like, man, I, I’m like, where y’all going? He’s like, man, we going on tour. We on a tour with Karen White and Bobby Brown. I’m like, man, can I go? I want to go. He’s like, come on. [00:31:00] I said, but I ain’t bring nothing with me. My car is here. He’s like, man, look, park your car in the, in the driveway.

And he said, man, when we get to where we going, I’ll give you some money and you could just go shopping and buy you some clothes. Really? I jumped on the tour bus and there I was. I was going on tour. See you were, listen, ab b gotta see Bobby Brown. Wow. Like, you know, all that like, it was, it was crazy. Like, I was like, okay, cool.

So, you know, that was my first experience on the tour. Just Gerald told me to just, Hey man, park your car. Bring your keys with you. And you know, when we get, so what did you do? I parked my car in the driveway. I’m talking about when you was on tour with them. They were just singing, just watching them.

I mean, I was just out in the atmosphere. I was on a tour bus, never been on a tour bus before with beds on it. So I’m like, this is the life that I’m about to have, you know? So we go to Virginia. I’ll never forget that. Our first stop was Roanoke, Virginia. And we stopped in Virginia. Karen White Lavert and Bobby Brown.

Nothing. Mc Hammer. Yeah, it was a hammer too. Hammer too. Yeah. And so just out there [00:32:00] getting the feel, I’m like, wow, this is amazing. I never experienced nothing like this in my life. How was Bobby Brown? Was Bobby chilling back then? Get cool. Hey, Brian, man, you know what, Bobby Brown is probably pound for pound.

He set the tone for r and b male artist. Back then Bobby was riding. He’s the man, I mean he the king of stage man, no matter what. Like Bobby Brown, his swag, his everything that he brung as a male r and b black singer. Is he set the tone. Like when you look at Chris Brown and you look at genuine and all the different, all the different entertainers that dance on stage.

 When they singing, you know, that’s Bobby Brown man, he the godfather, bro. Yeah. Bobby. Yeah, he the king of stage, he and the swag out. Man, you know, he came out that first album, done Me Cruel, came out, came with Hit after hit after hit after. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. He just had the right ingredients.

So he, so that tour was great and I came home and we just started working on the album, you know, the Rule Boy, we started working [00:33:00] on the album with Gerald and so during this time I’m in the streets. I’m gonna say, you know, why you working on the album? Oh, on the album, and I’m working for the City of Cleveland work.

My mama got me a job working as a custodian for the city of Cleveland, and I actually was working at the police headquarters. Oh, Jesus. Right, exactly. Of all places. So, you know, but really working hard on the album. Being focused. I don’t know how I juggled it, but I was, I never gave up on the music and we really was putting together a great product.

How long did it take you to do that? Was that It was a while. A year. Just like, Little less, little more, I’m hearing some change. Because at that time, during the time when we got close to finishing the album and not, not let me forget about Dwight Thompson. So let me scale back. Cause I don’t wanna forget about my guy.

 Gerald, when he said, I want to sign y’all guys, let me get back that story. Okay. We like, we got a group like, I ain’t interested. Oh well you know what you, ID scale back. You, you, yeah. You do gotta go back. You exactly [00:34:00] right. I had to go back so. Right. You know I back. Cause you didn’t, it was just you guys went itt just me and Buddy.

Like, I’m not interested in nobody else. I’m interested in you guys. I was like, but we got a group called the Rule Boys Drill and we got, you know, a band. He like a band. I’m like, man. He’s like, man, I ain’t no, oh he thinking. I said, we do got, we got Larry Marcus and we got Melvin. Si. Dylan’s the two, the other two group members.

But we did have a band and we were a band. Bro. Right. But. You know, Larry had already start, we had started doing the, the originals. So we were like grouping up in that way. So I finally talked Gerald into it, like, to meet them. I’m like, man, you gotta meet these dudes, man. We, I can’t lead him.

 And so he met with him. He’s like, all right man, cool. I’m gonna put y’all, we going have the four. He said, but y’all need to add another member. I want to add Dwight Thompson. You know what I’m saying? Because back then, at that time, light-skinned guys was in. So he wanted to put little flavor in the [00:35:00] group.

Plus his brother, Russell Thompson, that played the sax was playing for Levert. And so he wanted to put, you know, Dwight in the group. So he building it up. He building up. So then that’s where we started. But then soon as we went through the project Dwight wasn’t in the group anymore. Mm. You know and so it was just back to us four.

Okay. And so we worked really hard on the album, getting close to get it done. I called a case. Called a drug case. Yep. And so I end up having to go to the penitentiary for some, for a few months. Really? Yeah, man. So here I am. I’m just like, Aw, man, I done blew it. So what you do, man? You got busted drug trafficking.

Really? You got sold drugs to an undercover cop. Ooh. And you know, he only got a couple months. You got have me on video talking and everything. Had me talking about me singing and all kind of stuff, man. Oh man. Yeah, so, oh I didn’t say nothing Uhhuh for a long time. I said something to Larry.

But one day we in the studio and [00:36:00] Gerald came to me, he’s like, Hey man, I need to talk to you. I’m like, what’s up? He’s like the street’s talking, man. I’m like, the streets. Damn. He had to find out that way. He was like, yeah, man. He said, I heard you got a case, man. You might be, you know, I’m like, dang.

 He’s like, man, why you didn’t tell me? I was like, well, you know, Gerald, I didn’t want to lose the deal. I didn’t want to lose everything I was going. And, and, you know, I had a little tear coming down my eye just like, man, I don’t wanna lose out on what I’m, what, what I’m what we doing.

 And he was like, man, you should have just came and told me, man. He’s like, no, I love you, man. You a little, you like my little brother, man. I, he said, we gotta just see what we could do. So I got a lawyer and Gerald kicked in and my mom, my pastor from my church, Reverend Campbell. And you know, when I went to get sentenced, they still wanted to send my butt up.

Right. You know what I’m saying? Because it was undisputedly that I did it. Right. It was my first, you know, okay. First offense. Right. And so I end up getting sentenced initially three to five years, man. Woo. Yeah. But my lawyer told me that if I [00:37:00] went, there was some ways that they could work, some things where I could get super shock probation.

 And so I went in my first visit was in Mansfield Penitentiary, the old one. And then I got transferred to pick away, and it was a total about like six months, something like that. Yeah. And Gerald made, he waited. It’s like, and my judge let me out. No, it was a little bit less than that. I got out after four months.

 I got this, what you call super shock probation. Judge Jose villain Nova, who I’m always thankful. Yeah. I’m so grateful to, to this day that he believed in me. I had to write him a letter. This and that. And my pastor wrote a letter and I’m thankful to ho all always say, if you out there is somewhere, Jose villain, noue, Mr.

 I think he retired. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I said, man, just thank you for the opportunity. And so when I got out the, the album was ma mixed basically. And they was like, Hey man, after a couple weeks, you know, I had probation. They gave me five years probation, bro. But, [00:38:00] but they had special, special stipulations where I could go.

 And Because they knew what you were doing. Yeah. They knew what I was doing. And so we were off to New York within two weeks of my release. Wow. And Gerald waited for you? Goddamn, he waited for me, man. And I’m thankful for that, you know? Now I will say the guys wanted to go on without me now. Oh.

You know, they did. Oh, they did, man. Nah, you know, dude, and you were the guys who hooked him up. Yeah. He was like, man, we can’t go nowhere without Joe. That’s, that’s the guy that know that’s Wow. That’s the guy that’s going, going going guide and he us and take us to where we need to go. And, and, and, and you still wasn’t the lead singer?

No. At this time I was. And at this time, now you, Rick did the album. Okay. But Larry always knew that he wanted me to be the main voice of the group. Okay. So once I got with Gerald built my relationship with Gerald. I mean, it was just my tone, I guess. My voice. Was the main voice buddy, much better singer than me.

 Cold. But he, he was a lead singer, but not a lead singer. That can like set the tone. Set things [00:39:00] up. He’s just a guy to like take it away. But you gotta have somebody that’s gonna have a foundation. Yeah. You gotta have somebody that’s gonna be the foundation. Yeah. And so therefore I became the main voice Yeah.

Of the rule boys. Like even with the backgrounds. Mostly, you know what I’m saying? And so we were off to New York, you know, to go do our photo shoot. Mm. And our first video all, they crammed it all together. Wow. You know, I looked at that first video, I looked at video. Come on, let’s do this man.

Stop. Stop it. I was looking at a video. Ken, what you say? That’s all I’m gonna say. What you say, Ken, I’m interviewing you now. So when you seen the first video, Ken, what did you say? I was part of that generation, so I if you looked that way. So when, look, you say, when you look back at it and when I look back at it, I was like, wow, we dressed kind of wild back then.

You know, not wild. Nowhere near wilderness. It, it is just, A different look. And I look at it now, like, man, the cuts, the haircuts and everything. Now what? I will tell you what we had on still, I think we was kind of behind because I was looking at other groups like Jodeci. Yeah. They was wearing the boots and [00:40:00] Yeah.

Baggy jeans. We wasn’t wearing that. Nah. And so Gerald had jaw, I always pro, I always protest, I ain’t gonna lie. Always protested at what we wore. I never liked anything that we wore. Now the album cover was cool, Uhhuh, it’s cool when it was kind of conservative. But you know, I’m young man, you wanna be urban?

Yeah. Like 21, 20 years old. And so I wanted to be more, and then, you know, I was kind of from the streets, but you know. Right. But your sound wasn’t from the vert. Correct. Because we, that’s what we were doing. So your sound wasn’t. It wouldn’t have matched up. It wouldn’t have matched up. So it was cool.

Listen, and it was, I, I, I liked your sound. Everybody like your sound. The sound though. I love sound. Come on. You’re, you know what? We produced up the first album. The sound was so, the sound, I’m not mad at the look I was mad at, but you know what? I played my position right. I played my position because it wasn’t about me.

 You know, so I just suck it up. It was just my personal opinion. Now. Now let’s stick on this sound thing for a minute and, and Gerald and all of that, because [00:41:00] I think Gerald Levert and you guys were creating a, a certain sound that was a Cleveland sound as well. It was unique because other fact that, you know, like you say, Jodi season, those guys, they had their sound and the way they were going and it was other groups that were coming out, troop and all these other groups.

But it was a sort of sound that you guys had, Lavert had, that the ojs had so, no, it was important that you guys did, man. Yeah. Because it was different sounds, you, you had the new jack swing kicking. Yeah. It was totally different sounds.

You had, you had like a, a, a new yorkish sound because puffy was coming with Correct. With Jodeci, he was producing them and they was doing that. Correct. And our sound was definitely more so like a traditional soulful sound r and b. And then we did try to interject some rap in it here and there because things was changing.

It was like a real different time. So you think with the way music is now, you think that sound [00:42:00] could survive still today? I mean, written all over your faces? It’s still, I mean, I’m, I don’t mean to shoot a head, but I mean, is one of the most recurrent play songs is in mid, mid rotation across the

world. And a lot of those consistently. And that, and that sounds so, that sounds, yeah. It, it is classic. I mean, them some back then, that’s classic stuff that’s timeless. Stuff that come out now. I mean, I’m not, I’m not trying to hate on it. And that’s, that’s not right. Not, it’s not, I don’t think that it’s some stuff, it’s some things here and there that may sustain.

 But you know, I mean there’s nothing like the, that nineties era is the last of the great, of the great. Yeah. It be early two thousands, the last of the great era. You know, because we was spinning off the seventies soul. And then we put a little pizzazz with the gospel. With the gospel, you know what I’m saying?

And that’s what I was saying when I started off, when I said I, I ended up putting on, I heard written all over your face and then it just like, let me put it on. And I just started just really flashing back [00:43:00] to that time. It was just like, damn, music was just so great back then. You know? And the times was just really, the music was great.

Times was kind of crazy and chaotic, like you say. It was, it was, I mean you gotta figure back then the changing of the, of black culture crack era. Crack era kicking. Oh, it was crazy. And you know what I’m saying? It was to be like, Not the beginning, but you know, our neighborhoods was going down, going down, going down.

But the music was the music. They was amazing. So, you know, you got people getting high, putting they having fun, they getting high. They, they got some good music, get high. But it was sad to say it was, it was sad to say. But the music was great because, and the rap, all of it, all of it was good. All of it, all of it was good.

That era is cold. So let’s go back, you know, you, how did you get to I want to get to when I first met you, so now you guys went in New York and you did your photo shoot. And now you getting ready to starve, touring a little bit and going places. And the first album is about to [00:44:00] hit. And what was the first song that you thought was going to be the number one song on that album?

Written all over your face. You from, from day one, you knew that was going to be the song. Day one, when we did it in the studio, we knew, because if you ever let it go to the end, we talking and we like, woo, woo woo. We, I mean, we knew the feeling of the song. Was gonna be amazing. So right before you met me, we were on a tour, on a promotional tour.

 We had just actually got back in Cleveland the day, the day before. To do, you know, when we go into what we talking about Uhhuh, and so we had been this all over, like down in the down south or whatever, and I’ll never forget, our last stop was in Charleston, South Carolina. Then we came back to Cleveland and that’s when you first seen us at the, so we had been rolling, but we was promoting

a a another song that wasn’t really doing all that great. It hit the charts though. What you, one was that come on, let’s do this. Really? Yeah. Come on, let’s do this man. End up going like 39 on the charts. So at that time I’m like, I have made the billboard [00:45:00] chart. That’s a success to me.

Right. But to the company, they like, nah man, we gotta figure out what we gonna do next. So at that time that we came back to do the Glenville Festival where you first seen us. We were going back and forth with Atlantic Records, like, what’s the next single? And we were like, written all their face.

And Sylvia Ron, the senior vice president, was like, nah, that song ain’t going on Really. Man. Really? She didn’t believe in it. Wow. I hate to even have to be saying this stuff, man, man. But that’s how I gotta tell the truth. That’s how Sylvia did not think the song would have sustainability really, to go big on the charge.

So we had to fight written all over her face. Literally, like Gerald came to, he’s like, man, what y’all think written all over your face, man. Nah, I’m gonna tell you, like I, I was telling you in the opening when I first met you, it was the Glenville Festival. And I had an opportunity to grow up in the greatest community in Cleveland, where my horn at is called Glenville.

And Latif, he ain’t on No, there go. He’s just not [00:46:00] on his job today. There you go. He just did it. You the first, the first time I’m messing with him. Oh. So we so growing up in that community, I had an opportunity to be on the very first Glenville Festival and festivals after that and after that. And I was the greatest job in the Glenville Festival was always if you was working in entertainment.

Because entertainment had all the good people who was coming in and back then, like you say, it was all kinds of people coming into the festival and all kinds of things. So to have that job, to be working in entertainment, to be on stage is where you want to be and I was on stage when Levert.

Came and did the Glenville Festival when Sean and their group came out Back in the day. Back in the day. Yeah. And then when you guys came. Right. So I was there at that same, at that same, and wanted to be on the stage. So, yep. I was sitting either on a speaker or I was standing there trying to tell people, Hey, you can’t come up here.

Right, right. One of those, I had got one of those positions, but I remember when you guys came, because [00:47:00] like I was saying, you guys were dressed in all white, which was the real big thing. Cause it was like, this dude’s got on all white, you know? And, and the stuff we had on was Hott as hell. It was hot. It was was hot.

It was hot, man. It was hot. You had on white. Y’all had on all white and y’all sung y’all songs. And I remember Gerald singing that written all over your face, man. And y’all, we wanted to try it, we wanted rock it to try it on the crowd. Like we like man. We’ll on this Glenville Festival. So first of all

get into that. We did do the Glenville Festival, so the first year. That one year that you seen drilling them? I was there. A young teenager looking like, wow, I want to be up there. Then we came as a group. By ourselves, like just as a local. Okay. As Locs, we came and did the show.

But this time when we came home, people were aware because our song come on, let’s Do This. Was on Video Soul already. So people had seen this on b e t at this point. But that single was fading out. And we [00:48:00] wanted to test run written. I’m like, man, we gotta do written, Gerald, you gonna have to come out.

 We have to do our thing. It’s so cool. I never get here on a gray short set with white shoes. So y’all just made it on there and said, y’all, we gonna just do it? Yeah. We gonna do it Like, Gerald’s, like, all right, we going do it. And so we did like a, we did. Come on, let’s do this. Like another song.

 And then we did written All Over Your Face, and Gerald came out and they killed you. You killed our John. You killed it. Killed it. Killed it. And so I was just like, see, I’m telling you, this should be the next single. Wow. We knew, man, because Wow. Man. It’s rare that a group can introduce a new song Wow.

That people have never heard. Wow. And it has the impact, like that song did. Oh. And, and, and just think about it. Remember back then in Glenville Festival, it was at that big field on St. Clair. So right next to the Y M Y M C A. So we could say it was easily almost seven, 8,000 people. This easily, easily, easily.

I mean, you know what, at that time, When we did the Glenville Festival, that was the biggest crowd [00:49:00] Yeah. That I had ever put, perform exactly in front of at that time. Yeah. That crowd used to go from one end of the thing all the way to St. Clair. So they, I remember they used to get numbers, like after we, like they said, maybe 10,000 people beat em, walked through there that day.

 So that was a huge crowd, and they rocked it. Y’all rocked that one. So killed it, bro. I remember that. I’ll never forget. So that, that, and from that standpoint then, what made y’all then from there, Gerald, say, all right, we all in on this one. I take it well, the label. See, back then, the labels were so in control, man.

Like the stuff that we wore on the, for the photo shoes, they were determined. The video directors, they would choose. So you were really, you know, and Gerald, I used to feel like Gerald had the power, but I soon came to find out, like I write in my book that Gerald did, it wasn’t all on Gerald. He really had to work with the label.

 Some stuff we didn’t get that we wanted. Some things we did. And so we convinced Sylvie, she’s like, all right, we don’t put it out. And boy. And from there was rest is history. I mean, it broke the record for being one of the songs on the r and b [00:50:00] charts for the longest to get to number one.

Wow. And I’ll never forget, we got to number two finally, after touring everywhere, doing Video Soul with Donnie Simpson, b e t. We did the Apollo. We did Soul Train with Don Cornelius, party machine with Near Peoples. And it got to number two. So he like, man, we, we was in like number three, number two, like three or four weeks waiting.

Wow. But it was one monster that was up at that number one spot that kept us, and that would be Whitney Houston. Ooh, that’s a big one. All the man that I need. Yeah. And we just was waiting. I was like, man, is this woman going get out the way? Never. And you know, Whitney was Whitney. She Whitney. So man, yeah.

We was just like waiting and, but this show you how good the song was. Still stayed in number two for like four weeks. You, I’m Whitney. Four weeks Whitney waiting on Whitney to move. Wow. And then we at two. That’s cool. And then the day finally came and Whitney moved on down out the way, really written all his face.

Went up to number one and you stayed up. Wow. We went to number one. Wow. And we went to number [00:51:00] 13 on the pop chart. Which is good. Which was great. Right, right. Yeah. Cause we was doing, we found ourselves doing some shows in areas where we, like it is only us. You know what I’m saying? So and it was there, like we, our song was so hot.

That we were doing two cities a day, man promotion. We would land in one city, go to the record store, sign all the grabs, do interviews, and then we jumped right back on the plane, go to another place and do a promotion. Do for the radio. We was, it was that hot. Every radio station wanted us to do their shows, like the outdoor shows, the radio shows that they give, they concerts and man, I mean, we was on the move.

So what was your biggest crowds, you, you performed in front of the biggest crowd? I like as far as the most people. Most people. So many man, I, I can’t even, so many man. All right. Big. But this was the most important crowd to me. It was my hometown. Right.

And so it, it was bigger. Like, [00:52:00] even though I was in other cities and states doing, when it came to something about the Glenville Festival, that that shit was crazy, bro. Oh yeah. It was big. Well, and that’s a home crowd. It was, and it was the home crowd. Yeah. But we had been doing crowds like that. I, I think I’ll be scared half the death to walk out on the stage. I couldn’t even think about how you only stage two stages. I was nervous on. Soul Train. I’m looking at Don Cannes now. That’s just like a studio though, right?

Yeah, but it is still, it’s still, and you lip syncing too. Really? You gotta make sure your lips sync on time. By that time we were lip syncing, but I’m looking at donius. Well, everybody lip syncing big icon Don Kius just looking at him like, like, whoa. Yeah. So, and then of course the most nervous, the Apollo.

Yeah. Yeah, man. You gotta be, you gotta have nerves of still, you gotta have, because now you guys, artists get Boo Ru Boys. Huh? Y’all went as the Ru Boys on the album? Yeah, we was performing, written on our face and our songs. J came out. We killed the crowd at the Apollo, the, the, we came out Soul Lady [00:53:00] All Up Front.

She was there named Eva. Her name was Eva, that’s her name up there doing her thing. Miss Eva came up there with the Jerry, you know, it wasn’t good if Eva didn’t come up there, didn’t come up there. Right. She came up there for us. So Gerald came out if you go on YouTube, you look at it, we killed it. Okay.

We went on Apollo, you know, we, we, we killed it on the Apollo. We killed it on Soul Train, even though it wasn’t a crowd, but it still was. Well I guess to your point, like you say, it, don’t, the, the big, big crowd don’t matter cuz like you said, when it was just you standing in front of Eddie. I mean, the biggest crowd, say most important crowd that I ever performed in was at the American Music War with Black Men United.

 Now that you’re talking like, Man. Big you are on American Music Award. Right. So that trumps everything. Everything. Right. That’s what, know what I’m saying? Right. But you know, during that time we were just starting and we were just doing all the shows going on. Video Soul, b e t. We was doing b e t concerts because b e t used to have like stuff that people didn’t see on tv.

Big concerts and Right. All the radio [00:54:00] station outdoor concerts was huge. Like Glenville Festival. So, which, which iconic celebrity you met that you was like, hell, that’s the one Stevie Wonder to do. Stevie, you met Stevie. Stevie Wonder. Yes. Man, that, that’s a long story. I came g but I met Stevie Wonder first, and Drew introduced me to him.

And when he introduced me to him, Stevie was like, oh, the Rule Boys is written, none anything. Straight up. Yeah. Yeah. He really did his thing. I’m like, and I pulled on drum. I’m like, man, Stevie no song. He’s like, Stevie knows everything. Wow. I’m like, man, and, and I never forget. Stevie one is like, man, yeah.

The rule boys, I love y’all. He said, I got a new album I’m working on private conversation. I want y’all to get on there. I got boys and men gonna be on there, and I want y’all on it too. And so I was like, all right, but Gerald’s like Stevie bullshit. I’m like, no, he ain’t for weeks. I was like, man, Stevie car.

Yeah. He was like, no. He was like, call Stevie. He was like, all right. I put our calls. We couldn’t catch him. We never got to work with Stevie. So that was the most important person. Then later on Aretha Franklin, but that’s later on. Later [00:55:00] on in the. I’ll tell you about it, but at Gerald’s funeral

. At Gerald’s funeral I know some people who work for the city, so I ain’t gonna use their names, but they work for the city and they were helping all the celebrities come on in so that they can park, you know, they was giving him special park so they can get in.

Stevie Wonder’s car pulls up and he comes in and Stevie Handler gets out and say, Hey, Mr. Wonder wants to use the bathroom, you know. Wow. Before he goes upstairs. And they was like, okay. They go in the, they had a little bathroom over there. This is like in the parking garage. And they go in there.

The guy comes back out and he says Hey, the light in there doesn’t work. And he said, okay. So he tells the guy from the city, Hey man, the light doesn’t work. So the guy gonna work. Stevie, Stevie can’t see in here. So the guy calls on his swappy talkie, he says, Hey, you know, so and so, the light isn’t working in the bathroom in here.

And Stevie Wonder can’t go in there and use the bathroom, man. So Stevie Wonder, the guy steady, the guy comes back on the day, he’s like, [00:56:00] man, Stevie can’t see any damn way, man. I knew. So just called in there and use it. Anyway, he’s just like looking at him and they looked at him. He said, Stevie and this guy just busted out laughing man.

And they went in there and used the bathroom. That’s good. And then they went on up to the, that’s, that’s crazy. Yeah. But lemme tell you about written all over your face and, and, and cuz we going to move on. Cause we want to talk about your coffee and, and how iconic your song is. And, and everybody knows it and how big a deal it is.

It’s that. So I got this thing with my daughter and them, they always, everybody. Be listening to my music. They always talk about they don’t like it and they don’t like it. Then really then months later or a few weeks later, I hear them playing it. Be like, look, she done stole it. Anyway, she done took one of my songs.

So the other day, about a week ago, she was playing, it’s written all over your face. So I thought maybe she ran across it on her line or just playing it. Then I heard her playing it again and I said, oh, she done stole the song. So then I thought about it, I said, well, she know Joe [00:57:00] Little’s coming on the program, so maybe she doing her background.

She done looked up Joe and said, oh, okay, let me hear what he’s been doing. So I asked her yesterday, I said, Hey. I said so you know Joe’s coming on the program tomorrow? She said, yeah. I said, okay. I said, well, you know, he got a song on your list that you be listening to, right? And she said, what song?

I said, okay, so if you ain’t gonna say it, I said, you know, he got a song. Cause I’m thinking she gotta be bull crapping with me. Come on. Right. You know the dude coming on the show, you doing this thing? I know. You know. She said, what song are you talking about? And I said, it is a song he has on the shoe.

You don’t know his song. She said, he don’t have, I haven’t looked at hims going through. He going back and forth. Then my wife finally yell out the room. It’s written all over your face. And she said, oh, that’s him, really? And I said, yeah. And she said, I got this. I said, where you get the song from? She said, I took it from a friend of hers.

This, A dude was listening to it. She said, I heard him playing it. I liked it. So I took it from him. [00:58:00] Wow. So just to let you know, volumes a whole nother generation. A whole nother a couple. And I told her, I said, well, yesterday I said, you know that song 30 years old? Absolutely. And she was like, wow. So. She didn’t even know that that’s what you did.

And so the whole thing today is just really probably mind blowing and tripping out. But I know that that happened and I was like, wow, that’s so let you know, man. You’re right. The song has been going on. Me and Latif talked about, Hey man, it’s a big accomplishment to be able to do something and still, you know, be able to travel the world and still people doing it.

I looked at the video of you singing it out there in the uk. The best part about singing these songs and when they get old men Latifa saying, you know, you can get out there and you can say it’s written all over you. Oh yeah. And everybody know the words. Oh yeah. Yeah. Everybody sing. And I was surprised by that when you got there.

I, first of all, I looked at the room and saw how many brothers was in the room out there. I was really surprised by that. I was, I was like, wow . You just got back from the uk? Yeah, just got back from the uk. It’s like my what, fourth time [00:59:00] going? But every time I go it is all love, man. And I love the uk. I love London, England. Hmm. It’s just a great, it’s a great place. You know, it’s cool, it’s different. But just the people out there, the fans are, they, they don’t get us.

Okay. Here in America, they don’t get to see us all the time. So it’s a big deal, you know, when you go out there and it’s, you get treated like royalty, like the place is Right. And you know, I got to go see a lot of, for this time around, I got a chance to go and see some sites. You know, so it was cool.

 And it, it was a great experience, man. It was a long flight, but know that’s a long flight, man. I’ve been around all the world, man. So his flights way longer than that, bro. How long was that flight? Seven hours and about 50 minutes. Oh, okay. Yeah, I’ve been on flights way longer than that. Okay.

Like doubled that. Okay. You know, so Yeah. You go to Africa, you gotta beat on there. Yeah. A long time bro. And so yeah, just, just a great experience man. A great experience out in the uk. Looking to go back forward. I think I might be going back again this year. Okay. In a year out. Sometime [01:00:00] maybe in June or July

to do a show. So, Loving to go out there because, you know, artist, being an artist from the nineties, we get paid more out there too, man. Yeah. I imagine they, they, you know, and it’s different, you know, over here they try to low ball you. But over there it’s good money man, and it’s good. And it’s you get treated really great.

And so, you know, I you got, you got any new music projects coming out? Did you join any still writing and going, producing some new games? Yeah, man, I’ve been putting out music up under Brother to Brother to Brother International. Okay. Which is a label that’s owned by my partner, Mark Jenkins and myself.

Okay. He’s the president of the label. And we’ve been putting out songs since two, well, white side 2018. We’ve been putting our records, so I got like five videos out there Okay. Of songs that I put out. So I’m always currently working on music and you know, y’all go to YouTube and just put in Joe Little iii.

 You can see all the current stuff that I got. But right now I’m working on my book, which is called the Day of the Convincing Storyteller. [01:01:00] Which I’ll be releasing before the year is out. Along with a, a studio album to compliment the book. So, and an audio book. So what, what’s the name of the book again?

The Day, day of the Convincing Storyteller is a memoir of my Life. Oh, excellent. A lot more, much more than what I, you know, we talked about today. So, but I’ve given you Uhhuh highlights of the book actually through this, this interview, all the things that you are hearing, that we talking about is gonna be in the book, and then some.

And you said you’re just gonna do an audio book and, yes. And what, what’s the other thing? A a a ep. Okay. Which is song is to go with the book. Really? An album. Yeah. Okay. So I’m doing that. I’m working on that. And just on Brother to Brother International. Me and my partner’s label along with my, you know, my cousin the white side show.

I gotta give him a shout out. He’s sitting over there. That’s my, my right hand. Okay. He, he’s with me everywhere I go. You know, and You know, just got a team behind me. Man, you know, let me ask you a question on the music scene in Cleveland. How hard is it to get through as a artist in Cleveland, in the [01:02:00] music industry?

Hard because if you just stand in Cleveland, you, you not really gonna get nowhere. You gotta go to Atlanta, you gotta go to la, maybe New York. You gotta just go where you could be seen and heard, you know? Or this is the independent area, so you can put out stuff. You have to build your fan base and you can get discovered.

 You know, because it’s independent. So it is on the artist themself to break through, find a way to set yourself apart from other people, to make something unique about you, for people to gravitate to. You know, and so that’s, that’s what the music business is all about. It’s a free for all.

It’s like the wild, wild west. You can come up. You don’t have to depend on the big labels no more to sign you. No. Right. So you can be in Cleveland and get breakthrough by way of building your YouTube channel, your ig, your social networks. And like blowing up the spot, spending some money into pushing your brand and your music and it can happen.

 So you don’t really [01:03:00] have to be, you know, kind of scaled back on that. You don’t really have to be any spots, but it would be. Better, you know, because back in like 2011, 2012, I left Cleveland and moved to Atlanta and stayed there. Okay. For, for quite a, quite some time. And that’s where I got the Ru Boy’s branding back up to Par.

Okay. To a certain place, which we still. Working on branding the Ru Boys. I’m getting more shows and doing more touring. You know, I’m doing a lot of touring on my own and with the Rule Boys. Okay. So, you know, I’m the only original member left right now. That’s performing with the Ru Boys. So I got a Kenny Miles with me.

 Sheila Bow and another guy named Black Rose that I’ve had this, you know, he’s been doing some shows with me also. He was part of Levert too. Okay. Clark Gordon. And so, you know, just keeping on, pushing the brand, man. Keep pushing the brand and that’s all. And you still keeping it going.

Yeah. But that, that monstrous, monstrous song. Keep it going. That keeps it going, man. That’s all you need, man. That’s all you need. So I appreciate you coming on the show and like always [01:04:00] before we end the show, I’m gonna let you have this camera right here man, to tell the people, make sure you give ’em the website again, how they can reach to get all of your stuff man.

Make sure they got your ig all that information and tell people how they can reach out to you. Yo, what’s up? This is Joe Little of the Rub Boys, Lee Singer. This is my coffee company. Irvine Joe, this is my coffee. You can go to Irvine Joe. Dot coffee to give him a coffee. You can go to my YouTube channel Joe Little iii.

You can go to my IG Joe Little Ru Boy’s official Facebook. Joey Beans. That’s my name. If you google Joey Beans, I’m the only Joey Beans with the Z on the beans that’s going pop up. Joe. Little iii. Come check it out, brother to Brother International is the label that I’m mourning, that I’m part of. Mark Jenkins is the senior, is the the president got the white side show on my team, always my cousin.

And we just doing what we do out here. We just out here trusting in the higher power and make a move. So [01:05:00] that’s what it do one more thing. Just wanted to send a shout out to my lost brothers from the Rule Boys who? Larry. Bingo, Marcus. Rest in peace Buddy Edward Banks.

Rest in peace and my brother Melvin Sifu. Get well soon. As you see is all over my face. I am happy that this brother kept the time to come on my podcast. So again, thanks you for watching and we’ll see you next week.