Special Guest: Angelo Starr
I’ve been very fortunate to have Angelo Starr be a part of my band for a number of years now. Angelo Starr always loves to share wisdom and knowledge in bite sized stories and little nuggets. I spoke to Angelo about growing up around the soul legends of the 70’s. One of which was his brother Edwin Starr. He told me a cool story about a certain call he received from Edwin while on university campus. Here’s what he said…
Do you wanna play?
We had done a performance at one of the events on campus, that kind of thing. So people knew that I played a little bit. On a certain kind of level.
But I think one of the times when it became more obvious to people that I did it a little bit more than dabbling is when I got a call from my brother while I was in university. So this would have been ’79 or something like that, that kind of time frame. And he was coming through Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to do a performance. I say, “I know, I’m going to come down, it’s on a Saturday, so I’m not going to be in school then.”
He said, “Cool.” He says, “You want to play the guitar?” And I was like, “Okay. Well, what’s up?” And he said, “No, I had a problem with my guitar player and I need somebody to play the guitar so I’ll see you there on Saturday, yeah?” I’m like, “Okay.”
Very, spontaneous, that was Edwin. Anyway, so he says, “Yeah, cool.” Now, unbeknown to him, I had already talked to a lot of my friends and they said, “Can we go down to see your brother on Saturday?” I’m like, “Yeah, cool. We’ll all go down, we make an off campus thing of it.” Because when you’re in college, you don’t have a lot of money, you don’t really go off campus unless you have to.
So anyway, basically they’re saying, “Can you get me in free?” I was like, “Yeah, cool.”
The thing is, they had no idea that I was going to be joining Edwin on stage. And I hadn’t said anything because the worst thing is that at that point I’m like, “Am I going to be able to do this thing? I haven’t rehearsed with them so I really don’t know. I just said, Yeah.”
The Electric Slide.
So anyway, they come into town obviously early on the Saturday, I slide off campus go down with them, do a little bit of rehearsal in the afternoon, everything is cool. Now this is before obviously the late ’70s, this is before mobile phones and all that stuff.
So I eventually make it back to campus and I get there and everybody is screwing because they’ve been looking. Like, “Man, what happened? We thought you were going to renege on us.”
I say, “No, no, no, everything’s cool and whatnot”. They’re like, “We’re still going down?” Yeah, we’re going down” I said, “But we’re going to have to go down a little bit earlier because we need to make sure we can get in, I can get you in no problem.”
So anyway, we all go down to the event and we’re just milling around in the audience, just catching the vibe, listening to the music playing and stuff and I get the high sign from the road manager to say that it’s time.
So I slide away from the guys and maybe under the guise of going to the loo or going to the toilet, something like that. And anyway, I get myself changed and I’m standing backstage looking, peering through the curtain and I can see them looking around for me like, “Where’s he gone? He’s going to miss it.” Then they announced the act coming on and I come walk in with the guys and I could see their jaws drop.
It was a good experience to be able to perform for them, but I think part of the reason why I didn’t tell them I was going to be on stage that night, was less because I didn’t want them to know and more because of the uncertainty of how I would be in that role.
You usually make your mistakes when people aren’t looking. That’s how you learn and then when you think you’re ready, ‘then’ you go. Not the other way around.