Saturday, May 31, 2014

ActorsE Chat with Kurt Kelly of Live Video Inc. Interviews Singer, Songwriter, and Producer Bernard Fowler.

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Bernard Fowler stops into Pepper Jay Studios to chat with host, and his longtime friend, voice over extraordinaire, legendary radio and TV host Kurt Kelly. Bernard music career spans over three decades, of which over twenty seven years of his storied career he has sung on and off with the internationally renowned Rolling Stones. Bernard grew up in Long Island, NY in the Queensbridge Projects, a predominately African American and Puerto Rican neighborhood, everyone grew up listening to salsa and R&B. His first band gig was as a bass player for a salsa band at a neighborhood block party. Bernard also played the bass in the school orchestra and loved guitar music. His early musical influences were Eric Clapton, Howling Wolf, The Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy, and gospel and blues. He explained, “The first band I was in was called The Total Eclipse, out of Jamaica Queens, a lot of great musicians out of New York, just happened to come from Queens, and what happened I was a jock growing up, so after a game one day we were on the corner drinking beer, we weren’t supposed to and some guy heard me singing and said ‘hey you sound pretty good why don’t you come audition for the band’, yeah and I said ok and I would never go, and then finally he came to my house and he pretty much cursed me out for not showing up…so I (eventually) showed up.” The Total Eclipse was signed to Brunswick Records and released their first album, an R&B record called A Great Combination in 1974 , in which Bernard played trombone. Fowler also played with several different bands, a band called Serious in NYC, was one of the first all black rock & roll bands in the area, then another called The New York City Peech Boys, a group composed of several members of his former band Total Eclipse. They eventually met Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, and he gave them a deal. The group recorded an album an England that was rather successful. But the group broke up shortly after due to internal conflict, “the leader decided he wanted to keep all the money”, Fowler mentioned. Bernard moved on once more and hooked up with a group called Material after meeting Bill Laswell in the late 70’s. Material recorded an album called One Downand Bernard sang lead vocal on a song called I’m The One, which received strong airplay. In 1983, Laswell called Bernard and asked him if he liked legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock, to which Fowler replied “yes”, and Laswell told Fowler, “I’m producing his record, come sing for him.” Bernard went on to tour with Herbie that year. While in the midst of that tour he received another call from Laswell and Bernard tells Bill, “I just got home, I have ten days (off) from (the tour with) Herbie.” Bill tells Bernard, “Go back to airport.” Bernard then replies, “Bill you don’t understand, I just walked into my apartment.” And unswayed, Laswell again tells Bernard, “Ok, go back to the airport.”
Bernard had know idea why Bill was insisting he go back to airport, but he went along with, went to the airport where there was a ticket to London already awaiting him. He arrives in London, still unaware of the purpose of his being there, and he and Bill arrive at a house in Swiss Cottage of the London Borough of Camden in London. The two get to the door and are greeted by a large gentlemen who says, “Oh hi Bill, he’s in that room.” Unaware of who ‘he’  was, Bernard followed Bill to a room where they found Mick Jagger seated on the floor playing his guitar and waiting for Bernard. Jagger looked up at a surprised Bernard, Bill Laswell introduced the two of them then left the room. Fowler and Mick began playing guitar and humming tunes and right then and there they began preparing songs for Mick’s upcoming solo album ‘She’s the One’. They were in the studio together the next day with Fowler working on all of the vocal arrangements. Mick was thoroughly impressed and the two proceeded to record. From being a youngster who the first album he had received from his father was 12 by 5 by The Rolling Stones, began forming a relationship with the iconic band that has spanned a course of over three decades at that very moment. Fowler has sung background vocals, worked on several of the band members solo projects (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Charlie Watts), and has toured extensively with the band, including the Steel Wheels Tour. In addition to his work with the stones, Bernard, whether producing, arranging vocals, writing, providing background vocals or lead vocals, has been involved with over thirty to fifty albums. Bernard claims he always just wanted to be in a band, but although he was never really interested in being a solo act, he has recorded one solo album and is in the process of completing his second. His first solo album was titles Friends With Benefits (2006) and was self-produced. It covers a wide spectrum of Fowler’s personality and musical tastes. The new album, who’s working title is The Bura (a strong wind) is more blues and rock oriented. Bernard worked with a lot of friends and longtime collaborators on the album, including Slash (of Guns & Roses), Brett Tuggle, Waddy Wachtel (Fleetwood Mac) and others. The album was also recorded on tape, not digitally recorded, “I love the smell of tape.” Bernard mentioned. The album was wrapped up in November of 2013. More episodes hosted by the legendary Kurt Kelly can be seen weekly from,, and for more on Kurt Kelly go to his site and, his profile can see on IMDb as well, Kurt also a personal Facebook page and Facebook Fan Page. Kurt, along with Pepper Jay from Pepper Jay Studios, continue to bring you entertaining and informative programming featuring the finest and brightest figures in entertainment today.

Written By: Brian Harper and Melissa English
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