(HISTORY OF BUSINESS BEFORE PLEASURE)
Thank you for checking out this page and learning about the history and
little known facts of the band
Business Before Pleasure. In retrospect you will see that there was a lot of talent in the Queens, New York
area in these early years. We had the likes of DOUBLE Z (Liz Chisholm) from St. Albans, Run DMC,
247 Spyz, Bill Toles (Producer, Musician,Film Scorer and one of the founders of the Black Rock Coalition) from
Hollis, Mic Murphy of The System and Jack Sass with Lala Cope, Bassist and Teacher Tehrin Cole, everyones favorite
wire puller Ronny Drayton, Vocalist Meli`sa Morgan and too many others to list.
In the beginning there was BMU (Black Magic Unlimited) our FIRST band
featuring Jose Scringer on Bass,
Eugene Jordan on Drums, Raymond Jones on Guitar, Darryl Thomas Trumpet, Bernard Young on Trombone, Brian
Hamilton on Keyboards, and myself Charles Neal on Guitar from about 1972-1974. Our biggest claim to fame
was playing amateur night at the Apollo and coming in second place. We played our original song "BMU" which
eventually morphed into "Funk You" with BBP in 1978. I think we didn`t win because Al Green was the headliner
that night and a guy who sounded like him won amateur night ahead of us. Can`t win them all!!!!
Jose left the band to pursue other musical endeavors and Brian and I played
with Lizz Chisholm (DOUBLE Z)
in her band called The Greatest Show for a hot minute before forming Business Before Pleasure (BBP). Our
original lineup featured, now world renowned Bassist Kim Clarke, Vocalist Polly Easly, Ronald Clark on Drums,
Dwight Dusenberry on Congas and Percussion, Reginald Williams on Guitar, Richard Sweeting on Sax and Flute,
Brian Hamilton Lead Vocals and Keyboards and myself on Guitar. We were more of a jazz/rock band. After doing
many Block Parties and Bar Gigs, Polly and Kim left for other endeavors.
The next phase of BBP enlisted the Bass services of Gary Gould and the Lead
Vocals of Ila Van (Govan) who sang on a
few recordings with Louis Armsrtong. With her connections we played the Tri-State area in clubs with the likes of Lotsa
Poppa and Solomon Burke. We then embarked on our first tour of Canada and spent 6 months touring the Province of Quebec. It
was a truly life changing experience for the group. After Quebec we went into the studio and did a rough first recording of
"I`m In The Prime Of Love", featuring Ila Van, along with 2 other songs "Hustle Up" and "Street Walkin` Mama".
The lineup was to make another change as Ila Van departed BBP and we met the
charismatic Frank Backus who became
our manager and got us plenty of work. We also new we needed to find another female lead singer. After many auditions,
we found a young 17 year old by the name of Meli`sa Morgan. This young lady blew us away and we knew we had hit the
jackpot. She definitely had all the chops and the confidence. After playing club after club to become a well oiled
machine, Frank landed us a recording contract with George Kerr and Sylvia Robinson at All Platinum Records in N.J.
This was 1977-78 and we recorded "I`m In The Prime Of Love", "Funk You" and 5 other songs. They printed up demo 45s
which were circulated around the country. It received modest reviews but we were excited to have something on the
radio. Frank then got us two gigs in Canada. One in Winnipeg, Manitoba and one in Regina, Saskatchewan. After 2 months
we had to return to N.Y. as Gary was leaving the band. Now another frantic search for a new bass player was launched.
Then it hit me that one of my close friends and neighbors Bassist Tehrin Cole who had recently left Jack Sass might
be interested in joining us. He agreed and learned our repetoir in record time and we were off again for another road
trip back to Canada.
We toured for about a year or so with our largest gig being the opening act
for KC and the Sunshine Band in Regina.
Not too long afterwards we again had a lineup change when Meli`sa and Ronald left the band. Now we needed a new
female lead singer and a drummer. We auditioned a few singers in Edmonton, Alberta which included one of Wayne
Gretsky`s early girlfriends. We hired a young lady that really impressed us by the name of Darby Mills. Who was to
know that 3 months later she would leave our band and by 1980 become the hottest act in Canada with her band "The Headpins".
Click on her name above and find out what she`s doing now. I saw her not long ago in Prince George, B.C. and she still rocks.
We also found a truly gifted drummer, former air traffic controller by the name of "Cut`em Loose Bruce Willie". By this
time the disco boom was truly on its last leg and we had to change our sets to include more rock songs. This would not be
a problem as we had always tried to put rock flavorings in all of our disco song interpretations. So Brian and I came up
with a plan to construct a rock medly spanning 1966-1974. It was a 45 minute non stop set which featured shortened versions
of songs that flowed through one continuously. These songs included Badge, White Room, Sunshine Of Your Love (Cream),
More Than A Feeling (Boston), Summertime Blues, Pinball Wizard (The Who), Honky Tonk Women, Jumpin` Jack Flash (Rolling Stones),
Stairway To Heaven, Black Dog, Whole Lotta Lovin` (Led Zepplin), Come Together, Revolution (The Beatles), Purple Haze, Foxey Lady
(Hendrix), Batuka and Soul Sacrifice (Santana).
Well after another year of trying to make something happen, Bruce left the
band and we lasted another couple of
months with Dwight playing drums. It was time to head back to N.Y. after touring Canada for close to 2 1/2 years.
When we arrived back in N.Y. Jan, 1980 we disbanded. Brian and I tried to create a rock/new wave group called
"DogTree" as his stage was "Dog" and mine was "Tree" but it did not come to fruition.
Fast forward to 2006 when after purchasing a laptop I did a search for BBP
just for the heck of it and discovered
that our two songs "Prime Of Love" and "Funk You" were on 3 different compilation albums. The first was All Platinum
Funk 1995 and then Mega Funk (4 CD Set) 1996 and Funky 8 Corners in 2000. The songs had also been given a boost in 2005
by DJ Keb Darge at dances in Europe and some airplay here in North America. Our Demo 45 has sold for as much as $850.00
on www.hollygroverecords.com because of its rarity. If you have one hold on to it!!
Bill is a noted musician, producer, writer, composer, tour producer,
engineer and a lot more.
He was the first guy I got here and play guitar with who had a real vintage Fender Stratocaster
and a wicked finger vibrato. He inspired me to get better. Hats off to you Bill and continued success.
I met Ronny in our early years of BBP. His group AURA was the baddest I
ever heard. They opened for us a school yard
park in East Elmhurst and was so far ahead of there time it was unreal. Watching him play for the Chambers Brothers
on TV, at Central Park and his days with Edwin Birdsong on Supernatural are just too cool for words. His resume is
incredible. He is still one of the most saught after, slickest true tone wire pullers out there today. He has always
been a major influence in my guitar playing. My Man!! May I please not forget the other man on his team in Aura, Shaun
"Shine" Solomon who by far had a bass style I have not seen equaled to this day. It is a great loss that he not be here. AMEN!
One of my oldest and dearest friends, we grew up together as next door
neighbors and always played music together. We were
enlisted in our formative years by our mentor, the late "Frank Sanicole" (P.S.118 Music Teacher), who taught so many of us kids
how to appreciate and play music. Our block was a music center. BBP would practice early afternoon at my house, Jack Sass (featuring
Mic Murphy, LaLa, Vic and Tehrin) would practice a little later next door at Tehrin`s house and there was another band at Tehrin`s
neighbor`s house after that. These days Tehrin teaches music and travels all over the world playing with various Latin and Jazz groups.
He is always a dedicated and consumate musician. Proud to know him.
As mentioned earlier, Jack Sass was a local group that we had a friendly
rivalry with as with most bands. Tehrin was the original
bassist for the group but after his departure, the job was filled by the one and only Lizz Chisholm (aka DOUBLE Z) another "Funky Assed"
from my neighborhood. Believe me, she`s got it going on! Visit her web site DOUBLE Z
Jose was introduced to me if my memory serves me correctly by our P.S.118
teacher Mrs. Hassel, fresh from Cuba and we became the
best of friends. He also was a student of Frank Sanicole with me and we later collaborated to form "Black Magic Unlimited". We also
did 4 songs together with his Reggae group Sons Of Creation. He has one of the most distinctively smooth styles of playing bass that
would hit you in a way no one else could along with his many other musical talents. I hope to one day collaborate with him again. JAH!
Kim was also a founding member of our band BBP. She is an award winning
brilliant bassist, web developer, producer publisher and educator.
Her resume is impeccable. She can sit in with virtually anyone with any type of music. Man I wish I had her musical knowledge. Click her name
above and visit one of her many web sites and see for yourself just what she has accomplished.
When Meli`sa joined BBP we knew we had someone special. Day by day she
grew more adept at her vocals. When she left our band, she
told us she was going to be a star and in Ali style, she proved it. You know her debut album was a smash. I am honored to have worked
with her for the short time that we did. She was the voice behind our 45, "I`m In The Prime Of Love". A talented 17 year old eh?
Visit her web site to see what she is doing now, just click her name above to take you there.
Gary was my "Right Wing" (not political, we were on the right side of the
stage) partner in BBP. We were the bitter rivals of the
dreaded "Left Wing" (Brian and Reggie). As far as I was concerned, we always had the better dance moves during performances (haha).
Those were the days. Today, Gary is an accomplished Bassist in Florida. He has a CD on the market. Click CD to check it out for yourself
Also click Gary`s name above to visit his web page on MySpace and catch him in action on YouTube.
The site will continue to grow with more pictures and sounds in the coming
If you fond memories of the band and wish to have them posted on the site,
need more info or just have questions, feel free to email me at Charles Neal
Thanks again for visiting. Add us to your favorite sites and pass the word!