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KC and his band bringing sunshine to concert at Fayetteville’s Crown Theatre

Disco hitmaker still loves to shake his booty for fans in live stage shows


At 71 years old and nearly half a century since their heyday, KC and his Sunshine Band are still playing about 70 concerts a year for those who still revel in the sweaty grooves and body-swaying rhythms of late 1970s disco.

Obviously, KC has considerable funk stored away in his potent musical trunk.

“I think that’s my happiest moment in life, really,” he said. “One chance to identify with the fans. It’s great to have that connection and bring the energy back from the people who are having a good time. It's just great to distract everyone for a couple of hours — everybody as one, having a great time.”

Fans who continue to put on their boogie shoes and shake their booties will get the chance to get down another night when the band that reigned as one of the top stars of the late 1970s dance period performs in concert in Fayetteville on Friday.

KC, whose real name is Harry Wayne Casey, said in an interview that if he has ever played Fayetteville before, “it was probably a long time ago.”

“I have a home in Chapel Hill, so I’m there every now and then,” he said.

The performance in Fayetteville, he said in a phone interview, will run about 90 minutes.

“One thing about my show: It’s KC and the Sunshine Band. I highlight the band members. I definitely do all the hit songs.”

In the fall, KC & the Sunshine Band will tour with the B-52s in that new wave band’s farewell tour, according to KC’s managers.

While the Bee Gees and Donna Summer may have been the undisputed disco kings and queen, KC and his band are not too far behind when it comes to disco royalty. Consider the list of KC and the Sunshine Band hits from back in the day: “Get Down Tonight,” “That’s the Way (I Like It),” “Shake Your Booty,” “I’m Your Boogieman,” “Keep It Comin’ Love” and “Boogie Shoes.”

Shake, shake, shake.

Those songs were made for dancing.

The multimember, diverse group, which was led early on by KC and Richard Finch, racked up some of the era’s biggest, most recognizable dance hits. KC and Finch first met in 1972 while both were working for TK Records in Miami.

In 1973, KC & the Sunshine Band officially was formed. The band’s first single, “Blow Your Whistle,” debuted without so much as a peep.

Two years later, the dance group began an impressive run of disco hits.

The hits may no longer be rolling out, but the journey goes on for KC and the Sunshine Band.

“After the pandemic, I haven’t stopped,” KC said. “For two years, I didn’t do anything. I considered calling it a day. I was just never going to come back, just fade into the sunset. I was talking to my manager and all the people who have worked for me. ‘You don’t want to do that,’ they told me.

“The other thing that happened: The majority of my life, not being with friends, gone most weekends, missing family. For two years, I was here with my home, my dogs, around my friends. I just kind of had a normal kind of life. The happiest moment is when I get on stage, but in the modern world, it’s not always pleasant.”

Though the band has undergone numerous changes in its lineup, KC still leads the charge. Another veteran member, percussionist Fermin Goytisolo, has been with KC since 1976.

While the group’s dance hits pay the bills, KC is showing that he’s not willing to be satisfied with past triumphs.

Next year marks the group’s 50th anniversary. As part of the celebration, KC is releasing 56 new songs beginning in September, with eight to come out every month, he said.

“We’re releasing seven EPs with eight songs,” he said. “One a month. Fifty-three of them are brand new; three are remakes of older songs.”

On Sept. 23, the new number “Unconditional Love” is expected to be released.

After playing his hit songs for decades, some might think that KC is able to largely go through the motions before calling it a show.

“No, not really,” he said. “I think it’s almost like remote control, anyway. It’s like sitting here trying to recite the lyrics. I don’t know if I can do that without being on the stage, you know what I mean? … During the shows, I try to keep the integrity of the original songs intact. We have an intro building to it, and sometimes we take it a little beyond that.”

During the phone interview, a couple of members of KC’s staff could be heard laughing in the background.

“I have this old pair of tennis shoes, and I have all these other nicer shoes … (and) I never wear them,” KC explained. “They’re laughing at me because I have these old tennis shoes on. But these are so comfortable.”

KC said his live show today is “a completely different show, completely choreographed now.”

“I like to bring all the elements to the show,” he said. “A couple of dancers, singers dancing, 15 people on stage. Nothing recorded; it’s all live. What you hear at that moment is what it is. Whatever happens happens, and that’s it.”

And that's the way that Harry Wayne Casey likes it — playing time-tested dance tunes for the fans.

Keep it comin’, love.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

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