A tribute band? That could be the first thing you'd think when reading about the Earth, Wind & Fire Experience, but band leader Al McKay thinks otherwise.
As he says it himself, they're not trying to be Earth, Wind & Fire, but they are still a tribute band in the sense where they are paying homage to the glorious hits of the massively successful funk-pop ensemble, with McKay's own talented group of musicians, to form the Earth, Wind & Fire Experience — which McKay stresses is a show and not merely a band name.
The group, known as the Al McKay All Stars, performed the Earth, Wind & Fire Experience at Clockenflap 2015 recently and we took some time to talk to the brains behind the show.
Hi, Al McKay! How are you doing?
I’m doing good thank you.
How’s the tour been so far?
The tour has been fantastic.
You’ve been performing with your band as the Earth, Wind & Fire Experience for a while now. How would you describe the experience?
The sound of the original 70s Earth, Wind & Fire, with a few hip-hop dance moves.
What’s the biggest misconception about the Earth, Wind & Fire Experience?
In the past people got us confused with the new Earth, Wind & Fire but now they know the difference. We are The Al McKay All Stars — The Earth, Wind & Fire Experience is the name of our show.
Does it bother you when people think that the band is merely a tribute band?
Not really, because we’re not trying to be Earth, Wind & Fire. We are, as I said before, The Al McKay All-Stars. The name of our show is The Earth Wind and Fire Experience.
How’s your relationship with Maurice White (founder of Earth, Wind & Fire)?
It’s fine. I haven’t seen him in a few, but we’re cool.
What’s the greatest thing about performing live after all these years?
Instant gratification. An audience that’s grooving with you - it’s the biggest high ever!
Which modern artists would you love to work with?
Pharrell Williams, Bruno Mars, Mint Condition to name a few.
In your opinion, what constitutes a great party?
Good friends, good music, great food and beautiful people in a positive atmosphere.
What is it about the music of EW&F that still speaks clearly to you?
The messages, the grooves, the melodies and the memories.