Before he inspired people to “shake shake shake” their booties under the disco ball, Harry Wayne “K.C.” Casey asked music fans “Where is the Love?”
The front man for K.C. and the Sunshine Band started his career as a songwriter, penning R&B tunes for Timmy Thomas, Gwen McCrae and other soulful singers. The Grammy Award-winning “Where is the Love?” was written for performer Betty Wright of “Clean Up Woman” fame.
For his next big act, Casey is working on two new albums. One showcases all new dance music, while the other is his version of the 1960s music that influenced him. But first, he’s headed to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio on July 6 to perform his Sunshine Band hits in a show with that other iconic disco band, the Village People.
Casey, who has a home in La Quinta, recently chatted with Desert Outlook about the concert, his career and his favorite disco moves.
You have so many hit songs and you’ve done so many things in your career. What’s been the highlight so far?
Everything is — just doing what I get to do. Of course, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and now a star on the Palm Springs main street there on July 6, it’s beyond my wildest dreams. … It’s just been a blast, getting to meet people that I like: Diana Ross, Lucille Ball and Bob Hope.
What was your favorite dance from the disco era?
Wow, the hustle was a lot of fun. The bump was fun. The hustle had more movement to it.
When I was a kid, there was a song called “Hully Gully,” and it was kind of a line-dance type of thing. Except in the Hully Gully, while you were doing the dance, someone would call out “Frankenstein.” When you moved forward you would move like Frankenstein, then they would call out another character like “Marilyn Monroe” and everyone did their version of Marilyn Monroe.
How challenging is it to get attention for your new music when you have many hits that people know so well?
I hope not too much. It may be hard because sometimes when they hear KC and the Sunshine Band, they think old. They need to look at it for what it is right now.
Part of what I have done (on the new dance album) is work with remix guys Bimbo Jones, who’ve remixed Rihanna, Madonna, so many. They sent me some tracks; I wrote some melodies and lyrics to them. Tony Moran did a remix for me. And there’s a kid who just had a hit with Justin Bieber, “Beauty and the Beat.”
The energy of the album just reminds me of my energy 40 years ago. I’m re-energized. I’ve been working on that for a year now. The single, “I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind,” is available on iTunes and Amazon.
The music industry has gone through many changes since you started. What’s been the most challenging thing for you to get used to?
Some of the technology. Cutting this new album was completely different from the way we used to do it. We used to have to sing a song all the way through. Now there’s a lot of shortcuts, and you can move parts around where you want them. I think it’s good and bad. I think it takes some of the character out of the music.
I really miss the record. I miss being able to pick up that record and go beyond who the artist is, to see who produced it and who wrote it, the packaging. I just miss that whole part of it.
What’s been the best thing about the changes?
The best thing is you get it instantly. It’s right at your fingertips, anywhere you want it.
What would you like to say to your gay fans?
Thank you for all the support throughout the years. I hope that everyone comes out to the show and has a good time with me that night. I wish everyone the best – peace and love and happiness. That’s what we all need.
IF YOU GO
What: KC and the Sunshine Band with the Village People
When: 8 p.m. July 6
Where: Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84-245 Indio Springs Pkwy., Indio
Info: fantasyspringsresort.com, (760) 342-5000