Cameo frontman Larry Blackmon: ‘Word Up’ was music before its time; paying tribute to Prince

Editor’s Note: As Robin Leach ends his month-long Italian family vacation and gets ready for his annual month-long stay in La Jolla, our next guest columnists today are Nick Hawk, the controversial star of Showtime’s GIGOLOS, set in Las Vegas, and Larry Blackmon, who has led Cameo for four decades. The band is now headlining at Westgate Las Vegas. Here’s Larry:

By Larry Blackmon

Thank you, Robin, for handing me the reigns while you are on vacation. Hello, Las Vegas! After playing together as Cameo for more than 40 years, we celebrate many things, but this year we celebrate 30 years since our hit album “Word Up” was released, and I wanted to talk a little bit about it because “Word Up” was music before its time.

We always made it a point to have our own style of not just R&B but contemporary urban music. Every time I hear “Word Up,” it’s like the first day I heard it. We were in the studio in New York, and the president/CEO of PolyGram Records in New York, Dick Asher, was there along with fellow Cameo band member Tomi Jenkins and the U.K. director.

It was so weird because the song played, and, all of a sudden, there was silence. Then David, managing director of the U.K. PolyGram, stood up and said, “That’s a smash!” Then Dick stood up and said, “That’s a smash!” But it was obvious that Dick didn’t necessarily get it as much as David, who had come up through the ranks in the U.K. He believed that “Word Up” was that significant, impactful, hit, and we felt that way, too.

It just sounded good, and it was before its time. You can play “Word Up” anyplace anywhere, and someone is going to be grooving and bobbing their head. Our sound was unique, as well. I haven’t heard another one like it, and we probably won’t hear another one like it in the future. It was that significant for us.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album, we want our fans to celebrate along with us. If you are a fan, musician, dancer or just fun, we want you to enter our video submission contest. You can enter at TicketBat.com/Cameo86. Anything from your rendition of your favorite Cameo song, dance move or outfit.

We’re selecting one winner to join us for a special Sept. 3 anniversary show for our big ‪#‎30YearsofWordUp celebration. You also can follow along with ‪#‎Cameo86. We would like to give our appreciation for sticking with this act and believing in this act and having that Cameosis in your heart that made it necessary to follow along with us and be along with this ride. It has been quite a journey, and we appreciate it very much.

The passing of Prince

People throw around the word “genius,” but Prince was a true genius. There are artists who I like to call “streamers,” people who bring to you their interpretation based on how it’s coming to them, and Prince was a consistent streamer. His new material always had something to offer musically, and you would hear so much more in his music than from the average John Q. Michael Jackson’s organization with Quincy Jones was like that, too.

Prince and I were honored to be mentioned in Miles Davis’ autobiography. Davis hosted a birthday party in New York on the East Side in the 1970s, and we were invited. We were sitting at a table, and a member of Miles Davis’ entourage was very talkative, a little beyond what was necessary. Prince leaned over to me and said, “Larry, I can’t take much more of this. I’ll see you guys later.”

It was a little funnier than that, but that impressed me. He was a very private person. He wasn’t very talkative, especially in an environment he wasn’t familiar with, but he was always courteous. That was the last time we had that much time together. We would run into each other occasionally, and it was always a pleasure. He was a class act. When we had our encounters, it was always warm. We both felt like we belonged to a special club.

In turn, there were a lot of people from my organization who Prince would choose to work. They called it the Cameo orientation. The most recent was John Blackwell, who played drums for Prince from 2000 to 2012. Johnny would tell me that Prince used to yell at him and say, “Man, I need that Larry Blackmon funk on the damn drums!”

RIP, His Purple Highness.

Cameo performs Thursdays through Sundays in Cabaret Theater at Westgate Las Vegas. For tickets, visit TicketBat.com/cameo.

Be sure to check out our other guest columnist today, Nick Hawk of Showtime’s GIGOLOS, set in Las Vegas, and our weekly Celebrities in L.V. weekend rundown.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like