Continued from Part 1…

Philip, how did “Easy Lover”* come about, with Phil Collins?

Philip Bailey:  Well actually, the Phoenix Horns were playing with us, at that time; and were working with him.  They introduced me, to him; and one thing lead to the other.

Verdine, who do you think are the funkiest bass players out there today?

Verdine White: Oh it's a lot of them. I think we have some of the best bass players out there.

Are there any, now, in the music scene who you really admire?

White:  I love Brandon Gilliard [bass player for Janelle Monae], and I love Jamareo Artis with Bruno Mars.  A lot of great players, today.

Ralph, you've played with any number of people through the years. Tell me about how you ended-up on a Jay-Z song..?

Ralph Johnson:  Wow. That was a sample situation. Jay-Z found a tune I recorded, on an obscure label out of LA; and he used it in what turned-out to be one of his biggest songs ever.  It's called “Song Cry”**.  So, it was quite an honor to be sampled.

Excellent!  If Maurice was looking down - and I think he is - and saw your show Wednesday night, what do you think he'd say?

White:  I think he'd give us a big smile.

Bailey:  Yeah, he would.

White:  A big thumbs-up.

Bailey:  Right. He would say, "What were you talking about?"

Were there any songs that were just spontaneous? That came together, right there, on the spot; and you were just like, "Hey that's a song!"    

Johnson:  Well, let me just put one real quick...  We listended to "After the Love Has Gone," with David Foster, one night; and recorded the next.

So, speaking of David Foster…  I’ve read that he, Quincy Jones, Dionne Warwick, and Miles Davis have all gone on the record (on separate occasions), as saying that Earth, Wind & Fire is their favorite band. Was there one person who said, "I love Earth, Wind & Fire," where you were like, "That's it. It's not gonna get any better than that."?

Bailey:  We were inspired by those great artists as well, so we're always humbled by that. And we always continue to just be inspired by them, too.

Last question for y’all. If you add up all the times you all have played in Vegas, I think it's probably equal to the Rat Pack and Elvis combined, at this point . I figure that I've seen you in Vegas at least 15 times, and that's just off the top of my head…  What is it about Las Vegas that keeps you all coming back?

White:  Well it's the entertainment capital of the world, and this is our first time having a residency. So being here, at The Venetian, is really special for us.

Bailey:  Yes, absolutely!  This is historical for us!

Gentlemen, thank you so much for everything. Thank you for doing this, and thank you for bringing the music and making it nice and funky.  And Verdine – thanks for being a style icon of mine, for decades!

White:  Haha!  Yes!  Thank you!

Johnson:  Really nice questions…  Thank you!

Bailey:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Earth, Wind & Fire
The Venetian Theatre | The Venetian Las Vegas
Through Saturday, May 12th

Click HERE for info and tickets

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#LegendaryFunk

[Editor’s Notes: *”Easy Lover” was a duet between Philip Bailey and Phil Collins, released on Bailey’s 1984 solo album, Chinese Wall; and was nominated for a Grammy in the category “Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals” (USA for Africa would win for “We Are the World”) // **“Song Cry” was the fourth single released on Jay-Z’s 2001 album, The Blueprint; and was nominated for a Grammy in the category “Best Male Rap Solo Performance” (Nelly would win for “Hot in Herre”.]