Back in the late 70’s and into the 80’s, there’s no doubt Portland was rockin’ and reelin’ with live music. All kinds of genres of the era, from R&B, to funk, to dance music, new wave, and straight ahead rock n roll. Here’s one of those stories.
The Stokes and Sakamoto Connection
The link to upcoming EVENT FUNKTASTIQUE Saturday February 27 is at bottom of page.
Blake Sakamoto, who has had his musical hands in so many projects, from marketing, to producing shows, to being the helpful idea guy on behalf of artists in our community, wrote up a bit a the backstory for us.
In 1979 I had a band that included Ben Wolfe (bass), Ron Regan (sax), Mike Regan (drums) among others. We were all high school kids jamming out funk songs of the area. One day Ben came to rehearsal to talk about this guy was was singing along to the music at The Chase. His name was Andy Stokes,and he was singing and rapping to the songs that were playing. Ben thought we should invite Andy to practice. Andy was in his early 20s and came over to my house where we had practice. He knew all the songs we were playing and it was a perfect fit! As a band full of talented high school players we knew that we all had a future in music. Our band Nightlife didn’t last too much longer but it was a the start of many musical careers.
I went on to record and tour in the Dan Reed Network. I continue to perform and produce events in the area. Andy was asked to be the lead singer for Cool’R with former members of Pleasure Nate Phillips and Bruce Carter. They were one of the most highly acclaimed bands in the 80s from Portland. Eventually they signed with Lou Adler’s Ode Records. Andy recently won the Muddy Award for best vocalist from the Oregon Blues Association.
Our bandmates in Nightlife went on to have similar adventures in music. Ben Wolfe started playing bass for Harry Connick Jr in the late 80s and continued for several years. He is now a professor at Julliard. Ron Regan was in Nu Shooz during the mid 80s and is now a member of Soul Vaccination. Mike Regan was one of the founders of the Crazy 8’s and continues to perform with them to this day.
Not too shabby for us neighborhood basement band types!