Jump to content

For Mother's Finest, rock is the only option


Recommended Posts



By Ed Condran, Correspondent

Experience inspired Mother's Finest vocalist-guitarist Glenn Murdock to write "Nigazz Can't Sing Rock 'n Roll" in 1976. The inveterate rocker dealt with a number of obstacles during the post-Vietnam era. None was bigger than racism.

"If you were in a band and you were primarily of color, you had some issues," Murdock says.

While establishing itself as a funk-rock outfit, Mother's Finest was often encouraged to go R&B. "But there was no way I wanted to do that since I was always into playing rock 'n' roll," Murdock says. "That was the only option for me despite how difficult it was for our band."

During the early '70s the band's label, RCA sent out promotional albums without photos. A program director from a Chicago radio station added the group to the playlist but shortly thereafter abruptly cut Mother's Finest from the outlet's rotation.

"That station said the reason they stopped playing us was because we weren't a rock band," Murdock says while calling from his Atlanta home. "That was ridiculous. They stopped playing us because of the color of our skin."

Nevertheless, Mother's Finest became one of the most acclaimed live rock acts of the '70s. According to Murdock, the band blew away theatrical rocker Ted Nugent during a European tour.

"Ted hated us," Murdock says. "We just ate him for lunch during the tour we did with him. I remember playing Germany and the Scorpions singer [Klaus Meine] went up to us and said, 'you're opening for Ted Nugent?' He was stunned. We blew Ted away everywhere but Paris, where he was very popular. The reason we did so well in Europe is because they didn't have the issues with the color of our skin."

But Mother's Finest had to come up with inventive strategies to win over fans at home. The musicians decided to play in the dark for much of their opening song while supporting Black Sabbath. "It was so hard opening for Sabbath, for anyone," Murdock says. "We decided to start out without having any lights on us so nobody could say who was playing and the crowd was into it. But once the lights came on, it was quiet as a church."

Times changed, but the obstacles remain for Mother's Finest, who will perform Sunday at Lincoln Theatre. "Black Radio Won't Play This Record," the group's most passionate and catchy offering since its salad days, was released in 1992. The problem for Mother's Finest was that white radio didn't give the disc any spins either.

"It hasn't been easy for us, but we've been able to make music for all of these years so I can't complain," Murdock says.

If the band were made up solely of Caucasians, Murdock believes that Mother's Finest would be in another echelon. "I think we would be super mega successful. But that's how it goes. This situation hasn't only affected us."

Other rock bands of color, such as Fishbone and 24-7 Spyz, have never advanced past cult status. Murdock's son Dion played drums for the latter.

"If we weren't black we'd be as big as the [Red Hot] Chili Peppers," Fishbone bassist Norwood Fisher says. "But you can't control the industry. You just keep playing."

That's what Mother's Finest is about.

"We love doing this," Murdock says. "There's no reason to stop."

As proof, the group, which includes Murdock's vocalist wife Joyce Kennedy, guitarists Gary Moore and John Hayes, bassist Jerry "Wyzard" Seay and drummer Kerry Denton, is working on a new album.

"This next one won't be done by e-mail," Murdock says. "It's popular to make albums from different parts of the country and send stuff electronically. We're going the other way. We're going to all be there together just like it was done years ago.

"It's more fun that way. That's part of the reason we're still doing this. It's still more fun than anything."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...