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Interview with Cecil McCrary (Producer of The Pierce Brothers)

Cecil McCrary was the producer of one of the funkiest records from the early 80's. Not many people may know about this record but it doesn't need introduction to most rare funk collectors. We're talking about the ultra funky 'Party Person' by the Pierce Brothers, released in 1981 on Star Birth Records from Californai. And the best part is that it came with a video featuring some incredible boogie dancers. Enjoy the music and the interview.

Hello Cecil, I’m happy and excited to get a chance to talk to you here. How are you doing?

Cecil McCrary:

I’m doing good man; glad to hear from you.

How did you meet up with the Pierce Brothers in the first place? And how did you come to the idea of creating the Pierce Brothers band?

Cecil McCrary:

I was searching for song writers for Motivation IV's new album and one of the members in Motivation, Toney Powers brought James and Rickey Pierce to my house in Compton to listen to some material and i was blown away with their style of music that i asked them to sign with Star Birth records as recording artist as well as writers and we became good friends and i began to produce them. The idear of the Pierce Brothers band came about when i would go to the recording studio i would always use them to play the music for all the artists that were signed to Star Birth records at that time and when we would do shows, that was the band that i used to back up the other artists on stage so i would always introduce them as the worlds famous Pierce Brothers band.

Who else were in the Pierce Brothers band, besides you, James and Ricky Pierce?

Cecil McCrary:

Members of the Pierce Brothers band included Robert Ward, Ron Newton, Suzette Sharman, Sam Porter, Edwin E. Ross and Jeff Pierce (baby brother).

May I ask you how old you are and how long have you been connected with the music industry and production for?

Cecil McCrary

I’m 58 years young and I’ve been dealing with the music industry since I was 18. So all the ingredients were there and we gave it a go.

Besides 'Party Person', what other recordings did you produce or take part in? Have you been involved in the playing or the production of any other local bands in California?

Cecil McClary

I recorded and produced only for my own record label “Star Birth’. Yes, other local bands in California that I was involved with were Wind Vision, Darlene Lavender, EJ Welch, Fairy Godsisters, Double Trouble and all those bands named in my bio.

From your bio, it looks like your musical background has been very helpful in your career. What kind of music style(s) did you grow up to? Did you produce some materials (back in the 80s) that have not been released so far?

Cecil McCrary:

I grew up with listening to Rock n Roll, Blues, R&B and Soul Music. I started to take part in the music industry when I was in high school and yes, I have several unreleased albums that includes music produced in the 70s and 80s.

How would you describe that experience as a producer within the Star Birth records label production? Who chose that record’s label name?

The Pierce Brothers Band

Cecil McCrary:

Being a producer with Star Birth was the greatest experience one could ever experience (fun, love a lot of happiness and togetherness) and I experience the hard times that came with as being an independent record label and african american. The Star Birth name was my invention.

How many original copies of the "Party Person" record were pressed in '81? Can you please tell us why that record wasn't meant to be largely charted?

Cecil McCrary:

I pressed 1.500 copies of the "Party Person" record. One of the reasons the record was not widely charted is because it was too long to be played on the radio (more than 7.00 mn length) and the major record companies wanted to take full control if i sign with them, and it was very hard to get good paying record distributors back in the days so i did it the hard way, like a mom and pop store.

I would be curious to hear anything similar you may have produced or worked on during the 80's (except the 'Say Lady' 45, the Stargasm 45, the Motivation IV and the other Pierce Brothers - Why you gotta lie 12” that I already know). Would you have some recording available that funk lovers can take a listen to?

Cecil McCrary:

Yes, more unreleased records will be posted soon in October 2011. Music to include on a Complilation CD of disco soul music, Starbirth Records greatest hits and music from Darlene Lavender and EJ Welch.

Can you tell me more about your music plans? I really hope you will get back to the game. I hope you haven’t said your last words, have you?

Cecil McCrary:

I have not said my last word, I will continue doing 70s & 80s disco soul music as long as people like you and I feel the way we feel about this music.

Thanks a million for giving me the opportunity to know you better and I’m looking forward to listening to more of your material with your original signature.

Cecil McCrary:

Thanks for the interview.

Jalal Nadah for, September 2011

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