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Interview with Starbound

Although being a relatively well-known band among collectors, very limited information was available on Starbound. Their single 'We Can Make It' was released in Europe on the Belgian ARS label. The band however, was from the U.S.A. and the original release was a 7 inch single on Critique Records. 'We Can Make It' is an outstanding track and was actually Starbound's second release. Read the interview with John and Paul Hogu below and learn more about this great band. Listen to a sample by clicking here.

John Hogu's son contacted, providing some interesting details about the band Starbound. Today i'm interviewing the brothers John and Paul Hogu, two of the original Starbound members. Welcome John and Paul, how are you doing? Who were Starbound in the first place and where did they come from?

John & Paul Hogu:

Hi! We're very happy that you have given us this opportunity to do this interview! Thanks to John's son who stumbled upon your site. Starbound began as an original funk band from Boston in the early eighties. The other members were Richard Furr (drums and vocals), Kevin Parham (bass and lead vocals) and 'Bean' (guitar). Paul played keyboards and sang background vocals and John played guitar and did backing vocals as well. We were a mixture of Haitian and American musicians.

Who were your influences and what was the first Starbound release?

John & Paul Hogu:

Our influences were the greats like James Brown, Earth Wind And Fire, Rick James, The Funkadelics, and many others... We started off with an original song called "Been Thinkin' About You". It was on our own label called "Starbound Records" and was played on AM WILD radio, a local station in Boston, Massachusetts.

Wow, that must be extremely rare, i've never seen or heard that Starbound release. Then came 'We Can Make It', who wrote the song and what is the story behind it?

John & Paul Hogu:

The song was a compilation of the band as a whole. We recorded "We Can Make It" at Newbury Sound Studios in Boston. The story behind the song is that the members of the band are telling their girls that Starbound, the band, believed in each other so much that we could actually 'make it' as musicians, and still show our love for them. The female back up vocals were from another band called "9.9" whom we were friends with back in the Starbound days. Her name was Margo Thunder.

'We Can Make It' was originally released in the U.S.A. on Critique Records as a 7 inch single. Do you remember if it got any airplay or reaching the billboards? How was 'We Can Make It' received?

John & Paul Hogu:

The song received rave reviews, and was mentioned as a soul entry on Billboard Magazine, eventually
reaching the U.S. Billboard charts in July of 1985 but was beat out by Menudo in the top 10 singles section.
It got some airplay in Boston. At that point we were heavily involved in our concerts and we opened up for acts
such as Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Roger Troutman & Zapp, B.B.& Q. Band, Midnight Star and Grand Master Flash.

Is it true that you were not aware that your song was also released in Europe? It must have been quite a surprise for you to find a belgian 12 inch release of 'We Can Make It' on this site?

John & Paul Hogu:

Yes it is true. We were quite shocked and unaware that it was released elsewhere without our knowledge. It shows that we didn't have an honest manager and the reason as to why we had only one hit single is because our manager didn't push it enough and because of that, it made us miss out on some opportunities that could have made us a more well known band. Because of this we fired the manager and shortly after, the band split up. It is actually quite perplexing because of the fact that for 20 years, we had thought that nothing had come of that single. What's even weirder about it, is that we have never received royalties from it.

That's a pity to hear. I believe that Starbound had good potential for making a lot of great records.
It is thanks to the european release that your music is well known among soul and funk collectors because
the 7 inch on Critique Records seems impossible to find. Were there any other tracks in the making at that time?
It has long been thought that a Starbound LP may have existed.

John & Paul Hogu:

To tell you the truth we never stopped writing and composing songs. Now we have hundreds of songs of which many are potential hits. We are still recording to this very day. Nowadays we go by the name The Pulse Of Boston, formed about a decade after Starbound split up, being us and Richard Furr the remaining bandmembers, with Paul as the leader of the band. We have been appearing in night clubs and concerts on the east coast of the U.S.A.

How interesting to know. Not many bands from the 80's survived, let alone band members still teaming up. Another surprise for me to learn was that a 7 inch release entitled 'Party In The City' on HEP'ME Records was actually recorded by another Starbound! John's son assured me that you have nothing to do with that 1982 release. So there apparantly have existed 2 bands with the same name, both funky and of outstanding quality. Collectors have long thought it was all by one and the same band also for the fact that both tracks have striking similarities.

John & Paul Hogu:

That was a surprise to both of us also. The other Starbound apparantly came from Louisiana and seems to have existed before we founded our band. We weren't aware of another Starbound.

How does it feel knowing that 'We Can Make It' is still being appreciated and listened to?

John & Paul Hogu:

It feels great knowing that we have fans from so far away. We wish we could one day perform a concert for them.

What kind of music do you play nowadays with The Pulse Of Boston, is it still funky?

John & Paul Hogu:

We play all kinds of music ranging from Jazz, Dance Tunes, Classic Rock, Soul/Motown Mix, Reggae, Rap, Hip-Hop and oldies favorites. T.P.O.B. is a professional band available for clubs, special occasions, weddings, corporate functions etc. etc. The other members are Sabreen Staples (lead and background vocals), Ricardo Nhuch (drums and percussion), Pedro Rivera (lead and background vocals), Kevin Gomes (lead and background vocals), Vinny Scrima (bass guitar), Kosei Yamaguchi (saxophones) and John Delucia (saxophones).

How do you experience contemporary music in comparision with the great 80's?

John & Paul Hogu:

Music has a way of coming back around over and over again, if it can be a hit in the sixties, it can also be a hit in 2005. For example most of the hip hop tracks are samples of songs that were hits from the past.

That's true, but there's no thing like the real thing, being the originals that demanded a lot more creativity. Thanks a million John and Paul, it has been cool talking to you. Do you wish to say something to your fans?

John & Paul Hogu:

Thank you very much for keeping the Funk alive. We love you all.
Be lookin' out for our next hit songs soon to come out this fall, under the bandname T.P.O.B.
Visit The Pulse Of Boston website for more info, releases and upcoming events.

John Hogu and Paul Hogu.

August, 2005

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