Still in âMint Conditionâ

Still in ‘Mint Condition’

Fresh off their 20th anniversary, the classic R&B band releases their eighth album

Brooke Obie

by Brooke Obie, September 11, 2012

Still in âMint Conditionâ

Mint Condition

Photo courtesy of MintConditionMusic.com

me of what some people have been complaining is missing from R&B today. Would you agree with some critics that say R&B is dying?

RICK: No, I don’t really listen to that talk that R&B is dying. I respect a lot of the folks that are out there doing their thing right now, like Frank Ocean, and I wouldn’t say it’s dying; I think if [artists] want to have dance records, pop records, that’s fine, just remember to stay true to your fans too. That’s what we always try to do, stay true to the fans and give them what they want from us.  But we respect everybody and take pieces from everybody.  Growing up, my I listened to Led Zeppelin, my favorite band is Radiohead and I’ve got Frank Ocean and Imogen Heap on my iPod. Our inspiration’s all over the place.

JEFF: It’s like you said, we can’t put it in a category.  We’re kind of on our own island and we do our own thing. When we do a festival or summer jam tour, we’re normally linked up with Kem and Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton, but we’re a little more rock-and-roll than those groups.

RICK: But when we come out on stage, we’re going to come out like a rock band and then get mellow and then bring the total energy and if you weren’t a fan before, you will be by the end of the show! [Laughs] We just stay true to ourselves. If you look at Earth Wind and Fire, the minute they started thinking about commercial and hit records, their style changed and that’s when they stopped selling. That’s what we took from the older bands: you have to stay you. Inside the group we have fights; some of us want to be more commercial and we all want that single and that hit record on the radio, but some just want to be able to stay creative. That’s why our albums are so diverse. We’ve got something for everybody and we’re just doing ‘Mint.’

JEFF: But even as independent artists, we still had a song on the charts for like 11 months in the top 5. That proves you can still make music independently, do your own thing and still chart and be successful.

EBONY: Prince has called you one of his favorite bands and even brought you all on his ‘Welcome to America’ tour last year.  What was it like working with Prince?

RICK: First of all, for him to do a tour and ask us to do it with him, that’s the biggest compliment ever. To perform on his stage, is an unbelievable honor. It was a great show. He’s the man. He’s the guy we all grew up listening to and trying to be like and whenever we come together and play together, it’s great. He’s like our big brother and he’s such a cool cat.

JEFF: He respects the band and we respect his work. He’s a big reason why that’s what made me move to Minneapolis because he’s the one who put it on the map for musicians. People wanted to be a part of that Minneapolis sound. So we’re definitely fans of his and have a lot of respect for him.

EBONY:  You’ve been in the game for over twenty years, constantly performing and churning out albums. What do you hope your legacy will be?

RICK: I hope not to be looked at as just an R&B group.  Just like we did TV On, we can do Jay Leno, David Letterman. I want the broadness of Mint Condition to be recognized. R&B is our home and we’ll never leave that, but it’s more than just R&B. We just want the world to know, whether it’s jazz or rock or R&B, we rock it all. It’s time more people knew how deep we go with our music.

You can buy Mint Condition’s new single ‘Believe in Us’ on iTunes and find out when they’re coming to your city at MintConditionMusic.com.

 Brooke Obie writes the award-winning blog DistrictDiva.com. Follow her on Twitter @DCDistrictDiva.

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