By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
How has the industry changed in the time since?
The music industry today is definitely more youth-driven. I don't have a problem with that, because we were young once — but record companies today only want to go with what's immediately selling. They don't develop acts like they did back in the '70s. If you don't make a certain quota, you're getting dropped. The flip side to that is that the groups that are still around are still touring. I see Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad, the SOS Band — we're all still working.
In addition to a Jersey Boys-style musical about the band, I hear a new reality show may be in the works for you. Can you elaborate?
That's something my son — who's a producer — came up with called Making It Kool. It's about guys who started as musicians and went on to be doctors, lawyers — different professions, but they still get together and play on the weekends. So we're going out to find these groups and give them a chance to make it "Kool" again.
And I'm sure there are fans out there who don't know that K&TG never stopped putting out albums...
That's right. We're still pretty much doing what we've always done — we're mixing it up, jazzing it up. We released an album called Still Kool about five years ago; it didn't get the proper promotion from the record company, because in America, if you ain't Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber, the big boys aren't going to promote you. But we covered some Marvin [Gaye] on the album and took a jazz approach to Christopher Cross' "Sailing." We're actually thinking about re-releasing it on our own label.
It's been reported that you and your brother Ronald [Bell] are in the process of putting together a new album as well. What can you tell us about that?
We want to do a record with guest artists, like a "Kool and Friends" sort of thing. We've been speaking with Bootsy [Collins], Nile Rodgers and Charlie [Wilson's] camp. We've reached out to Verdine White [from Earth, Wind & Fire], and we'd like to get Eddie [Van Halen] to play guitar on it. So yeah, we've got another project in the works.