Songwriter Interviews

Rick Finch

by Carl Wiser

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OK, this has gotten interesting. After we spoke with Rick, he was arrested on charges he had sexual contact with teenage boys. Finch pleaded guilty to some of the charges, but maintains his innocence.

Harry Wayne Casey (KC), would like to make it clear that Finch has not been a member of KC and the Sunshine Band for over 30 years, and maintains that Finch did not start the band. Casey is justifiably concerned that erroneous news stories have given the impression that Finch is still associated with the band, and this is not true. Finch's legal problems should in no way reflect on the current members of KC and the Sunshine Band, some of whom were not born when Rick left the band. The interview below took place November 11, 2009.
Rick was a musical prodigy, producing records when he was 16 years old instead of going to school. He and Harry Wayne Casey (KC) worked at TK Records in Miami, where they joined forces to write and record five #1 hits as KC and the Sunshine Band. Two white guys with a black rhythm section, they shaped the sound of what would become known as Disco. Here's how it happened.
Carl Wiser (Songfacts): Tell me about TK Records.

Rick Finch: Well, it wasn't called TK Records until we had a #1 record with George McCrae ("Rock Your Baby"). It was actually called Tone Distributors, which was a huge block-long warehouse and a very powerful one-stop independent record distributor. They would handle all the labels, and they definitely captured what was going on at any given moment. Whenever there was a buzz in the record industry, Henry (Stone) would know about it, because his distributor was very, very hot. And he used to service all of the record stores around the southeast region of the United States. Sometimes records from manufacturers would come in from Louisiana, Memphis or Nashville, go to his distributor, then go back up the United States. You couldn't buy it directly from the record company; you had to get it from the distributor.

As a kid I was paying attention to everything. You know, when you're young you're really clairvoyant and you can see all kinds of stuff. So, it was like, Wow, wouldn't it be a great idea to mix this information center from the front part of the building, and then in the back of the building there was this little funky R&B recording studio where people would go back there and record. It was a little production company. There was this 8-track studio upstairs on 1" tape, and people would go back there and just start recording away, and then whenever something was worthy of coming out, Henry would have it pressed, because there were local pressing plants all over south Florida back then. There were a lot of R&B records coming out, like Benny Latimore and Betty Wright. Henry was just trying to make some local chart action happen. The way business worked back then, if you had a handful of artists, and everybody sold just a little bit, it was the same thing as making a hit record, because it all adds up.

Songfacts: Did you guys ever record anybody we've heard of?

Rick: Let's see, Betty Wright, George McCrae, Bobby Caldwell, yeah, who knows who the tunes went for? Because no one ever said. There would be Willie Clarke or Clarence Reid as writers, or there would be whoever else had an idea. It could be Gwen McCrae, it could be Benny Latimore, it could be Timmy Thomas.

Songfacts: So you guys were writing and recording just the tracks, and then a vocalist would put their tracks on later?

Rick: Yeah, sometimes a writer would have an idea for a song, and he would direct us, and we would be the session musicians. Of course, tracks are made differently today – everybody does everything inside the computer. But back then, the arrangements would be rehearsed and played over and over and over and over again until the arrangement was smooth enough to turn on the tape recorder, and then of course we'd go about trying to get that magic take to build upon.

There was a young rhythm section that was recording, for the most part, all of the R&B records out of TK Records. They would just interchange the lead singer and/or the writers. But for the most part it was Jerome Smith on guitar, Robert Johnson on drums, and they would also change out the bass player or the keyboard player for a different flavor. It would either be me on bass, or Ron Bodgon, who was a much older guy. He was about 38, and I was only about 16. Jerome and myself and Robert, we were all really young cats in our teens. The keyboard player or writer would sometimes be 20, 30 years older than the guys playing the rhythm stuff.

There would not be a KC and the Sunshine Band without Jerome and Robert. Jerome and Robert were the mainstay session cats at T.K. Records. These guys were on fire! They had this Funk Brothers thing going on, and I am very happy to have worked with these two very wonderful guys. They always had a sense of workability and openness - you could record with these guys on 12 different tunes and no two recordings would sound the same. I bonded with them as a kid engineer early on, we always had a great friendship and deep admiration for one another. This of course set a good foundation for making a band concept.

Songfacts: And at some point you guys come up with "Rock Your Baby."

Rick: Yeah, I guess I'd been hanging out there long enough to figure out that this is what I wanted to do, and I just trusted my gut instinct. I came in early on as an engineer. I was fresh out of a TV/radio repair shop/record shop. I used to work at this place when I was like 13 and 14, 15 years old. It was called Martin's House of Music, and that's where I got my love for Motown records and the old Atlantic catalogue, and all the stuff from Memphis and everything on the High London label, and Echo Records, and all the R&B stuff. Back then, those R&B records were really, really big. It was so much fun to be behind the counter of this little TV radio repair shop as a kid, and selling hot R&B singles to the mostly black customers who came in. They would be so up-spirited and happy and sunshiny and bubbly, and they'd say, "Hey! White boy – you know the name of this record here?" And they'd start singing me part of the title, and I'd be like, "Yeah, that's Motown number blah blah blah." "Can you play that for me? I got to hear that record one more time before I buy it." So I'd pull it out of the shelf and put it on. And they started dancing right in the store. You talk about inspiration and seeing the joy come to people's faces. I was like, wow, man, I want to do this. But I was so interested in electronics and how the magic worked of a record - how this needle went in a groove and made the speakers jump out, and made people just go crazy. So I went about learning the science of this whole thing, and I wound up at TK Records. I was also involved as a bass player in a country and western band in the neighborhood - we'd play out at the VFW on Saturday nights for square dances. I used to get paid $35. I was the only 12-year-old bass player, and the rest of the guys were like 35 and 45 years old. Then I found myself in a high school cover band which wound up playing in the middle of the night on Friday and Saturday nights at this place called the Castaways on Miami Beach, which is no longer. These things led me to TK Records.

It took me a little bit of time to put all the pieces of the puzzle together: there's this really kickass distributor in the front that's on the pulse of what's selling, and then there's this recording studio in the back. But I noticed that the people in the back were not paying attention to what was hot and what was not. And I was like, Okay, this is not rocket science. Anybody would pick up a piece of paper and look at the charts and see what's hot and try to follow that stuff, and then go back in the studio and try to make something that great. And then maybe you could sell something too. So I started incorporating this way of thinking without telling anybody. I also recommended that KC do the same. He wasn't paying attention either because he was working in the warehouse, what they call pulling orders. So I started directing KC in that direction, and we started paying attention to what sounded good, and we found that the sounds that were good and professional sold, and the ones that weren't, did not. So we started tailoring our crappy productions back then after something that could sound as simple as possible, and have as much soul as possible. You've gotta remember, we're two little white boys. He's from Hialeah, and I'm from Opa-Locka. We had just met, and Willie Clarke recommended that we work together. By the time I met him, I had already recorded 100 and something 45 rpm records with various black artists at TK.

Songfacts: Were the guys over at TK all black guys?

Rick: Yeah, in the recording production studio area, it was a completely black company, except for Henry Stone and Steve Alaimo. The guys who had the sound that everybody wanted to use were Jerome Smith and Robert Johnson. Jerome used to play the guitar very, very spirited. Most of the recordings that were taking place back then were for Betty Wright, and were written by Clarence Reid and Willie Clarke. I learned by hanging out. I started skipping school, and I just stayed there every day. I would wake up in the morning and I would go to homeroom at my school to get my attendance in, but then I would stay the rest of the day at the recording studio. My mom didn't know anything for a whole year. And then one day I came home with a check for like $227,000, and I showed it to my mom. I said, "Mom, do you want the bad news first, or the good news?" She says, "What are you talking about?" I said, "Well, we have a hit record on the radio. And the bad news: I've been skipping school for a year." But she didn't even say anything about the school. She said, "Where did you get that check? You'd better take it back. You're gonna get us into trouble. Let me see that." She just couldn't believe it. My mom was very, very special. I had 5 brothers and one sister, but I think I was her pet or something, because she used to let me get away with stuff that she wouldn't let the other brothers get away with. She gave me the gut instinct that I could do this and get away with it.

Songfacts: So what did you do to earn that $227,000 check?

Rick: That was the first check that came in on "Rock Your Baby." And that was right in the middle of a gas crisis. I was floored. I couldn't figure out what to do next. I said, well, the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna give my mom a whole bunch of money and buy her a Jaguar and pay off her house. My mom didn't even have a driver's license, but I went ahead and bought her the Jaguar anyway. She didn't get a driver's license until maybe 7 years after. But the Jaguar sat in the yard in front of her new house, and I was proud that I could employ my brothers and take everybody on the road. But it all started with "Rock Your Baby." Without "Rock Your Baby" there would be no KC and the Sunshine Band.

Songfacts: How did the song come about?

Rick: You know that song by Timmy Thomas called "Why Can't We Live Together"?

Songfacts: I don't.

Rick: It was a pretty big world message type song. Timmy Thomas is a really wonderful guy, he's a schoolteacher. That was his biggest record. But anyway, his organ was left up in the studio, and "Rock Your Baby" became born unto this crazy drum machine that was inside of this Lowry organ that he left there. We wanted to have some steadiness about our demos, KC and I. KC would get on the piano or the Fender Rhodes and start playing away, and we would just jam. And the only way we could record was by taking the tape that was thrown away. I would gather it back up and spin it back onto a reel. Sometimes there would be two or three different types of tape, so the sound would change in the middle of the recording.

I used to use that as a tempo map, and I would play along with the drum machine. In the beginning it would hide my errors, but it would also teach me to be a better drummer, because I was paying attention to it that closely. Then we would build on that. We had a 1" 8-track machine and I had a cheap Japanese bass. We were just recording and recording and recording. And one night, this one track came out like better than anything else. It was like God was in the building or something - we had been blessed. It was like the hunger and desire was so incredibly overwhelming that some magical moment happened in there. We knew to build on that track.

There were a bunch of records coming out at that point. Hues Corporation had a song called "Rock The Boat," and Harry and I were also paying attention to the chart actions at clubs, because club records, according to Henry's direction, were doing better than just regular R&B Records. Back then you could sneak into a club and they didn't check your ID, so Harry and I would once in a while go sneak into the local clubs. There was one on Southwest 8th Street in Miami, Florida, that played dance music. We'd go in there for about an hour or two until it got to be way too late for us to be there. And we'd pay attention to what brought the people to the dance floor, and what made them sit down. So we started gearing ourselves to writing more in that direction. "Rock Your Baby" was inspired by the gathering of all that information.

Songfacts: So it wasn't just you and KC putting this together, it was the guys from the band?

Rick: Originally, "Rock Your Baby," the only two musicians were KC and I, and then we paid Jerome Smith $15 to put a guitar on it. In fact, everything on the first George McCrae album was just KC and I, except we'd bring in a guest guitarist here and there. We didn't have any budget, so we had to come up with the money ourselves.

Songfacts: That's very resourceful. You guys had this whole track together, how did you come up with the lyrics?

Rick: It took a while. The track was laying around for a pretty good bit before we came up with any of the words. But we weren't in a rush to make the wrong thing happen. We also discovered that through time you make good decisions. Because I saw the people who were in a hurry to get in and get out of there. You know, doing it on tape is one thing, but jeez, can you imagine the guys who put stuff together in an hour on Pro Tools? If you don't build time into a recording, how is it gonna last? Back in the days of tape you were forced to put time into a recording with all of the elements that you had to deal with, like rewinding the tape, putting the tape on the machine, turning on the microphones, getting the settings. The equipment was very crude, but it sounded great. We had great microphones. Back then great microphones were cheap. We had a Neumann 47, a Neumann 67, and we had RCA ribbon mikes, all kinds of crazy stuff.

But I have an interesting story to tell you about the bass drum sound on "Rock Your Baby." It was actually a transistor radio speaker. One day the microphone was broken for the kick drum. Being the electronics gadget dude that I was, I figured maybe the diaphragm was broken inside the microphone. I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't work, but it didn't. So I took that microphone apart, and I used the transformer inside and connected it to a regular speaker from a little tiny pocket radio. I put the speaker in the bass drum, and that's what I used as a mic for the kick on the "Rock Your Baby." (laughs) It came out really good.

Songfacts: You played that drum?

Rick: Yeah, it was pretty interesting.

Songfacts: It sounds like this song set the stage for the songwriting partnership of Richard Finch and Harry Wayne Casey. Were you guys writing the lyrics together, throwing ideas off each other…

Rick: I would be more directing the arrangements of the music and coming up with the titles. And then Harry would write the lyrics. Harry was a pretty good lyric writer. But coming up with the titles and coming up with the musical arrangements, that would be me, because I had been doing that already when I met Harry.

Songfacts: And that's how you guys wrote for most of your partnership?

Rick: Oh yeah. When we started seeing the success from "Rock Your Baby," we got this frenzy of recording, we got this great feeling of we need to go record more stuff. We would get Jerome and Robert, and KC would come up with a basic idea on the piano or something like that, and I would be the arranger/producer/bass player/engineer guy, who would help set the tempos and make sure it sounded hot, that the arrangement was with it, and that it moved. I picked up on that from back in the day with being a cover band for country and western stuff, because all of that old country stuff has smoothness. All the Patsy Cline, Webb Pierce, Buck Owens, all that old stuff was written really slippery and it had a soulful country feel about it. All the old country stuff had more soul to it - this new stuff is too mathematically correct, and doesn't really have too much life to it.

Songfacts: That's really interesting how you're drawing a parallel from old Buck Owens to KC and the Sunshine Band's hits.

Rick: Yeah, because if you listen really carefully to KC and the Sunshine Band, you'll hear the influences of country, Caribbean, R&B, and I don't know what else. (laughs) KC's dad was very Irish and his mom was very Italian. So I'm sure he had both of those influences, including church. He had an early love for gospel tunes and Motown as well.

I would always pay attention to the chart action that was going on. For example, "Get Down Tonight" was inspired by a record by Gilbert O'Sullivan called "Bad Dog, Baby" - (singing) "Well, I told you once before, and I won't tell you no more to get down, and get down, and get down. You're a bad dog, baby, but I still want you around." He wrote that song about his dog. That record was really hot back then. And I was like, Okay, this guy has a great idea. He's talking about "get down." But I didn't find out until later on he was talking about his dog. And I was like, Well, that's really square. How hip is that? So we just kept taking it to the next level. We started being like a helicopter to the situation and paying attention to what everyone else was doing, and then trying to come up with something better and more hip. "Get Down" is too inconclusive. It has to say "get down – something else." So we figured out to call it "Get Down Tonight." And that was the first big one for KC and the Sunshine Band.

Songfacts: You mention that you love being behind the curtain, but this sounds like it got taken to an extreme, because by naming the band KC and the Sunshine Band, that implied that KC was the leader of the band, and it was just a bunch of other guys behind him.

Rick: It used to be KC and the Sunshine Junkanoo Band, because when I first started working with KC he had this idea to involve these steel drums and all this stuff from the Caribbean, which was a lot to do back then, especially in a small 8-track studio. But how the Sunshine part came up is that people around KC used to call me "Sunshine" because I was all happy and bubbly and I always smiled wherever I went. Sherry Smith and Dutch Shaefer came up with the name. Dutch was a radio station DJ-went-promotions guy at TK Records hired by Henry. And then so was Sherry. They all worked at this radio station in San Francisco called KFRC. I guess they wanted to move to Miami, and they got hired by Henry to do promotions and publicity and stuff like that. But it was funny, because Dutch and Sherry used to call me Sunshine all the time, and it wound up being KC and the Sunshine Band. Also we were from the Sunshine State.

Songfacts: And were you okay with that?

Rick: Yeah, of course. You can't take anything too seriously; you just have fun with it.

Songfacts: But how do you feel about KC becoming the face of KC and the Sunshine Band?

Rick: I never wanted to be an out front guy. I always knew my place. As a matter of fact, I didn't expect that this was gonna go on the road. I quickly converted to that, of course, because I was just as excited as everyone else. But we were like, Oh my God, what are we gonna do now? We have to hurry up and put something together. And you can see how crazy it used to be in the beginning if you go back and look at some of the footage on "Queen of Clubs" that was recorded by the BBC.

Songfacts: It sounds like KC is the guy who did want to be out in front.

Rick: Oh yeah, absolutely. That was the intention all along. I mean, you have to also know that KC was singing sometimes occasionally at nighttime with these rhythm section cats. Jerome and Robert also had a nighttime face, and that was called The Ocean Liners. That's all they wanted to do was play. They would play in the studio in the day to make records, to make a little cash here or there, and then they would go out at night and play night clubs. They would play cover versions. So about once a week or so, KC would appear with the Ocean Liners as the Blue Eyed Soul Brother, and then go out and sing Motown stuff.

But you know what? Some of the Motown like by the Supremes and stuff, it didn't have so much soul. It had more pop-ability and more commercialism.

Songfacts: Did you guys model yourselves on that?

Rick: I would say so, yeah. We didn't have equipment like that, but we wanted to be like that. But then it's really funny, I watched the documentary, and I see that they had crappier equipment than we did. (laughs) So I'm really surprised that we came out with great sounding stuff.

But I gotta tell you a funny twist to the sound of TK Records. You know, me learning the theory of electronics and stuff like that, Mr. Martin also told me about how the theory of recording on tape works, and how you have to adjust the bias, and then different kinds of tape require different kinds of bias settings. And I was like, Hmmmmm, I think I know what I'm gonna do. The EQ and the console that we recorded on back in the day was very, very crude. And I think the highest number of high end that you could look forward to was maybe 7 1/2, and you could only boost it by like 5 or 6. So without telling anybody, I over-biased the machine, so that when you recorded it, it came back more sparkling. So everything above 10,000 cycles, it got shimmering. It had this very shimmering, beautiful effect to it. And then I directed Henry Stone and I said, Listen, you guys can't keep buying three or four different kinds of tape. You have to stick to one brand. Because the bias is gonna keep changing, the sound is gonna keep changing, and it's not easy to align an 8-track machine because the transport itself was very, very crude. I got everybody to understand that, and stop eating fried chicken and handling the tape at the same time, or sticking heavy rolls of tape on top of the transport itself, because it would bend the guide, and once the guides got bent, all the brilliance would and the high end would leave completely.

Songfacts: Well, you figured out how to run the studio like a wizard. And when you listen to "Get Down Tonight," there's definitely some stuff on there that is musically really innovative. Can you tell me a little bit about creating the track for that?

Rick: Sure. I was always into doing weird science. One time in another session I observed somebody slowing down the tape machine. So I couldn't wait to try this idea, and I figured the right track to do that on was "Get Down Tonight." I said, "We need to put something interesting on this track that really keeps the buzz, that really keeps the excitement going all the way through without being too artificial sounding." And so Jaybird - Jerome Smith, we called him Jaybird - he was like, "Let's do it, Finch, come on, man, let's do this thing!" He was always an up-spirited, "I don't care, I'll try anything" kind of guy. So I slowed down the tape machine from 15 IPS (Inches per Second) to 7½ IPS, and we put on this guitar riff that started in the beginning as a lead. Then I just let him play all the way through. I think maybe we punched in (made an edit) once or twice… it was like magic. That was our second gift, after "Rock Your Baby." Yes! This is incredible. And then the track sat around for almost a year before we could come up with any words!

I directed KC as black as possible, and we multi-tracked his voice and got it sounding really nice and thick and funky and empty, and swinging over the beat. Because the back beat was paramount. We took that 8-track tape and we transferred it to 16-track, and we finished off the mix over at Criteria. We were in Studio A at Criteria, and I just loved being in that room. You talk about hit records that were created in a studio, you could just feel the spirit in there. It was just putting your heart out there, using your gut instinct and just trying to record the magic.

SF: And then once that hits, you guys follow this formula very effectively.

Rick: Absolutely. Because you can't reinvent yourself too much. I started getting scared, because it started becoming bigger than us. It was really hard to not over-invent yourself, but just keep giving people the same quality again and again and again. You'll see where people started reviewing us and saying, "Wow, it sounds like the same thing over and over and over again." But you know what? I learned early on that the people don't get tired of it - the reviewers do. The reviewers are like, "Okay, this is the same shit, different lyrics. Same groove." But I learned to pay attention to people creating a sound, and that's all I was doing. They didn't talk about Motown like that. Motown had a sound for every artist that they had, the only difference was the lead singer. They used to have those cigarette-heavy gravelly voices, or they had the beautiful girls singing. It's one or the other. But I had a deep admiration for that "Wow!" that James Brown/Otis Redding, fiery cigarette gravelly voice. And I tried to make KC sound like that as much as possible. It was not easy, trust me. (laughs)

Songfacts: So after "Get Down Tonight," you do this again with "That's The Way I Like It."

Rick: Yeah. That happened right away afterwards. We were all happy, and you could tell. We transferred the excitement of that hit feeling from "Get Down Tonight," and trust me, then we were all like, "Oh, my God, this is amazing! We've done it! Let's put the magic on something else." And you could definitely hear the excitement and the magic from that first hit record with "That's The Way I Like It," because we were all pumped, and we were all stoked. If you listen to that record closely, you can hear everyone smiling while they're singing. Especially the background singers. It was a very, very magic moment. I mean, we're in Miami, Florida, and we're in a little independent label, and we're becoming successful? C'mon, man, this is not possible, this must be a dream!

Songfacts: I was reading somewhere that the song was a lot more risqué when it started.

Rick: Oh yeah. We had to tone down the words a little bit, it used to be called "What You Want." And I was like, "No, KC. That's not commercial enough, people aren't gonna figure out what you're saying." Back then you had to watch what you say. Not like today. People come on the radio and cuss and say all kinds of shit, but back then, you had to watch yo' mouth.

Songfacts: But there's only so many ways to say what you're saying here. You know, "that's the way I like it"…

Rick: Yeah, but you can be suggestive in a poetic way. It can mean whatever to whoever the listener is, and it doesn't really tie it down to any one thing or gender. So I figured that the more open you keep it, and unresolved, the more people you draw in.

Songfacts: Here's something that always interests me. It sounds like the club culture of the '70s became the overriding pop culture. So the movie everybody was going to was Saturday Night Fever, they're watching TV shows about disco, the songs are about being in a club. Yet how many people actually went to these clubs?

Rick: The club thing was going on for a long time, and no one was talking about it. Lord knows KC and I went around before we were of legal age and got into these clubs and watched people go crazy on this underground stuff that was going on that nobody knew about on the radio. There was a whole underground cult of dance music going on, vinyl that no one knew about. There was a song out there called "Woman" by a group called Barabas on the early Epic days. It was this heavily influenced jungle record that would get people on the dance floor, drunk, sweating, so close to each other - it was like, Wow, this is amazing, I want in on this. We were trying to figure out how to get this to happen with KC and the Sunshine Band. I also saw that the club records were not being played on the radio. So I said, "Okay, this is not commercial. The people are dancing to this music, but how is it selling?" I didn't figure out that the DJs were buying it. I forgot that the DJs are a whole other market that you can sell records to, that radio never heard of back then. But back then, radio was paying attention to the people, and it was also giving the people what they want. You could call a radio station and whether they lied to you about, "Yeah, I'll play your record or not," at least the people felt like they were connecting with something.

Songfacts: And the lyrics that you're coming up with are things that people would say in a club.

Rick: Yes, there you go. (laughing) We got the source of information in real time. And we did the same thing when we went out on the road. As we started performing, we'd pay attention to what the people were doing, either body moves or body language, and try to transfer that back into the next production. As soon as we got back off the road we'd go right into the studio with that freshly captured energy, start recording, and not try to think too much. You know, thinking is not a good thing.

Songfacts: This is all coming together. So tell me about "Shake Your Booty."

Rick: That was definitely from watching the people out there, for sure. That was Harry watching the people, and like, Okay, we have to take advantage of this. The Bump was big back then, and then every once in a while you'd see someone break loose and shake their booty like Jell-O. We figured, okay, how do you write about this? You know, say it like it is. We also were collecting phrases, trying to find a buzz word and write about it, or a catch phrase, and try and expound on that. Just trying to keep it fun.

Songfacts: And then you get into "I'm Your Boogie Man." Tell me about that song.

Rick: That song was written about one particular DJ at a radio station in Miami, Florida. His name was Robert Walker. He believed in us, and is the guy who broke "Get Down Tonight." There were two program directors at this radio station called Y-100. It was Bill Tanner and Robert W. Walker. Robert W. Walker was really the guy with the ears at the radio station. We wrote the song about him without telling him. He was the Boogie Man that brought all the funk and the good feeling and the vibes to the people every morning. It sounded like we were talking about us, but we weren't. We were actually talking about a DJ.

A lot of DJs got offended and took it wrong. For example, Frankie Crocker at WBLS in New York thought we were talking about black guys. We were scheduled to go on the air, and when he found out we were white he cancelled the interview right at that very moment. He said, "Pull them cracker's records off the radio. I didn't know they was white! Get them out of my studio!" But then, he apologized, and he let us come back on the air sometime later.

Songfacts: Wow. And then you come up with another hit right after that with "Keep It Comin' Love."

Rick: Yeah, we didn't know what else to write about at that point. We were like, Okay, now what? We gotta figure out a way to keep it comin'. And then that's what we started writing about, keep it comin'. Okay, and then what? Keep it comin', love. That's why there's no lyrics in that song, if you notice it just says, "Keep it comin', love, don't stop it now, don't stop it now," and that's all it does, it's the same thing. "Don't tell me there is no more." We started writing about shit because we were out of lyrics… we were out of everything at that point. Okay, what do we write about? You know, we're on the third or fourth album, what the hell do we write about now? And so I'm like, Okay, just say it like it is. "Don't tell me there ain't no more, and don't stop it now." (laughing) The funny part about that is in the Midwest everyone thought we were saying "keep it common law," like keep it common law marriage. That's actually what made that record big in the Midwest, and we wouldn't even know that until later. There was a perfect example of people letting it mean what they want it to mean.

Songfacts: And then "Boogie Shoes" ends up on Saturday Night Fever. How did that happen?

Rick: I don't know. But I never expected that record was going to wind up going on a movie soundtrack. But Robert Stigwood was a movie guy and he thought to use that in a scene where the shoes were a very big part of this disco façade thing that was coming out. Remember, back in the day it was all about high heeled rhinestone shoes, glimmering outfits and all that. We were also a part of that, we took advantage of it because it was the movement. This guy named Harvey Krantz, who was a costume designer in Los Angeles, California, is the guy who also put the sequins and all those interesting pastel colors on our outfits, so that was a lot of fun.

Then KC and I got asked to do Miami Vice before they asked Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson.

Songfacts: What, to be the actors?

Rick: Yeah. It was the first shot at Miami Vice, and I was like, Man, I'm not an actor. But now I feel like an idiot for not taking them up on it. Because actually, I love acting - I was in drama in high school. But I was so involved in music, and I was loving music so much, I was like, Okay, this is a different animal. How do I fit into this? That's when we figured out it was a guy who was half black and half white, which is Philip Michael Thomas, and then a totally white guy. So, I claim they found the right guys anyway.

Songfacts: Were you going to be Crockett or Tubbs?

Rick: I was supposed to be the guy for Don Johnson. It was pretty interesting, because off and on again I would just happen into the set while they were recording and talk with the people on the production. I'd just come in and come out. Because back then it was loose, you could do that.

Songfacts: They were shooting this in Miami near where you guys were living?

Rick: Oh yeah.

Songfacts: When did you guys first hear the word "disco"?

Rick: Around '77 or '78. And then I started recognizing that all the stuff we put out was up-tempo. We didn't have any slow songs. Because I figured that slow songs were boring, and we didn't want to have people going to sleep on us. So I said, Okay, we better come up with something different. So we started trying to reinvent ourselves without changing the sound too much. And that was really tough for us to do. So we had a little off point album, which would be the album called Who Do You Love. That's when we were trying to figure out what to do next. And then after that we came up with "Please Don't Go."

Songfacts: Well, tell me about "Please Don't Go." That must have forced you guys out of your comfort zone a bit.

Rick: Well, yeah. I remember being in Disney World in California, and there was a certain moment where everyone was just flipping out and we were almost fist-fighting. And I said, "So this is what it's come to." And I was like, "Well, I don't want to be here anymore, and I quit." As we grew, the differences got greater and the distractions got greater, and people were all over the place. So I'm like, Okay, this is not what I want. All the craziness on the road, and everything that was going on, I just didn't feel like I fit into that, I don't subscribe to that craziness.

Songfacts: Yeah, but you were working on the track for "Please Don't Go." You have a writing credit on it.

Rick: Oh yeah, of course. If you listen very closely when I'm producing the vocal on that, you'll hear the conviction in KC's voice, because that was the absolute last song that I did produce for KC and the Sunshine Band. And then I left, and the managers recommended that KC get rid of the band and just make it a solo career. So he goes and signs this deal with Epic, I came back for a few minutes to help patch up a song here or there, like "Give It Up."

Songfacts: Well, that's a pretty big deal, that you came back and had some involvement in "Give It Up."

Rick: Yeah, they said, "Please come back and just help us with one more song." And so I did. But then I left again with a bad taste in my mouth, and so did they. We had some really ugly words to one another. That was the beginning of the end. And now there's this extreme hatred that exists from their end. It shouldn't go like that. I've tried over the years to be in touch with Harry but he has a lot of people who seem to be more interested in keeping us apart rather than for us to resolve any past differences. I know what their reasons are and like everything else in life it seems to always boil down to money. It's worth more to them to keep us apart than to allow for things to get patched up. We did a lot of great work as a team – created music that has stood the test of time, music that will outlive both of us. Life's too short for the b.s.

Songfacts: On "Give It Up," did you actually play on that record?

Rick: Yeah, that's me playing.

Songfacts: Did you help produce it?

Rick: I didn't engineer so much. If you listen real closely to that record, you can tell I did not engineer that record too much, it had a different kind of a sound to it. That was also part of the Epic re-think.

Songfacts: What can we listen for in that record that is Richard Finch?

Rick: The bass line, and the smoothness of the song arrangement. After that, nothing. (laughing)

Songfacts: So, Richard, as KC and the Sunshine Band, you guys had 5 #1 hits. You had 6 if you count "Rock Your Baby." Somebody is getting rich. Is it you guys, or is this a case of somebody else kind of pulling the strings here?

Rick: Well, we worked at TK Records without a contract for years when we were working on a handshake with Henry Stone. People would come up to me and they'd go, "Hey, man, that guy's ripping you off. That cracker's ripping you off." I go, "Man, what are you talking about? I got three houses, cars, you're telling me the guy's ripping me off?" I said, "If he's ripping me off, I don't feel it, and I don't care." No one could tell me anything about Henry Stone, because everything that he told me was very, very true. I have extreme love and admiration for that man. I mean, he was like a dad for me. My own dad died when I was very young and my older brothers did the best they good, but Henry Stone had a profound and lasting impact on my life. As far as I'm concerned, Henry didn't do anything wrong. But, you know, there's always talk in the business.

Songfacts: Did you keep your publishing rights, your performance rights?

Rick: No, because I didn't have anything on paper. I was more about being in the studio and having the concepts down and the song arrangements. I was all about the music. And I was really stupid and dumb when it came to simple business stuff. And to be honest with you, all the contracts to me seemed like Japanese, and I saw so much uncomfortable stuff go on in the business when it came to contracts and stuff like that. So I wasn't even trying to understand it and I left it to others to watch out for me and make sure I was protected. And I should have paid more attention. Henry even told me, before the Epic thing came down, he said, "Listen, there's gonna come a time when you wished you had all this on paper." And I was like, "Henry, everything is fine. I don't know what you're talking about." He says, "All right, remember I told you." And exactly a year later was the most devastating point in my life, where I lost everything.

Songfacts: So when you're writing these songs, they're cutting you big checks so you can buy cars and houses—

Rick: Yeah, when we were connected to the company, yeah.

Songfacts: All right. But cut to 30 years later, and the big checks aren't coming to your mail box because you don't own the publishing rights.

Rick: Right. It's still all a mystery to me how it happened, or didn't happen, or how it all went wrong. But it was just very strange. I was caught totally off guard with the way that it all went down.

Songfacts: Is KC in the same situation?

Rick: No, not really. But see, he was smart enough to stay more on top of the business end. The record company went bankrupt after KC went to Epic. And then BMI was bought, they bought out the publishing, as far as I can remember, through Rhino. Rhino bought the entire catalog of KC and the Sunshine Band stuff. And then out of all the publishing stuff, Henry Stone kept some of it, and then the rest of it went to Rhino EMI. So they have the rights to that music as far as I know.

Here's where it gets sticky. Rick signed his royalties away to Harry Wayne Casey in a 1983 "Property Division Agreement." So that means every time you hear a KC and the Sunshine Band song on the radio, in a movie, in a commercial, or just about anywhere, Rick sees no money from it. So why did he sign this contract? Rick told us:
"I am very upset that KC's lawyers executed a contract that manipulated me out of my 50 percent ownership in the music that we created together taking advantage of me when I was not in a capacity to understand what was going on at that particular moment and having an attorney whose background was in Real Estate representing me."

Harry Wayne Casey politely declined our request for an interview, as he did not want to engage in a back-and-forth argument. Instead, he supplied documents detailing court cases he won against Rick in 1986 and again in 2004, where judges in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court ruled that Rick's allegations that he was impaired at the time he signed the contract, or that he was somehow manipulated, were without merit. A telling passage comes in the 2004 case:
"The Court notes a bit of sadness in this case as it relates to the difficulties incurred by Finch as more particularly described on the record of these proceedings. Such difficulties, however, do not excuse the conduct of Finch and his agents."

In this interview, Rick admitted that he was very bad with his business affairs and that he got some terrible advice. Remember, this is the guy who bought his mother a Jaguar even though she couldn't drive. It is clear, however, that the courts believe the 1983 agreement is valid, and Harry Wayne Casey is legally entitled to Rick's share of the royalties.

A reconciliation is unlikely, as Harry and Rick see things very differently, and more lawsuits are likely.


Songfacts: What are you doing these days?

Rick: You know, with everything that came down, it took me a long time to figure out reasons to come back into the business. I had to find the love and the passion to do it again without condition, without worrying about somebody taking advantage of me and all this other stuff. Slowly I found the passion and the heart to do it again, and it's reflected on my new music. I was very lucky to find some people I have common thread with, like their heart and their passion. It's a very money driven business, today more than anything. And people think you can make a big dollar overnight, but you can't. To be realistic, no one's really buying any music so we are doing a lot of out of the box thinking with how we're approaching music and sales and promotion today. I have faith in the people that I'm working with now, and they also have faith in me. And we also have this gut instinct that something is going to break, and something that we can do is going to help them with their path. I just want to try it one more time, try to make my mark one more time. But not myself being a performer, but through other people, just like I did in the beginning – I'm still the behind the scenes guy.

"Let's Dance Again," a track that Rick wrote, produced and performed in 2009.
The only difference is now I've gathered more information and I'm not trying to come from a jaded perspective, even though I believe I was taken advantage of. I've set that aside, and I found new heartfelt drive, and I've found some really wonderful people who give me that candle of hope. The people that I work with now both in and out of the studio and our incredible artists – we all have a relationship that transcends money and success and fame. My new artists are from all over the world – I don't even know to begin to tell you how wonderful and talented they are. I also live in Ohio now and I can't imagine living and working anywhere else. The people here are real and truly spiritual. They are my family and my heart and I learned that even during the darkest of times in my life, God never left my side – and believe me, given what I have been through and the emotional and financial devastation, there is really no reason for me to be here except for God. Myself and my team, we have pretty much put God in charge of our direction and He has brought these great artists to us. We all genuinely care about each other, and you can hear it in the music. You can hear it in the words. You can hear it in the production. Like with the KC and the Sunshine Band music that I produced, the new work also speaks for me and it all has that timeless, high quality, genuine sound to it.

Rick was on the 2010 Grammy Awards ballot in five major categories for his work producing the band Nevada and their first album, …Of The World." November 11, 2009.
More Songwriter Interviews

Comments: 31

  • David R Kinder from Miami Florida Hey Rick long time no hear I liked your article I didn’t realize that you had gone through so much I am so sorry for your losses look forward to hearing some of your new music your friend David Kinder
  • B.bennett from Italy........we have checked and this interview is the best every done.
    From Rock Your Baby, which was produced by Rick and Harry and not by and or for KCSB, as always stated by KC. as well as the album of RYB. personal statement of Georg McCrae.
    after that success these two young guys formed KCSB.....
    Read the interview,.........is all TRUE!
    Mr. Finch hasn't hide anything from his and Mr.Caseys side, and he gives credit to whom credit belongs.
    as he was always did. Genius in the music creation and bad in commercial matters.
    the story will hopefully come out before everybody does RIP.
    Lets hope, it is worth to know the TRUTH, in which you have already a lot in this interview except the black part of the story why one part is still alive and the other destroyed and spoilt his life.
    everything has a reason, as well this one.
    ............will see...............
  • B.bennett from ItalyHere should be a follow up now. .........
    Rick is free again, he has suffered too much!

    The people cant wait to read it!!

    The REAL Story behind and about KCSB !
    How it starts and why it went down !
    For both in those bad years after 1979-1982.
    HWC met some one who changed it all for just one person.

    why HWC could start again around the 1990s....is a second story, Mr.Mel Haber's Story.
    Uncle Mel, as he was called. RIP!

    that would be a good start for one person into 2018.

    if someone has the balls to come out, than show up.!

    PS: Thx a lot Mr.Willie Clarke, you are right! lvu
  • Celeste. from Miami.All this story is a lie.... why don't they tell the truth about who really is.responsible for making and got shot because he would not sign over the contact.but the band's name was the ocean liners .k c IT is all a lie. He can tell the lie because every one is.just about dead.
  • Michael Simmons from Ricks Old NeighborhoodWhat is truly Ricks will in fact be returned to him one day soon, I believe that will include his freedom. Reading this brings back so many memories because even though Rick and I had lost contact over the years, we both walked the same paths and went to also of the same places. I remeber Martins house of music so well. Not only did both Rick and I hang there at times..my brother and his band used to pratice in Charlies back room. I miss Rick and I pray to see him once again some day soon. He was and is an awesome and loving person, he was and is my friend.
  • Gradual99 from Ohio I think that the person that was in this interview was probably closer to what Rick is really like. People who are brilliant in some ways are often naieve in other ways.
    It is clear to me that when it comes to music Rick knows all the ends and outs. It is far more common for people to have talent in misrepresenting,lying and giving false accusations.Those type of people often seek out and target people like Rick who have been been blessed and people like Rick never see it coming.If Rick was what they say he was ,he would have handled the whole matter completely differently. The police would not have been talking to Rick directly. They would have been speaking to a slick lawyer.and no one would have heard anything about the incident.
  • Loni Reeder from CaliforniaFor those keeping tabs on Rick's situation: Rick has a new attorney and two appeals are pending. We are ultimately seeking to overturn this matter, given the magnitude of information that has come to light about this case and about Licking County, OH and questionable activities in both the sheriffs and lead prosecutors offices which have recently garnered national media attention.

    I have seen all of the evidence in Rick's case (FINALLY - it took forever to gain access!!!) and I can inform the public that Rick did NOT confess to any sex crimes with anyone as the media falsely reported (but then again, they can only report what the police tell them... are you seeing the bigger picture here now?). The details will be forthcoming at a time and place designated by new counsel.

    In the meantime, I suggest the public invest some dollars in a great book: "FALSE JUSTICE" - written by Ohio's former Attorney General, Jim Petro and his wife Nancy which outlines the magnitude of the police/prosecutor corruption problem in Ohio, as well as nationwide, with regard to false confessions orchestrated by less-than-ethical police officers, and the tampering and suppression of evidence by dirty prosecutors who seek to advance their own careers by convictions over getting to the truth of a case.

    I also encourage everyone to become involved with The Innocence Project - you will most likely have one local to your area - if not, become involved at the national level. The media has recently reported quite a few innocent people who have been released from prison, thanks to their unwavering efforts to uncover the truth... and expose those responsible for burying the truth to further their own careers.

    Through dedication and our collective efforts, we can all contribute toward making positive change in our judicial system, and hopefully, with laws desperately needing to be changed, eventually be able to hold those responsible for sending innocent people to prison fully accountable for their actions (right now, these dirty prosecutors have immunity from prosecution and from being sued --- WE MUST CHANGE THAT!!!)

    For the moment... Rick is doing as well as can be expected. Please stop by www.rickfinch.com to read the latest from him and feel free to sign the guestbook.
  • Loni Reeder from CaliforniaFor those of you monitoring this matter, a Non Oral Hearing is scheduled in Rick's case, to take place on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. to review the merits of a Postconviction Relief Petition, which was logged into court record on August 19, 2011. This is very significant, as this filing contains ALL of the information, evidence and notarized statements (14, to be exact - to include in-person witnesses AND those with first hand knowledge of these matters) speaking in Rick's defense, which was never heard or seen by the court - as Rick was compelled (against his better judgment, as he wanted to go to trial) to take a No Contest plea, being assured of a much different scenario than prison. There is a big difference in pleading Guilty than in pleading No Contest, so I hope the first paragraph above will be amended to reflect this. When I have the result of the hearing, that information will be posted, unless a gag order in the case is issued.
  • Joshua from AtlantaI pose the same question to Jackson from Colorado as I did to anonymous - who are you? How do you know if the deal that went down in 83 with Finch selling his rights was completely on the up and up? Did you see the document? Do you know the people involved? Were you there? Are you KC still trying to discredit Finch from his own history? Give a REAL NAME and REAL FACTS and present the document Finch signed if you know so much about it. Let the public decide for themselves. Heck, give an in-depth interview to Songfacts and drag out all of whatever you know and the facts and paperwork to back it up. I'm so sick of all the hearsay spewed on the Internet and people pretending they have the inside track. Losers.
  • Jackson from ColoradoFinch shouldn't have let Casey buy him out in '83, but he did and it was legal. At the time disco was hated, the band's back catalog wasn't selling anymore, the formula was tired the new formless albums tanked. It's only by today's light that it appears to be a bad business decision but it happened to most musicians from that era (famously MJ owning the Beatles and Klein owning the Stones rights). The whole truth may not be represented in this interview but that's not the point anyway. It was good until the end when it dissolved into appeals to the supernatural.
  • Joshua from Atlanta-anonymous from miami: if your information is accurate and truthful, you would state your entire name proudly and NOT be 'anonymous,' you would give full and complete details about this matter to songfacts and obtain and produce the documents to back up your claims which shows Finch's signature stating he never had anything to do with writing the songs (since you claim to have that kind of internal access). I'd also expect that someone sitting in the office where this alleged and very serious matter of the assignment of rights took place and being privy to that action would be slightly more literate in their recanting of the matter. We're all waiting!
  • Anonymous from MiamiDo not be fooled by this hogwash I was there when KC came into the office and asked that Ricks name be added as a writer to songs KC had written all by his self.also Rick Finch was paid money for the market value of the songs at the time of the settlement....they were not just taklen away from him..The sad part is Rick knows the truth he did not write those songs
  • Wbza 107.1 Internet Radio from Newark,ohioSam from Ohio you need to shut up for one your just jealous you are not him and we still at wbza 107.1 internet radio still believe he never did that and this town of Newark,Ohio is retarded anyway nothing but rednecks and police that got beat up and is taking [*oops*] out on the public
  • J. Skaggs from San Diego, CaWhat I find truly tragic about this - beyond the allegations themselves - is the fact that Harry Casey is so desperate to discredit Rick's contributions to KCSB, when a simple online search will immediately refute the claim that his partnership with Rick only dates back to 1974 (a producer credit for "Sound Your Funky Horn" is clearly indicated on the single released in 1973). Rick's performances, writing, arranging, prodcution and engineering on the KCSD records is as integral a part of their success as anything Harry brought to the collaboration; and Rick's bassline for "Get Down Tonight" is one of the most influential in all of music, let alone funk/R&B/disco. The fact that he accomplished all of this before the age of 25 is only another amazing aspect to the story. It's perhaps a fitting irony that the only way Harry Casey can remain relevant today is by forever being tied to that same legacy, which no matter whatever revisionist history he attempts to claim, was an equal partnership of two, not an auteur effort of one.
  • Loni Reeder from CaliforniaI would like to refer everyone the two press releases issued by Mr. Finch's attorneys and myself regarding recent events:

    MEMBERS OF THE PRESS:

    On March 26, 2010, Mr. Finch engaged criminal defense counsel to represent him with respect to the pending allegations in Licking County, Ohio.

    Mr. Michael J. Connick (Cleveland, OH) of Connick & Associates Co. LPA

    and

    Mr. Thomas J. Connick (Cleveland, OH) of Webster Dubyak & Weyls Co. LPA

    As of this time, Mr. Finch’s attorneys are in the early stages of their investigation.

    They would like to remind everyone that these are just allegations and that Mr. Finch is presumed innocent.

    Thank you.


    *********************************


    MEMBERS OF THE PRESS: we appreciate your contact, but at this time, we have no comment.

    We will let due process happen through the legal system and through that, we are sure Mr. Finch will be vindicated from these unfounded allegations.

    Our thanks to the numerous fans, friends, artists and their families who are rallying in support of Mr. Finch - he very much appreciates your care and concern.

    Any future statements will be issued by Mr. Finch's attorney at the appropriate time.

    Thank you.
  • Sam from OhioAll you Rick Finch fans might wanna check the papers.. he was just arrested in my hometown for molesting multiple teenage boys:

    http://www.newarkadvocate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20103250348

    Let's just say it wasn't a big surprise to people who live around here.. he's had a less than stellar reputation since he moved here
  • Willie Clark from FloridaRick was doing great before I convinced him to help KC.

    Rick is one in a million is absolutely correct about everything and he’s even jogged my memory about some of the things I’d forgotten about. The TK years were some great times and some great music and I knew in my heart & gut when I met this kid that TK had better bring him on board and I’m glad they did... and I'm glad I helped make that happen.

    Rick made a lot of money for TK and their artists and for KC and the Sunshine Band cause he also operated off of a gut instinct.. and just sort of knew automatically what would and wouldn’t work in a recording or on stage. You can’t teach that. You either got the gift or you don’t. Rick had it then and still has it. He never wanted to be the out front guy in the band – that was KC’s thing but Rick could have done that too if he had wanted to.
  • Sylvia from Olympia, WashingtonI am glad to finally read the truth about what really happened to KC and Rick. I pray for his life to get better and better as it should!
  • Arthur W. from Oklahoma City, OkThis interview has left me sad and angry and with many more questions. How is it even possible for something like this to happen? Where was the legal system to protect Rick Finch? Was his attorney even in the same room? How did he wind up with a real estate attorney? Why didn’t Rick SUE his attorney cause he sure allowed his client to get screwed over, or was that KC payola too? They don't know how things work in the entertainment industry and I can't believe that 'law is LAW' where this stuff is concerned. I cannot imagine that this could take place if this process happened in a courtroom in front of a judge. This sounds like one of those sleazy, backroom deals that Florida is famous for. Gee, they f**k over musicians like Rick AND presidential elections. Big surprise! When is that state going to start behaving responsibly where the legal system is concerned?
  • Anonymous from New York And MiamiReading this reminds me of the Latin Music Business, even the Major Labels do this as the normal business practice, like the D**Ks at Cutting Records who have done the exact samething to every act they had recorded, and I use the term with the knowledge that 80% of all the act paid for their own recordings, in other words the masters was the acts. As I said every Major Label Latin Division has and still does those type of deals, and with the Lawyers that work in the Latin Music Business and we know who you are Mark, they continue to steal the royalties from artist that can't even buy food or support their families because the gigs have stopped. Why can't the PROs and the Copyright office along with the Bar do something it happen to American acts back then and it still happens to Latin acts now and then.
  • Ginger from MiFascinating interview. I have been one of the biggest KCSB fans since the beginning. I knew some of the original members back in "the day" including Jerome and Robert, and was friends for decades with another original member. I heard small bits and pieces of some of what went on, but am shocked and disappointed to hear what happened to your rightful ownership of the music. Since your departure, the feeble attempts at new KCSB music has never even come close. It makes it clear you were the "heart and soul" of music that has stood the test of time. I wish you the best and know you will once again share your gift with the world.
  • Vicki from Sydney AustraliaRick reading this interview has made me sad for you, it really has. I can't understand why anyone would want to do that to you. But Im so glad Rick, you have God with you, He will sustain you and give you everything you need. Very interesting interview. Just remember you have lots of support out there!!
  • Mike Eiland from Columbus, OhAn amazing read into the early days of recording and the large amount of work it took to make those sounds. I bought four K.C. & the Sunshine records before "Get Down Tonight". They were "Blow Your Whistle" (by K.C. & the Sunshine Junkanoo Band in September 1973), "Sound Your Funky Horn" (early '74), "Queen Of Clubs" in May '74(had to buy it as an import---wasn't available in the states at first apparently. Read about the song in a U.K.-based magazine) and "I'm A Pushover". I also bought "Rock Your Baby" amid all those other purchases without realizing the band's connection beyond it being a T.K. record and seeing the names "H.W. Casey-R. Finch" in the songwriter credits below the title on the record. Interestingly I bought "Queen Of Clubs" and "Rock Your Baby" on the same day without making a direct connection between the two. I didn't even catch that George McCrae's voice was on "Queen Of Clubs". I think "Get Down Tonight" is an amazing record. I bought it without hearing it first. The other four records were interesting enough to gamble on it. Therefore, I bought "Get Down Tonight" in April 1975, three full months before it first appeared on the Billboard Hot 100. The clubs had to have helped a record that lay dormant for three months. My love for that song, along with wanting to know more and more about the making of it lead me to Rick Finch's Web site. I constantly Googled "Get Down Tonight". I wrote about the song in the blog section of his site and then I got contacted by his publicist. That lead to my getting to meet Rick Finch in person on July 25, 2009!!! I had him autograph those old vinyl records and I stay in touch with him. I was 19 when I discovered the band, going on the name of the band alone. I knew K.C. & the Sunshine Band had to be a party band with a non-commercial sound. I liked the Betty Wright/Little Beaver/Fatback Band/Olympic Runners "underground" sound. Not even "Get Down Tonight" sounds truly commercial to me, if you just listen to the music and not pay attention to the lyrics. There is so much going on in that song that 34 years later I'm hearing more things. The bass-playing on that song and the engineering is just amazing. When I finally heard it on the radio (CKLW-Detroit) it sounded even bigger. It played every two hours on CKLW from June to August 1975. What an amazing time it is for me now, to be friends with the guy who put that sound together. Awesome!
  • Robert MendahlCan't read this article when you are pressed for time..... it is so insightful of the man and the times I had to read it when I could absorb it.

    You would refer to things in conversations that left me not knowing what you meant. Referring to the break up of the band and that you would never speak ill of the co-founder. Your words were tempered, they were understanding from a higher level than the emotional level. It was you taking the high road. I admire that.

    When you have been through heaven and hell on earth and you can still look at your life from that "thankful for where I've been" perspective - it shows what character you have. I'm impressed with that!

    I'm excited for you! With that terrific attitude - the future shows untold adventure. You learned a lot from the school of hard knocks but it's obvious that you learned not to let those knocks squelch your spirit. Spirit is a quality that you won't relinquish until you give up, and thank God - you haven't begun to do that.

    If there is anything I would like to offer up as a new friend - it is encouragement. I know you have the talent, I know you know you have the talent. God knows you have the energy.... just go do it and enjoy the journey. That has to be such a great feeling that you are embarking on this great journey that is boundless and borderless and everyday you get to discover a little more of where you might take it.

    You mention the "candle" here in the Midwest.... It's probably everywhere but maybe here it's more selflessly shared. I too like it here.

    I took a philosophy course in college in which a nun was the prof. She asked us to do an assignment in class. If you were told you have only 2 weeks to live, what would you do differently from this moment forward?
    We had about 30 minutes to reflect on that and put our thoughts down on paper. We guessed that this was to be graded so we all worked very hard for those 30 minutes.

    Then as the time ran out..... she told us to fold our papers, put them in our pockets and said "so why aren't you doing those things now?" I'll never forget that.

    In fact I wish I would stop my very "busy" world and actually do the assignment. It's amazing how the busy stuff takes our eye off the ball.

    Your eye is on the ball - you want to bring smiles to the faces of people through enlightening them with music and encouraging those who make the music to be more. Noble! I love music for the joy it brings to my life and love to share it.... but the world is a better place because I don't make it!

    That, my friend, I'll leave to you.
  • Debbie StevensThanks so much, for giving your readers a better glimpse into Rick's world-

    All that has come to pass ultimately caused a great deal of sufferance, and much heartache for Rick, but thankfully,this will never be the case again! There was so much I wanted to add here, but each person has pretty much covered it all...

    In the time I've come to know this gentleman,I've learned far more about him, about the true genius of his creativity,and his passion and drive to see OTHERS succeed!

    In Australia, more people are beginning to sit up and take notice of Rick's amazing talent,and rightfully so! Not only has he MADE music history, he continues today-

    When I approached Rick of my ideas about an ovarian cancer campaign, he delighted in offering his help.
    Nothing was a problem,in fact, it's been his own enthusiasm which has continued to push me, even when I've questioned the loyalty of others!

    I pray he keeps looking forward, for this is where Rick is moving, and he's moving mountains in the process! The truth HAS set him free, and the world of music shall from here on, be reaping all the rewards.

    Good on ya mate, you're a real champ!
  • AnonymousGod Bless You Rick and may the child prodigy continue to live in you forever and keep creating the unique and wholesome music nobody has been able to surpass.

    The master of creativity and mentor to generations of new musicians, it will only be a matter of time before Ricks touch is all over us again !

    Get Down with Rick - take II and we can hardly wait !!

    With Love from Downunder - AD
  • Loni ReederRick's brilliance as a producer, arranger and musician are only exceeded by his brilliance as a human being.

    To the older artist, he is an icon who becomes an accessible and giving peer as they jointly work on bringing greatness to the artist's music.

    To the younger artist, he is the Pied Piper of what is possible, having also been a 'teen with a dream' with a desire to make a difference through music.

    Though an adult, Rick's 'inner child' has remained intact and shines through to the young people he works with and as a result, he has been able to craft, nurture and grow their person, as well as their musical character (I have received notes from parents, telling me that Rick has had a profound impact on their kids, both musically and in their behavior at home and school).

    Those who may start out initially as a business contact, DJ, music critic or interviewer quickly become a friend, as Rick is a very loving and open person and has this ability to instantly bond with just about everyone he comes in contact with.

    Rick is an open book... an open soul... and an open heart. He cries for the sad condition of our world and seeks to do whatever small part he can in its healing, which is why we try to partner the music he's producing with worthy causes.

    Rick personally has experienced great suffering beyond what was even conveyed in this interview - but chooses to focus all of his attention and energy on the positive and what we can collectively do to help bring great, REAL music back to the world and help great causes in the process.

    Currently, Rick is the spokesperson for the "Feel Teal" Ovarian Cancer Awareness effort founded by Australian journalist, Debbie Stevens, with 50 percent of the net proceeds from Rick's "For All Reasons" compilation CD going to the GO Research Fund in their effort to create an early detection test for Ovarian Cancer.

    If you're interested in either the CD or the "Feel Teal" effort, stop by cdbaby.com/rfp to pick up a copy of the CD - or go to goresearchfund.com to learn more.

    For me personally, it is beyond an honor to know and work with Rick Finch. There are no adequate words - and for me, as his publicist - words are my business - so to be at a loss, I feel, conveys just what a significant and personal impact he has had on my own life. I hope everyone who wants the opportunity to meet Rick gets that chance - then they'll understand the loss of words.

    Rick Finch is truly one of a kind, and that's sad, because the world would be a better place with more people like him in it!
  • JanetI have been working over a year now with Rick as he is shaping and producing original music with the band that I am currently managing. He is extremely talented and honest, very sincere and dedicated beyond what is expected. He still occasionally comes across bumps in the road with his profession, but he has learned to take them in stride and move forward. We have all been Blessed with his friendship and if the music of this band should become popular, that is great. If not, we have found a good friend who has given this band a sound and experiences for a lifetime. Rick has found that keeping God and friends close is what is making things continue to happen for him! Congratulations with the success of Nevada, Rick, you deserve it!
  • Brian Thomas from Scottsdale, AzGreat Interview Mr. Finch. Glad to see you have gotten past the KCSB days. I've know you for many years, real good to see you back in the business. I've listened to all the music that you have been producing, and yes, You have some very talented people working with you. Great Job! I know you have a strong faith in God, and that will see you through.

    Congratulations on the work and being on the ballot with "Nevada" They are very good, and I'm sure with you're dedication and persistence and mentoring, they will be Great.

    You have a God-Given Talent, Forget about the old days. You have a bright future ahead of you. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that you will make it big again.

    One mans loss is a whole new world's gain in my opinion. You have real talent working with you now, not mediocre talent working against you. This will make you a better man, not a bitter man.

    I believe you are where you want to be in life. I believe you are in a better situation than being out on the road playing at State Fairs, Casino's and small venues.

    Keep up the good work, and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for such a talnted man.


    Sincerely,

    Brian Thomas
    Scottsdale, AZ
  • AnonymousI have known Rick for years and he is a brilliant musician and producer. What is interesting is that you will probably get more anonymous comments here on this interview. Anonymous because Harry is known in certain circles to be 'sue and threat happy' and I know he has worked very hard to keep the truth suppressed about Ricks non-ownership of his 50 percent intellectual property. But as someone once said, the truth can set you free, and hopefully this will be the case for Rick Finch. Rick has shown the ultimate in class and restraint for not name calling and even in this interview he has toned down the gravity of what happened to him and how he has survived over the decades as a result of losing the rights to his music through bad paperwork and bad legal representation. I have seen the document Rick signed and it is obvious that the clause to turn over to Harry ALL of the rights to the music he and Rick created together was sandwiched in between a bunch of other jointly owned property. As a fellow attorney stated to me who viewed the document, his words were, "I have two opinions - as a litigator, this is a brilliantly written document. But as a human being, to me it is obvious that this document was written for the sole purpose of permanently and irrevocably f**ing over Rick Finch." But still, the culpability lies with Harry Wayne Casey, who allowed, instructed and/or permitted this to be done to Rick and to be devoid of any conscience regarding this action, whether taken personally by him or by his attorneys, and to have been able to lay his head on a pillow every night for decades and not have this action haunt him. May God have mercy on his eternal soul - he is going to need it one day.
  • AnonymousThank you very much Mr.Wiser,
    that interview I had expected already a long time ago.
    Im a friend of Rick.
    I can confirm Ricks comments reagrding his works and credits and all whats around it. Deep in my hard I wish that all his work will be credited again on his 50%share because that is it what he deserve, at least. Not even spoken about the personal damage that was done to him. This all is interlectual property, which normaly nobody in the world is able to sign away. A law should protect these kind of practice.!
    I wish you all the luck of the world and may god help, to set it right in lifetime. God bless you and cross my fingers that the charts will be hid again by the RF music. God bless you, your friend B.
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