Steve Alaimo Remembers When…

TK’s vice president and creative director Steve Alaimo has been with Henry Stone and TK since its inception. Alaimo remembers when KC and Rick released “Queen of Clubs” which took off in England long before the group was known in the U.S.: “KC couldn’t believe he was so big there and no one knew him here . It was as if he took a plane and became a star.” As a ’60s recording and performing artist, Alaimo was able to relate to KC as a performer and traveled with the group on that first English tour. “On that tour,” he said, “KC began to understand what it was like being a star but he had the worst tour because the promoters were bad. It was the first time I had ever been out of Florida and his first time on stage as a star. It was frustrating to him how much work it took and how Alaimo remembers when Willie “Little Beaver” Hale, Steve Alaimo could hurt or help. But the bottom line was that the kids loved that tour … he amazed everybody everywhere he went. “I felt that when I went to England with them,” continues Alaimo, “I was of great value because I had been a performer and not a manager. I was able to give him a few tips and make a few things easier and I think he was thankful for that.” “But,” Alaimo continues, “there are certain things you have to experience for yourself and now he’s gone through it all . On that tour alone, he had to learn how to give his first really big performances, learn how to be a star, a leader, and what it was I like to be on the road, eat bad food, ride in buses, sleep in hotel Congratulations to rooms with no water or plumbing and drive two days straight without sleep. That’s a hard thing for a kid of that age to learn.” KC always wanted to be a writer and Finch has always been a musical genius. “Actually,” notes Alaimo, “they’re both studio freaks and they’re listening to· music all the time.” Alaimo used to watch them when they worked in Tone’s warehouse, taking dozens of records home so they’d always know what was going on, Alaimo produced one of their first songs, “Move Me Baby” with Gwen McCrae. “Since those days,” Alaimo reflects, “it’s amazing that all their huge international successes haven’t put them on a star trip. They’ve really ren1ained the nice, local Miami boys that they’ve always been. Seems like they’ll always have that sunshine in their personalities.”

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