it’s hard to picture the musician behind “Do You Want To Get Funky With Me” as a reclusive artist, painstakingly perfecting his music alone in his suburban bedroom. But that’s exactly the case with Peter Brown, a young Chicagoan who is making a considerable impact on the national pop, disco and R&B scene.
Yet, Brown claims, he “never listened to black stations until they started playing ‘Do You Want To Get Funky.” Sound hard to believe? That’s only the beginning. Brown, author of “Fantasy Love Affair” and “You Should Do It,” spent nearly six years as a member and, later, as musical director of a baton twirling corps. Then again, considering that there were over 100 girls in the corps, known as the Jorgensen Rangerettes, and only a handful of young men,
maybe the subject matter of Brown’s songs shouldn’t come as a surprise. Brown describes his experience with the Rangerettes as “hectic, competitive, but
musically rewarding. To join the corps ! had to learn keyboards real fast. Then as director I had to concentrate on arrangement, a good flow of songs, even choreography. All together, it was an excellent preparation for musical discipline and creativity.”
After high school, Brown attended the Art Institute of Chicago with the hope of becoming a commercial artist. He concentrated on sculpture, painting and
photography, but soon decided the art world was not destined to provide his livelihood. “It seemed easier to become a musician than to become a commercial artist,” Brown reflects today. So Brown, still with the baton twirling corps, concentrated on perfecting his musical ideas at home. He constantly experimented with drums, keyboards, a synthesizer and a four-track recording unit. His break came when one of the girls in the Rangerettes introduced him to producer Cory Wade’s brother. Brown soon met Wade, and began sending demo tapes from his Chicago bedroom to Wade’s production offices in Florida. When Brown sent Wade the four-track demo of “Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me,” Wade told him to get down to Florida immediately. By the time Brown arrived, TK Records had agreed to release the record on its Drive label. Wade and Brown then went to the studio, where they added an additional 20 tracks to the song, which was rush-released as a 12-inch single in spring, 1977. By summer, the song, re-edited as a seven-inch single, had raced to the upper reaches of all the national trade charts. And Peter Brown started listening to black radio stations.
Brown’s debut album on Drive, also titled “Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me,” is currently emulating the single’s success on the Cash Box R&B album and Top 200 album charts. The next step for Brown is touring, something he hasn’t done since his days with the Rangerettes. He’s now assembling a band in Chicago, and hopes to be out on the road by spring. If the warm reception that has greeted one of TK’s hottest new acts since KC And The Sunshine Band is
any indication, there should be a lot of funky fans waiting to meet Peter Brown in the flesh.