THE RISE AND FALL OF MUSICAL YOUTH
A band betrayed by accountants, lawyers and the record company which led to the members going into depression, robbery, drug use and ending up doing menial Jobs. Fred Waite and George Grant were friends from Jamaica and Fred used to be part of a band called the techniques and they were a fairly successful band, George also used to play music with his friends and they used to jam at George's place, playing instruments like Piano and Violin, while Watching their father and his friends play the Grant boys started showing interest in Instruments Mike loved the Piano and Kevin loved the Guitar, having seen how interested his boys were in Playing musical instruments George now got in touch with his friend Fred Waite to help sharpen the skills of the boys.
Musical Youth ( image: Simplyeighties.com)
Fred Waite had two sons Michael and Junior who were already good bass player and drummer So sometimes in 1980 Fred brought the four together and he started practicing with them and Fred took on the role of the lead vocals, then they started playing local pubs, even though the boys were Underage and were not to be allowed in pubs, the owners turned a blind eye because the people Patronizing the pubs loved the band, some pub patrons who started noticing their skills got Tony Owens a Jamaican producer who also sometimes manages bands ,it was Tony that found the Band rehearsal space and also got them larger venues, some of the promoters who had access to these large Venues came up with excuses, like they were unknown and they were just a bunch of small kids and one adult and Tony said to the promoters, if they play and you don't like them then you don't have to pay but the promoters after seeing the response of people to the boys allowed them to play regularly at their venues .
The band having perfected their skills now recorded a song called "Political and Generals" in which Fred Waite did the lead vocals, this song was picked up by a radio deejay John Peel who loved breaking new acts. One night the band went to a pub in Coventry to play and in the pub was an A&R executive for A & M records called Charlie, he liked what he heard and suggested that they get a young lead Vocalist to replace Fred Waite senior, the band had an audition after that night and Dennis Seaton was successful and he replaced Freddie Waite on lead vocals and became the 5th member of the Band, being a new member of the band they had to bring him up to speed, so they resorted to Practising everyday of the week and they became very good in their craft. The boys had many cover songs they were always rehearsing and amongst these songs was one by the "Mighty Diamonds" called pass the Kouchie (pipe for smoking weed)but because they were kids it would not be appropriate for them to sing about weed, then one night after watching the band's rehearsal Tony Owens went home and asked his wife if there was something to eat, she Said to him look in the Dutchie (a pot that Jamaicans use in cooking meat) then the light bulbing Tony's head came on, he thought it would be nice if the boys swap Dutchie for koochie, next day he suggested it to the boys and they gladly changed it and the record company paid for the boys to record the song, when the song pass the Dutchie was released it entered the UK chart at 99 and gradually went up till it got to No 1 on the UK pop Chart, thanks to the radio deejays and the band's appearance on top of the pops .
Never gonna give you up album sleeve (image: simplyeighties.com)
Musical youth were also the the 1st black group to get heavy rotation on MTV Europe, few days later the record became No 1 in eighteen countries and sold over 4 million copies. After the success of pass the Dutchie the band released two other tracks "youth of today" and "never gonna give you up" but these ones could only get as far as the 13th and 6th position on the charts, based on the success of their debut album the band was nominated for a Grammy In 1983 and met stars like Michael Jackson during the awards ceremony.
Success for these young lads was new and this came with some luxuries and peps which the boys Just lapped up but young boys being left on their own with none of their parents acting as Chaperones was like a recipe for disaster, the boys did make good money from concerts, appearances and record sales but they were taken advantage of by their Lawyers,
Record executives and accountants who overinflated cost of production, concerts etc and Tony Owens who was their manager had never in his life managed anything this big so he did not know better when the boys were being ripped off, Tony in turn blame their parents for not looking after the finances of their children .
The accountants In the company reports came up with different lies such as we were robbed or Lost money in the sea, the final nail in the coffin for the band was from the record company who In order to get another number one out of the boys started pairing them up with pop producers Instead of Reggae producers for the second Album which was titled "different style" this was released in August 1983 but the album did not do well on the charts as it was not well received By music lovers.
When Irvin Azoff became the head of MCA records, New edition were signed and musical youth
Were no longer priority to the record label anymore, so there was no promotion or financing from the label. People often say more money more problems, with the boys now making money, some of them now started picking up bad habits or doing things that were detrimental to their careers, for starters Patrick Waite started toying with drugs and one day after taking drugs he ended up In a hospital, one very bad decision the management made was making the band fly to West Indies for concerts and while on stage there Patrick started acting loony on stage, in short he was having a mental breakdown on stage, after the ill advised decision of making the band play in the West Indies despite all what Patrick was going through, Dennis who had now become a Christian walked away from the band and stopped talking to other members of the band, So six years after forming the band and three years after breaking the charts all over the world, Musical Youth was no more and so they all ended up back in Birmingham with no money in the Bank and no regular income, they now found out that all the millions they made had disappeared and so like their careers was disintegrating so was their lives about to do the same.
New Edition ( image: Boston magazine)
After the dissolution of the band with no money ,Patrick needed money to feed his drug habits so he started robbing people, the last one he did was when he robbed a pregnant girl and he Was locked up, meanwhile he had a heart condition, so after he was released he fell ill and died on February 18th 1993
Junior (Fred Waite Jnr)had a nervous breakdown and ever since he has been in and out of Hospitals
Kevin according to his brother Michael got Caught up in the wrong crowd and started living a weird life in short he has been labelled a recluse by the media, Kevin in a You tube interview said after the fame had come and gone he had worked in the bakery, worked as a chauffeur and did all sorts of jobs, but says he is trying to do some solo projects for now . Michael continued working in the music industry for a living, he built a studio and started playing music with some friends of his in the music industry
Some remaining members of Musical Youth Dennis & Michael (image: facebook)
Dennis on the other hand worked as a driver for a company delivering dry foods to some London restaurants ,after that he worked for a car rental company and worked his way onto Becoming the owner of the Car rental company. Dennis and Michael are trying to revive musical youth as a duo and have been getting some Gigs in some old school concerts.