Publicity Shot in the 70's
Charles Smith, founder & lead guitarist of the group Kool & the Gang, died. He was only 57. He was a regular customer of mine and a wonderful friend who sent me many other customers over the 15 or so years that I knew him. I helped him get an endorsement with D'Angelico and did most of his repair work when I was on the East Coast. He purchased many guitars from me including a beautiful pre Alembic Oasis & several Pearlcaster's. He was a real guitar lover, He wanted to go into business building guitars, He had approached me a number of times to build instruments for him under his own brand name.
He died after a long illness, "We've lost a member of our family, as well as an infinitely creative and gifted artist who was with the band from the very beginning," band manager Tia Sinclair said in a statement.
Kool & the Gang grew from their original jazz roots in the 1960s to become one of the major groups of the 1970s & 1980's, mixing jazz, funk, R&B & Rock.
Charles penned most of the big hits Joanna and Take My Heart, Celebration, Hollywood Swinger and Jungle Boogie.
We were both about the same age and we used to talk music trivia for hours, I will miss him, Charles, told me that his dad taught him guitar and was a jazz aficionado himself.
Whenever the group was in Vegas, Charles would always stop by. He was always trying to get the rest of the band to come down to the shop. He really loved it here. I remember the day he brought Robert Bell AKA "Kool" into the shop. He was so proud to introduce him to me.
Charles, You will be missed and thought of often
Ed Roman June 29th 2006
Charles, with one of his Ed Roman Pearlcaster's
This photo in my store was used by the Associated Press when Charles Died