In the last few days, the music world has lost two innovators, Chuck Brown and Donna Summer, of pneumonia and cancer respectively. Still, each performer continued making music until the day they unfortunately passed. I had the opportunity to speak to a friend of mine, Raymond Rawles, who had seen Chuck Brown perform nearly a thousand times in his life about the loss of the "godfather of go-go" himself.


With Chuck Brown passing, what came to mind when you had heard?

When I first heard, I was like "oh my god, we lost another legend." We lost the godfather of Go-Go because to me, he is the definition of Go-Go. He earned the nickname "Godfather of Go-Go," he really did. It's not going to be the same without him, I really don't think it will be.

How many times would you say you've seen Chuck Brown in person?

Countless times, at least hundreds of times since 1979, all the way up until his 2011 Birthday Bash, where he turned 74.

How was the Birthday Bash, how did he look and how was the atmosphere?

It was one of the best Go-Go's I've ever went to, he played all of his old songs all the way up to the new ones. Everybody knew he was sick but he played while sitting down. He never played sitting down all the years he had performed but he was this time. The atmosphere was the same as any other Chuck Brown Go-Go though, a Chuck Brown Go-Go is going to be a Chuck Brown Go-Go no matter what.

When you saw him, did the thought of him passing soon, ever pass your mind?

No, you never think anyone like that will pass, but it does happen. You knew he was sick from something because he got small, real small.

What Influence did Brown have on music as a whole, in your opinion?

It's Go-Go, there's nothing like it, it's D.C. music. It's Jazz, Blues and funk mixed together to make something great. He was the influence, The Man. An Icon.

What were Chuck Brown's Go-Go shows like, back in the late 70's and 80's?

His shows were like, something like a Parliament Funkadelic show or an Earth, Wind & Fire show, lots of percussions too, seven hundred to nearly a thousand in there every time. The place would be packed to the rim with people.

You spoke to me once about there being gang violence at a few of the shows before, can you explain that?

Washington, D.C., the hoods, they brought everyone together. Everybody from every gang and hood would come to the Go-Go and there would always be a fight or on occasion, someone being killed. Brown said he wanted a truce between the gangs or he wouldn't play anymore and from that point, there was no more people being killed. It was a big feat, he made the gangs have a truce with each other and if you saw how Washington, D.C. was in the 80's, that's an amazing thing man. No one else could do it but he did.

What will you miss most, about Chuck Brown?

His style, the way he worked the crowd and how he respected the ladies. He was the definition of a 'cool cat'. There's never going to be another Chuck Brown and I'll miss him. I don't know where Go-Go will go now and Chuck Brown might be gone but Go-Go and the "Godfather of Go-Go" will live forever.