Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind & Fire vocalist)
In my estimation, we haven’t made a great record since [guitarist] Al McKay and Charles Stepney left.
Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind & Fire vocalist)
Taking nothing away from Maurice’s abilities as a facilitator and a visionary and all that, but without a song which Charles Stepney was a major part of, without an arrangement he was able to craft, without a band, without the rhythm section that Al McKay used to take Maurice’s idea and make it commercial, without a great record company that supports a band, there would be no Earth, Wind & Fire. (Goldmine: August 4, 2006)
Makiko from Japan
Dear Al McKay and the members of the band,
Thank you so much for your incredible performance in Osaka and Tokyo last December. It was so funky and tight as always and you made the crowds so crazy. I went to the show with my sister and husband and it was their first time to attend your show. Then, they became your fan. it’s a natural result, because the show was fantastic!
I appreciate that I had a very special and happy year end with my family, friends and the Al McKay Allstars. Priceless! I can’t wait for next time. Please come back soon! Makiko
Miriam and Koos Heijnen from The Netherlands
We were at your birthday party in Tilburg at 013 and man did you all ROCK. You know how to throw a great party, we REALLY ENJOYED it. We were at a concert almost 30 years ago in Amsterdam and that came close to what you and your band did that night. 4 years ago we went to Earth Wind & Fire at the Duyvis fuif in Utrecht, it was fun for sentimental reasons, but they did not seem to have as much fun as you all seem to have and did not rock as you and the band do.
THANK YOU for a more than wonderful evening, Miriam and Koos Heijnen
Kikuyo from Japan
Dear Al & Allstars’ Members,
Thank you sooooo much for all the terrific shows in May and December!!! Especially, countdown live performance were superb!!! I really love your playing of SUNGODDESS. This time, it was one of the best ones I’ve ever heard. (WOW!!)
I’m looking forward to having a wonderful time with you all again!! Best wishes, Kikuyo
Natsuko from Japan
Dear Al and Allstars’ Members,
Thank you so much for coming to Japan last December. I attended the show in Osaka and really, really, really enjoyed your songs and performances. It made me cheerful and was simply marvelous!
As far as the eye can see, the audience enjoyed the show with big smiles. I felt a certain togetherness with the members and other fans.
I’m sure it was the best show for me. A big thank you for your wonderful show. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in Japan! Take care! Love, Natsuko
Roman Gomel from Russia
It was cool show. It’s always pleasant to see when one and half tens of high qualified musicians get out to play funk.
Sahalin from Russia
They were excellent. When I noticed advertisement of show had doubts to go or no. Thought: “Who is going to experiment with EWF music? No way.” Nevertheless my girls persuaded me to go. After 2 minutes of show I felt happy that I was there. They killed me by the first notes! Good job!
Naoko from Japan
I am still in awe, speechless after seeing Al McKay All Stars at Blue Note, Tokyo.
The show was fantastic and a lot of fun, too. Al and his band literally rocked the house. The crowd was dancing, singing, waving, loving every minute of the show!!!
AND, no one can play rhythm like Al can! Naoko
Natsuko from Japan
Thank you soooooooooo much for your wonderful concert at the Blue Note in Tokyo. You were a blast and had a lot of energy.
We enjoyed ourselves to the full! I’ve never forget that night!
We are looking forward to enjoying your stage again in Japan! Take care! Natsuko
Makiko from Japan
It was extremely unforgettable nights. I was going to go to the concert only one night. Since it was a very wonderful, I have decided to go again!
I can’t find any words to express my feeling of the nights exactly. Thank you so much for your fabulous performance and music.
Of course, we desire to meet you and your band soon and please make us happy again. With all my best wishes for your good health and success. Makiko
Kikuyo from Japan
Hi Al & AllStars members, Thank you so much for the wonderful show in March! We really enjoyed all your music!
We’ll make sure it happens again soon! Best wishes to you & the band members. Kikuyo
Dick J. Ras from The Netherlands
Al and his all stars were stunning last night in H.v.H. It not only sounded like the real thing, Al is the real thing!
That guy sounds exactly like Philip Bailey! The Music sounds GREAT!!
These guys out do the real Earth, Wind & Fire these days.
This is what the EWF I remember souned like. When will you tour the states?
i’ve seen the allstars and EWF. allstars are probably alot closer to what EWF sounded like in the 70’s, not too glossy, and i had alot more fun
Al McKay, now thats what I’m talkin about get dOooWwn
I’ve seen these guys live, they’re awesome! If you love Earth, Wind & Fire, you’ll enjoy the show!
Al McKay is one of the original EWF members and co-wrote a lot of their hits!
Check out the show if you ever get a chance! You won’t be disappointed!
Tres Dope …
Roberto Netto from Brazil
Hey AL, Man, congratulations!! You and the crew look and sound real great. I’m a long time fan of EWF and, after listening so many covers, versions and interpretations of their music, a think i’ve finally found the one who could replace the “originals”. Man, in short…you sound much more pure, funky and better, all of you (the singers, the bass, keyboards, horns and YOU man!!).
Thank you to give us the bless of your magnificent sound.
In my visons, I see them asking you to become NEW EWF, while they work backstage (as Maurice is doing).
Nice to see and HEAR you and the All Stars!! You’re awesome!! Best regards from Brasil
Tom Jay from Poway, California
Hi Al! I met you at the party Saturday. I’ve worked here at the Poway Center (big guy in the sweater) for 11 years and that was our best show ever.
My job at the theater is to call people after a show and sell them tickets. Here’s some comments I received: “…best show I’ve ever seen…” “…born and raised in San Diego and never seen anything better…” “…made me wish there were more Al McKay records…” “…I would travel anywhere to see them…”
Not one negative comment and that is a first. Considering the core of our audience is made up of those who like Shakespeare and the Opera, or at least think they do, that is saying a mouthful. Congratulations again and have a happy holiday. Tom Jay, Poway Performing Arts Theater
Jochen Xenos from Germany
Hi Al & Management, some time ago i saw you in the port festival “Düsseldorf-Hafenfest” in Düsseldorf Germany. I am a big fan of the Earth, Wind & Fire sound. Because of that i went to see the classic group with Phillip Bailey & Verdine White (Maurice illnes started that time). But i was disapointed of them. Because their sound was very “popy-stiled” und much different of the orig. E,W & F sound. You Al & your group where *very very Funky & Powerfull*. It was a great joy to see you guys playing in Düsseldorf. I love this group called Earth, Wind & Fire Experience much more than the others. I would like to see you again in Germany. Is this possible and do you have some plans come to Germany again. Stay Funky.
Rob Bemelen from The Netherlands
Last Saturday, we witnessed Al with his band on stage at The Hague Jazz Festival and it was really awesome. Like I suspected for a long time, his band is better than the current “real” EWF touring band.
Lonneke Burkhard from The Netherlands
The concert was magnificent!!!!! I’m still on cloud nine. What a night, what a musicians and what a singers. Especially Tim Owens, he is the first singer I know who can replace Philip Bailey, my personal hero.
Dirk aka DJ Funk-O-Nots from The Netherlands
It was a great show, even the people who were a little sceptic what they could bring without Phillip Bailey liked the show, To see Al playing “live” with this band is the best advertising!!!
Marcus van Wely from The Netherlands
Hey guys, just mailing to say djeez! What a concert at The Hague Jazz. Awsome! At first I had some reservations when I heard it was a “different EWF” that would be performing. But what a party it turned out to be! I haven’t been to a concert this nice for years. It was clear that the band were enjoying themselves too.
Ron Spies from The Netherlands
They had play at the concert all my favourite songs and with all respect for EW&F, Al with his All Stars were better.
Mitko Dobrev from Bulgaria
We have visited your wonderful show yesterday in Sofia,Bulgaria both with my 17-years old son Alexander. It was one of the greatest musical experiences we ever had!! Thank you for the happiness you gave to us! God bless ol of you!
Emanuel Roeseler from Bulgaria
Wow. Double wow. What Sofia has experienced yesterday was not only amazing. It was most probably the best concert I have seen in the last years. The audience was dancing from the first song and we all felt the love the Band has given in all famous songs. If it was the dance of the guys, the long play of the Saxophonist. Just all made us forgetting the hustle on the days. I was amazed and of course it was maybe the wrong location, but it was just perfect. It made my day, week and I will remember this for a long time.
Simple said. I have very much enjoyed and thank the band and also Al. Wishing all the best and hope to see them soon in Sofia.
Brian Chersky from Lithuania
Hi Al, just had to write as a long time EWF fan. This is a remarkable CD and is every bit as good and often better than any live EWF performances. The rendition of Reasons is the best I’ve ever heard. Thanks for keeping the music going. Regards, Brian Chersky
I was at the Brussels concert last saturday and I had to tell you how much we enjoyed it. Your band is awsome, you guys have really turned us on fire. All those great songs, I mean it was the dream EWF concert to me, your guitar playing is great and reminded me what a loss it was for EWF when you left them. Thanks again for these great moments and these absolut great classic songs.
You’re the best!
Jaime Tinajero (Big Fan)
Hi Al! I love that you are continuing the wonderful music of Earth Wind and Fire as well as the new music you have released. Excellent cd!!!!!!!!!!!! Please put me on your mailing list for future concerts. Thanks Al!
Dear Mr. Mckay! Thank you for the HOT FUNKY CHRISTMAS in Hungary, Budapest! It was the best show in my life. I’am glad that you brought your great funky music to this small country. I wish you all the best.
Rita from Hungary, Debrecen
Dear Al McKay … It was one of the best Christmas present for me to hear you again in Debrecen 2 days before. You were excellent like in August in the Sziget festival. I read an article today in a local newspaper where the author said that you were excellent and many people thought that the concert ended with you. We had great experience, each musician was fantastic and together you were superlative. So we hope that we will see you again soon for example in the Sziget festival. Thank you that you came here and made an unforgetable concert!
Alvin, an Earth Wind and Fire fanatic, New Orleans
Al Mckay, I wanna thank you for bringing me so much joy in my life through your music, especially when you were a member of Earth Wind and Fire. I listen to the music you all made over and over and I still wish that there could be some kind of reunion with you all. But because you all went your seperate ways and have other obligations, I know that a reunion is almost impossible. Nevertheless, I wanna thank you and I wish you all the luck in the world with the LA Allstars. When and if you come to New Orleans, I will definitely buy a ticket.
AL! I was a little heart broken because I could never find out what you were doing or where you were at. I know I sound like somebody who knows you personally or someone that’s insane but I’m neither. I’m just a long time fan who still at the current age of 43 still goes nuts when I listen to your guitar playing. You and this guy Tony Maiden keep me going when I listen to you cats on those records. I never really made it big but I hope to next year in the Gospel field. I am so impressed with your website. Reading your bio and viewing your credits kinda brought me out of my musical depression. I am also glad to see my old friend Brian Loren is keeping busy as well. I can’t wait to hear your new CD. There has never been a rhythm and lead guitar combination as tight as you and Johnny Graham. I heard another friend Scott Canady say Al is out in LA just chilling. All I could say is, That’s what’s Up! God Bless you man and thank you for many years of inspiration and great listening. The beginning of Sing a Song is still a mystery to some cats. Love You Man!
Malika and Stephane
Thanks to the band for a great show in Havana Cafe Club this summer in Toulouse (Ramonville) France. So groovy. We listen the Mt. Fuji live album. It’s funkydelic. Have a long way. Come in south of france again. Thank you (merci a vous) and good-bye (au revoir).
Peter Holding: Coventry, England
I got your excellent video published by LickSamples last year and I’ve listened to alot of stuff you’ve played on with EWF like: Sun Goddess, Shining Star, Can’t Hide Love etc. I also listen out for guitarists like Wah Wah Watson, Nile Rodgers, the Motown funk brothers basically funk rnb guitar is my taste.
I make music myself and from watching the stuff you did on the video I’m wondering: are you conscious of things like modes, extended harmony, complex harmony in terms of progression when you write/play. I was thinking “where did he get that from”? I have a book about RnB guitar and it explains “Shining Star” I quote “Gtr 1 plays an ascending and descending walking bass line derived from E hybrid blues/mixolydian mode” were you thinking that when you made it or are you looking for good note choice – if it sounds cool use it?
There is so much written about music theory its daft, should I study it or should I just get on and play? I’m from Coventry, England. I’ve named all my children Al McKay, no I’m joking! Best of health to you. Take it easy and cheers.
Bill Brown: The original EW&F roadie from the early 70s
Hi Al. Congratulations on your new CD…listened to the clips and you sound great. As good or better than EW&F and All-Stars put together. And you look great! Wishing you great success. Give me a call sometime and we’ll catch up!
Laurence: London, England
Hi, I hope I don’t bore you too much when I say how much I’ve missed you being with EWF over the years – never the same without you.
The emergence of the ‘Live in Rio’ CD really shows they lost with you, fantastic guitars on Serpentine Fire, Getaway and many others. I use the mp3s to work out to on my iPod and it gets that Stairmaster flying!!
Seriously though, saw you in London in 79 but can’t remember the venue – can you? Also saw the Elements soon after you left at the Albert Hall, very similar to the 81 LA DVD available nowadays, and wished you’d stayed in a few more years!!
Will come and see you next time you’re in Europe – drop me a line and make a fan happy if you have any plans that way – and also great to see you on Shining Stars DVD.
Can’t wait to see you and the All Stars
Frank Peralta: Union City, CA
Al, many thanks for the instructional content of your Licks Samples video, “Funk Rhythm Guitar”. I especially enjoyed the performances with Bruce Conte, et al. Will your Hot Licks-Masters Sessions video published circa 1990 ever be reissued? It would be great if all your videos would be converted to DVD format. Thanks for the many great years with Earth, Wind and Fire too!!
“I saw you in Budapest in August (Pepsi Island). The concert was so excellent! This was the best concert I’ve ever seen in my life. You were the best band in that festival. You made amazing atmosphere.”
“Hi Al. I’ve been dying to see you guys again since you last rocked my world about 5 or 6 years ago at BB King’s on Citywalk…That was the best show I’ve EVER seen. To be able to hear stuff from Faces, and all the classic era material like Jupiter (all at the perfect tempos, not rushed) was just awesome. You truly were the backbone of the band, your tone is AMAZING, and your groove unrivaled. — Evan Daum”
“I wanted to tell you I’ve been a big fan of yours since your EWF days…I felt the sound was never the same after you left. I felt your guitar work had a warmth and smoothness that was lacking after your departure…So you can just imagine how happy I was to see that you were still active, and moreover, have an album out…I’m very knocked out by the track samples on your site, and can’t wait until it is available domestically.
“On a final note, I thought I would tell you a short anecdote about a way that you really touched me during your 1977 EWF tour. My then-wife and I travelled from Cleveland to see you in New York and Detroit. A kind woman in Detroit heard of our rather uncommon passion for the band and secured us front-row-center tickets. At that concert, I was taking non-flash photos and you saw my camera pointed at the stage. You came right up to the camera, and temporarily froze so I could get a good shot of you. When the shot was taken, you flashed a broad smile directly at me, and continued playing, all while never missing a single note. I was very touched by the fact that in addition to being a great guitarist, you had such a wonderful humanity to you. I still remember the exact moment, 25 years later, and the thrill it gave me as a young 26 year old fan.So, thank you for your guitar work, and for your specialness as a human being. I’m very glad to see you on line and look forward to purchasing and playing your album as soon as it is available.
Hey Al, just picked up the DVD “Shining Stars”. Just re-confirmed what I always knew…your pure funk guitar was (and still is) the backbone of Earth, Wind & Fire. Earth, Wind & Fire speaks for itself, however the sound was never the same after you left. Inspired me through the ’70s and early ’80s to pick up my ES-335 and study music. Then I got rather stupid, went to college and became a Doctor. Thanks man, you make a difference.