Watching the “Unsung” episode it was pretty amazing how seven guys have managed to be mostly scandal-free after all these years. So many groups have had drug issues and women issues and competitive issues but you have don’t seem to have gone through that.
That’s really this group. I’ve seen Stoke have a few drinks. I’ve seen Stoke get mad maybe twice in 20 years. I get mad every week. Nobody’s on drugs. I have bottles of alcohol in my crib that I’ve had 6-8 months. There’s guys that have gotten bottles on the road that they’ve had for like, ten years. That’s why we look great. We take care of ourselves. When we’re out on the road, it’s about the business. We’ve never been about how many chicks we can get. Some of the guys may have had some wild streaks at one point, but some of us have been in faithful situations 14 years at one time. We’ve never been that group that put out the hotel and the afterparty sign. We’ve never been those cats.
Do you think that the fact that you split the money equally has helped the group get along? That’s not always the case.
The three or four things is our fans showing up every time we tour, radio supporting us every time we put out a record, us splitting up the money and we do like working with each other when we come together.
So is Keri back in the group now? The “Unsung” shows you guys playing together last year although he left the group over a decade ago when he married Toni Braxton.
It was funny the way everybody explained why they didn’t go to the wedding. That was like, awesome. (laughs) It just seemed so fake. It sounded like we were lying. [With Keri] when he was asking for things that I didn’t think were fair and he probably thought it was fair and that he had the leverage to ask for, I didn’t like that. That’s why I didn’t go to the wedding. Stoke was the only one who went. He did the right thing. Stoke is that dude that does the right thing. I’m that dude that has to listen to Joel Osteen and do the right thing. Keri is my brother and we cool and it’s always good to have him back. It would be great to invite him out to do some things coming up like Essence [Festival] to make it more special.
In “Unsung,” Jam and Lewis make it clear that they nudged Stokley to do a solo project even if they didn’t want him to leave the group.
Stoke has the kind of talent that God only gives out maybe once a year. He can go play with Stevie Wonder, Prince, whatever. He’s an incredible talent. But what makes this group is all of us. They really give Stoke his props but when you listen to those songs, you hear Larry, you hear Stoke, you hear Keri…what makes this band is this band. What makes this group is every member of this group.