So you’re telling me that one of my favorite Go-Go Bands just went to number one on the charts this year?

That’s right.

With a dance phenomenon type hit from an equally fantastic and culturally important movie?

Yes, that’s correct.

The above is more than likely a convo I had internally in April 1988. It had been almost a decade since Chuck Brown had gone to the top with “Bustin Loose” and now with the ascent of E.U.(Experience Unlimited) to the top with “Da Butt” (culled from the School Daze Soundtrack) it felt almost like Go-Go was finally ready to break far beyond the Beltway. Much further South than North Carolina and further West than parts of Maryland and West Virginia. Perhaps even further North although some adherents to the music in the form of the work of Hurby “Luvbug” Azor, Doug E. Fresh, the earlier in the decade work of Trouble Funk on Sugarhill, The Junkyard Band on Def Jam, and Grace Jones’ “Slave to the Rhythm” on Island which was the home for a time for our subject today E.U. Simply put in the 1980’s Go-Go was bubbling under both here and most definitely abroad.

We know that in hindsight the big break on par with other regional genres didn’t happen for Go-Go but I’d like to say that having been around in ’88 to watch this song and group rise and hold sway over the culture for a time I’d equate it with perhaps being a Mets fan prior to and in 1969. As someone who was an avid consumer of the more raw and uncut live performance PA Tapes of so many bands during that era, I understood the challenge of boiling down the energy of hours of cranking into a song to fit the format of radio was(is)a formidable task. The task was met head on and one of the artifacts of the recording is “Da Butt” is right up there in the pantheon of snare drum intros to songs. William “JuJu” House’s touch and snare sound is unmistakable along with Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliott’s voice on the mic. True story I was voted most likely to replace Sugar Bear in E.U. when I was a senior in high school in 1988. Myself and a few friends had fashioned ourselves as a Go-Go Band and sure enough, it was my role to “Talk on the mic”. Sugar Bear’s job obviously was never in jeopardy, but a few short years later when my band had the opportunity to open for them in our little city of Charlottesville, VA I had to chuckle at how life can place you in places and circumstances you thought not possible.

I’m a witness that “Da Butt” can still get the party started all these years later. Isn’t that the true testament of a song’s appeal after chart positions and the newness fades, music that you can revisit year after year is very special music. 1988 was a very special year, with some great music and this series has brought back and will continue to bring back musical memories I haven’t consider in many a year. We’re just getting started.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.