“Mickey and the Soul Generation are my favorite funk band,” DJ Shadow wrote in the liner notes of his 2004 Cali-Tex record label release of Iron Leg: The Complete Mickey & the Soul Generation . “They were strong contenders for the title from my very first listen back in ’92. ‘Iron Leg’ being the standout track on an otherwise flaccid jazz-funk compilation of the day. Already a favorite rare-groove selection in the ever-accepting UK club scene, I too found myself buoying my bedroom DJ sets with snatches of the irresistible Soul Generation Sound. It became an instant priority of mine to locate an original.” Via Shadow, a whole new generation of diggers and DJs were exposed to this Texas band, their records, and the story of their sound. It was he who exposed me to this record almost 10 years ago, and as luck would have it, I finally found a copy. I managed to dig up a playable copy of one of there hits, “Iron Leg”, in a stash of about 300 unsleeved 45s at a flea market in New Jersey on the New York based Maxwell label. One of the best days I had digging, I couldn’t help but wonder how this slicew of Texas Funk ended up in the Porkroll State (other than the label being based in New York). To this day I have never found another copy of any Mickey and the Soul Generation records. Fast forward to 2012, and I get contacted by M&TSG saxophone player Emil Carter via this very site. Emil sat down and answered a few question. I’m very grateful to have him in the Reel Talk interview series.
FMF: Can you tell me how you got your start in music and your musical history before Mickey and the Soul Generation?
EC: As a kid gowning up in the ghetto, I would always listen to the radio. In those days it was cowboy music (Country & Western). Brooke Benson, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, etc. I had a cousin name Preston Price Jr. who was 15 years old and could play the mess out of R & B piano. I would sit next to him, and he would show me chords and we played together the whole time we visited each other. He was 3 yrs older then me, and I really looked up to him. We both played music by ear, and would sing and make up songs. It was a very beautiful part of my life that would take me away from the ghetto part of life. Preston had me playing the piano like a pro when I was 16 years old. It was my first instrument of choice, until the sax came alone and knocked me of my feet. Preston and his family moved away and that did hurt me a lot. But, I moved to my Grandmothers, and like they say, when one door closes another one opens. Right next door was a man named Old Man Wright, and this was the new door. Mr. Wright was about 75 years old and blind. He would sit on his bench located on a main street outside his house, and play his sax. Old Man Wright not only taught me to play the sax, but gave me his sax one day when he told me “You can out play the player now.” This made me cry. I played a lot in churches and for talent shows. I first met Mickey at a talent show and we hooked up. We would do battles with our saxophones and the folks loved it. We then played in the Highland’s High School Band in San Antonio, Texas. Afterward we started a band.
FMF: After your success with “Iron Leg” and then “Football”, how did your life change? I’m speaking on the touring, etc.
EC: “Iron Leg” and “Football” opened up a life for me that was like a dream. The touring was wonderful it was my first time flying on a plane! We first hooked up with a group name Faith, Hope, and Charity, plus other bands such as Sam & Dave Revue, Kool and the Gang, Clarence Carter, The Supremes, and Ohio Players. We played a side show with Earth Wind and Fire at a San Antonio Concert. So cool that was, and on and on. Then came The DJ’s and The Rappers (live performers were starting to fade away). So did the money.
FMF: What did you do after Mickey and the Soul Generation? After Mickey and the Soul Generation I the Joined the Army and played in with some little local military groups here and there in the Army. I also played at The Berlin Jazz festival in 1979. It was great playing with many international musicians.
FMF: Describe your relationship with Josh Davis (DJ Shadow). Are the two of you close friends? Were you surprised that a DJ/musician of his fame picked up on your music and promoted it?
EC: Some of the guys in the band, Blind(Andrew Gordon), Mickey(Lloyd Foster) George Salas Gilbert Rivera, and Mickey’s father met Josh in San Antonio. I was not there, so I did not get a chance to meet him. I’d would love to me meet him some day. If not for Josh Davis, no one would have known of us, Mickey and The Soul Generation. I was delighted with all he did and grateful as well.
FMF: What are your thoughts on artists sampling your music?
EC: Other artist sampling our music makes me feel good about my music.
FMF: What kind of music are you into? I have seen you on Flea Market Funk, and am honored you’re a reader.
EC: I love Soul Music but can groove on anything that is good and I can feel the talent of the musicians playing.
FMF: Do you own any of your old 45s and albums? What kind of memorabilia do you have from your band days? Do you collect records yourself?
EC: I don’t collect records but I do enjoy listening and remembering the good days, I don’t have to many memorabilia but wish I did.
FMF: Any last words for the Mickey and the Soul Generation fans?
EC: Last words to fans of Mickey and Soul Generation If you a have a dream follow it and all Ways Trust in GOD. Thanks Jamison and God Bless You Bro. P.S. Ain’t that funny I use to live on a street on the Eastside of San Antonio, Texas it was 147 Jamison St. Hehehehehe
A new, 3 LP set of Mickey and the Soul Generation material is slated for release from the Numero group in March of 2013.