What do singers Earl Vincent (Backyard Band), Tylisa Brown (What Band) and Derrick Holmes (Vybe Band) all have in common? They all sang with Publicity Band early in their Go-Go careers. Front man Wilson “Buck” Garrett started Publicity in 1987. Back then, the band played some covers like most Go-Go bands, but they also did a lot of originals and even recorded an album of original songs titled Party Time in 1996.
Holmes, who came to Publicity from a band called Total Recall, remembers Publicity being the first band he performed with that was “really musical” and that played original songs. Vincent, who was a member of Publicity Band for 5 years says, “I don’t know if I would be where I am right now musically if it was not for Publicity. I learned so much from Buck when it comes to conducting a band. Being in tune with what everyone needs to be doing to bring a song out and make it a good song. You have to give it your own flair to make people like your version.”
Garrett didn’t start out as Publicity’s lead talker. One night when lead talker Nick Evans, was a no-show for a scheduled gig, Garrett came from behind his keyboards and stepped in to replace him. He was so successful as a substitute talker, that the band wanted him to take over that role. He continued and led the band through a successful run that included weekly gigs at Cranberries in Forestville and Jay’s Sport’s Café in Laurel. In addition to Vincent, Brown and Holmes, other well-known Go-Go musicians that played with Publicity are Kimise Lee, Kenny “Kwick” Gross, Bruce Bailey, Tyrone “Weensey’ Brandon, Larry “Stomp” Atwater, and Paul “Buggy” Edwards.
Publicity’s last show was in 2009 at DC’s Fur Nightclub after Garrett caught a federal drug conspiracy charge. Garrett, who maintains his innocence, was released in June 2020, during the height of the current COVID-19 pandemic. While incarcerated Garrett had discussions with Vincent about putting the band back together, but they were never able to coordinate, so eventually Garrett decided to do it himself with some new members. Their first show will be Saturday, August 6 at Martini’s in Ft. Washington. Once again Garrett will serve as lead talker and joining him will be original Publicity member Steve Dorsey as 2nd mic, singers Billy Jones and Fred Cowell, Ray Nicholson on congos, “Trig” on drums, Mike Bell and Mark “Diallo” Butler on keyboards, Bay Raspberry on bass and “Ed Luva” on lead guitar.
When asked what party goers can expect, Garrett promises an exciting show with originals and some covers. He’s excited to have legendary Go-Go promoter Big Butch introduce the band and legendary cameraman “Mr G” doing photos. Holmes and Vincent, who both have other gigs that day, hope their schedules allow them to come through to show love even if they aren’t able to perform. Brown is listed as a special guest on the current flyer along with Go-Go All Stars rapper David “32” Ellis, Bootsy Vegas, Ali the Great, Love Norris, Ms. Chuck and Winko Powell. Vincent, who also performs with The All Star Project, a band he created, shared, “One thing I can say about Wilson Garrett, this was the first band experience that made me really believe that I could start a band from the ground up. Buck had the right formula for how to have a successful band.”.
Publicity Band will be performing Saturday, August 6 from 4-8PM at Martini’s in Ft. Washington. Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.gogotix.co/shows