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read_me.gif Southern Voice Washington Blade

In Memory of a Whild Peach

Rockin’ the everlasting

by j. brotherlove


I first saw Whild Peach in 2000 during a FunkJazz Kafé event in Atlanta. Erykah Badu closed it out and brought a slew of women onstage to belt out some noise. Two of those women were Joi, who I’ve loved since The Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome and Myrna “Screechy Peach” Crenshaw.

Peach made an instant impression on me that night. I’d never seen anyone like her; dressed like a funked out Stevie Nicks, she belting notes like an electrified Tina Turner. I immediately needed more.

Since then, I saw Peach and husband/guitarist David Whild perform quite a bit, mostly as the backbone for Joi’s live performances and for the extended Dungeon Family. But it was their headlining sets, indescribable juxtapositions of unrestrained funk, rock, soul that embodied how boundless and powerful music should be.

Peach died April 1, 2007 after a long battle with breast cancer. I didn’t know her personally yet, I felt a deep loss. I knew this week’s jam session hosted by Joi at Sugarhill would be more emotional and on fire than usual; I was right. Rarely have I experienced such an outpouring of love, music and words from a music family.

Joi started the evening late and on an slow, funky tip. For over three, straight hours, impromptu guests kicked up the spot one after another transitioning the night into a spiritual, raw homecoming. Predictably, the club was full or positive energy from the best underground soul/hip hop artists including house band The Chronicle, Kindred, Danny Boy, Algebra, Big Boi, Divinity, Anthony David, Erica Smith, Raheem DeVaughn, Laurnea, Trina Meade of Three5Human, Lil’ John, Sleepy Brown, Gaelle, Cee-Lo, Jason Weaver, and Keisha Jackson, possibly the hardest working singer in Atlanta.

It’s when Joi, Keisha and Algebra commenced Peach’s transition with signature song “Co-Stars”, that I got teary.

You and I are only co-stars
In this here production
No lines memorized
Only the Creator knows the script by heart

If you get your tickets now
You can have the best seat in the house
The curtains rising
Please enjoy the show

This post is dedicated to true musicians who remind me that life is too short to play in other people’s shadows. Extra special credit go to black artists who defy radio and industry classification. Keep doing your motherfuckin’ funk, rock, soul, punk, house, hip hop thing, g*ddamn.

pub: 04/04/2007 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 5 | subscribe

Thank you for writing those beautiful words about Peach. I did not know her personally, but like you felt the loss of a kindred spirit.

Peace to Peach’s family, band members and close friends - and please rest assuredly that this woman’s voice and music affected people all over the world.

I think I saw Peach perform backing Joi in 96 at a show at the Roxy featuring Fishbone, De la Soul and Goodie Mob. This was right about the time Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome, the best album that never got released in the U.S was about to not come out. I happened upon a copy, and the duet Joi and Peach did of “You turn me on” is one of the greatest and most raw and pure performances of soul I have ever heard.

My late parents saw Whild Peach perform at various festivals and always spoke highly of them. I kept intending to see them doing their own stuff at some point, but never saw a show they were headlining.
I feel I truly missed out, and I extend my love to her family and the many musicians who played with her. It is a hard road doing underground music, but we must keep on…and I will always rememeber the spirit of this powerful sister.

3. Clinton Gillette

I had a little “grunt” job with a sound company, and one of the company’s first major clients was Whild Peach. This was just a few years back, and Peach was already ill. I am sure I did not see Whild Peach in their full glory, however what I did see blew me away. Throughout my working with them, I got to befreind the band and got to spend a little time with Peach. My god what a wonderful soul she was, very upbeat, intellegant, and a positive force.
I am saddened that I won’t be able to talk with her again and I am sure that in my life I may never know anyone as talented again.

4. Amber Jones

I remember meeting Peach as a college student when I snuck into the Cotton Club to try to convince Goodie Mob to perform at our Spring Concert. They agreed and Whild Peach opened. Peach then started working at our school bookstore and I got a chance to get to know her and watch her perform. She was amazing and inspiring and I hate that more people didn’t get a chance to appreciate her musical genius. I give thanks for getting to know her and spend a small time sharing space with her!

5. Kurt Mc

Whild Peach was an incredible band I actually had the brief chance to play with way back in the early 00’s. I’d been a fan since their feet first hit the ground back in Atlanta, knew them for years, booked gigs for them (once) and even drove them to a gig when they had car trouble! I only got to fill in for their bassist once, but rocking the stage with one of your idols is an experience you can’t beat.
It broke my heart to hear Peach passed away. It just ain’t right. Her time here was too short.
A cool post script. The Band is still together and still giging thier asses off. I have know idea who could ever replace Peach, but they are still out there doing the damn thing! Maybe I’ll catch them soon.

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