RENE LABRE

The Session Guitarist for "Blackstar" and Shawn Brown

I was hijacked from my own band and flown down to Criteria Studios in Miami to play guitar on two tracks of their album "Animal Attraction" by Rick Thomas,the genius that was their producer/co-writer.This was an extreme Black project that was going to be bigger than "Cameo."Now this was a weird trip for a white guy because this band was very,very racist and featured a genius named Shawn Brown and why his name is not a household word is a wonder to me.Proving to me once again that this world is not right.Everything about this band was black as the night and here I was the white guy who got called in to play guitar.On the recommendation of my Black drummer Marvin Brown.Man oh man these cats were rough and alternately treated me like shit or like a king.And I would have put them on a par with Prince or The Eagles.And make no mistake here,this group hated white people to the core.Really it was true.I spent much time on the receiving end of this.I was the lead guitarist,only guitarist,but was treated like a member of the road crew.And then given the presidential suite with 10 hookers who would do anything I asked or ever dreamed of.Man they used to bug me so bad,turning my guitar off in concert use to piss me off so bad,we would be playing to a full house at the bayfront center and they would turn off my guitar.This was cause enough for me to walk.I did get flown on a rented lear to Miami.That is one quick plane bro...and their decision was that I was the road manager and I told them to stick that up their ass."I am the lead guitarist and every bit as black an artist as any one of you."Then I walked and they failed.They did not want to cross over to embrace a young white female audience,now is that not just pure stupid?We live my friends in a world that requires that one hand washes the other.Shawn Brown ought to have been up with Stevie Wonder,but you know I would say the group got what they wanted.They destroyed everything and walked away from millions.Yet they did stick to their guns and would not back down and thus did not make it as they ought to have done.Shawn was not as racist as the rest of the group was and he is a genius,he sat down at the Hammond organ at the age of four and played it just like he does today.I was greatly awed to share his company.Had we of been from NYC or LA it would have been a much different story.Probably I would have even done road manager/lead guitarist and be retired from showbiz now.I think I scared them because I did not fit into "The White Guy" mode.I am just as black an artist as they are and that freaked them out!I left my own band with Chip and Marvin to work with these guys as a guitarist thinking finally..."I got my ticket to the bigtime."They allowed it to die but I did not.Perhaps that is why I was there and paid the engineer 200 bucks to get a copy of the masters.This was 1988 by the by and something the world almost missed.But "The White Guy" picked up upon it.