By Pfc. Jared Eastman, 1st BCT Public AffairsNovember 26, 2008
FORT STEWART, GA -- A crowd of all ages gathered in front of the stage on Donovan Field here Thursday night to see a band that has spanned generations. Keni Thomas and his band Cornbread had just left the stage, leaving the air tense with anticipation. Then the Commodores hit the stage to play for Soldiers and Family Members of Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield during the 3rd Infantry Division's 91st birthday celebration.
"This is our second time at Fort Stewart," said Walter Orange, Commodore. "Eight years ago we performed here, and I'll never forget this place because it was just so quaint."
Of course, eight years is nothing to a band that has spanned decades. The group got started in Tuskegee, Ala., in 1968 and has performed for several generations.
"Every generation has its own sound because each generation does not want to do what their parents have done," said William King, Commodore. "Things change, and I think it's great. The thing for us is to try and keep up because you either change with it or get left behind. The problem with our generation of musicians is that we don't want to change. "We like the way we did 'Three Times the Lady' and 'Easy,' but now it's a different feel and beat."
The Commodores had much to say about today's generation of music.
"It feels good to hear my music played today and simulated, copied, and ripped off," laughed Orange. "As we go through this generation of change, it's almost like we are a new group again. Today's generation hears our music, and not only our music, but also the music of the 70's and 80's, and they like it, so they come back and may put their spin on it, but a lot of them end up redoing our music again. One thing I'm glad to see gone is the degradation of females in hip-hop, that did not sit well with our generation; it's slowly but surely disappearing from modern music."
"A lot of kids hear music today and they think it originated with that artist," he said, "And they don't even know who played it first. Even our music has come such a long way, I don't know of any other band that has spanned from life to death. People have been conceived by our music, met that someone with our music, and we've had people ask for music to listen to who are terminally ill. It's something that is truly incredible."
The Commodores spent the last few months traveling from post to post as part of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Army Concert Tour.
"It's been an amazing experience these last couple months, to go to all the bases and play for troops," said J.D. Nicholas, Commodore. "We salute you Soldiers, and we thank you, because you make it possible for us to do what we do."
King shared similar sentiments and spoke directly about the deployed Soldiers.
"I'd just like to say come home safe to 4th Brigade (Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division)," he said, "We're loving you; you guys are doing a great job over there."
The band's opening act set the night alight with pyrotechnics as they took to the stage for the first time in eight years with classics like "Brickhouse" and "Nightshift," along with a medley tribute to Marvin Gaye. If the variety of ages at the Stewart concert is anything to base fact off of, The Commodores is one band an entire Family can enjoy.