charlie wilsonHands down, in the late 70’s through the late 80’s The Gap Band was unstoppable! The resurgence of “old school R&B” that some claim started in the mid 1990’s (debatable because real music never dies) allowed the Wilson Brothers to reclaim their crown. Since the early 2000’s Charlie Wilson has re-invented and re-established himself as the consummate performer everyone wants to work with and be like if they grow up! Those of us of a certain age think Charlie Wilson and his “saangin” self when we hear the name The Gap Band.  Charlie stayed on the road non-stop despite the loss of younger brother Robert (d. 2010) and older brother Ronnie’s desire to  cease performing to minister full time in a Texas church.

Gap Band 1980When TMZ picks up a story about an R&B feud, you wish it wasn’t so, but in this case, it is so. Ronnie Wilson is now suing Charlie claiming that Charlie has interfered with Ronnie’s ability to book gigs for his spinoff group, The New Gap Band. Specifically, Ronnie says two concerts, at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City and at The Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C, were pulled due to Charlie’s interference.

(Above) The original Gap Band(L-R): Ronnie, Charlie & Robert Wilson back in the day day!

New Gap BandBased on the photo, The New Gap Band, may make one ask…who is that or where is Charlie? Without the arrow pointing out Ronnie Wilson, you may struggle to ascertain who these folks may be(I know I did) We can safely say none of them could imitate the Charlie Wilson sound, not even on his worst day! I am not trying to hate on Charlie protecting the brand he’s build brick by brick or anyone’s desire to make a coin, but this whole scenario reeks of deception unless Charlie Wilson Jr is the lead singer and sounds so much like Uncle Charlie you could never tell the difference or Robert Wilson, Jr is thumping the bass like he’s trying to pay the rent. Perhaps a better name might be the Gap Band Experience and until I witness it, I don’t see it; until I hear it, my ears can’t process it. The jury is still out!!

The issue of who owns and can use the “Gap Band” name mirrors problems currently plaguing so many classic R&B groups as well as the courts and it creates problems for fans that buy tickets with an expectation only to be disappointed on a variety of levels.

Let’s hope that the Wilson brothers can resolve their problems quickly and privately, so we can all “just get along.” everyone get back to making great music. How in the name of uptown funk is this happening??