The Klique Interview

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How did Klique start?

Isaac: I used to sing by myself in some nightclubs around the Los Angeles area. At that time I decided to start writing more. My sister, Deborah Hunter (Hunter is her Married Name), was always singing and we got together. Then we decided that we needed a group and we started auditioning people. And that's how Howard Huntsberry got involved.

Do you have all your Albums?

Isaac: I have a couple of each of our albums. They are in decent shape. But I want to have my albums on CD to preserve them. I have to go to the studio because I have everything on 2 inch reel to reel.

Do you also have unreleased material?

Isaac: Yes on the 2 inch reels I still have songs that nobody's ever heard. They still sound good after all these years.

What was it like working with the Con Funk Shun members, Michael Cooper and Felton Pilate on your first two albums?

Klique - It's Winning Time

Klique - Let's Wear It out
Isaac: That was great. It was a great experience. They tought us a lot about writing and producing. We're still in contact with those guys, Felton Pilate and Michael Cooper. They're still touring all over the place. They were the nicest people. They'd bring us to their homes up in mount Zion in San Francisco California, they literally took us into their homes, we lived with them when we making those two albums. A lot of them we made in Los Angeles too. We had a studio at that time. They were a great help and a big inspiration for our music.

How did you get together?

Isaac: We met them through our manager, George Murphy, the executive producer of most of our records. We, Deborah and I, met George Murphy, our manager, in 1978. George was very good friends with Con Funk Shun's manager and that was how we got together.

You wrote 'It's a winning time' with Felton Pilate?

Isaac: I did the lyrics of that song. Actually I got the idea of making that song from the american basketball player Magic Johnson of the LA Lakers because he was always saying "It's Winning Time". He wrote that song from what he used to talk about. I don't think he ever heard it! LOL ;-) Felton Pilate gave me a demo and I said to him: do you have lyrics to this shit? Felton said no. Ok, I said, I'll write something and I did, Felton really liked it. I also wrote the melody and after that we went to the studio where Felton produced it. Together we did all the keyboards. It came out really good.

I like that song a lot. We actually did a movie, or rather we were in a movie, where we sing that song. It is an old movie, the film is called Penitentiary starring Leon Isaac Kennedy as a boxer. We had a nightclub scene where we performed that track.

How many copies of your first two albums did you sell ?

Isaac: You know, dumb as it may sound.... but I really don't know. It was so obscure in those days for an artist to actually know what they were selling. If you didn't go gold or platinum it was almost like in a sense that you didn't even want to know. I mean we got royalties so we knew it was selling but I couldn't tell you whether it sold 20 or 200 hundred thousand copies. And even now it's difficult for artists to find out how much money the record companies are making.

You did the third and fourth album with Thomas McClary of the Commodores. Was that a decision of the record company?

Isaac: No, we also met Thomas McClarry via our manager George Murphy because George knew a lot of people back in those days.

Klique - Try It Out

Klique - Love Cycles
What was the inspiration to record the song "Stop Dogging me around"?

Isaac: Howard Huntsberry sounded like Jackie Wilson when we first started listening to him sing so we just decided, let's do some Jackie Wilson songs. Thomas McClary was good at arranging things, since he'd worked with some of the greatest people, so we presented him with the idea of doing a Jackie Wilson song. He really liked it and that's where "Stop Dogging me around" came from. Michael Dunlap is friends with Thomas McClarry and is a keyboard and bass guitar player. He can play everything. He did a lot on "Stop Dogging me around". On our fourth album Michael did all the instruments.

What does Klique mean to you?

Isaac: A group of people that know each other, that are very close to each other, that love each other, that will stand by each other no matter what, through thick and thin, it's an inner circle of people, you know: your Klique.

Cherrelle - Fragile Which instruments did you use?

Isaac: I used the Oberheim a lot, also the Moog and the hhhh hmm god hhh the...., I'm getting old now LOL. But those two synthezisers were my favorite instruments in those days. As a matter of fact Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis borrowed my Oberheim a lot for Janet Jackson and New Edition Stuff. They called me one day to do some production of Cherrelle's first album "Fragile". We did three songs for that album, "I need you now", "I will wait for You" and "Stay With Me", and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis did the rest. For her second album I sent them some songs to listen to. They said: we really like this material and we're doing Janet's new album right now. We'd like to use some of these songs on Janets new album. Can you come up here and stay with us to produce it together. I said: I'm actually out on tour right now so I won't be able to do it right now. I could kill myself right now. I wish I could go back in time!

Klique - Waiting Fo Ya Genie What did you all do after Klique broke up?

Isaac: My sister Deborah and I did a lot of other productions but I also produced other artists. Back in 1986 we released a 12" called 'waiting for ya Genie' with on the B side 'Oh This Thing Called Love'. 'Waiting for ya Genie' is our own up tempo version of an old rap song. I use to love rap. We toured with one of the first rappers. Hmmm, what is his name? I can't remember. Actually I was doing a rap song of a remake of The Rivingtons "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" in the eighties but the record company said that rap music was never gonna make it. Stop waisting your time!

'Waiting for ya Genie' is still selling on the Internet. I can't believe it! it's selling for more than 70 bucks. This song is not released on any album. We are now in the Haircare business. We manufacture hair products. We're on the internet and we have some salons where we sell our products. My son's into the Rap music and did produce some different groups. At this point we have some great rap stuff with great artists and we're getting ready to start shopping deals.

I also did make a Christmas song. LOL. I did it for the soldiers overseas like Iraq and other places and this is basically about a guy that was wishing he was home for Christmas. It is a smooth jazz type of music with a low voice and a pop flavour to it. I have a deep voice that I was never really able to display on a Klique album because that was a different kind of menu.

Howard Huntsberry - With Love Howard Huntsberry has played the role of Jackie Wilson in the film La Bamba (1987). The film is a biographical story of the rise from nowhere of singer Ritchie Valens whose life was cut short by a plane crash. He also sang the Jackie Wilson song Higher and Higher on the Ghostbusters II OST. Howard Huntsberry wrote the song "Over and Out" from the movie Jailbird Rock of 1988 and he did his own album 'With Love' in the same year. One of the songs of that album is 'Sleepless Weekend'.

Do you still have contact with Howard Huntsberry?

Isaac: Yes, we always communicate and I see him on regular basis lately because his daughter is also an artist and she's recording an album. A friend of mine, Melvin Kelly (R Kelly's Cousin), is producing the album for Howard's Daughter. Howard has been here several times to see how the project was going. I called him recently because Howard, he lives in Louisiana, is also a victim of that Katrina Hurricane. Howard and his familily had a difficult time.

Do you keep yourself informed about Klique?

Isaac: I always try to keep updated with what's happening with Klique on the internet so I browse about 3 times a month to see the new information about Klique. I see that people still love us out there. I was astounded when I saw that the CD "Let's Wear It Out" was reissued.

Did you buy the CD?

Isaac: I bought the Klique CD album "Let's Wear it Out" and it brings back memories. It is a good feeling, all the time and energy that you put into developing those songs. Going to the studios. All the great people you're working with. It's nice to have it on CD. The sound is so good when you listen to it.

Do you have future plan's with Klique?

There is talk about another Klique album. We know some people that are interested in doing that because right now there are 80's groups getting back together and touring, performing and we're definitely talking about that.

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