• August 26, 2019

The KSA Memoir: My dirty fights with Emperor Pick Peters + Dirty things band boys did to me

KSA being signed by management of African Songs Ltd and Chief Bolarinwa Abioro 
“I
could not release an album at that time because my contract with African
Songs
had not run out.  It was Admiral
Dele Abiodun
, who released an album which Abioro and the public
assumed was a response to Pick Peters’ – on my behalf.  The truth is I did not ask anybody to respond
on my behalf because there was nothing to respond to.  

 The assumption that Dele Abiodun spoke for me
was strengthened by the similarity between his voice and mine.  Some even alleged that I was the one who sang
the song.  I could not have because there
was never any quarrel between Emperor Pick Peters and me.I did not
even get to meet him until months after I had quit African Songs.  The first time we met was in Ondo,
during Ogun Day.  A man came to greet me but his face did not
look familiar.  I am sure he must have
been surprised at the lack of any hint of recognition in my response to his
greeting.  He introduced himself as Emperor
Pick Peters
.  I greeted him
warmly, offered him a seat and we discussed. 
I never quarreled with Pick Peters or any other
musician.  Never!  Could I have quarreled with a man I had not
met?
KSA’s work ‘Ogun’ where he praised-sing his former boss, Chief Bolarinwa Abioro
 Ebenezer Obey and I…
The
case of Chief Ebenezer Obey was even more stunning.  He is more of an elder brother than a fellow
musician and I usually went to him for advice. 
Yet, many concluded that we were enemies and read meanings into our
songs.  If I sang, it was so because we
emerged at the same time and people thought we should be bitter rivals.  Record dealers probably helped in
perpetrating the imaginary feud because sales usually shot up when fans were
expecting their favorites’ response to alleged attack in a rival’s record.
While feuds between artistes were rampant in those days, Obey and I were never
involved.  This may be difficult to
believe, as it was for some people who were close to both of us.  More about this later

“I explained that the
people encouraging them to quit did not have jobs to offer them and that if
they wanted to work in the US, they should return to Nigeria first and come
back to look for employment opportunities since they still had valid
visas.  Lastly, I said if their plans did
not work out, they could return to my band.
But the guys were far
too gone in their plan to live in America. 
I wished them luck.  Their plans
did not work and they returned to join Sir
Shina
Peters, who later sacked
them”.
KSA being signed by management of African Songs Ltd and Chief Bolarinwa Abioro
The Easy Motion War
with Fatai Rolling Dollars…
What
could pass for a disagreement with an artiste happened a few years ago, when Pa
Fatai Rolling Dollar
accused me of using his material without
permission.  Rollin Dollar is old
enough to be my father and the matter has been resolved.  But I am saying it categorically that the
song in question does not belong to Fatai Rolling Dollar, but to J.O.
Araba
(of blessed memory) When I sang the song, members of Araba family came to me
and explained everything to me.  I used
one of the songs in my albums abroad, but I could not locate them at that time
until they contacted me.  I even
mentioned it in one of my radio interviews when I was the President, Performing
Musicians Association of Nigeria
(PMAN), that we should know every
musician’s family in case there is a need to contact them.  For example, there was a time we were looking
for the picture of Cardinal Rex Lawson for five years and nobody could come up
with one. The only picture they had was the one on the sleeve of the album he recorded
with Phillips
Music
.  Eventually, it was his
son who provided us with a picture.


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I
did not respond to Rolling Dollar, but the family of J.O Araba did.  That is how the matter was laid to rest. My
lawyers and J.O. Araba’s family have since met and drawn up a settlement
agreement for using that song.
KSA with Chief Bolarinwa Abioro on their first trip to London in 1971 before their mutual crisis began
‘The 1985 Japanese
earthquake’…
Tokyo, Japan,
1985:  Ten years after my band was rocked
by defection arising from the contractual crisis with African Songs Limited, I
suffered a similar fate.  It was a
massive crisis that threatened the existence of the band.  We were invited to Japan for a charity concert in aid of the victims of the famine in Ethiopia.  The Japanese government was responsible for
our transportation.  To this end, a total
of 30 tickets were issued to the band. 
But the band was travelling with only 26 members, so there were four
extra tickets.  Of the extra tickets, I
gave one to my brother because he was an electrical appliance dealer in
Benin.  I also gave one to my neighbor, Mr.
Odebunmi
and one to another friend. 
We travelled to Tokyo through London, where we left some of our
equipment for repairs.  But no sooner had
we got to Tokyo than my band members
started acting funny.
The
change in attitude arose from a rumor which began before we left for Japan. 
It was rumored that Panasonic, manufacturers of
electronics which sponsored the band on the tour, had promised to give 200
video recorders 100 television sets to the band.  I told the band that the story was
untrue.  They apparently did not believe
me, particularly because my brother was with us.  They thought his purpose for travelling was
to collect the video recorders and television sets for sale in his shop back
home.
We
played successfully on the tour.  A day
before we were to leave Japan for Nigeria, via London, an amount of money was paid to us. I showed everyone the
money, telling them it was an unexpected bonus. 
I reminded them that we needed to take our equipment in London back to Nigeria.  We took the
equipment to London as part of our
luggage and the agreement was that we would also take them back to Nigeria as
luggage.  For this reason, I suggested
that we should split the money into two, set aside one half as payment for
instrument repairs and the other half to be shared among ourselves.  They agreed with the suggestion.  However, they changed on the way and decided
that we should share all the money and set nothing aside.  Some of them even told me that they were going
to spend a few days in London with their friends.
I
said that was fine, but reminded them that we had been booked for a show the
following week.  With almost everyone
wishing to remain in London, it was
clear that nobody wanted to bring the instruments back to Nigeria.  The instruments in London were our best instruments.  I suggested that we should contribute money
to bring down the instruments, but they refused and insisted that the money
should be shared.  We shared the money
equally because we were on tour.  In Nigeria, I got more than my band members
because the band played with my instruments and used my vehicles to take them
around.  Despite their insistence on
remaining in London, I still thought
they were joking until they made me realize that they had their passports with
them.
KSA with his band boys at Trafalgar Square in London
I
left London in anger and returned
home.  The implication was that the
instruments remained in London and
still do up till now.  I bought new
instruments and decided to reorganize the band. 
That was why I renamed it King
Sunny Ade and His New African Beats
. 
Four months after, those who stayed back in London heard that I had reorganized the band and they started
sending people to beg me to reabsorb them. 
Some sent their wives and I said if they wanted re-absorption, those in London should bring back our equipments.  I also said that I wanted to know their reasons
for seeking re-absorption.  I ignored all
the pleas on their behalf, explaining that I told them that the rumor they
reacted to was unfounded.  I added that I
gave them the names of the agents and managers who got us to play in Japan
in case they wanted to confirm if television sets and video recorders should
have been given to the band.
KSA…Found both a friend and a foe in Chief Bolarinwa  Abioro
For
that reason, I said whoever wanted to come back must write an application,
stating what exactly he wanted.  The
problem then, and now, is that when you go on tour, many people tell these boys
that the terms of their engagement should be better like what happens
overseas.  With these sweet talks, the
boys come to you to demand a change in their terms of employment.  Some of them told me that they wanted new
contracts and I said if that was the case, they should meet their managers to
write a proposal to that effect. 
Alternatively, I asked them to draw up an agreement.  One of them, Ademola Adepoju, told me
that his white girlfriend who was a musician told him that she was under an
hourly contract.  I asked him if he
wanted the agreement to begin while we were on tour or in Lagos.  He said both.  I advised him to go and sleep over it.  He eventually brought a proposal to me in London. 
The drummer, Moses Akanbi, also said he wanted a new salary immediately we
returned home.
KSA…The boy is the father of the man
When
I bought new instruments, I invited professionals from overseas to help put
them in shape.  As much as I could, I tried
to keep the matter away from the public. 
However, the matter got to the public domain and into the newspapers
when people came to my shows and did not see them because those who returned
with me rarely came for shows.  Some of
them re-applied to the band. But their letters were more of letters of apology
than applications. They were reabsorbed, but not on formal contracts, as we did
not need any contracts because that would require so many terms that would
remove the informality that created something close to a bond in a family.
KSA…The Father of Modern Juju Music
Lessons from the
School of Baba Sala…
My
usual practice was to advise anyone who wanted to leave the band to think very
well before taking a decision.  I learnt
this from Moses Olaiya.  On a tour of the U.S, Segun Ilori and Niyi
Falaye
came to me and demanded that I returned their passports to them
because they had decided not to return to Nigeria.  I advised them against it and asked if they
wanted to set up their own band or quit music outright.  Whatever it was, I explained that they should
give me adequate notice so that I could shop for replacements.  I explained that the people encouraging them
to quit did not have jobs to offer them and that if they wanted to work in the US,
they should return to Nigeria first
and come back to look for employment opportunities since they still had valid visas.  Lastly, I said if their plans did not work
out, they could return to my band.
One of KSA’s works for Chief Bolarinwa Abioro’s African Songs Ltd Record Label
But
the guys were far too gone in their plan to live in America.  I wished them
luck.  Their plans did not work and they returned
to join Sir Shina Peters, who later sacked them.  Segun returned to the band, but he
messed up again and was kicked out in 1992.
If
all the crises were related to music or business, 1991 came with a
difference.  That year, I suffered a
serious health crisis that it was even speculated that I was dead.  While I thank God that I did not die, I can
also say that I was a shot away from that.
(Excerpts
from the book; KSA: My Life, My Music by
King Sunny Ade. Read ‘My famed war with Emperor Pick Peters &
Others’
tomorrow on this blog
)
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One Comment

  • KSA na Baba anytime and any day. God bless you with long life.

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