Interview: Earth, Wind and Fire’s Verdine White

Bassist Verdine White, left, performs with Earth, Wind and Fire at Kelvingrove Park later this month

Born and raised in Chicago, Verdine White’s father, wanted him to follow in his footsteps and enter the field of medicine, it turned out however that music chose Verdine instead. He started his formal training in his preteens studying the upright bass. “The instrument was standing alone in the corner of the orchestra class….tall, mysterious and majestic, so different from all the others, it called me and the love affair began.”

After performing several years with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Verdine began his professional career playing the electric bass in local jazz clubs throughout Chicago and neighboring cities. His jams at the music hot spots allowed him to perfect his style and technique.

Already an accomplished musician, Verdine joined his elder brother Maurice White in Los Angeles to form one of the most successful pop and R&B bands of all time: Earth Wind and Fire.

For over 35 years, Verdine has been an energetic part of Earth, Wind and Fire’s tour and concert performances, travelling all over the world.

Verdine’s bass drives the band’s hits like Shining Star, That’s the Way of the World, Devotion and Boogie Wonderland. They have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and have sold over 90 million records.

Before Earth, Wind and Fire, headline Fiesta x FOLD in Kelvingrove Park on 30th June, Glasgowist called Verdine White at his Beverly Hills home for a chat. ​

Buy tickets for their headline show here.

It’s another sunny day here in Glasgow, festival season is just getting underway and we’re excited to see you soon at Kelvingrove Park

Well, alright. We are looking forward to getting over there and playing for you all.

In the early days of the band, were you confident that you were going to be a success, could you sense that there was something special happening when you played together?

When we started out as Earth, Wind and Fire, we definitely knew we wanted to do it. We knew the music that we wanted to make. My brother Maurice, he was very persistent. He was very dedicated and devoted to the band and what we were doing.

What were some of the first breakthrough moments when you realised things where happening for the band?

For me, I think it was probably just going out on the road. I think the Santana tour in Europe was important [Earth, Wind and Fire supported Santana at The Apollo, Renfield Street, in Glasgow on 17th September, 1975]. I’d also say releasing Shining Star.

So being a touring act helped develop the Earth, Wind and Fire sound?

Absolutely. We played together night after night. We still do. It’s the same energy. And that’s what we’re gonna bring to Glasgow in a few weeks time.

You’ll see a lot of hot energy. Good Music.

And you’ll feel better when you leave than when you came.

Are you conscious of how Earth, Wind and Fire’s is still influential and is still part of pop culture?

Well, the music, I know we’re the soundtrack of people’s lives. We love playing those songs.

At our shows, it’s great, because we see a lot of kids out there. It’s a lot of young people, and they’re really enjoying themselves. That’s what we love. That’s what we love about it.

What do you think it is that brings a new generation to performers like Earth, Wind, and Fire or Chic or the Pointer Sisters and the other acts that are on the bill for Fiesta x FOLD in Glasgow? I mean, there’s acts like De la Soul, Goldfrapp and Emile Sande performing, but in many ways it’s a real disco party.

I think the fact of it is that young people are so curious, and they’re so open. And I think that when they see us, and they meet us, they’re so excited. We had young people at the concert last night, and they were so excited about meeting us and watching the show last night.

It’s a great time for bands like us. Yes it is. It’s the best time because now we have all those years behind us and all those wonderful songs that people love. It gives us a great connection with the audience.

What’s next for Earth, Wind and Fire?

Well, we’ll tell you, as we always do, we take it a day at a time, and we’re always looking forward to the future, but right now we’re looking forward to coming to see you all.

Fiesta x FOLD Event Information

Fiesta x FOLD takes place in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park on 30th June and 1st July 2018.
Sunday 1st July line-up to be announced soon.

Ticket Information:

Tickets on sale now and available here.

Standard Day Ticket: £79 + Booking Fee
Weekend Ticket: £135 + Booking Fee
VIP Day Ticket: £125 + Booking Fee
VIP Weekend Ticket: £225 + Booking Fee
Family Ticket: £109 + Booking Fee