By Sam Bleazard
Mint Condition is the legendary American band who hail from Minesota, renowned for their musicality after scoring a string of hits during the nineties with tracks like Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes), What Kinda Man Would I Be and U Send Me Swingin. In the mid-nineties the band became popular for their diverse musical styles, old school romanticism in their lyrics, and the ability to do what not many of their peers were doing – not only play live, but play live extremely well. It was for this reason that I contemplated trekking down to Wembley Arena to see them perform as part of the line up on the R&B Superstars show which took place last month and also featured En Vogue, Tony Toni Tone and other R&B luminaries from the 90s. Alas, I didn’t make it, but I heard from many who attended that Mint Condition were definitely the highlight of the show. Cocoa Diaries contributor Sam Bleazard managed to catch up with the group following their successful show, as they continue to embark across the globe spreading the good word of stellar live music. Check it out below. And one last thing, if you haven’t seen their episode of Unsung yet, you can watch it here. They are one of few acts featured whose story didn’t have a sombre ending.
Having been back in the UK recently for your arena show, tell us about the atmosphere and what it was like being back on the bill with the likes of En Vogue, Tony, Toni, Tone etc?
First, being back to London after a 3 year absence was awesome, a town so rich with culture and music, we’ve been to London so many times and we still haven’t seen and or experienced everything it has to offer. We love it over here, it’s never ending fun. Secondly, playing on a bill with the likes of Tony Toni Tone, EnVogue, Blackstreet, totally brings us back to a time when shows with this type of line-up were more commonplace. It’s always great when you’re backstage with the other artists catching up and telling stories from times past, we have all the respect in the world for groups like these that have stood the test of time.
How would you describe your fan base in Europe/UK – as you’ve just come off the back of shows in various countries these last few months (France, Russia, Switzerland) ?
Our European fan base is as energetic and diverse as in the States. Also, I think the old adage, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” holds true in this instance, we’re not able to travel to Europe and or overseas in general as much as we would like to so, when we do our fans are ultra-supportive because they know that it may be year or so before they get another chance to see us.
From what I’ve read some of the band are fans of UK artists such as Lianne La Havas and Laura Mvula…is there a “special relationship” between the US and the UK?
Well, from what we’ve both read and hear, UK artists seem to be heavily influenced by American musicians/singers/performers. In Mint Condition circles, the same holds true, artists such as Lianne LaHavas are rare talents, they both need to be supported and deserve to be heard. We had the opportunity to see Prince at KoKo in Camden last month and it just so happened that Lianne LaHavas performed with him that night; a more than pleasant surprise!!!