BURTON — A deaf MTA bus driver, known as “Reverend Right-time,” Patric Ferris, and his group “the 1st Cuzins of Funk” is known throughout Michigan and will perform at the Genesee County Fair from 8 p.m.- 12 a.m. on Aug 25.
“We’re famous for having a high energy show,” Ferris said. “We haven’t done this show in a long time. If I perform in my purple fur, it costs some money for that, instead of looking like a clown for free. We’re getting dressed up again. It’s fun for people. If people come to see a show, they don’t want to see you standing with your hands hanging to your sides.”
According to the group’s Facebook page, Prince has influenced them greatly.
“I’d say that’s our major influence,” Ferris said.
The 48-year-old said in his era everybody either liked Prince or Michael Jackson.
“Michael Jackson was really cool, but Prince was a musician,” he said. “There’s a different respect there because he plays it all. He’s the king of funk.”
Rev. Right-time and the 1st Cuzins of Funk dropped the song “Ah Lozeal” the day Prince died.
“We would have normally gotten 10,000 hits that day,” Ferris said. “We got hardly any because Prince died.”
A video of the song is on the group’s Facebook page.
George Clinton and Earth, Wind and Fire have also influenced the group, according to Ferris. Ferris said he liked the ambience of the three horns “bringing it in like fireworks.” They also play some newer music like Childish Gambino.
Mike Puwal produced “Ah Lozeal.” Nile Rogers is supposed to play guitar on a song called “Dynamite” which Ferris said could make the song platinum in itself.
“At first, I had simple goals,” Ferris said. “I played at the Pine Knob and Joe Louis. I played in the Red Wings parade in 1997, and there was a million people there. We were supposed play with Earth, Wind and Fire, but I couldn’t find a bass player. When the crowds are so big and so loud that it closes out your ear, that’s cool because I’m deaf. I can’t imagine what it would be like for people that can hear.”
Ferris said although he can’t hear, he is more in tune with his other senses.
“It helps that I’m loud and I’m hyper, but sometimes it’s sad because I don’t really know what I sound like,” he said. “I hear the bass and follow it.”
Rev. Right Time and the 1st Cuzins of Funk won Best Funk Band in the Review Tri City Music Awards eight years in a row. They got the Detroit Music Award in 2001. They have been signed with such labels as Atlantic and RCA.
“I’m an old man now, and I still try to move,” Ferris said. “When I do, I can’t walk. But it’s worth it sometimes. We’re going to try to do the same show at the fair we used to do. We’re going to give it to them!”