Band Historical

Astrology / Resurrection

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ASTROLOGY was a very spirited, high octane band formed in Birmingham, Alabama in the latter half of 1974 by founder/leader John Crenshaw. John had grown up in a music and performance-oriented family… before ever embarking upon this quest, he had already formulated the total concept of this ensemble in his mind. He knew that he wanted the band to primarily perform in the R&B/Pop genres, but he needed them to be diversified enough to branch into both spiritual and jazz components. This was extremely important to him due to his upbringing in the home of a Methodist Pastor, the late Rev. Charlie Crenshaw. John stated, “I did not realize until much later, the sacrifices my father made being a preacher, yet allowing us to perform what was considered secular music during those times. He was so far advanced in his ministry that he taught us to differentiate between love and lust… secular means worldly, or not of God… lust is not of God, but love is God! The music would not be good enough alone, there also had to be a related meaningful message, and there would indeed be group prayer prior to any performance". John’s brothers, Edward and Alvin, gave him advice from their musical and “gig” experience... Edward would later help with arrangements and production, in addition to him and his wife providing much needed rehearsal space. John intensely studied and admired both vocal groups and bands such as The O-Jays, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Bar-Kays, The Ohio Players, The Emotions, L.T.D., and most importantly Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF). Being a percussionist himself, John was fascinated with EWF founder and leader, Maurice White. The precision and crisp arrangements exhibited to perfection by “The Fire” was a very good guideline… also the name “Astrology” had some origin from that EWF inspiration! John would later study music under the rich melodic teachings of the late Dr. Thomas E. Lyle, and applied percussions under the renowned Dr. Van Free at Alabama State University. Like Maurice White, he was a perfectionist at heart and sought to recruit members of like characteristics that would feel the intensity of his vision.

Original supporting members of Astrology were D’Andria Spencer, Larry Montgomery, David Davis, Cornelius Glover, Donald Cofield, Steve Davis, Reginald Green, and J.P. Rodgers. This original cast was dismantled and reorganized within the first six months without many public performances… Although all of these surviving original members remain friends even today, this initial body of musicians “did not click” as a collective entity to John’s satisfaction… The reformation of Astrology took place during the Spring of 1975. The foundation of this group was finally laid solid by utilizing a base consisting of band members at Woodlawn High School, and one from the neighboring Hayes High School. A little later, after landing the guitar player from the rival local band, West Gate Funk (which was ironically co-founded by Brother Alvin), the final piece to the puzzle was put in place. Having the body of musicians assembled that he had long sought, John acclimated them to the motto which would serve as their direction, should they ever try to get lost: “Bringing forth a new dimension in sound, while spreading universal love!”.

Astrology was a self-contained ensemble that attempted to do everything in a manner that exemplified impeccable professionalism… an extremely strict professionalism!... they could not fraternize with the audience during breaks… they did not drink… they did not smoke… they did not do drugs… the guys did not seek to prey on any ladies… nor did they allow anyone to prey on the ladies in the band… John did not even allow the men in the band to prey on the ladies in the band, including himself!... being a “cover tune band” was never in the plans! Knowing that they would need finances to follow through on their dreams, John devised a master plan which would set them apart from, and prohibit them from becoming, “just another good local band”. They created “Fleeing Star Production Company, Fleeing Star Management, Fleeing Star Music, and most creatively, Fleeing Star Records”… all rights yet reserved! The group practiced intensely, and cleverly utilized cover tunes in a medley form in their performance construction, while also including their original compositions. All of the members assisted John in certain areas of specializations… Leatrice was the musical director and handled overall arrangements… Andre & David helped with business… Larry was the effects wizard… Steve also arranged… Cheryl and J.P. voiced the vocals... Spike orchestrated percussions… Nathaniel took care of horn arrangements… All of these elements were carefully placed within the body of a performance which John scripted from beginning to end. He even solicited the talents of his niece, Jacqueline Crenshaw Lockhart, a trained dancer and instructor, for choreography. When you finally factor in their custom sound, lighting and effects by Tony Carter, Sam Matthews, Dejon Henry & Floyd Turnes, their show was awe inspiring! 

Steve Davis left the band to pursue his personal music. He was replaced by Bernard McQueen on bass, and with Willie Kimbrough added on rhythm guitar, the band yet excited audiences everywhere they performed… Staying in touch with their initial goals, they released their first single “Love Moods”, flip side, “Children of the Stars” in 1978. Obviously this was introduced through all of the corporate entities previously founded, and owned by Astrology. The record quickly catapulted them to even more notoriety as it climbed in both the local and regional charts. It was a sad day when John had to inform the band members that “their hit was in very high sales demand, but the distribution company licensed to deliver their product was caught up in bankruptcy”. Even this blow could not affect this ensemble… They were good and they knew it… in an humble kind of way. The second, third & fourth blows however, did a little damage… Original members Larry Montgomery & David Davis, longtime personal friends of John, departed for personal reasons. Not satisfied with the soprano sax players he was getting at the auditions, John revamped the horn section and added a valve trombone by bringing in Ronald Robertson. D’Andria Spencer was next to leave the group… “D”, as they affectionately called him, later passed away due to illness, which was a tremendous tug on their hearts. His character, musicianship, and smile could never be replaced… and John did not even try! In addition to being a tremendous musician, he was an educated commercial artist, and finalized all of the group’s artwork… If you could conceive it, he could retrieve it… on paper! Prior to leaving the band, D’Andria had confided in John that “he would always be with him and the other band members in heart, and he wanted them to keep going no matter the circumstances”… They did not forget that.

Astrology was blessed to have artists in the metropolitan area that they trusted and respected to give them “advice about the business”. These “tutors” included groups and/or singers such as "The Controllers, Lady Love, David Sea, and the late Poo-Nanny & Avery Richardson". The people of Birmingham have long known that their metro community is an absolute entertainment incubator… names the likes of Eddie Kendricks, Eddie Levert, Erskine Hawkins, Dennis Edwards, Rosetta Johnson, Sam Dees, Cleve Eaton, Roscoe Robinson, and Frederick Knight… if you include the whole state, you would have to continue with names like Nat King Cole, Percy Sledge, Clarence Carter, The Five Blind Boys of Alabama, The Commodores, and the list goes on and on. This “BAM” (Birmingham Area Music) tradition continues even to this day with names like Ruben Studdard… Bo Bice… Taylor Hicks… This was the cultivated ground from which Astrology sprouted… and it was good ground indeed! Warrick Jones eventually became the bass player of the group, and the band continued to tour and perform. They had the opportunity to do so with The Ohio Players and many other top billing acts of the time. John shut down the performances during the mid eighties when JP left to pursue a solo career… He stated in an interview, “When it ceases to be excellent, it is no longer your season”… Yet seasons return year after year. A new season has arrived as John and guitarist, Andre Williams, have brought to past their "collaborating" on a reunion project for the original “family members”. The band, formerly known as "Astrology", has now come to be known as "Resurrection", although the former name is also retained for legal purposes regarding interests heretofore... John chose this name to exemplify their lives, their families, their faith… Faith that they all have always had, and never lost… Faith that allows them to bury the Astrology persona, yet "arise again in Resurrection", devoted to a God that they all have come to know very personally, and has been with them always! This group will always write, record and perform songs with spiritual messages, superimposed over jazz and/or rhythm & blues melodies… Sound familiar?... If so: “People… I present to you… Resurrection!”