Groovin’ Down Memory Lane with Special Guest Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliott of E.U. on Listen In With KNN

On this special episode of “Listen In With KNN” sports talk radio show and podcast presented by Fox Sports 1340AM/96.9 FM, executive producer and host Kelsey Nicole Nelson welcomed special guest GRAMMY-nominated E.U.’s front man, bassist and lead vocalist Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliott.

Starting off the interview, a live viewer made a comment about their wife dancing to one of Elliott’s songs. Nelson followed up that comment by asking him how he felt about making a song that is timeless and many people enjoy. Elliott shared that it’s a blessing and that everyone enjoys it, and that he’s shocked. Nelson asked him if the young folk know how cool he is, Elliott replied they know but try not to show it but the parents are the ones who are more familiar with him. “Old school music rules,” said Elliott.  

In talking about Experience Unlimited, the band just celebrated 50 years in 2021 and Elliott said he’s thankful to God that he still has the same passion for his music now that he had back in the day. Nelson followed up by saying that the music itself never gets old and the power it holds brings everyone together. Following up, Nelson asked how their famous song “Da Butt” came about. Elliott says it began at the 930 Club in Washington, D.C. and at the time, Spike Lee was promoting a movie. While he was there, E.U. was performing the song “Shake It Like A White Girl.” Spike then came over, who Elliott admitted he didn’t know about, and asked them to be in his movie, School Daze. Elliott says one thing led to another, and next thing you know EU was recording the hit song in a New York studio. He noted that they made the song in eight hours, and when he left the studio, he didn’t realize that it would still be a top song all these years later. 

Today, he’s still making music and expressed his approval at how the group’s music is still lasting and how it’s become an integral part of the D.C. culture. In discussing the changing landscape of D.C. over time and gentrification that’s happened throughout the city, Elliott shared that some change is for the better, but says always to never forget where you come from. Nelson, a DMV native emphasized her love and passion for all things D.C.and how important the EU group was in D.C. history and culture. Elliott thanked her and said they need more like her. Talking about the future, the band dropped a re-release of their original album, and have a new song called “Peace Gone Away” which Elliott said is being received very well. In regards to the growth of go-go music, Elliott said he’s very happy that it’s growing again and that notoriety is overdue. Elliott emphasized that they won a lot of awards for the song “Da Butt” and noted that the style originated from D.C. 

When talking about D.C. and the music scene, Elliott wants people to know that there’s a lot of unity and that it’s a beautiful place to live and raise children. He followed up by saying D.C. is the perfect place since there’s a lot to see and visit. Additionally, he said that people need to stop stereotyping the city as a bad place and bring it back to the surface of what makes D.C. shine. 

Outside of his work in the music scene, Elliott is a dedicated special education teacher in  the public school system and has been for 26 years. Nelson thanked him for his service to the community and understands his commitment to children, as they both have ventures in dealing with children with special needs. Elliott says that the job is challenging but he loves what he does and enjoys making them laugh along with putting a smile on their faces. Nelson asked him why he got into it, and he goes on to say that it was a calling from God after music. Elliott talked about his first day as a teacher and how a student threw a chair at him. He noted it was due to the students being unfamiliar with him but once they builtrapport together, they became best friends and from there, he knew that this was for him.

In learning more about Elliott the man, Nelson also discussed his gun violence prevention and his community activism. When asked about his motivation for keeping the streets safe, Elliott said he wanted to send a message because people can receive the message better from a celebrity, because they’ll listen. “Enough is enough” Elliott said, when talking about gun violence against children. He emphasized that gun violence is a pandemic that people are accepting and expresses disapproval at that notion. He mentioned crack dominated Black neighborhoods in the 1980s and how gun violence now doing the same in those neighborhoods. Elliott highlighted that this is a problem elsewhere but it’s heavy in the Black community. The time is now to put the guns down, love your brothers and sisters,“ said Elliott. This led to a discussion between both of how people are afraid to go out in public places in fear of their safety. Nelson expressed gratitude and complemented Elliott on being much more than just a musician but an activist and teacher. 

Lightening the mood and shifting to sports, Nelson asked Elliott about his sports allegiances. As a native Washingtonian, he roots for the Commanders, but he wants to see them wake up and get a Super Bowl win. They both agree there’s a lot of work to do to get them a title. Nelson asks him what he would have named the D.C. football team, and he replied, the Washington Politicians, noting it’s a political town. Nelson followed up asking if he goes to home games, and Elliott said he prefers staying home and watching the team, because the television broadcasts can show you things one could have missed in person. Talking about Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin, they both agreed that his contract is well deserved and when asked about Carson Wentz at quarterback, Elliott hopes he can be himself and have fun getting the job done. Elliott noted that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who is older, is outperforming Wentz, and he finds that idea crazy and hopes Wentz can turn it around. 

Staying with football, Nelson asked about a possible Commanders stadium relocation to the state of Virginia. Upon sharing his thoughts Elliott mentioned he prefers the team play in the old RFK stadium located in the city. He shared how the community came together at that stadium. “It was a real football stadium,” Elliott said. Nelson said there’s a lot of mixed emotions about the stadium and moving it out of the D.C. area. Switching sports and shifting to basketball, Elliott shared his Los Angeles Lakers fandom. He said his favorite basketball player is the late great Kobe Bryant and that there’s no one like him in the league. Nelson talks about Bryant’s impact with women’s basketball and important issues off the court. Although he is a Lakers fan, he still supports the local Washington Wizards team, but says that the team always loses when they are close. 

Switching gears back to music, Nelson then brought up the experience working with New Balance, as one of EU’s songs was featured in a commercial from one of their early albums. Elliott was happy about it as millions of people were watching the commercial. He says when people hear the song it causes people to look them up! Elliott continued to express his amazement about how the song continues to stay relevant and popular. Nelson highlighted that Elliott grew up and made it big while staying in D.C. and he says he’s blessed for the opportunities he’s been given because of it. 

You can follow Elliott and the E.U band on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Listen to the full episode below!

John Luke Chaparo