George Clinton, Perry Kanlan, K-Rek (hidden in back), Jake Austen

This week’s B Side cover story on Dancin’ Man is hardly the first time I’ve worked with Jake Austen, so it didn’t surprise me when the piece came in almost 300 words longer than the 2,000 I’d planned for and then continued to grow throughout the editing process. Given how much interview material Jake collected while preparing this story, I’m convinced he could’ve filled the entire B Side, if not the whole paper.

In fact he was still amassing information and chasing down quotes when we had to go to print. He wrote me late last night to share the following:

As so often happens when you’re putting a story together, some of the best stuff comes in just past deadline. As the story on Perry “Dancin’ Man” Kanlan was going to press, I got a call from Tito Jackson’s management, arranging for me to get a quote via telephone from Jackson (who had just returned from an overseas tour, then had to turn his attention toward the verdict in his brother’s wrongful death trial). “I definitely remember Dancin’ Man,” Jackson said. “My whole family admired him, and Michael really liked his dancing. In his prime he was one of the best dancers we ever saw.”

Another thing about deadlines is you realize that some things just won’t fit, and one set of details I had to leave out was the names of the members of Dancin’ Man’s mini entourage at the Funkadelic show. As the above photo with George Clinton shows, the quartet included Dancin’ Man, K-Rek (a young rapper whose claim to fame is being Flavor Flav’s hype man, he’s mostly hidden in back), myself, and Lavon Pettis (not pictured, since she’s holding the camera), who I know from her work helping manage Phil Cohran. Pettis initially introduced me to Dancin’ Man, so without her I wouldn’t have been backstage with a weary Dr. Funkenstein—and I wouldn’t have been able to share the unique Chicago story of Dancin’ Man.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.