Doc Horton – A Special Xperience Interview
Written by Staff on November 30, 2023
Doc Horton – A Special Xperience Interview – by Rob Smittix.
RRX: How are you doing?
DH: I’m doing great. I mean, we had a phenomenal concert on Sunday evening. There was about 150 people there. Everybody was rocking. I had about 20 people constantly down on the stage dancing with me. The caterer was excellent. I catered the party myself because I wanted to share that with the community. I could not have planned it better. My band was on point and I was dancing my tail off.
RRX: Well, I did get a chance to see some of the highlights. It definitely looked like it was a good time. I see you played a new song that you just released as well.
DH: Yes, we debuted the new single “Reality”.
RRX: Yeah, man. So, yeah, that’s cool that things are going good.
DH: Oh, yeah. In fact we christened, the new J Street Park for the city. We played there too. I tell you, we had folks dancing, bopping and swaying. We had a great time.
RRX: How cool is that?
DH: Yeah, man. You know, the Doc Horton and the Jay Street Band had opened up the new Jay Street Park.
RRX: Is that the same Jay Street you’re band is named after?
DH: Oh yeah, that is the Jay Street. We actually got our start 11 years ago at Ambition Cafe on Jay Street. That’s why we call it the Jay Street band. Talk about coming full circle. In 2015 when that fire hit, a friend of mine, Jeff Yule and I co-produced a concert at Proctor’s to raise money for the fire victims. In fact, we raised several thousands dollars. When it happened, I immediately called Jeff and said, ‘look we gotta do something.’ At the time, we were the official house band for Ronald McDonald House and Jeff was executive director. I don’t know if you know Jeff.
RRX: I don’t think so.
DH: He’s no longer with Ronald McDonald House but at the time he and I put our heads together and put together that concert. So us being able to christen the park just seemed to be symbolic and poetic justice.
RRX: Yeah, for sure. I didn’t even realize that’s where the name came from. Jay Street, is like the coolest street in Schenectady.
DH: It is. In fact, we closed out the Jazz on Jay series this summer. Again, we had the folks dancing. We’re the ultimate Motown pop funk party band. Everybody loves Motown from 2 years old to 82.
RRX: How could you not?
DH: We enjoy what we do and most importantly, my company, HDH always gives back to the community. I call it the company with a conscience. We always adopt a charity and this year we’ve adopted “More Music, Less Violence.” You’ve probably heard of it. It’s a charity that focuses on steering kids in a positive way through music.
RRX: I’ve been seeing a lot about that actually. I didn’t know that you were helping out with it.
DH: In fact DJ Hollyw8d is the founder and director. He was the emcee . We’re gonna put a few things together and continue to do things together. He’s a great guy. In fact, he won the Eddie Award for DJ of the Year this past year.
RRX: Did he win the Listen Up Award too?
DH: No, he didn’t win the Listen Up but he was nominated.
RRX: And you were also a nominee for a Listen Up Awards as well.
DH: Two years in a row.
RRX: Hey, well, we got our third year coming now. So you never know.
DH: Just gotta keep praying. I tell you, I remember this past year. I was in the front row at the Listen Up Awards and enjoying the program. It’s a great award program and it’s good that you guys put that together.
RRX: Yeah, we were just kinda like, ‘hey, let’s do it and not take it so seriously and have fun.’ How long have you been doing music? Pretty much your whole life, I imagine?
DH: Well, I started off as a child with my mom influencing me with Motown. Even as a child singing and writing songs throughout my teens and through college. In college during my senior year, three things happened. First my group broke up. Secondly, I wrote the song “Reality” that fall of 77; (I graduated in 78) and I got an offer to go to grad school at Penn State. I said well, I’ll just go up there get my masters and come back home. As soon as I got there, they gave me an offer to get my PHD. So I said, OK, I’ll get my PHD. Then I got offered to get a job as a professor. 34 years later, I was a full professor and a success in sociology at three universities. I’m now at Suny Albany, I’ve been there for 29 years. I’ve been a professor for 40. A professor of sociology.
RRX: So you’re a real doc? Unlike Doctor Dre or Doctor J.
DH: That’s right. I’m a real doctor. The interesting thing is that back in March of 2012, I met this guy, he was a musician and professor. I told him about my background. He invited me to sing a couple of songs with his band, so I did. He got back with me with a message that knocked me off of my feet. He said, Doc, we’ve got two bands but we want to start a third band backing you up. My instinct was to say no but I had to stop and think a minute. At the time I was 56 years old, I’m now 67 and if the good Lord spares me, next month, I’ll be 68.
DH: I said, if I don’t do it now, when will I do it? I did not want to be that elder statesman rocking on the front porch saying, if I’d only gotten got back into the music business. So we started a third band. We also started a company with three bands and we were together for a year and a half. But then I realized something very important… I realized that you can’t have a company with three bosses. My dream was always to be like Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown. To be able to find young talent and groom them. I didn’t have a dream to be Michael Jackson. So what I decided to do was to amicably leave the company. Although I invested quite a bit in finishing off a studio in one of the guys homes. I decided to forego all of that. But I kept my band name.
In 2014, I started my own company. I invested in my own equipment and then I restarted my band. I haven’t looked back!
For the last 11 years, with the exception of the COVID years, I actually have been producing at least two concerts a year. I just believe in creating opportunities for my band and not waiting for opportunities.
RRX: Well thank you for your time, anything on the horizon?
DH: We’ve got some plans that we’re working on for the national tour. We’ll have some tour dates coming up soon!