TIR 95: Meet the Man Who Knocked the Bottom Out for Norman Whitfield

The Whitfield Records crew, circa late 1970s: Mark Kenoly shown lower left, with Norman Whitfield to his left and Taka Boom above him.


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 95 (Parts 1-3): Bassist-singer-composer Mark Kenoly, who you may not know by name but if you are a fan of late 1970s funk and R&B you have surely grooved to his playing. He was one of legendary producer Norman Whitfield’s studio aces during the peak of the former Temptations mastermind’s record label run under the Whitfield Records moniker.

From 1978 through 1982, the acts Kenoly recorded with included Rose Royce, Stargard, The Undisputed Truth, Willie Hutch, Jr. Walker, Masterpiece, Otis Day & the Knights, Spyder Turner and his own band, Mammatapee. Just some of the hits from that period include “Which Way Is Up,” “What You Waitin’ For,” “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” “Showtime,” “Funkin’ Around” and “Bad Mother Funker.” He sometimes worked around the clock with musicians like James Gadson, Wah Wah Watson, Michael Nash and Victor Nix, Joe Harris, and Trey Stone, all the while picking up insights and wisdom from the masterful Whitfield.

In this deep excursion, Kenoly shares his musical roots and family; tells how he came into Whitfield’s favor as a trusted studio partner; opens the book with stories about the height of Whitfield Records, especially the songs and the magic; recounts unforgettable memories about the production giant; reveals how that world came crumbling down in the early 1980s; discusses how faith saw him through; and talks about his life today and acts he presently works with.



Scott Goldfine

As a fervid lifelong music & film enthusiast / student, I grew up in and around the Los Angeles entertainment industry. I have worked and held many positions in various media realms, since 1998 serving as Editor-in-Chief and now Associate Publisher for Security Sales & Integration, a trade publication serving the electronic security industry. I love several genres of music & film. The former includes funk (Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince, Ohio Players, etc.); blues (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Eric Gales, etc.); rock (Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, etc.); hard rock (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc.); jazz (Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Crusaders, etc.); R&B (Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Gil Scott-Heron, etc.); and more. I was a club disc jockey and ran a mobile DJ company (Musical Moods) for more than 15 years, which is where the name Dr. GX originates (Doctor Good Times). Fave film genres include horror (Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.); science fiction (Aliens, Terminator, 2001, etc.); action (Warriors, Road Warrior, Die Hard); westerns (Outlaw Josey Wales, Showdown at OK Corral; Wild Bunch, etc.); suspense (Jaws, Inception, Silence of the Lambs, etc.); drama (Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, etc.); and comedies (Life of Brian, Superbad, Ruthless People, etc.). I have attended many hundreds of concerts and movies (in theaters or screenings). I may as well also throw in a few favorite TV shows to give an even broader taste of my sensibilities. A handful would be Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Lost, Justified, Fargo, Seinfeld, Sopranos, South Park, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Key & Peele, Monty Python, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Last Man on Earth, Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family and The Office. Fave authors are Stephen King, Clive Barker and Michael Crichton. I am also a big sports fan and lifelong supporter of the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB). Also enjoy my family of course, electronics/computers/AV gear, and animals, nature and outdoor activities. Graduate of Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica College and California State University Northridge (Radio-TV-Film, Psychology minor). Also studied at UCLA for kinesiology/psychology and earned post-grad Certificate in Accounting from Santa Monica College. Present main occupation is as Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Security Sales & Integration (SSI), which I joined in 1998. I am responsible for overseeing all editorial content in print. online, electronic, in-person and any other media or products for the electronic security industry's leading business-to-business trade publication. SSI is part of Framingham, Mass.-based Emerald Expositions.