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Busta’s Persons of the Week: The O.S.P. Band

O.S.P. Band and manager.

Busta’s Persons of the Week: The O.S.P. Band
July 25
00:00 2019

By Busta Brown

If you’ve seen the Temptations movie, let me remind you of one of the most talked about scenes in the movie. They’re about to go onstage, but lead singer David Ruffin is nowhere to be found, and there’s panic. Dennis Edwards steps up and says he can do Ruffin’s parts and it was a go. The legendary singing group was performing their first number one hit, “Get Ready.” The band was playing the signature ending of the song, with the horns blaring. The Temps did that iconic choreographed spin and just before the hand clap, Ruffin unexpectedly runs onto the stage and then hits the clap with the group. I’ll never forget how hyped my family and I were and then began high-fiving each other. It was an epic scene, something you only hear about or see in a movie.

That’s until I met Monte Odom. “The first time I saw this band perform, after the show I walked up to the band, introduced myself and said, ‘I’m going to be your lead singer.’ They laughed, and then I sang for them. They invited me to come perform with them in Greensboro.”

Odom was so excited, he said okay before checking his calendar. On that same day he had planned a beach trip with his then-girlfriend and their child. “After our beach trip, I had time to get back for the show.” But then something serious and much unexpected happened as they drove off. “I heard a thump – it was my son. He bumped his head. So I had to put the show aside and rush him to the hospital. I didn’t think to call the band, as you could imagine. My son was the only thing on my mind.  Fortunately, the doctor said he was fine and okay to go home. As we were walking to the car, I realized I didn’t call the band to say I might be late. I looked at my watch and I could possibly make it.” As they pulled up, they could hear the band playing the opening song. “I asked my girlfriend to drop me off at the door. I ran into the bathroom, changed, ran onto the stage, grabbed the mic and then begin singing.”

During the beach trip, Monte made sure the outfit he was wearing for the show had no wrinkles. “Busta, I checked it a thousand times, because I wanted to sound and look good for my first show.” As he was telling the story, the band laughed and said how great he sounded and that he was the best-dressed band member. 

Monte is the bad boy and lead singer for one of the most sought-after bands in North Carolina and surrounding states, The O.S.P. Band. The founding members are brothers T.C. and Michael Cannon. T.C. plays bass, Michael plays drums and sings, and Brian Mann plays guitar. The Cannon brothers grew up on the south side of Winston-Salem, in the Morningside apartments and graduated from Parkland High School. Monte Odom grew up in the Boston projects (BDP), and he was a high school football and basketball standout. Brian Mann grew up in Happy Hill Gardens before integration, and graduated from the old Anderson High School.

Michael Canon said as youths, he and brother T.C. would practice daily in different family members’ garages. “We practiced every day, all day. My whole family played music. We started at Holy Trinity, where my grandfather was the pastor.”

T.C. said when he and his brother wanted to play Funk and R&B, there was some resistance at first. “We grew up playing strictly gospel, but when we saw bands playing at the park, that was more exciting. When our family members heard us, they accepted it and started coming to the shows. So what we did was never an issue with our church and family members, because we play good music that anyone can listen to and enjoy.”

Monte grew up in a musical family, as well. “My granddaddy, George Hauser Jr., sang at every revival in Winston-Salem,” he said as the band members laughed out loud, nodding their heads and agreeing with their lead singer.  Odom said he does get a little resistance from a few of his church members, “ … but I say to God be the glory, because we play music that deals with real life issues, like love and life. We don’t glorify a negative lifestyle. So I don’t feel like what we do is wrong.” 

I’ve seen The O.S.P. Band and each time I walk away feeling good about love and life. They put on one of the best, exciting and electrifying shows I’ve seen in my 55 years. I’ve enjoyed everyone from Earth Wind and Fire, Maze, Cameo, The Isley Brothers, Kool and the Gang, Parliament, and so on. So, I love a great performance and they bring it. I love rock’n’roll as well, and guitarist Brian Mann is a true rocker. He dazzles the audience with his rock solos.  Before he joined the band, he was playing rock and heavy metal, “but they let me do my rock thang, and I give the audience what they came for.”

The O.S.P. Band has been playing the music scene in Winston-Salem for over 40 years. In 1978, The Cannon Brothers formed “Phase Band.” After a few years with Phase, the brothers moved to Atlanta and on returning to Winston-Salem, they decided to form The O.S.P. Band. They play everything from Funk, R&B to classic rock. The legendary Winston-Salem-based band are the winners of such awards as the Forsyth County Entertainment Awards R&B Band of the Year for both 2014 & 2018, and Featured Highlights Awards 2018 Cover Band of the Year. Lead Vocalist Monte Odom received his award for Best Melody of Praise 2018 FCEA. What I dig most about these high-energy performers is that the love that they give their audience on stage is the same offstage. “We put God and family first. And we never argue with each other; it’s all love during our rehearsals, shows, and whenever we hang out. We’re all like brothers,” said T.C.

Every time I’ve seen their shows, that love dominates the vibe of the audience as well. It’s non-stop handclapping, finger popping, sing along, dancing, high-fiving, and hugging. It’s nothing but love at an O.S.P. concert.

When Monte and Michael sing love songs, there’s also a lot of screaming women. “I didn’t realize how popular the guys are until one day a bunch of ladies came backstage asking for pictures and autographs,” said Toni Matthews Cannon. Toni is the band’s manager and drummer Michael Cannon’s wife. She knew what she was in for on their first date. “When I met my husband, he said, ‘I’m a musician, if you can put up with it.’ And from the beginning, I was ready to roll with the guys.” 

The O.S.P. Band does wedding receptions, corporate parties, festivals, nightclubs, country clubs, non-profit events or private parties. Whatever the event, O.S.P. will definitely have you chanting, “We want more!” until they come out for an encore. They have clients such as NBTF, Hawthorne Inn, Boston’s House of Jazz, CB’s Tavern, and the list goes on. The O.S.P. Band performs covers from today’s Top 40, R&B, classic rock, Motown, beach and oldies 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. To contact The O.S.P. Band, call Toni at 336-671-7835 or by email at booking.osp@nullgmail.com.

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