Letter From Egon: Conrad “Prof” Johnson

Conrad O. Johnson, bandleader of the Kashmere High School Stage Band from 1968-1978 and owner of Kram Records, the label that issued the Band’s legendary eight albums and three 7” singles of Texas jazz, funk and soul music, died in Houston February 3rd at 92 years of age.

World-renowned Kashmere Stage Band reunited February 1st in Houston for the first time in over 30 years and played a tribute concert for their leader, the legendary Conrad “Prof” Johnson. Below is a letter from Egon Alapatt, owner of Now Again Records, the label responsible for the release of the Kashmere Stage Band Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974.


He received one hell of a send off. On Friday, the Kashmere Stage Band reunited for a performance at the High School’s auditorium. Filmmaker Mark Landsman, who is producing and directing a documentary on the Band, worked with Johnson’s foundation and Kashmere High School to set off the event for his crew’s cameras. But the reason that the Band’s members, many of whom left the music field after their departure from Kashmere High, reunited and rehearsed, daily, for a month prior to the concert, was to give Johnson the respect he deserved and had fought for, for so long.

The Kashmere Stage Band’s story can be found here (link to the Now Again Section of Kashmere). But in a nutshell, here it is: Johnson, known by those close to him simply as “Prof” took the reins of the Band in the late 1960s and worked with his charges to perfect the idiom that they understood most: funk. Heavy funk at that. By the time that the band recorded their third album, Thunder Soul, they were funking like a mini-JBs. And, by the time they won “Best Stage Band In The Nation” in 1972, they were funking as hard as the JBs themselves. Continue reading “Letter From Egon: Conrad “Prof” Johnson”