Kool & the Gang perform with Amir Bayyan, top left, and Lavell Evans, bottom left, in Las Vegas. BET / Getty Images
Kool & the Gang perform with Amir Bayyan, top left, and Lavell Evans, bottom left, in Las Vegas. BET / Getty Images

Blended: Nine nuggets about Kool & the Gang – straight from the founder’s mouth



They started off playing jazz in the 1960s, switched to funk in the 1970s, with staples such as Hollywood Swinging and Jungle Boogie (which was memorably featured on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's movie Pulp Fiction), and filled dance floors in the 1980s with massive disco-­pop hits including Fresh, Celebration, Ladies' Night and Get Down on It. We look back on five decades of groove with Kool & the Gang bassist Robert "Kool" Bell.

1 Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Kool & the Gang

“I didn’t expect to be together 50 days – let alone 50 years. We’re really happy about that. We still have four of the original eight members from when we started in 1964 – we lost four. There’s been some trying times, some hills and valleys, but we’ve been able to do it.”

2 It might be Kool’s gang, but the band is run as a democracy

“I have three other partners. Kool was my nickname, so I kind of became the one in charge out front, but there’s still four equal partners, and if I get voted out on something, the majority rules.”

3 Jazz legend Thelonious Monk was Kool’s godfather

“My father was a boxer, Bobby Bell, top five in the world. We lived in New York City. Before they built [the arts complex] Lincoln Center, there used to be apartments over there [on Manhattan’s Upper West Side], and my father and Thelonious Monk stayed in the same building. When I was born, he just asked.”

4 ... and Miles Davis used to hang out

“Miles Davis wanted to be a boxer, he used to come over to the gym and he wanted to get into the ring with my father, to spar a little bit. But my father wouldn’t do it. He said: ‘Miles, I respect you as a musician, I don’t want to hit you in the lip and mess up your career’.”

5 The band taped a song in the UAE last year with the Syrian singer Asala

Kool & the Gang's last public gig in the UAE was in 2006, but they were in town last year to tape a show for Coke Studios, where they performed She's Fresh with the Syrian singer Asala. "She sang in Arabic, we did it in English – she's got a wonderful voice. I was told the record was No 1 in the UAE for six or seven weeks and we got three million hits on that."

6 Kool was given some advice by his idol, James Brown

“He was like: ‘You guys are number two to me, man, I got the funkiest band in the land – you sound good, but I’m the godfather here. Make sure you take care of your publishing, man, or some guy’s gonna rip you off for your music.’ ”

7 The band recently toured the United States as co-headliners with hair-metal behemoths Van Halen

"People said: 'How the hell is that going to work? The rock bad boys of the 1980s and Kool & the Gang?' We surprised them all. David Lee Roth, he had a vision – he came to me and said: 'We were hot in the 80s with Jump when you had Ladies' Night. Our fan base is 60 per cent ladies – come on Kool, let's go have a party'. And that's what we did, and we shocked everybody."

8 There are some big names being lined up for the band’s next record

“We reached out to will.i.am and Pharrell – they’re busy, and you know the bureaucracy of record companies, but I think we’ll make something happen before the year is out. We might do something with Nile Rodgers – we already did one song. We reached out to Kid Rock and Van Halen – we’ll see.”

9 In another world, Kool could have been a mechanic

“My grandfather was a mechanic and at 1 or 2 years old I used to get under the car with him. Very young, I was attracted­ to that – I made my first motor­bike from a lawnmower, putting it on a bicycle frame. If I hadn’t gotten into music, maybe I would have nailed a job with Mercedes or something. There wouldn’t be no Kool & the Gang then.”

• Kool & the Gang perform on Friday at 9.45pm

AIDA RETURNS

Director: Carol Mansour

Starring: Aida Abboud, Carol Mansour

Rating: 3.5./5

FFP EXPLAINED

What is Financial Fair Play?
Introduced in 2011 by Uefa, European football’s governing body, it demands that clubs live within their means. Chiefly, spend within their income and not make substantial losses.

What the rules dictate? 
The second phase of its implementation limits losses to €30 million (Dh136m) over three seasons. Extra expenditure is permitted for investment in sustainable areas (youth academies, stadium development, etc). Money provided by owners is not viewed as income. Revenue from “related parties” to those owners is assessed by Uefa's “financial control body” to be sure it is a fair value, or in line with market prices.

What are the penalties? 
There are a number of punishments, including fines, a loss of prize money or having to reduce squad size for European competition – as happened to PSG in 2014. There is even the threat of a competition ban, which could in theory lead to PSG’s suspension from the Uefa Champions League.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

10 tips for entry-level job seekers
  • Have an up-to-date, professional LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, set one up today. Avoid poor-quality profile pictures with distracting backgrounds. Include a professional summary and begin to grow your network.
  • Keep track of the job trends in your sector through the news. Apply for job alerts at your dream organisations and the types of jobs you want – LinkedIn uses AI to share similar relevant jobs based on your selections.
  • Double check that you’ve highlighted relevant skills on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
  • For most entry-level jobs, your resume will first be filtered by an applicant tracking system for keywords. Look closely at the description of the job you are applying for and mirror the language as much as possible (while being honest and accurate about your skills and experience).
  • Keep your CV professional and in a simple format – make sure you tailor your cover letter and application to the company and role.
  • Go online and look for details on job specifications for your target position. Make a list of skills required and set yourself some learning goals to tick off all the necessary skills one by one.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach outside your immediate friends and family to other acquaintances and let them know you are looking for new opportunities.
  • Make sure you’ve set your LinkedIn profile to signal that you are “open to opportunities”. Also be sure to use LinkedIn to search for people who are still actively hiring by searching for those that have the headline “I’m hiring” or “We’re hiring” in their profile.
  • Prepare for online interviews using mock interview tools. Even before landing interviews, it can be useful to start practising.
  • Be professional and patient. Always be professional with whoever you are interacting with throughout your search process, this will be remembered. You need to be patient, dedicated and not give up on your search. Candidates need to make sure they are following up appropriately for roles they have applied.

Arda Atalay, head of Mena private sector at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Rudy Bier, managing partner of Kinetic Business Solutions and Ben Kinerman Daltrey, co-founder of KinFitz

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Director: Wes Ball

Starring: Owen Teague, Freya Allen, Kevin Durand

Rating: 3.5/5

The Super Mario Bros Movie

Directors: Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic
Stars: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Seth Rogen and Keegan-Michael Key
Rating: 1/5