Plus, Joey McIntyre has an identity crisis

By Rob Brunner
April 25, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Shuggie Otis: michaelochs.com

OTIS ELEVATED In the mid- ’70s, psychedelic soul man Shuggie Otis released three little heard albums, wrote ”Strawberry Letter 23” (later a hit for the Brothers Johnson), nixed a gig as Mick Taylor’s replacement in the Rolling Stones, then drifted into obscurity. But thanks to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, which recently reissued Otis’ 1974 effort ”Inspiration Information,” the world is feeling a bit of Shuggie fever.

The album is currently the No. 1 seller at New York City hipster mecca Other Music, and Shuggie, now a Bay Area blues musician, will appear on ”Conan” May 1 and ”Letterman” May 4. Also in the works is a record release party, where Otis is tentatively set to perform with the Roots, D’Angelo, and Bilal. ”I think my music was too alien for most people back then,” says Shuggie, 48. ”When [Luaka] called, I said, ‘Great!’ But I didn’t know it would do anything near what it’s doing now. I’m very pleased.”

I, MAC? Will the real Joe McIntyre please stand up? The ex? New Kid on the Block, who officially went with ”Joey” for his 1999 solo debut, keeps tweaking his name and it’s getting confusing. ”Before I was famous, I was Joe, but in the New Kids people also called me Joey,” explains McIntyre. ”Another nickname was Joey Joe. If you were a diehard fan you’d know that.” Hey, we’re doing our best, Joe. Joey. Which is it again? ”It’s Joey. My stage name is Joey McIntyre. To me Joe McIntyre sounds like the representative from the Third District. But my friends call me Joe or Joe Mac.”

As in ”Meet Joe Mac,” the title of his latest album, due May 15. Aren’t you biting J. Lo’s moves, Joe? ”It’s apples and oranges, man. Joe Mac has been around for years. It has nothing to do with J. Lo. I’m not J. Mac or J. Mic or J. MC. There’s a big difference.” But we thought you were Joey. ”It’s pretty ridiculous. For people to say, ‘Is it Joey or Joe?’ It’s the silliest s— I ever heard.”

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