Born in Barberton, Ohio and raised in the city known at the time as the ‘Rubber Capital of the World’ (Goodyear, Firestone, Goodrich, etc….), Eddie’s musical journey began at the tender age of eight years old in Akron, Ohio. Eddie’s stepfather was an avid fan of music of all genres, especially jazz.
Eddie can remember listening to the likes of Cannonball Adderly, Dave Brubeck, Ahmad Jamal, The Mills Brothers, and Nancy Wilson. Even before learning to play the piano, he remembers looking at numerous album covers and reading all the credits, especially being awe-struck by Dave Brubeck’s ‘Time Out’ LP, featuring ‘Take Five’ and ‘Blue Rondo A La Turk’; not only the music, but the album’s artwork, as well.
After 5 years of instruction from his first piano instructor (Tom Flocker), it was decided that Eddie was taken ‘as far as he could go’ and referred to Akron University’s Choral Director, Ms. Nellie Whittaker. ‘Miss Whittaker’ was well-known and well-respected at the University of Akron, and in the music community. Eddie successfully auditioned for Miss Whittaker and was taken under her tutelage. With Miss Whittaker, Eddie was introduced to and came to love serious classical music. Among Eddie’s favorite classical composers are Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Throughout Eddie’s junior high and high school years, Eddie performed an extensive number of concerts and recitals, doing solo and duo piano performances, as well as being a consistent featured soloist with the Akron Buchtel High School orchestra.
In his sophomore year of high school, already in the school orchestra to play piano, Eddie wanted to join the football marching band and was asked to play tuba. Having never played tuba, Eddie quickly learned and eventually marched with the band during football games and school functions, later performing also with the concert band. During this time, Eddie became a huge fan of horns, as the band was mostly horns (brass, woodwinds, etc.) and the orchestra was mostly strings (violins, cellos, etc.). Always listening to the radio, Eddie noticed songs of the time that particularly featured horns. Eddie wanted to play in a local rock band since everything he did musically was classical. Eddie was particularly careful to keep both genres separate. He did not want to play keyboards in a rock band. He wanted his keyboard knowledge to remain strictly classical. (Funny how things work out!!) To that end, Eddie went in search of a second instrument to learn, preferably any kind of horn. Eddie went through a litany of band instruments; clarinet, oboe, bassoon, (couldn’t get into the reed thing), trumpet (after playing tuba, that mouthpiece was just too small). Then it happened. One afternoon, while in band class, and Eddie was sitting at the piano (for reasons unknown now), Mr. Lucas (James, his band director) was working with the trombone section on a particularly difficult section of a piece they were learning. Mr. Lucas, being a brass player himself, grabbed a trombone and played with the trombone section from his director’s chair. Eddie, to this day remembers thinking how ‘cool’ Mr. Lucas looked playing that trombone. What an epiphany!! At that moment, it was decided. Eddie got permission from Mr. Lucas to take a trombone home and over that weekend while Eddie’s mother was in the hospital about to deliver his baby sister Joy, Eddie taught himself trombone. Over the next weeks and months, Eddie taught himself by listening to records; his favorite players in particular are Wayne Henderson of the Jazz Crusaders and James Pankow of Chicago. Eddie eventually became first chair in and section leader of the trombone section in high school.
Eddie went in search of a rock band to perform in with his new found instrument after seeing some of his school friends with there own bands Howard Hewett of Shalamar fame was one. Eddie’s known Howard since second grade. Eddie found out about a local band (called ‘Raw Soul Revue”) that was looking for a trombone player. This band rehearsed not far from his home, so Eddie packed up his trombone and walked to the audition. Once there, Eddie waited in the basement where the band rehearsed. Meanwhile, the band members were outside playing basketball waiting for the trombone player to arrive. One of the members of this band at 14 years old was Phillip Ingram, with his extremely long hair and full beard! Phillip saw Eddie walk in, but thought he was there to play with the ‘kids’ because he looked so young. After another successful audition, Eddie was hired. Phillip and Eddie became fast friends and have been friends, ‘brothers’ ever since.
About two years later, after the break up of Raw Soul, Eddie was introduced by Phillip to Gregory Williams of the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based band White Heat (produced by none other than Barry White). Greg had an idea for a band that would definitely interest Eddie. Greg spoke of going to Los Angeles and securing a record deal in two weeks, two of Eddie’s long term goals. After a two-hour meeting, Eddie agreed that this was something he wanted to be a part of. (Eddie jokes now, that knowing what he’s come to learn about the music business, if Greg had made that same assurance today, Eddie would have ‘thrown him out of his apartment!’). Jody Sims (drums) and Greg flew to Los Angeles and eventually met Jermaine and Hazel Jackson in a chance meeting that would become known as the famous ‘elevator meeting’. The band that would become a result of this meeting and many others is Motown recording artists –‘Switch’. .. Switch (Gregory Williams: Keyboards, Trumpets, Lead Vocals; Jody Sims: Drums, Percussion, Vocals; Phillip Ingram: Keyboards, Percussion, Lead Vocals; Eddie Fluellen: Keyboards, Trombone, Vocals; Bobby DeBarge: Keyboards, Lead Vocals; Tommy DeBarge: Bass, Vocals) went on to record a total of six LP’s which yielded the Top 10 hits, ‘There’ll Never Be’, ‘I Wanna Be Closer’, ‘I Call Your Name’ and many more. Today, Switch still performs to very receptive audiences nationally.
Eddie now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada where he is consistently called upon to perform with a variety of well known local and national acts, as well as playing with bands he has created and with his lastest musical success, Fluellen. Eddie still remains busy in the entertainment field and is expanding his experience to other areas of business. He still writes, arranges and produces. He hopes to release his debut CD in the very near future through Fluellen Music. He also enjoys reading whenever he can make time for it. Eddie wishes to thank all those too numerous to name, who follow, support and encourage him, both personally and professionally.
The musical adventure continues……..