*Breaking up is always a hard thing for many groups.
Boyz II Men came on the scene with four members. Then it scaled down to three members after the departure of Michael McCary left only Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris and Nathan Morris to comprise the group.
Over the years, the trio maintained that McCary’s health problems, including a battle with scoliosis, prevented him from touring or performing with them, thus resulting in him leaving. Now, after nine years, that appears to be just part of the story as the remaining three members of Boy II Men addressed what really went down with McCary during an interview with HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill.
“Let’s start from the beginning. Mike was kind of always an odd guy in a sense. He was in the group,” Stockman said. “Obviously, he was a freak of nature vocally. There’s nobody that we’ve encountered outside of Melvin [Franklin] from The Temptations that actually spoke the way that he sang. Like, he was a true bass. You got guys that act like basses and sing like basses but aren’t basses. We put him in the group and I think Mike enjoyed it but not as much as we did. It wasn’t in his heart.”
Marc Lammont Hill: Which part, the fame? The Grammy nominations?
Nathan: I think he enjoyed the wrong parts. He didn’t want the rehearsal parts.
Nathan: He didn’t want the dance rehearsal. Every now and then he’d want to do some of the studio stuff. But he enjoyed the fame and everything else that we enjoyed. But I mean like Shawn said, it seemed like he kind of gave up when things didn’t go well. It was great when everything was fine because you can make mistakes and nobody cares. But when you put out records and nobody buys them and your career takes a dip. The heart of the group was these three that kept it going because he was just off on his own thing. Some gigs he didn’t show up. He wouldn’t come to rehearsal. Some records he wasn’t on. When it was bad, he wasn’t there and that’s when we really needed him the most.
Shawn: And then on top of that he back issues that took him out even more psychologically. He had really bad scoliosis.
Marc: Does that really stop you from performing if you want to?
Shawn: It doesn’t but when you’re really not into it wholeheartedly, the physical thing kind of just augments it.
Marc: He said he was coming back, I remember he made an announcement. Then he said there were negotiations, contractual issues that didn’t go right…
Nathan: Here’s the deal, make it really simple. He had been gone for nine years at that point.
Nathan: …and we were doing our 20th anniversary album and we thought it would make sense to bring him back. Our fans deserved that for 20 years to try to do that. I gave him a call, he was interested. We came back, brought him out to a couple of shows, we hung out, talked about it. Now, we never did this type of contractual stuff with him because he was in our group for years ago. But because he left us hanging so many times, we had to cover what we had been doing the last nine years he wasn’t there. Like, ‘Yo, you just can’t run out one day and don’t show up.’ So we had to draw up some type of contractual agreement to make sure he was going to be there for everything and he was cool about it.
And here’s the other thing, he was gone for nine years. You can’t just come back in and be a full fourth member, even financially, of the group. You kind of have to work yourself back into it. We didn’t put you out, you left. So we set it up for him to come back in and get back with us and grow, the whole nine. And one day, a switch went off in his head and he gave us the call about ‘This album’s going to be the biggest thing since sliced bread. And I’m a full fourth member of the group and I need to be…’ And we were like ok cool, we’ll call you right back and we just went on with the record because it just didn’t make sense. It was very unfair to be gone that long and just feel like you can just come in and be in that slot. It’s unfair to not just us but it’s unfair to our fan base that have been there when we were down and you weren’t even there.
To Mike’s defense, I think what happened was he left when the group was at a high and he came back when the group was coming back up again. So he never experienced the down times. So when he came back, his mentality was ‘We’re back on the road again.’ He wasn’t with us when it wasn’t working. So you’ve got to feel where we come from. He never got a chance to feel that.
Marc Lamont Hill: Any chance of a reconciliation?
Shawn: There’s always a chance. We experienced that with Mike, so his slot will always be open, for him. He has to go about things correctly, in order for it to happen.
Nathan: If we could be a four like we were, the way we are right now, we’d take it. But that’s the only way we’re going to take it.
To see the entire interview with Boyz II Men, check out the video here.