Bryan Abrams is a survivor. And now he’s looking to reclaim his “Eye of the Tiger.”
He’s best-known for belonging to the supergroup Color Me Badd. The hip-hop/doo-wop quartet from Oklahoma City’s Northwest Classen High School hit it big in 1991 with “I Wanna Sex You Up,” then followed with two No. 1 singles, a triple-platinum debut album and nine Top 40 hits.
Abrams’ arrest record also is infamous. Suffering from alcoholism and psychiatric issues, he entered long-term treatment last September. Now out of rehab, he’s participating in a meal-replacement and weight-management program.
Color Me Badd, which disbanded in 1998, recently reformed with Abrams, Mark Calderon and Kevin Thornton. CMB signed a management deal in June with Wright Entertainment Group, whose owner, Johnny Wright, has managed *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and the Jonas Brothers.
About that “Eye of the Tiger” reference: The reunited members have been sweating away at the Plaza District’s Everything Goes Dance Studio, which is owned by Mark’s sis, director Shannon Calderon Primeau; brother Ernesto “Ernie” Calderon serves as the hip-hop instructor.
“It’s really cool, ’cause we’ve got the mirrors in the studio up here, so we’re watching each other doing these moves,” Abrams said. “It’s kind of like riding a bike.”
Thornton, who now works as a youth pastor in Fort Worth, Texas, arrived in OKC July 19. The Cincinnati-based Calderon was scheduled to return last week in preparation for Saturday’s reunion, which marks CMB’s first metro gig in more than 15 years.
Abrams said fans can expect “live-to-track” performances of all the hits — “I Wanna Sex You Up,” “I Adore Mi Amore,” “All 4 Love” — along with a couple of covers.
Sam Watters, a successful record producer married to former “American Idol” finalist Tamyra Gray, is the only original member not participating.
Beyond Saturday’s show, the trio plans to play five gigs with All-4-One of “I Swear” fame touring the South Pacific, and an American date with Boyz II Men. CMB also will appear at Justin Timberlake’s golf benefit this fall in Florida with Earth, Wind & Fire and the Commodores.
As a manager, Wright took Boyz II Men from performing similar spot dates to netting between $2.5 to $6 million annually in three years, Abrams said. But can he resuscitate CMB’s career?
“He feels that he can easily do the same thing with us because we have more crossover appeal,” Abrams said.
The reunion brings the Badd boys full circle. Abrams, 41, said the group is practicing moves in the same spot it videotaped choreography while trying to land a record deal in 1988.
“We were in front of the mirror doing some of them, and I was kind of like, ‘Wow, I kind of forgot how that I did dance,’” he said. “But you’re also reminded a little really fast of your age. ’Cause you can jog, and you can work out here and there, but until you start bouncing around and dancing to songs over and over again … man, I was soaking wet with sweat within 10 minutes.”