D.C. go-go legend bassist Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliot tells Billboard he was “blown away” when he saw Glenn Close doing the dance to his band Experience Unlimited‘s signature 1988 hit, “Da Butt,” at the 2021 Oscars.
“I was totally surprised,” says a very happy-sounding Elliot on Monday (April 26), the day after the show, describing what it took to pull him away from the Golden State Warriors game he was watching once his phone started blowing up with hundreds of messages about the standout bit during the Academy Awards.
As viewers learned on Sunday night, the Oscar-nominated star — who was up for the supporting actress trophy — is an E.U. fan, as evidenced by her seemingly deep knowledge of the D.C. go-go band’s history and catalog. (Spoiler alert: The Los Angeles Times reported that 74-year-old Close’s shockingly detailed answers during an Oscars trivia bit with house DJ Questlove and Lil Rel Howery — including her twerking to “Da Butt” — was a fully scripted moment.)
Regardless of how we got there, though, there is no denying the joy it brought to Elliot, who spoke to Billboard from the D.C. studio where he is working on his band’s next album. “I was blown away, man. It was like a lottery ticket … I was like, ‘wow,'” he says, noting that he started tuning in once his friends and fans alerted him to the unexpected shoutout. “I had butterflies all throughout my body. I was overwhelmed. I started thanking God, like, ‘Wow, this is large.'”
Elliot praised Close’s “Da Butt” skills, saying her dancing was “amazing,” while stressing that he was already a huge fan of the actress from her iconic co-starring role in the 1987 Michael Douglas thriller Fatal Attraction.
“She scared me straight when I saw that one!” he laughs. “When I saw that I was like, ‘Oh man, you can’t play with a woman’s feelings!'” Elliot says he was not given a head’s up about the sketch, and even if someone had told him, he wouldn’t have believed them. “Of all the songs in the world to be played … they played my song!” he says. “You can’t ask for nothing better than that — that was a gift from God.”
While he deals with his phone heating up from all the texts and calls, Elliot says he and the rest of E.U. are gearing up to play live shows again once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. The group is best known for “Da Butt,” their Grammy-nominated single from the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s School Daze film, as well as other body-rocking hits including “Shake Your Thang” with Salt N Pepa, “Party Time” with Kurtis Blow and “Buck Wild.”
“My phone has not stopped ringing, it’s amazing,” says Elliot.
Watch the Oscars “Butt” bit below.