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Encore Performances: Past inspection.

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Twitter tells me that it’s been exactly 25 years today since Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations” hit Number One. That seems like reason enough to resuscitate this post from the old blog, originally written in November 2010. Nothing in it has been updated since then; I have no idea what the Booty Inspector is up to now.

Every time a new Mark Wahlberg movie comes out, I wonder to myself whatever happened to Hector the Booty Inspector.

I’ve learned that many of my regular readers are not quite in my demographic group:
Several are older than I am, while a few are significantly younger.
So some of you may need an introduction to the six-month pop-culture phenomenon that was Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

In the summer of 1991, following several years of success by New Kids on the Block, along came a chart-groomed, commercially minded hip-hop ensemble fronted by Marky Mark Wahlberg — Donnie’s little brother, then a twentyish Dorchester hoodrat with a lousy attitude and great abs.

An unlikely recipe for success? Perhaps, but it worked twice for the Funky Bunch.
They hit Number One in October of that year with “Good Vibrations,” and avoided one-hit-wonderdom with the following year’s Top Ten follow-up “Wildside.”
(If you think Katy Perry re-using the name “California Girls” for her musically and lyrically unrelated single was weak … well, then, you’ve never heard “Good Vibrations.”)

Anyway, one of the four guys who comprised the titular funky bunch was somebody named Hector the Booty Inspector.
I remember reading that name in the fall of ’91 — probably in the Boston Globe, over lunch in Warren Towers — and laughing out loud.

It seemed at the time like Hector the Booty Inspector probably had a wicked charmed life.
He got to tour the world and hang out in nightclubs and stuff.
And since he wasn’t the star of the show, his duties in the group were almost certainly limited to dance steps, handclaps and taking an occasional verse.
Yes, pop stardom seemed like a pretty cush way to bolster the income of a professional booty inspector.
(It’s an unpredictable and largely seasonal business, I’ve been told.)

When I look back at the whole business through 2010 eyes, I’m convinced that Hector the Booty Inspector was actually dealt a cruel hand by fate.
Think about it:
He had a much better nickname than, say, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and he had to have a less repellent personality.
If Hector the Booty Inspector had hit the scene in, say, 2009, he would already have his own reality show, a book deal and a sex tape involving at least one reality-show starlet.
Unfortunately, Hector was a man before his (pop-cultural) time.

I haven’t thought too deeply about Hector since … oh, I’d estimate December 13, 1992, give or take a few hours.
I just sort of assumed he’d gone on to become Hector the Plumbing Inspector or something like that.
But like I said, every time his old bandmate hits the headlines, Hector flickers across my mind.

I finally decided to Google Hector and find out more about the mysterious Booty Inspector.
Turns out his real name is Hector Barros Jr., and he’s based out of New Bedford, Mass., now.
He seems to prefer the nickname “HB” to his unwieldy, if memorable, former handle.
I don’t know what he does for a 9-to-5; but I know that he and several of his former bandmates still perform under the name Funky Bunches of Oats.

OK, I made that last bit up.
They perform as the Funky Bunch.
They have a MySpace page and a Twitter account, which has 1,900 followers — roughly 1,600 more than my Twitter account has, let it be said.
(The “Official Hector the Booty Inspector Fan Club” page on Facebook has a mere 20 members. However, I am not sure it’s actually endorsed by the man himself.)

Hector may not make as much money as his old frontman (who ditched rapping pretty much as soon as he got the chance), but I was charmed to find the Funky Bunch still giving it a go.
It’s good to see the folks who made “Music for the People” still making music for the people.
It turns out that maybe Hector and his buddies weren’t in it just for the limo rides — or the booty inspections — after all.

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