Banks, 58, was a founding member of the group in the early 1960s, when they were teenagers. His last hometown gig with the Dramatics was a November concert at Motorcity Casino’s Sound Board venue, according to Billy Wilson, president of the Motown Alumni Association.
“He really was a wonderful person,” Wilson told the Detroit Free Press. “You know, people who have been in the business a while can be cocky and arrogant. But he stayed beautiful, always. Even during the tense moments in the group’s career, he just remained cool and calm.”
Banks, thought to be in normal health, was at home with his family when he abruptly passed out, said fellow Dramatics singer L.J. Reynolds, who had spoken to Banks just minutes earlier.
“He seemed just like himself — very upbeat,” Reynolds said.
Banks is survived by his wife, Sandy Banks, four daughters and two sons. He was preceded in death by Dramatics members Elbert Wilkins, William (Wee Gee) Howard and James Mack Brown.
Watch the Dramatics perform their classic “Whatcha See Is Whacha Get” on Soul Train. Banks provides the falsetto parts of the song:
Our good friend and Bay Area based photographer, George Livingston, was kind enough to email us a couple of pictures he took of Ron Banks and the Dramatics when the they appeared at a club called RockaPokols in San Francisco in June, 2009.
By the way, the guy in the bottom photo with the cap on that doesn’t look like he’s one of the Dramatics, is George. That’s Ron Banks standing to George’s right.