Bobby Brown and Heads of State at Sun Life Stadium March 20

Right now, if we were to play a game of pop-culture free association beginning with the ever-infamous name Bobby Brown, our minds would probably wander off in the following direction: Whitney Houston, cocaine, reality TV.

However, there was a time, circa 1989 (an era of Brown's life also known as pre-Whitney), when the ex-New Edition member and King of New Jack Swing possessed a certain kind of pure, untouchable fame. Sure, Bobby was bad. He was even diabolical. But his name still hadn't been tainted and twisted by nonstop tabloid scrutiny, the machinations of the 24-hour celebrity news cycle, and dangerous, self-destructive craziness.

Is it possible that Bobby Brown — now 42 years old, divorced from Whitney, and nearly two decades away from his last true chart-killer — is just as diabolical as ever? "I don't know how to answer that one. I'm still Bobby Brown, you know," he says. "Yes, I am 42, and the things that I do onstage are still 17. So you gotta think about that."


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