He might be a musical icon himself but it turns out Johnny Marr still enjoys meeting his heroes.
In fact, the former Smiths guitarist is such a big fan of Nile Rodgers, guitarist and founder of 1970s disco hit machine CHIC, that he named his son after him.
So when Nile came to Manchester at the weekend to talk with DJ Dave Haslam about his recent memoir, Le Freak, and career as musician and producer for the likes of Madonna and Duran Duran, Dave couldn’t resist getting the two legends together.
The pair met backstage at the Zion Arts Centre, Hulme. And it turned out they got on so well that they decided to make a weekend of it – by appearing together on stage the following night.
Johnny joined CHIC during the encore at super cool nightclub The Warehouse Project, in Piccadilly, for a very special rendition of the band’s biggest 1978 hit Le Freak.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Extraordinary personal stories from around the world.
Today, the legendary musician and producer Nile Rodgers.
He's the co-founder of 70s disco band Chic and has collaborated with stars like David Bowie, Madonna and Diana Ross.
He tells Matthew about his rise from being the child of heroin addicts to the top of the music industry and about his own battle with drug addiction.
Now he's written a book about his extraordinary life called Le Freak, after one of his best known songs.
Photo Credit: Jean Morisson
Nile Rodgers is everywhere these days, from your local bookstore, where his just-released memoir, Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny, is a hot item, to the New York Times, to a New York City studio where he and Adam Lambert are finding their groove.
The two have been trading tweets for days and now comes video of the American Idol alum and the guitar great and super-producer working out a riff on a track possibly destined for Lambert’s forthcoming second album -- albeit muted so as to “protect the integrity of the song” (see clip below).
Nile Rodgers's new memoir, “Le Freak,” recounts his days as a successful record producer and musician
Photo Credit: Chang W. Lee / The New York Times
The venerable musician and record producer Nile Rodgers, wearing a bandanna tied around his dreadlocks, fade-out sunglasses and a charcoal-gray pinstripe jacket, arrived at Cafe Luxembourg right on schedule one morning last week.
The original idea was to have breakfast and then walk around the Upper West Side, revisiting landmarks represented in his new memoir, “Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny” (Spiegel & Grau). We could have started at the former site of Ungano’s, next door on West 70th Street, where Mr. Rodgers played guitar in 1970 with a jazz-rock band called New World Rising. He was a teenager then, organizing for the Black Panthers and unofficially attending Stuyvesant High School. (He wasn’t enrolled, he explained; he just sat in on classes with teachers he found interesting.)
By Nile Rodgers - Photos: Nile Rodgers Productions
It took me a long time to realize that the things my parents did were not exactly normal. I was about 7 years old, and it was the tail end of the 1950s, when it started to dawn on me that they were . . . well, let's just say they were different. For instance: my friends and I got shots when we went to the doctor and we hated them. But my parents stabbed themselves with needles almost every day, and seemed to enjoy it. Weird.
Most of my friends' parents sounded like the adults in school or on TV when they talked. People understood them. My parents, on the other hand, had their own language, laced with a flowery slang that I picked up the same way the Puerto Rican kids could speak English at school and Spanish at home with their abuelas.