Friday, November 24, 2017

I Guess We All F***'d Up?

October 6, 2012


I'm going through a low-point in my physical health but I'm not complaining-Here I am after leaving the emergency room a few days ago

I'm going through a low-point in my physical health but I'm not complaining. Instead I ask myself, "Who has it better than I do?" I've cheated death more times than I can count and I'm currently on the mend (again) and working more than ever before.

Q. What is my job? A. To help expand the artistic reach of pop culture regardless of the medium.

My job is a service job - albeit a creative, fun, and artistic one. As a music-maker, I'm always challenged to help my artists expand their artistic reach. In other words, my job is to make pop, aka popular, aka hits, aka chart-toppers. I don't always get it right because that's spiritually not possible since art is in the heart of the beholder - but I do the best I can.

Yesterday, I was in LA taking meetings regarding some growing interest in my life story being adapted for film, stage-play, graphic novel etc. When I returned to my hotel after filming a segment for a different project, I had a ton of emails congratulating me on my band CHIC being nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This brought a smile to my face but not for the reasons one might think.

CHIC's career was cut dramatically short due to Disco Demolition Night and the Disco Sucks backlash. After a string of gold, platinum, and multiple-platinum records, CHIC never had another hit after the summer of '79, which is when Disco Demo Night took place.

CHIC's last hit was "Good Times." It was released in '79, and some might argue that it was "The surrogate father of hip hop," birthing "Rapper's Delight," and a number of homage successes - amongst them Queen's smash hit "Another One Bites The Dust." Though CHIC never got another hit, both myself and CHIC's co-founder Bernard Edwards, continued to do our jobs (see aforementioned job description).

Last night someone texted me, "This could be CHIC's year because they're allowing the public to vote!" "Really?" I had to check this process out. I went to the RnRHoF site to see how it had been curated. The top CHIC song on the list is "Rebels Are We," which was released in 1980. This song was the beginning of the longest run of flops in my career. I'm not sure if my own mother knows this song let alone the now "voting public."

This is our seventh nomination which understandably has throngs of non-CHIC fans scratching their heads, and I sort of get it. If one were curating this list under the edict of making the voter aware of why CHIC is nominated or just expanding pop culture, shouldn't it include CHIC's most popular recordings, all of which were before 1980? Songs like "Everybody Dance," and even a b-side like "CHIC Cheer," are more well known than the band itself.

One of the greatest things about my life other than the fact that I'm still alive is, I love my "making music" job. Whether CHIC ever gets into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a ton of artists that I did my job with will.

All of the men in the original CHIC Organization have passed away, save me. They had great senses of humor and would get this comedic irony. We formed CHIC based on influences from two distinctive bands of our era: the sophistication of Roxy Music and the anonymity of KISS (before they removed their make-up and Gene Simmons became a famous TV star). Neither of those bands are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame either. I Guess We All F***'d Up?

 


Here I was having fun on the set between segments


My job is to help expand the artistic reach of pop culture regardless of the medium


The Vaughan Brothers and me - I'm always challenged to help my artists expand their reach


My job is to make pop - I don't always get it right but I do the best I can


CHIC's career was cut dramatically short due to Disco Demolition Night and the Disco Sucks backlash


After a string of gold, platinum, and multiple-platinum records, CHIC never had another hit after the summer of '79, which is when Disco Demo Night took place


Bernard Edwards and me signing CHIC to Atlantic Records in 1977


The story of my life


CHIC's last hit "Good Times" was released in '79


Rapper's Delight with CHIC writer's credit


Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" is closely related to "Good Times" musically but they didn't sample our master


After I produced David Bowie's "Let's Dance" album, my string of flops ended and soon both Bernard Edwards and I would have a string of successes


Alison Moyet, Johnny Marr, and me performing together a few months ago - I love my "making music" job


The Full Early CHIC Organization - Sadly, of the five guys I'm the only one still alive


Roxy Music were early CHIC role models - they're not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame


KISS were early CHIC role models - they're not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame