Friday, November 17, 2017

Walking on Planet C

The Most Precious Gift We Could Give

February 20, 2012


Sharing The Most Precious Gift I Could Give with some friends in Rome

Over the course of my lifetime there's been a seismic shift in the live concert experience. When I was a kid, almost everybody went to hear an artist play new music sprinkled with popular hits. Most of a set was comprised of songs the artists were working on or had just recorded. The live show was an opportunity to feel an audience's response to new music.

In the current zeitgeist, when an artist performs unknown material many people use this time to go to the bathroom. Is our time too valuable to experience the unknown?

Yesterday, I watched a TV special on musician Peter Frampton. His 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive sold 18x's Platinum. It was a live album and until it was performed and recorded, most of the world had never heard those songs. Today that could never happen! But there was a time when lending our collective ears to an artist was The Most Precious Gift We Could Give.


Frampton Comes Alive sold 18 Million in the US alone!


I saw Jimi Hendrix play new music Live


I saw Sly & The Family Stone play new music Live


I saw The Jackson 5 play new music Live


I saw The Mahavishnu Orchestra play new music Live


I saw Parliament Funkadelic play new music Live


I saw Miles Davis play new music Live


I saw The Stooges play new music Live


On CHIC's early tours, most of our music was unknown and it was The Most Precious Gift We Could Give


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Category: Walking on Planet C

So Little Time

February 19, 2012


Last year's CHIC Organization Japan Set List

I'm putting together the song list for my shows coming up in less than two weeks in Australia. I've been thinking about adding a few songs because they were #1 singles for many weeks Down Under.

Throughout the world, most people don't know what music I've been responsible for. Maybe this tour could serve as a getting-to-know-me tour because it's my first time performing in Australia?

The best way to get-to-know me is my memoir Le Freak and I was thinking of doing a combination book and concert tour.

I'm going to write my promoter and publisher to see if they've got open-minds and if I can possibly pull this off with So Little Time.



CHIC "Le Freak" - #1 in Australia for five weeks



Diana Ross "Upside Down" - #1 in Australia for four weeks



INXS "Original Sin" - #1 in Australia for two weeks



Madonna "Like A Virgin" - #1 in Australia for Five Weeks



Madonna - "Angel / Into The Groove" - #1 for four weeks in Australia




David Bowie / Mick Jagger "Dancin in the Streets" - #1 in Australia for two weeks


The CHIC Organization and Seal performing together on our last tour


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Category: Walking on Planet C

Panther Baby

February 18, 2012


Panther Baby Event, with Jamal Joseph

I experienced an extraordinary night last night in Harlem. My lifelong friend, Professor Jamal Joseph, had a book release event and lecture for his biography "Panther Baby." Jamal and I were both in the Harlem Branch of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense at the same time.

Jamal was part of the famous Panther 21 Trial along with Afeni Shakur, (Tupac's mother) and nineteen others. After a lengthy trial "The 21" were acquitted of all charges.

Jamal has been nominated for an Academy Award and is a top professor at the film school of prestigious Columbia University. He's also an accomplished playwright, poet, spoken-word artist and the founder of IMPACT Repertory Theatre.

At his event I saw more people from my childhood than I've seen in a very long time. There was Kathleen Cleaver; former Minister of Communication and the highest ranking woman in the Black Panther Party, who is now a law professor and author, Felipe Luciano; legendary member of the Last Poets, former chairman of the Young Lords (the Latino colleagues of the Panthers), an author and two-time Emmy winning network newscaster, Reggie Lucas; groundbreaking guitarist songwriter record producer, former member of Miles Davis' Band, schoolmate, and co-producer of Madonna's first album.

The room was packed with folks I've known since I was sixteen years old, when I was a Panther Baby.


Jamal Joseph speaking about the Black Panther 21 case on the green at the University of Vermont - Burlington, Vermont - 1971


Tupac and Afeni Shakur


Kathleen Cleaver, minister of communication for the Black Panther Party


Felipe Luciano on the right, as Chairman of the Young Lords


Jamal Joseph with his award winning IMPACT Repertory Theatre during a performance piece


Reggie Lucas back in the day


The room was packed with folks I've known since I was sixteen years old, when I was a Panther Baby


A year after this shot, I'd turn sixteen years old and join The Black Panther Party


Madonna's "Borderline" single - written and produced by Reggie Lucas


Two time Emmy Award winning journalist Felipe Luciano and me, at the Panther Baby event


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The Best Cry-er I've Ever Worked With

February 17, 2012


Demos from 1984

I spent the whole day listening to my old solo album songwriting demos. I have so many old demos that I'm almost overwhelmed. Back in the day I used to record a huge amount of ideas before I'd settle on what songs would make it onto an album.

I found songs that have Bernard Edwards playing on them. I'd forgotten those songs until today. I've even found a demo with Alfa Anderson singing in the background section.

Though I recorded the background vocals as a large group to a stereo pair, I can still hear Alfa's distinctive voice, doing a sound which Luther Vandross called crying. It's a technique where I'd have the singers overdub a very airy, almost childlike sound, and Alfa was The Best Cry-er I've Ever Worked With.


Another batch of demos from 1984


Bernard Edwards, bass player extraordinaire, and me in the 80's


Alfa Anderson in our 80's tour book


I have so many old demos, that I'm almost overwhelmed


Me playing with Alfa, The Best Cry-er I've Ever Worked With


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Category: Walking on Planet C

Le Freak Last Night

February 16, 2012


Last night I was invited to read from my memoir Le Freak

I spent most of Last Night in the Hiro Ballroom at the Maritime Hotel, New York City. I was invited to read from my memoir to support a dear friend and top-shelf author, Anthony Haden-Guest.

Being an author, Anthony sees reading aloud as entertainment. When he's reading, it is! He's a great public reader and he's got a secret weapon, an English accent. I, on the other hand, was raised only a few blocks from the venue, in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Instead of reading from my memoir Le Freak I summarized it along with a music underscore. I did an aural compendium of Le Freak Last Night.


Award winning author Anthony Haden-Guest


Debbie Harry came out to support Anthony


I summarized Le Freak along with a music underscore


I did an aural compendium of Le Freak Last Night


Artists showing up to support Anthony


I spent most of Last Night in the Hiro Ballroom at the Maritime Hotel, New York City


The Hiro Ballroom's main space before the rest of my fellow artists showed up


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Category: Walking on Planet C

There's Something Funky Brewing

February 15, 2012


I've been recording for almost forty straight hours

I can't believe that I've been recording for almost forty straight hours. I fell asleep around 1pm for two hours yesterday but that was it. I'm very inspired and I'll give you a full report tomorrow. All I can say is, There's Something Funky Brewing.


I used a little bit of this


And I used a little bit of this


I threw in some of this


And I used a little of this bad boy too! One of the nicest Les Paul's I own


Rich Hilton and me in Le Crib. I'm in heaven when I'm working on music


The north wall of the studio. Nothing more inspirational than looking at a D'Angelico poster


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My Plexiglass Guitarman

February 14, 2012


Me playing the workhorse of LIVE CHIC shows, My Plexiglass Guitarman

My band CHIC was very closely associated with a studio called The Power Station because we were the first artists to record an album there. In fact, we cut every CHIC album there, but our first single "Dance, Dance, Dance" was cut at Electric Lady Studios, the studio built by Jimi Hendrix.

I've worked there with INXS, Hall and Oates, D'Angelo, ?uestlove and many others, so it felt natural to return to Electric Lady. It also felt natural to record with the workhorse of LIVE CHIC shows, My Plexiglass Guitarman.


INXS


D'Angelo


My return to Electric Lady with the Plexiglass Guitarman


One of the best days of my life playing My Plexiglass Guitarman


Our first single, "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)"


Ripping up Electric Lady with My Plexiglass Guitarman


The funk was alive and well with the return of My Plexiglass Guitarman


It's officially out of retirement and coming back on the road - My Plexiglass Guitarman


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Category: Walking on Planet C

The Whitney Houston Story Was Breaking

February 13, 2012


Two days ago I was recording at Electric Lady Studios

Two days ago I was recording at Electric Lady Studios. On the way home, the commuter train got stuck inside a tunnel. I felt shut off from the world because I was in a telephone and wifi dead-zone. I thought we'd have to evacuate and walk along the rat infested tracks.

After a while, the train was able to return to NY, all the passengers boarded a replacement train and my journey started again. At that point I was so tired I overslept and missed my stop and had to take a taxi back to my town. When I tried to pay the driver I didn't have enough money for the unexpected trip.

The driver took me to an ATM, then back to my car, and I finally drove the rest of the way home. I went online and started seeing some early details of a shocking story. The preceding events all happened while The Whitney Houston (RIP) Story Was Breaking.


The commuter train got stuck inside a tunnel


I thought we'd have to evacuate and walk along the rat infested tracks


I overslept and had to take a taxi back to my town of Westport, CT


The Whitney Houston Story Was Breaking


The Whitney Houston Story Was Breaking


The Whitney Houston Story Was Breaking


The Whitney Houston Story Was Breaking


Whitney Houston - A God Given Voice


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Whitney Houston R.I.P.

February 12, 2012

My most heartfelt condolences go out to the family of the incomparable
Whitney Houston...

 

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Category: Walking on Planet C

Absurdly Funky

February 11, 2012


Me in my apartment in the 80's, where I developed most of my ideas

I was offline most of the day yesterday because I was engrossed in a voluminous amount of unreleased tapes from the 80's. I have nine boxes filled with Nile Rodgers Production's tapes.

Typically, when I was working on my various solo projects, many songs would have the same name but were different songs. I'd start with an idea, give the song a working title, and by the end of the process it could be a very different song musically.

On some of the songs, I'd get Bernard Edwards to play. The great thing about finding all this music is the sheer amount of recording I did. I'd basically go to the studio everyday.

Over the next few months I'm going to finish a few of these projects and release them, because some of these songs are Absurdly Funky.


Me in '85 a few months before Live Aid


Me & Bernard Edwards in the Power Station in the 80's


Here's an unreleased 80's rough mix of a song from the film Alphabet City


Here's an unreleased 80's master tape


Here's an unreleased 80's master of songs from a Fonzi Thornton album


Here are all the Sony digital multi-tracks from the unreleased 80's soundtrack Alphabet City


Here's an unreleased 80's analog multitrack of two CHIC Organization songs


These are unreleased 80's demos that are Absurdly Funky


Alphabet City (1984) Trailer :: Uploaded by jeremizle

 


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