Friday, October 31, 2014

Walking on Planet C

Forced to Relax

December 13, 2012


I've been in the Turks & Caicos Islands for the last few days

I've been in the Turks & Caicos Islands for the last few days. I'm airing out my brain and focusing on a new year of exciting projects. I usually come down here with a core east-coast group: Rose, Mark, and of course Nancy - and my west-coast friends Joyce and Michael Ostin, who worked on Madonna's Like A Virgin with me, and has been one of my best friends since.

I bring people whose company I really enjoy and always invite new folks to the Amanyara experience. It's during this quality time when I stop and count my blessings.

This trip I convinced my old friend Angela Yee, and new friend recording artist and upcoming TV star Lore'L, to take a real holiday. I know how important vacationing is to rejuvenating oneself. Like me, most of my friends are workaholics, and workaholics must be Forced to Relax.

 


Rose, Mark, and of course Nancy


My west-coast friends Joyce and Michael Ostin


Michael Ostin and I have been friends since the 80's and worked with Madonna together


I bring people whose company I really enjoy-Nancy w Sex and the City creator Darren Star at Da Conch Shack


Quality holiday time allows me to stop and count my blessings


I convinced my old friend Angela Yee get the full Turks & Caicos experience


Angela convinced her friend recording artist and upcoming TV star Lore'L to get into the total TCI experience


You are not legit on Turks & Caicos until you eat a conch pistol


Angela went first and Lore'l chumped out


Finally Lore'l Woman-ed up!


Lore'l almost lost her $hit but she made us proud and swallowed the pistol. Now she's down for life!


Lore'l about to recover...


Then she laughed it off, true gangsta style


The girls called Rose over to the pool


Rose goes to take a last swim with Ange and Lore'L before they leave


Rose, Angela, & Lore'l have their last dip together


Everyone hated to see them go but I know they'll be back because Amanyara forces you to relax!

 


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Category: Walking on Planet C

Life and Death In Perspective

December 7, 2012


Freak, Freak, Freak, Freak, Freak, FREAKOUT FRANKFURT STYLE!

We just had a wonderful trip to Frankfurt to gig for an event called Hewlett Packard Discovery. I believe these pictures show the kind of set we had. We did a two-hour show of many of the biggest hits of my career. I continue to have many brushes with death, and my moment may come on stage, but I've discovered - sometimes I feel like the luckiest man in the world. Music puts Life and Death In Perspective.

 


Freak, Freak, Freak, Freak, Freak, FREAKOUT FRANKFURT STYLE!


Folami giving it up!


Freak, Freak, Freak, Freak, Freak, HEWLETT PACKARD STYLE!


Kim Davis killing "Thinking Of You"


A HOT GIRL!


MORE HOT GIRLS


HOT, HOT GIRLS!


Me, with Don Harris and Bill Holloman


"Lady" (Hear Me Tonight) Cause my feeling is just so right!


Selan's intensity


Another fly girl doing her thing!


Ralph Rolle, Jerry, and Selan kicking "Let's Dance"


The more dancers on stage the better


NOW FREAK!


Me playing "No, No, NOTORIOUS!"


The more dancers on stage the better


Me and Jerry Barnes doin that funk thing!


Frankfurt Style


Freak, Freak, Freak, Freak, Freak, FREAKOUT FRANKFURT STYLE!


Goodnight Germany, we'll be back in February!

 


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Category: Walking on Planet C

Declared Officially Dead

December 1, 2012


"Good Times" - CHIC: Live at the Budokan

I've been playing with some of my demos from the 80's lately and it's been exciting jamming along with my old band mates. I love to play guitar and I could do this every day for the rest of my life just for the fun of it.

While taking a lunch break I jumped onto twitter for a few minutes and someone had posted "Good Times," from CHIC: Live at the Budokan. I loved it. Just like I could play along with my old demos forever, I could watch this video forever because I'll always see something new.

Today, I saw this performance from a completely different point of view. While watching it I said to myself, "Here's the last time I played "Good Times" with Bernard Edwards." He played brilliantly, even though his body, mind, and spirit were already transitioning. A few hours after this song he'd be Declared Officially Dead.

 

 


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Category: Walking on Planet C

I Don't Believe in Voodoo But...

November 29, 2012


For the last few days I've been working on a track that I salvaged from demos for what would become my first solo album back in the 80's

For the last few days I've been working on a track that I salvaged from demos for what would become my first solo album back in the 80's. These are some of the ideas I played for Bowie when we had our first Let's Dance meetings. Two days ago I dreamed I was playing with Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson, my ex-CHIC bandmates who've both died long ago. I realized my dream could come true by playing with them on these old demos. I had played guitar on the demos in the 80's so I jammed along with myself too! It sounded pretty amazing.

I'm going to Japan soon, which always makes think about Bernard Edwards, he passed away there after our last concert together. Maybe that's why I had this music dream? Today, I listened to what I had played and it blended with my original guitar perfectly. The guitar I'd used was given to me by Johnny Marr of the Smiths, because my Fender Stratocaster called The Hitmaker is being repaired. Today I had a phone call with Johnny. I had no idea he was in New York or that I would wind up recording with his signature guitar. I Don't Believe in Voodoo But...

 


Bowie and me in the studio - I'm wearing the vest from the cover of my first solo album


The back cover of my first solo album


Artist's rendering of Tony Thompson, me,   Bernard Edwards


Some of the found "Lost Tapes"


Nile   Nard April 96 Budokan - Bernard's Final Show


The guitar I'd used was given to me by Johnny Marr of the Smiths


Here I'm performing live with my 1959/60 Stratocaster nicknamed The Hitmaker


Today I had a phone call with Johnny. I don't believe in Voodoo but...

 


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Category: Walking on Planet C

Another F-ing Driver's License

November 24, 2012


I got home from Vegas today and ran out to get my verified driver license after 3 months of trying

When I got home from Thanksgiving with my family in Las Vegas, I knew something unusual was going to happen. It did. I got my driver's license renewed and verified. If you've not read my last two blog posts you wouldn't know why I call this seemingly simple act "unusual."

Allow me to explain: On September 6, 2012, I went to exchange my old license for a new one because it was about to expire on September 19. They issued me a new one but told me it was no longer good as a federal ID. This basically means I'd need a passport to fly domestically and that I'd be subjected to higher scrutiny and more searches. This translates to more delays and possibly missed flights in my active travel life. Without reliving this whole absurd story again, I'll just tell you what I had to do to acquire this new license with the gold star in the upper right hand corner, which lets officials know I'm verified.

Over the last three months I've made at least 20 calls and have spent countless hours on the phone. I've visited the office that issues driver's licenses in Westport, Connecticut a total of four times, the Social Security Agency in Bridgeport, Connecticut twice, and the New York City Department of Vital Records in lower Manhattan once, but had to wait two weeks until it reopened after hurricane Sandy, because it's located in a part of New York that was flooded and without power.

The state where I reside decided they'd enact this law years before December 1, 2017, when it becomes national law. My life has no lack of irony in it. Look at the date my new verified license expires, a mere ten months after the law becomes valid. At that point I'll have to get Another F-ing Driver License.

 


I got my driver's license renewed and verified denoted by the gold star in the upper right corner


The driver's license they issued me a week before my last birthday that no longer allows be to board a domestic flight


My Social Security Card


One of the early forms I had to secure in this lengthy process


That will teach him not to be verified


I told you your driver license had to have a gold star on it


Thanksgiving night on the Strip in Las Vegas


Thanksgiving with my family in Las Vegas - One of my brother Dax's tattoos


An unusual Thanksgiving facts is, the woman on the right Hattie, is 84 years old


Lower New York hurricane Sandy flood waters near the NYC Department of Vital Records

 


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Category: Walking on Planet C

I'm Still in Limbo WTF?

November 22, 2012


The driver's license they issued me a week before my last birthday that no longer allows be to board a domestic flight

On September 6, 2012, I went to renew my driver's license and that was The Beginning of A Nightmare. I turned in my old license early because ten years prior, while trying to board a domestic flight, my license had expired but they let me go and said, "No problem, this happens a lot." Remember, that was after the September 11th tragedies, when the nation's airports were still on high alert, but we were also still more like America, the country I was born in, land of the free, from sea to shining sea and all that stuff we used to hold dear - the country that taught civics in classes that I hear no longer exist.

It may sound like I'm straying but this will contextualize what follows.

After receiving my new license the woman casually says, "That's not good for domestic air travel" "What do you mean?," was my response as I was halfway out the door. I came back inside and she said, "You need to have two letters that were mailed to your home, and a social security card, as well as your old license to get a verified license."

She explained that six years ago a national law had been passed that becomes law by 2017, but Connecticut enacted it early. Really? I told her I haven't physically had my social security card since I was 13 years old, and I clearly remember one of the first things they told me was to put it in a safe place and not carry the card because I could lose it. It's exactly where I left it in 1963, but of course, like every other American I know the pertinent information, my number and my name. She told me, "Knowing isn't good enough, I'd have to show it to her." Of course I couldn't, so I asked, "What else could I do?" She said, "Get an original document that has my social security number printed on it." I told her okay and I'll see you in a few days. I was a little angry but on some level I understood.

I returned in a few days with my unverified driver's license, my passport, the document with my social security number, and the required two pieces of mail. She did some work on the computer and came back to me and said, "I can't proceed. The computer won't let me go forward." I asked, "What does that mean?" She explained that my social security information doesn't match their computer records and the program won't allow her to go to the next step in the process. After repeatedly questioning her she gave me the most information allowable, "You have two things that don't match on your social security information." I said, "This is easy because it happens all the time, they've misspelled one of my two names, either it says Niles with an s, or Rogers without a d?" She said, "That's one of the problems but there's an even bigger one!" I asked how big and she said, "I can't tell you."

At that point it gets semi-hostile and she said that I must go to the hospital where I was born and get a copy of my original birth certificate. I explained that I was given up for adoption at birth. When they recorded this birth I was called Baby Boy Goodman. I tell her, "There's no document with the name Rodgers on it but I've had a passport since I was 19 years old. The government agency that issued it required better documentation than my birth certificate, so shouldn't this be good enough?" "I'm sorry," she says, "but that's what you have to do!" At that point I didn't realize the hellish trip that I was about to embark upon.

I made the first part of this blog post a week ago because I thought there'd be a happy ending by now. Today is Thanksgiving Day and I'm in Las Vegas, Nevada visiting my mother. I travelled here with my unverified driver's license and a birth certificate. I had to apply for a Japanese work visa and had to submit my passport. As of now I'm Still in Limbo WTF?

 


Airline Departures Gate


Homeland Security Advisory Levels


7th Grade Civics Textbook - I'm talking Jr. High School


Select CT ID Program


I haven't had one of these in my hands since 13 - I did buy a copy of Elvis' Driver's License at Graceland


Here's the grave of a man named Niles Rodgers, a common misspelling of my name


Donald Trump's Birth Certificate - Well he's got one so he's American


When they recorded my birth I was Baby Boy Goodman


I showed up with my Passport I've had since touring with Sesame St. at 19 yrs old


Me and friends on the Sesame Street set


There was nothing I could do - I put on a happy face and went to the Dept of Vital records


The Street where the Dept of Vital records is is aptly nicknamed Ave Of The Strongest


Today I'm in Vegas visiting my mom but I was worried about being able to travel domestically without my passport


I'm Still in Limbo WTF?

 


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Category: Walking on Planet C

The Beginning of a Nightmare

November 15, 2012


My memoir, "Le Freak"

If you've read my biography Le Freak, you may remember that my maternal grandfather fled Georgia after he'd beaten a white man he'd caught raping his sister. Upon arriving in New Jersey, he saw a Goodman's Egg Noodle billboard outside the Holland Tunnel and appropriated the name believing that people would see him as a "good man." At the time he had no idea who Jewish people were and that Goodman was primarily a Jewish name.

In New York City the black and Jewish communities were closely aligned, especially because of working together in the garment business. My stepfather Bobby was Jewish, worked in the clothing business, and was best friends with my mother's friends as well as my biological father, Nile Rodgers. Bobby's surname was Glanzrock, and my mom's was Goodman.

Around her thirteenth birthday Mom had sex with Nile, and became pregnant. The school system pressured her into giving me up for adoption at birth. I became a ward of the state named Baby Boy Goodman. (Sounds like a blues guitarist.) Within a few months, my mother's maternal instinct got the better of her, she reclaimed me, and named me after my biological father Nile Rodgers.

On September 6, 2012, I went to renew my driver's license and that was The Beginning of A Nightmare.

(To be continued...)

 


Holland Tunnel to New Jersey circa early 50's


A shot from PBS's "The Jewish Americans" - Women working in the garment district


My aunt Midge and her brother Bobby a couple months after he'd married my mom - who took this picture


My father Nile had a garment district job moving clothing on racks called "Flying Jewish airplanes"


Me & Mom - She was 14 and I was a few months old before her maternal instinct got the better of her and she retrieved me from foster care


I'm finally two steps away of getting a simple driver's license that I can use as federal ID (the way it's been in America my entire life)


The driver's license they issued me a week before my last birthday that no longer allows be to board a domestic flight

 


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Category: Walking on Planet C

An Important Role In My Life

November 13, 2012


Montreux Jazz CEO Claude Nobs was also my first European Tour Manager in 1978

This past summer I had the extreme pleasure of playing the Montreux Jazz Festival once again. They wanted to honor me but I wanted to honor the music that changed my life - dance music. I started out playing classical music as a child primarily, became a jazz session-player / club-date musician as a young adult - until I evolved into a dance music composer / producer / performer.

I named my all-night festival within a festival: FREAKOUT MONTREUX! The Evolution of Dance Music - and I used this night to tell the story of my personal evolution. Almost everyone on the program has played An Important Role In My Life.

 


DJ Scarlett Etienne, me, Johnny Marr Legendary Guitarist from The Smiths named his son after me, & Mark Ronson whom I've know since he was 5


Baltimore's Amazing Performance DJ Vocal Artist Ultra Naté


Grace Jones has changed my life in so many ways - I've also known her son Paulo (Beatboxer / Percussionist) since he was born


Me and Legendary Remixer DJ Dimitri from Paris who killed a CHIC Boxset a couple years back


Yazoo's iconic vocalist Alison Moyet leads us through Mark Ronson's version of Johnny's smash "Stop Me" by The Smiths


The FREAKOUT MONTREUX! Artists Autographed Guitar


R&B / Soul / Disco Pioneers Tavares


The supportive fans which allow me to live Lost In Music!


Taylor Dayne is all I need to say!


CHIC with Elly Jackson of La Roux


Disco Legend Marc Cerrone who was the labelmate of Sister Sledge when I did We Are Family

 


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Category: Walking on Planet C

There's Nothing Like Vinyl

November 7, 2012


Explaining why I love vinyl in a BBC TV Special on vinyl recordings

I've just finished shooting a BBC TV Special on vinyl recordings. I still make vinyl recordings on every record that I can. I went into my basement and found some amazing recordings. Everything from my very first CHIC record all the way up to my current video game soundtracks. There's Nothing Like Vinyl.

 


On a vinyl recording I can tell where the breakdown comes by looking at the grooves on the disc


An original CHIC 12" Single test pressing in an Atlantic Disco promo sleeve


I got a little emotional recalling recording the first CHIC record with Luther Vandross, Tony Thompson and Bernard Edwards


The video game Halo original soundtrack released by my company Sumthing Else Music Works


I always cut vinyl to get a bigger sound


Me getting ready to shoot a BBC TV Special on vinyl recordings - I had an amazing stack of records from my basement


David Bowie's "Let's Dance" picture disc Vinyl Album


My biggest selling vinyl album - Madonna's "Like A Virgin"


Sister Sledge's 12" single "He's The Greatest Dancer"

 


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Category: Walking on Planet C

Heartbreak, Death and Destruction

November 4, 2012


It's a week after hurricane Sandy struck the northeast coast of the USA

It's a week after hurricane Sandy struck the northeast coast of the USA. Though I'll have to do a lot of cleaning up and repairs, my home is relatively unscathed.

Today, I was asked by people whom I work with to come out to Staten Island, the 5th borough of New York City, to see their devastation first hand. What I saw was unbelievable. Boats, houses, trucks, and cars where thrown around like toy pieces. I can only imagine the nightly horror when it's cold and dark as this area is still without power.

I saw and heard about acts of sacrifice and overwhelming kindness as well as many stories of Heartbreak, Death and Destruction.

 


Though I'll have to do a lot of cleaning up and repairs, my home is relatively unscathed


Boats, houses, trucks, and cars where thrown around like toy pieces


I can only imagine the nightly horror when it's cold and dark as this area is still without power


There were many people like this woman giving out free food


Hurricane Sandy's winds and surge deposited these boats and debris here from a mile away


In this shot things look normal but if I turn the camera just inches there's destruction everywhere


A car that was dropped by mother nature on another


People lining up to get gasoline for their generators


This cute sculpture survived the storm


Here it is from another angle with a couple of boats tossed up on land behind it


She said, "All my life I've taken care of diplomats, now why can't somebody take care of me - I've just retired from my job at the UN"

 


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Category: Walking on Planet C

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