Soul Singer and Rock Star Amy Winehouse has passed away. Although she was only 27, she made an indelible impression on the world of music amidst her short lived career. Her debut CD “Frank” virtually went unnoticed initially in the United States, but by the time it hit the streets of London back in 2003, she was already a well known performer in the UK community. Her 2006 release, “Back to Black,” put her on the proverbial map and earned her six Grammy nominations that resulted in five wins.
There’s a film titled “Kings of the Evening” airing on STARZ right now! If you miss it, it’s also available for purchase via Amazon, and it’s worth every penny. Set during the “Great Depression,” it stars Tyson Beckford, who’s also one of the films Executive Producers.
Alexander McQueen was one of the FUNKIEST designers to ever live. If there was a FUNK Diva on the scene today, she’d have to wear McQueen. His style is second to none and his vision intergalactic! Almost 100 of his designs are on display through July 31st at the MET in New York City – wherever you are, it’s worth the trip.
Bootsy Collins is without a doubt one of the greatest bass players to have walked the face of the earth. Among the greatest of all time are James Jamerson and Bob Babbitt of Motown fame; Larry Graham (Graham Central Station/ Sly and the Family Stone); Stanley Clarke; Victor Wooten; Louis Jagger Johnson aka ‘Thunder Thumbs” (The Brothers Johnson); Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers); Paul McCarrtney (The Beatles); Cliff Burton (Metallica); John Entwhistle (the Who); Geddy Lee (Rush); John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin); Jack Bruce (Cream); Les Claypool (Primus) and Doug Wimbish (Living Color). Bootsy is probably my favorite.
America has truly lost an icon of cultural signifigance. As a 20+ year veteran in the business of entertainment, my foundation would not exist, had it not been for him. Percy Sutton, the founder of Inner City Broadcasting – the home of New York’s first and only black-owned radio station, has passed.
This Christmas I was very fortunate to get the gift of music. Two of my favorite people in the world bestowed treasures upon me that I’ll cherish for years to come. On Christmas Eve, as I did the last of the trimming to the tree, I opened my gift from Chantalle. It was a Beatles Christmas tree ornament. A scenic piece of pottery, the “Fab Four” are presented complete with instruments, as if they’re playing music from their early days of fame.
It’s been a minute since my last blog entry. As we approach the end of 2009, the year 2010 has got to be Funky! Chillin’ in my Brooklyn lair, I’m looking forward to the victories and new beginnings that 2010 will bring.
At the peak of his career, Willie Hutch, was a songwriter and producer for Motown Records. It’s his version of the Jackson 5 hit “I’ll Be There,” that many a funkateer came to know his sound for. In 1973, Hutch wrote the soundtrack for the FUNKALICIOUS flick “The Mack.” The album included the title track and the hit “Brothers Gonna Work It Out.”
Just watched a press conference post the “Beer Summit.” “The Beer Bash,” featuring the brews of Bud Light for Barack; Blue Moon for James; and Red Stripe for Henry. I’d love to know what the sales increase for all three will be.
Ever since his death, music artists, bands, friends and fans have been paying tribute to Michael Jackson. The same week of his passing, BET changed the program of their entire awards show, to pay tribute to “The King of Pop.” BET began the event by playing a clip from a previous year, when Michael Jackson honored “The Godfather of Soul” James Brown. Michael draped JB with a cape, after he performed at the BET Awards that paid tribute to him.
George Clinton took the stage this past week on July 22nd at Englewood, New Jersey’s BergenPAC center. “This is a Homecoming,” said the hype man for George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, as the day marked his 68th birthday.
My friend Kweli reminded me that Michael Jackson sang background vocals on Stevie Wonder’s “All I Do” the other day. It wasn’t that I’d forgotten, I just hadn’t thought it about in years. Communicating via Internet, leaving a comment on one of the many social networks we choose to use these days, I said, “I’m listening to it right now.” In reality I was recounting the vocals of the song in my head, All I doo, is think about you…
I spoke to the late Roger Troutman and the group Zapp one summer just before the turn of the century.
Shortly after Rick James’ release from Folsom prison, he hit the road to get back in the swing of things.
Kung Fu was FUNK on TV. From David Carradine to Bruce Lee to the Wu-Tang to Jet-Li to Ang Lee to QT aka Quentin Tarantino, the Martial Arts is steeped in FUNK. David Carradine’s death came as a shock to many.
I remember meeting George Clinton at his hotel room when we spoke for this interview. It was 1999, awhile after he had dropped his albums “Dope Dogs” and “T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. (The Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Mothership),” which were released in 1995 and 1996, respectively. He spoke about some of his favorite projects that he released over the years, as well as the success of his visual art.
George Clinton is a living legend. A pioneer of FUNK, his contributions to music parallel James Brown, Rick James, Sly Stone and Prince. The bands Parliament; Funkadelic and the P-Funk All Stars, packaged as three, but essentially one – are on par with FUNK collectives such as Earth, Wind & Fire, The Ohio Players, War, Cameo and Kool & the Gang.
WTF – This is TOO FUNKY!!! Although I’ve known this was coming for about a year now, I was immediately thrown into an unsavory FUNK when I attempted to visit the Virgin Mega Store in Times Square the other day. IT’S CLOSED – as mentioned, I knew it was coming, but since it’s been awhile since I frequented the establishment, I’d forgotten the date it was closing… for good. “You can go down to the one in Union Square,” said Tony (a long-time friend and fellow FUNK lover). “No,” I said, “both locations are closed.”
So I’m chillin’ at the crib, corresponding via e-mail, the TV’s on in the background, and I hear “Hot fun in the summertime,” but it’s not Sly & the Family Stone. I look up just in time to catch the end of the commercial… it’s an ad for the state of Maine.
I’ve been so immersed in FUNK since I began writing this blog that I’ve FUNKED up a lot of stuff. Lately, anything that is good to me, I’ve labeled it FUNK because FUNK is so FUNKEN good. I’ve been so FUNKY that my editor started to wonder if I’m out of my FUNKEN mind