Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers is working on a new Broadway musical based on his life story. The musician is writing a stage show based on his book, Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny, and he is hoping to launch the project in New York.
He tells New York Post gossip column Page Six, “I didn’t write the book thinking about holding anything back. Writing a show is completely different, because the show is not just to tell the history; it’s also to entertain… The good thing is, because it’s the story of my life and I know my life, I can figure out which chunk I want to talk about and which is the most entertaining that would feel didactic without being boring – without sucking.”
Can’t wait to see this show!
We Are Family FIlm Short
There is also a new film short on Rodgers called We Are Family from Director Astrid Edwards. Edwards reached out to Rodgers to create We Are Family, a glimpse into the meaning of fandom.
Back in April 2012, Rodgers threw a party for fans and friends at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Typically, Nile greets friends new and old with that infectious enthusiasm, while playing songs and spreading grins bigger than Bernard Edwards’ basslines.
This short, observational film came about through a dare set by Rodgers to filmmaker Astrid Edwards. Rodgers has long talked about his extended family online, and talking to them about the homecoming party, Astrid replied “that would make a great little film” to which he replied “just do it”.
In many ways, the idea and the execution of the film is the most Chic thing ever. It’s a spontaneous, warm celebration of music that brought people together and made outrageous things happen. It is also honest, to which Rodgers said: “I love the timeless optimistic spirit of me and my disco generation compadres at a quasi-outlaw party captured on camera like this.”
Unbelievably, Nile Rodgers has put together the most dysfunctional family together, made up of people all over the world. ‘We Are Family’ gets a snapshot of it. Now we can all join in.
The Quietus – http://thequietus.com/articles/10896-watch-nile-rodgers-we-are-family
Rolling Stone – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/chics-nile-rodgers-toasts-fans-in-we-are-family-premiere-20121203
Statement from Astrid Edwards – Director
In 2012, legendary Chic guitarist and Music Producer Nile Rodgers threw a free pre-concert party for his fans in NY. This is a film about Nile Rodgers and his fans – some of whom he hadn’t seen for 40 years and some who he was meeting for the first time.
What does it mean to be a fan? How does one behave when one is a fan? And what do fans do or say?
We Are Family is an observational film that got made in response to a dare set by the very subject of the film himself, Nile Rodgers. Rodgers – guitarist for Chic and prolific music Producer has in the last couple of years experienced many things: he has written an extremely successful autobiography, he has battled cancer and has through his illness reached out to his fans via his blog – his self described ‘e-family’.
As a Chic fan and reader of his blog I saw he had planned to throw a pre-concert party in his hometown of New York in order to meet as many fans as possible. This was also the first time Chic had performed in their hometown for many years. As a throwaway comment I wrote ‘that would make a great little film’ to which he replied ‘Just do it’.
So I did.
Suddenly I found myself hurtling to New York on airmiles armed with the prospect of shooting a film on my own in two hours with no light and the seed of an idea. I hoped to get peachy interviews with fans old and new, young and downright quirky. And yes I think I got that. We Are Family – is a film about fans by a fan.It is also a study of how people connect with each other.
Nile Rodgers: The Hitmaker – The New BBC Documentary on Nile Rodgers
Nile Rodgers has sold over 100 million records. As the co-founder, songwriter, producer and guitarist of Chic he helped define the sound of the ’70s, as disco took the world by storm. Nile and musical partner Bernard Edwards captured the essence of New York’s iconic Studio 54 creating hits like Dance Dance Dance, Le Freak and Good Times for Chic and We Are Family and Lost In Music for struggling vocal group Sister Sledge. But the music that had made Chic would also break them, thanks to the ‘Disco Sucks’ backlash. What could have been the end for Nile Rodgers would actually be a new beginning as a producer, helping create some of the biggest hits of the 80s for the likes of Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna and Duran Duran.
In this profile documentary, the ever-charismatic Rodgers contributes an engaging and often frank interview to tell the tale of how, born to Beatnik, heroin-addict parents in New York, he picked up a guitar as a teenager and embarked on a journey to learn his craft as a musician, before becoming one of disco’s most successful artists
In the ’70s and ’80s he lived the party lifestyle thanks to his success with Chic and as one of the music industry’s hottest producers. Drugs and alcohol would become part of everyday life for Nile, contributing in part to the break up of Chic in the early ’80s. The band would reform in the mid ’90s, but their return was quickly marked by tragedy with the death of Nile’s long-time friend and musical partner, Bernard Edwards in 1996.
Then in 2010 Nile was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of prostate cancer, which last year he announced he had beaten. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, Nile’s talent and ambition remains undimmed, deservedly earning himself the title of hardest-working man in pop, with Chic’s seemingly inexhaustible live performance schedule.
Nile Rodgers: The Hitmaker recounts a captivating and moving story of a man who has created some of the most sparkling and ebullient pop music ever recorded.
Contributors include: Nile Rodgers’ fellow Chic members, singers Norma Jean, Alfa Anderson and Fonzi Thornton and keyboard player Rob Sabino, as well as recording engineers Bob Clearmountain and Robert Drake.
Other artists Nile has worked with talk passionately about his talents, including Sister Sledge’s Kathy Sledge; Bryan Ferry; Steve Winwood; Johnny Marr; La Roux’s Elly Jackson; Valerie Simpson; Debbie Harry and Chris Stein from Blondie and Duran Duran’s John Taylor.