Did Nile Rodgers just solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict? a Tripquake Exclusive

music, mykonos, pop, Uncategorized
nrepk-approved03-1At any given moment  in the late 1970s the mercury could be off the charts at Studio 54, the legendary ‘70s New York disco that would have turned 40 year this year—the same age, incidentally, as that of CHIC, the band Nile Rodgers co-founded with bassist Bernard Edwards and that churned out hits like Le Freak that for a time helped make America’s dance floors burn hotter than a mid-summer’s afternoon in hell. Rodgers, guitar fiend, hitmaker, chart topper, multi Grammy Award winner, Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer has by any yardstick earned the right to rest on his laurels, but such is far from the case as recent collaborations with Pharrell,  Daft Punk, Disclosure and more and a fresh CHIC album and tour can attest. He is every bit as iconic as the pop legends whose work he has produced and at the youthful age of 64 a very tough act to follow. And not the easiest guy to get on the phone. But in a world without Bowie, Prince and George,  Good times, these? Well, save that debate for another moment and for now consider how…

1. Nile Rodgers produced Let’s Dance, and you didn’t. 

bowie

2. Nile Rodgers produced The Wild Boys, one of the best Duran Duran tracks ever…

simon

TQ: The Wild Boys..Whose dark vision was that?

Rodgers: “Mine.  You have to go back in time. We had already done The Reflex and we were great friends. After that, they were so huge they were almost like a boy band but I knew they were real musicians and they played their own stuff, whereas most boy bands are just out there to be pretty and pretend, one or 2 guys may sing, that’s the formula. I knew that Duran wasn’t that, but their fan base was treating them like that so their critics started treating them like that. So I said wait a minute guys, we have to make an extreme left turn because you are much better than that. My dilemma is that I have nothing against guilty pleasure put-together pop bands, I mean music and art is supposed to be for fun, it’s supposed to be for release, and for a lot of people that’s how they get into music, they start with a cute boy band or girl band, they speak to a certain generation, but as they get older and more sophisticated they sort of move on and they get into a higher art form. Duran Duran were at point for me where it felt like they needed to move on to a higher art form. So we did Wild Boys as a very experimental kind of project, and things just fell together with the diretor Russell Mulcahy and it sort of worked out perfectly. And there’s no other Duran record like that before or after.”

3. Nile Rodgers refreshingly reveals not loving lemonade doesn’t make you a bad person. In fact, it might even make a you a better one. Wait, what?

lemonade

TQ: Those millennials…disco v. EDM…you probably know where I’m going with this…

Nile Rodgers: “We recently played Glastonbury and we had about 200,000 people at our set. Every song we play in our shows everybody knows – in fact I have a funny line I say to the crowd, ‘You know what, I’m just going to play our #1 records..it’s sort of a joke because I’ve done so many songs. So when they’re watching us play, they are actually fascinated with the technical facility of the musicianship, and that’s something that’s gone away. When we were kids, people made a big deal about the musicians and the way they could play. Now, you see a huge pop star and no one cares about the band …you know, Pink came flying down from the ceiling, Beyonce had like 45 dancers and they are all in sync and it was incredible, you know that kind of thing, but rarely do people say, Jesus Christ, Adele’s band was killing it, who’s the drummer, man they were amazing!”

4. If disco once ruled the world, that was due in no small part to Nile Rodgers and CHIC. Today, disco is mainly remembered for the backlash against it. #What’s up with that?

blondie

Nile Rodgers: “When punk rock was our biggest rival, our best friends were all the punk rock bands, the Ramones, Bow Wow Wow, Blondie…some of the bands we would actually go on to produce. Same with EDM: guys like Avicii, Disclosure, Sam Smith, they’re my best friends! Last night, at 12:46, I got an MP3 from Disclosure because they were in the studio with me and Anderson Paak and Bruno Mars..we were recording two or three weeks ago. After we finished I sent the entire session to Anderson and he probably sent some stuff off to Disclosure unbeknownst to me, so at 12:46 in the morning I get a mix saying ‘Hey Nile, I hope you dig this, this is what I did with the stuff you and Anderson were working on.’ The EDM community and CHIC, which I have to call the disco/R&B/funk community are very closely aligned..that’s why I play on so many of their records.”

Punk rockers kibitzing with the deans of disco, how unthinkable is that? Imagine the implications for erstwhile enemies Washington D.C., or  the Middle East…

5. Like A Virgin

Screen Shot 2017-07-08 at 9.14.22 PM

from Wikipedia: “Nile Rodgers was chosen as the primary producer of the album, due to his work with David Bowie. Rodgers enlisted the help of his former Chic bandmates Bernard Edwards, who was the bassist, and Tony Thompson, who played drums; they appeared on several tracks of the album.”

6. George Michael and that secret single everyone’s talking about…

george

Nile Rodgers: “I get a phone call from the estate and they say Nile, we know you’ve been reluctant to give us the music…I had finished this thing on the 22nd of December. I said I’ve been reluctant to give it you because I have so much respect for George and this is so different from what he did originally and David his producer said, you ‘ve got to think of this as like what you did for David Bowie. Let’s Dance was an album basically of old covers…you took a song like Modern Love, like China Girl…

TQ: And made them commercial, unforgettable pop hits.

nrepk-approved04

all photos of Nile Rodgers by Diego Paul Sanchez

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