There’s nothing like the biography of a black musician. Although I do plan on reading Elvis’ biography one of these days, but then again his humble beginnings revolve around black musicians so . . . I’m sure I mentioned that I’ve read Marvin Gaye, the Jackson family, and even the Supremes biographies. The boyfriend said I’m fascinated with what people’s lives were like BEFORE the fame and success. Maybe so.
Crunk & Disorderly recently posted a video clip of Rick James at the Grammys. This clip intrigued me so much (honestly its not that exciting, but . . .) that I pulled up James’ biography again. You may recall that I posted a summary for Memoirs of a Super Freak awhile back, but had a difficult time finding excerpts online. Well, I used a different search method this time (that still relied upon Google) and found a little something. Even found a few reviews that sounded pretty good. We’ll get to that in a moment, here’s that edited excerpt (via The Wow Jones Report):
There was a record burning up the airwaves called ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ by some cat named Prince. He played guitar, and everyone was telling me how a tour with me and him would be great. I bought his album and really enjoyed it, especially ‘Sexy Dancer.’ I thought the kid was pretty funky. So I asked for the company to send me a video on him. I received the video and as I watched him I thought he reminded me a bit of myself, except that he didn’t move as much. I asked Prince to open up the Fire It Uptour…the only thing I had heard about him was that he was shy. I had hoped he wasn’t too shy, or he had no right being on the road with me, that’s for sure.
When I walked in through the backstage entrance, Prince was sitting on his group’s drums playing some bullshit beat. I sat down on our set where he could see me and began playing some serious shit. He looked over at me and just got his little ass up and walked away.
The first time I saw Prince and his band I felt sorry for him. Here’s this little dude wearing hi-heels, playing this New Wave Rock And Roll, not moving or anything on stage, just standing there wearing this trench coat. Then at the end of his set he’d take off his trench coat and he’d be wearing little girl’s bloomers. I just died. The guys in the audience just booed this poor thing to death..
Whenever I was on stage I’d see Prince on the side of the stage just staring and watching everything I did, like a kid in school. I’d walk over to him during a song and point my bass right in his face, grab my crotch, give him the finger and keep jammin’. He was remembering everything I did, like a computer.
I used to do these tricks with the microphone – – flip it, catch it backwards, you name it. It was a trademark of mine. I also used to do a lot of crowd chants. I’d have my hand on my ear while I called these funk chants to the audience. This was another trademark.
One day I walked into the auditorium, getting ready to go on, and I heard the crowd chanting loudly. I went to check it out. Here’s Prince doing my chants. Not only that he was stalking the stage just like me, doing the funk sign, flipping the microphone and everything. The boy had stolen my whole show. I was pissed, and so was my band. This went on night after night, every show I’d see more of my own routine. It got to the point I couldn’t do the stuff I had always done cuz Prince was doing it before I came on. It started to look like I was copying him. Everyone knew what was happening: his management, my management. One day things almost blew up. I was pissed, my band was pissed, and something had to be done. So my management and Prince’s management got together, along with Prince and his band and me and my band to have it out once and for all.
First, I met with Prince’s manager and told him that if Prince did any more of my show he was off the tour. Even his own manager agreed that Prince was stealing my show. Finally, we all met in Prince’s room: Prince, me and my bands. My band, looking like six foot five Black Maasai Warriors with their braids and leather, sat at one end, while Prince’s band, in their eyelashes and make-up, sat at the other. Prince’s band was afraid, very afraid. Levi and the boys were ready to give an ass-whipping. Prince sat on a bed and hardly said a word. He acted like a little bitch while his band and mine patched up their differences. After that confrontation, things went back to normal – – me kicking his ass every night.
According to Detrel Howell’s review, there are obviously more stories like that one featured in James’ biography. Howell writes:
The music that made Rick James soar to phenomenal heights was typically autobiographical. The insight into what inspired many of his hit records is mentioned in great detail in this book, as is his highly publicized struggle with drug addiction. This eye-popping read is filled with stories of his sexual liaisons with hundreds, if not thousands of women, many whom are well-known actresses and musicians. . . The infamous blend of bold rawness that the personality of Rick James was known for is often coupled with humor and audacity throughout the book. His rivalries and close relationships with artists like Teena Marie, Prince, George Clinton, Eddie Murphy and Jim Brown amongst the many others that are mentioned in the book are quite interesting, to say the very least. Most importantly, “The Confessions of Rick James: Memoirs of a Super Freak” allows the audience to view the humanistic side of a compassionate and very lost soul who yearned for true love and understanding, while taking in his exceptionally creative ability to master the art of songwriting . . .
Sex, rivalries, fame, drugs, and music? Well, what else does one expect from a music biography? This is definitely a purchase to consider. And when I do buy the book, I’ll be sure to provide the juicy excerpts.
Happy reading ya’ll!