Celebrating Nile Rodgers
I've started reading Questlove's memoir, Mo' Meta Blues - it's my weekend reading, I'm going to nail it. And I know I'm going to love it. Fingers crossed anyway, at this stage. I just can't see it being a bad book.
In the introduction Quest talks about his frustration in reading so many music bios: they all start the same way - the chapters about the family, the musical epiphany, the boring bits...well, sometimes they're not. Sometimes that stuff is fascinating. You're either a great storyteller, or you have a great story to tell. You don't have to be both - obviously that's the winning formula but if the events of a life are so interesting, surreal perhaps, fascinating in some way or other then it will work regardless of the writing. If you're a really great writer you'll nail it and might be able to make something that could seem prosaic in anyone else's hands really shine.
I read a lot of music bios, always have. And though I don't skip the boring bits, I often feel I should. So I identified with Questlove's comment and I'm already hooked on his book - it takes us right to the action. That's why I say I know it's going to be good. You get that feeling instantly.
This got me thinking about Nile Rodgers. Lots of reasons to think about him. I really loved his memoir - yes, it's slight, an easy read (that's not a bad thing) and it does leave out a lot, music-wise, so much so that I'd call for a second volume. But the first third of the book, the family information, is fascinating; so crucial to the making of the man.
I revisited the Nile Rodgers book - read through a few chapters again and finally wrote a review of it (link is in the paragraph above) - because there's been a lot of talk about Rodgers and his band Chic lately.
Rodgers' website tells us that he's locked in for a New Zealand show and some Australian dates in early December (right around the time of the Fleetwood Mac shows in New Zealand, for those of you keen to make a double-gig trip of it).
Check out the full set at the Glastonbury Festival. Man, that's the stuff right there!
Nile Rodgers loaned his sound to the biggest hit of the year too - Daft Punk's Get Lucky. I reckon even people who hate that song actually love that song! But Nile's playing, his feel, his touch, it's unmistakable. And that song - and his involvement on what, for me, is a really great record (I've recently bought the vinyl), will of course bring a few new people to the Nile Rodgers party.
And that's exactly what a Nile Rodgers/Chic show is these days - a party that celebrates the great hitmaker.
Here's another weekend link for you: a recent BBC documentary about Nile Rodgers called The Hitmaker.
All that's left now, as we wrap the week up, is the question. There's always a question. So, given I'm celebrating Nile Rodgers, even dipping back into his book, and looking forward to losing myself in the Questlove memoir I'll ask the obvious question - what's the best music memoir you've read this year? Old or new, what's the best music book you've read this year?
Are you a Nile Rodgers fan? Would you go to a New Zealand gig? And do you agree that Get Lucky is the pop hit of the year?
There you go - a few bonus questions. Happy Friday. Have a great weekend. Thanks for reading.
Postscript: I wrote about Nile Rodgers last year but I wanted to share the links to the Glastonbury set and documentary and wanted - also - to acknowledge a request from the Blog on the Tracks Facebook page, a suggestion to write about Nile Rodgers, to celebrate his work and the potentially exciting news of a New Zealand gig. I'm caught up in my own Nile Rodgers celebration currently - as it happens. But this is timely; you see, someone (Eric Houghton) asked me last week why I never pick any of the suggestions for blog topics from the Facebook page. So thanks to Jon-Paul Hansen, a Chic fan, a Nile Rodgers fan, for suggesting today's topic.
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts.