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Eric

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The last incarnation of our black rock band was called the Big Apple Band. We were R&B, fusion, jazz, rock-and-roll. One of the guys I had gone to school with had a major hit record called “A Fifth of Beethoven”—Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band. People thought that was us, so we changed our name to Chic. I wrote our very first song for this new entity: “Everybody Dance.” We premiered it at a club called the Night Owl Cafe. From this one club, the song blew up, and the whole scene would go there just to hear this song.

That song and “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” became big records in the underground scene and they were popular on the radio. Grace Jones, who was a goddess in those days in the club scene, expressed interest in having me and Bernard Edwards write and produce her next album. This was huge! We only had one record under our belts, and we get a call from Grace Jones? But we had never spoken to her, so on the phone she had this very bizarre vocal affectation. We thought she was putting on this voice for us as part of her code message on how to get into Studio 54. So she says, “Tell them you’re personal friends of Miss Grace Jones.” [Said in a faux-Austrian accent.] We knock on the door and say, “We are personal friendzzz of Meees Graaaysss Jones,” and the guy slams the door in our faces and tells us to fuck off. And we say, “No, no, no. Seriously,” and we try and get it better. “Weeee’re personal friendzzz of Meeeesss Graaaaysss Jones.” We sound like Bela Lugosi. He slammed the door in our faces again. So we went to my apartment and started jamming on a groove, like “Aww, fuck off! Fuck Studio 54!” And it sounded great. Then Bernard, in his infinite wisdom, said, “My man, you know this shit is happenin’, right?” And I was like, “How are we gonna get ‘fuck off’ on the radio?” So we changed it to “Freak Off.” And Mr. Hippie, the acid head in me, said, “You know, like how about we call it ‘Freak Out’?” Bernard was like, “What does that mean?” And I was like, “You know, when you drop a tab of acid, man, and things go bad. Or, how about, you know when you go to a club and you’re freakin’ out on the dance floor.” And Bernard said, “My kids are doing that new dance called the ‘Freak.’ ”

So we took this negative experience and turned it into a positive one, and we talked about being in Studio 54 dancing this new dance. We took Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” and Joey D and the Starliters’ “ Peppermint Twist” and made it be about the “Freak.” To make it sound like it was ours, we called it “Le Freak.” But we didn’t tell people how to do the dance because we didn’t really know how to do it. It became better to speak of it in this euphoric way, and talk about the experience of doing it. We say, “Have you heard about the new dance craze.” We assume you haven’t. “We’ll show you the way.” But we don’t! The dance never became “the Twist” or even “the Hustle.” But the song is a triple-platinum single. And when we were on American Bandstand, Dick Clark introduced us in a really wonderful way. He said, “This is the biggest song by a band nobody knows about a dance that nobody knows how to do. Ladies and gentlemen, Chic! ‘Le Freak’!” It was so right on the money.

Via Vulture

“A lot of people get famous now very quickly, and then they seem to have a turnover where they weren’t famous for that long, but someone else steps in to fill the slot. They’re sort of disposably famous I suppose. But I can’t keep up with who’s famous anymore … I know in my time, in my generation, if you had come, if they tried to offer my generation music by someone that had won a game show, it would have been hysterical. You would have been laughed out of the room. I mean we were suspicious of people that had hit records. I mean it was that different of a time.”

Via CBC

Music videos service Vevo is losing its boss, with president and chief executive Rio Caraeff confirming this week that he’ll leave the company at the end of 2014.

But the press release announcing his departure includes an interesting statistic which, to me, is even more facinating – Vevo has paid more than $500m to music rightsholders since 2010.

“Earlier this year, the Vevo ownership group underscored its commitment to the joint venture by pledging continued support for Vevo and its growth initiatives, citing the company’s strategic importance. Delivering nearly 100 billion streams across its distribution platform annually, Vevo has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, growing its business at a rate of over 50% year-over-year since 2010. It also has invested more than half a billion dollars in music video programming through royalties paid to rights owners, artists and songwriters. Over the last five years, 365 music videos from more the 125 artists have generated over 100 million views each. In addition, Vevo has built strong relationships with sponsors and brand marketers, working closely with over 1,100 global advertisers representing 50% of the world’s top 100 marketers who spend across Vevo to reach the largest audience of passionate music fans.”

Crackle’s original music series, “Playing It Forward,” is a special documentary-style music series produced by Team Downey, an entertainment company founded by Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey, as well as veteran music producer/composer Tony Berg and Kevin Lake. The “Playing It Forward” music movement showcases surprise street performances by some of the world’s biggest artists in unplanned, unexpected environments across the country benefiting music education and charities of the artists’ choice.

Imagine Dragons, heading to an unannounced show on the Vegas strip, are trying to figure out the exact nature of their approaching gig. “I think we’re just busking,” guitarist Wayne Sermon says.

“Are we putting out a guitar case, actually, for money?” frontman Dan Reynolds asks.

“We’re not gonna busk,” responds Sermon, barely helping. “Well, we’re gonna busk – but not the money part of the busk.”

Via Rolling Stone

Once you get over the shock of, you know, hearing Teller actually speak, since part of his bit is never to speak, watch closely as you might miss a great lesson. In this clip, from a documentary Penn and Teller’s Magic & Mystery Tour, you get to hear Teller explain why a seemingly simple and unimpressive cup-and-ball trick is pretty genius. “The nicest thing you can do for a fellow magician, use his knowledge to fool the heck out of him.” Teller isn’t a fool. He gave his respect for a fellow illusionist, and earning his respect in the process.

A new theme park in Orlando, Florida, called Skyplex is scheduled to break ground in 2015 and open in 2017. The signature thrill ride will be the tallest roller coaster in the world, the Skyscraper, that will plunge from more than 500 feet above ground. It’s not open yet, of course, but now you can ‘ride’ in from the very comfort of your own computer. Or you can be like me, and just post this video and not even click on it, as I’m too much of a coward.
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