Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny

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Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny

Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny

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I was lucky enough to catch a question/answer session with Nile Rodgers earlier this year, and his fun, humble, and engrossing personality made me decide to read his book. This man's life inside and outside of music is kind of astonishing, and he shares an awful lot of it. His mother and stepfather were a mixed race couple with strong bohemian tendencies, consorting with drug users, jazz musicians, gamblers, petty criminals, and other colorful characters who frequented their home, a situation young Nile regarded as perfectly normal since he knew no other type of life. From his often harrowing beginnings - his 13-year-old Mum and stepfather were both bohemian junkies, he was asthmatic and shunted between relatives and institutions, often feeling unwanted and unloved - in the poorer neighbourhoods of New York (and later Los Angeles), with all that entailed, this doesn’t try to make sugar-coat anything and in leaving no stone unturned, it’s sometimes tough to read. But it’s also that rare thing for a music memoir, arguably at its best when it steers away from the music.

Overall, I would have perhaps liked more emphasis on his studio techniques and creative revelations, but the unique personal narrative was more than impressive enough to carry the book. He has worked with many of my favorite artists, but is like an honorary member of my all time favorite band Duran Duran.It's a fascinating story and a surprisingly gripping read, and I found myself singing some of those songs to myself as he described their creation. The absurd coincidence of being saved by hitting the wrong elevator button seems to me as no coincidence at all. He has a blast describing the birth and rise of Chic in detail, and offers genuine dismay at the sudden and harsh fall as "Disco sucks" took over the nation.

I was aware of Nile Rodgers from his Chic days (although slightly too young to catch the disco explosion, I caught up on it), then through his connections with Debbie Harry (he co-produced her “Koo Koo” album), David Bowie (I loved “Let’s Dance”) and finally INXS, with “Original Sin”. Happily for us, he avoids the boring/repetitive tell-all aspect that is so frequently part of the stories of the famous and addicted. In his chatty and astute new memoir, musician and super-producer Nile Rodgers recounts the inspiration for one of his most enduring songs. He tires towards the end of his story, skipping years in a few sentences (hence four stars), but we'll forgive him that given how many drugs he claims to have downed. We take intellectual property concerns very seriously, but many of these problems can be resolved directly by the parties involved.

Confession: I haven't read this book but am using it as a way to highlight something very interesting I saw about him. The second half of this book focuses on his years as a big-deal producer in the 80s/90s and his drug problem and sobriety. To enable personalized advertising (like interest-based ads), we may share your data with our marketing and advertising partners using cookies and other technologies.

The stuff I found the most interesting is when he becomes an in-demand producer, and the experiences working with David Bowie at the end of his Imperial Period and Madonna at the start of hers.A career that spans four decades and scores of hits, yet he has always been content being on the sidelines. charming and hard working in a world of junk, dysfunction, and the casual social destructiveness (rape, murder, incest, addiction, madness) that is sometimes concomitant with the more extreme and impoverished edges of bohemian cool. From a chance encounter with Tim Leary, Diana Ross watching from the wings, David Bowie alone in a bar, Michael Jackson making confessions, and Madonna, well, being Madonna. He was largely a functioning addict so it didn’t really hold back his multi-million selling career with Chic and production duties for Sister Sledge and Diana Ross and when disco succumbed to the racist, homophobic backlash of the Disco Sucks movement as a producer for David Bowie, Duran Duran, Madonna, Grace Jones and countless more. His mom dragged him to LA and back a couple times, had him sent off age 5 to a sanatorium for asthmatic children, left him a number of times with his two loving but not very vigilant grandmothers, did very little to prevent him from becoming a junkie himself and later in life became his largest supplier of drugs!

He describes the backlash as a “tale of elves, dragons, warriors, and monarchs” in which the white one-hit-wonder band the Knack was pitted against Chic to usurp “the dark rule of Disco (the music of blacks, gays, women, and Latinos). Rodgers' biological father was a drug user and troubled musician who young Nile once had to talk down from a ledge.The book starts off at Nile the little asthmatic kid whose childhood was spent with his junkie parents, watching TV and loitering around. s, Bowie greedy for hits and stingy with credit, Madonna transformed from cheeky young opening act to the incomparably famous old friend whose 36th-birthday party was the beginning of the end of Rodgers’s multiple addictions. Biography: Nile Rodgers is one of the world's greatest producers and the co-founder of hit 70s band Chic.



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