What's on Sly Stone's Mind?
Some ambitious comeback plans, a call for any—any—hip-hop artists to collaborate, and not a little crazy shit.
Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart is about to return to the stage after a long absence. He's performing with a makeshift version of the Family Stone (rumor has it that Sly's bro Freddie Stone may appear; Greg Errico, however, informs me that he will be recording in New Orleans and unable to sit in on the drums) at the Anaheim House of Blues April 25 and at its West Hollywood counterpart April 26. If they can get it together, they will have one of the greatest passel of hits in the history of recorded music at their disposal—at least two dozen songs that are the sonic equivalent of the elixir of eternal youth.
To promote this short tour, the legendary funk/soul song and dance man has deigned to do some interviews, including one with OC Weekly and another with the LA Times.
Here's a revealing quote from Ryan Ritchie's Weekly article:
Until recently, I had two black binders filled with songs and they were stolen from me. Even though I have copies of all these songs, the idea that someone around me who is supposed to be helping me might take these hurts. If anyone should happen to find these binders of songs, do as they see fit. There is a reward for anyone who returns those binders. The binders explain two years of my life and two years is too long to wait, and two words can’t get it straight! Help me find my binders. These people are not allowed to steal our music. It’s your music, my music, and it came from God.
Here are some rather interesting passages from Geoff Boucher's piece in LA Times:
The golden moment for the band was its August night at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Sly performed a delirious call-and-response version of "Higher" and listened to the crowd of 400,000 sing his words back to him. Many say that set changed the course of music, melding rock with R&B in a liberating way.
"Everybody I saw was full of peace, it was a spirit there that was just
peaceful and cool," Stone said. "The thing I really remember is I went to
whatever was the main street there and I got a bologna sandwich. And it was
so hot. And I never open a sandwich to look what's going on, but somehow I
thought that time that I would do that. Because it was hot and I didn't
think bologna sandwiches were hot. And I opened it and there were people
running across the meat. And, I thought, whoa."
When someone says that they found tiny humans on top of their lunch meat,
the next natural question is: You didn't eat the sandwich, did you? "No! Oh,
no, no. I was reluctant to even throw it away. I had to look around for, you
know, to find the right garbage can that I should put it in."
Sly is one of my musical idols, but I don't have high hopes for this tour. May he prove me wrong. (I'll be at Coachella, so if someone sees him over the weekend, let us know how it went.)
Here's Sly on the Dick Cavett Show. How many illicit substances do you think are coursing through his veins here?