Photos by G.
If you missed the fDeluxe/Sheila E. concert at BB King’s in New York on August 29, 2012, you missed out on a great funkin’ night! There are so many highlights, it’s hard to begin, but this ought to sum it up – when’s the last time you heard “Mutiny” and “Koo Koo” performed live on the same night?!
Susannah Melvoin and St. Paul of fDeluxe
fDeluxe, formerly known as The Family, have only played New York a few times in their 20+ year career, but they really know how to make up for lost time. Aside from the two instrumental tracks (“Susannah’s Pajamas” and “Yes”), fDeluxe played every track from their debut album, “The Family.” What that means in lay man’s terms is New York got to hear funky live renditions of “High Fashion,” “Mutiny,” “The Screams of Passion,” “River Run Dry,” “Desire” and “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which was sung by The Family 5 years before Sinead O’Connor recorded it.
Susannah Melvoin and Eric Leeds
While the members of fDeluxe – St. Paul Peterson, Susannah Melvoin, Jellybean Johnson and Eric Leeds – might not be household names, to their fans, including myself, these are not mere mortals, but gods whose music has made our lives better and funkier for more than 2 decades! One of the highlights of the evening for me was sax man Eric Leeds walking out on stage for the first time during “High Fashion.” The audience absolutely lost their minds! He’s played sax or flute on so many of Prince’s best loved songs from the 80s, that when he emerged, you would have thought Prince himself was making an appearance (he did not, for those wondering).
fDeluxe didn’t just take us on a trip down memory lane, however. The band, funky as ever, played many songs from their 2011 album “Gaslight,” including the title track, “Drummers and Healers,” “@ 8,” and their new single “You Got What You Wanted,” an Ike and Tina Turner cover. “You Got What You Wanted” has just been released on fDeluxe’s official website and a limited edition CD single is available now.
You Got What You Wanted by fDeluxe. Out Now!
To celebrate the release of the new single, fDeluxe hung around at the merch table after the show and greeted their adoring fans. It was really cute hearing super-fans gush at how their songs have been anthems to us and many people thanked them for the music.
The show could have ended there and it would have been an amazing night, but fDeluxe were only warming us up for even more funk! If you’ve never seen Sheila E. perform before, you are seriously missing out. In addition to somehow finding the fountain of youth (look at her! She looks even better than she did 20 years ago!), she is one of the best performers and musicians you will EVER see. She plays intricate percussion and drum solos that she makes look effortless and no matter how many times I see her, and it’s been a lot, I have more and more respect for her talent. In addition to her new song “Leader of the Band,” and many Latin Jazz songs, Sheila E. also played many songs from her time in the Prince world.
Of course she played “A Love Bizarre,” and the show closer “the Glamourous Life,” but in addition she also played “Holly Rock,” “The Belle of St. Mark,” “Koo Koo,” and “Erotic City.” She had a tight and funky band, which included Eddie M. on sax. Watching people lose their cool during “Koo Koo,” which I’ve never heard live in all the times I’ve seen Sheila E., was definitely a highlight. Hopefully the love that New York showed Sheila E. and fDeluxe will be contagious and will enable them both to come back more often. Until then, we have memories from BB King’s to last us a lifetime.
Sheila E and Eddie M
Photo of Madhouse “8” by G.
Madhouse 8. Released January 21, 1987
Can you believe that 25 years ago on January 21, 1987, Prince’s Paisley Park label released the epic album “8” by the jazz fusion group Madhouse? The album featured Eric Leeds on saxophone and flute, while Prince played all the other instruments on the record. Every song is a great exercise in funk and because what mattered was the music and not the labels, each of the eight songs on the record was named only by a number (and the tracks are called “One,” “Two,” “Three,” “Four,” “Five,” “Six,” “Seven” and “Eight.”) The album suffered from Prince’s short attention span when it comes to promoting a project (mainly because by the time an album could be released through the proper distribution channels, Prince had probably recorded several albums worth of new material and thus he was not excited by the ‘old’ material) and it immediately slipped into mainstream obscurity and yet is one of the most sought after side-project albums from Prince’s career. Happy anniversary “8.” You’ve sure brought a lot of smiles to my face over the last quarter of a century and I will love you until the day I die.
Photo by G.
Happy birthday to one of the best saxophone players of all time – Eric Leeds. Eric Leeds has played off and on with Prince and Prince’s many protegés since the 1980s and every time he appears on one of the tracks, his solos and accents are often the highlight of the song. He’s also been in Prince’s jazz fusion group Madhouse and if you ever get a chance to track down their albums, your ears will thank you for it. Eric is also a solo artist, having released 3 great records as well and he is currently on tour in fDeluxe (formerly known as The Family) so if you need some funk in our life, check out the music of Eric Leeds. I can’t even count how many hours of my life have been spent listening to Eric’s music both with and without Prince, but I can say – it’s a lot! I thank Eric for always putting my ears in a good mood and I hope you have a very happy birthday!
Photo by G.
From L to R: Susannah Melvoin, St. Paul Peterson, Eric Leeds of fDeluxe
European funkateers – get ready! fDeluxe (formerly known as The Family) have announced some January 2012 European tour dates. As the US audiences can attest, it might have been 20 years in between albums but the funk is still fresh and fDeluxe are a band you must see live!
fDeluxe will be playing:
Le Réservoir / Paris, FR / Wed Jan 18 12 /08:00 PM
Jazz Cafe / London, UK / Thu Jan 19 12 /07:00 PM
Paradiso / Amsterdam, NL / Fri Jan 20 12 /08:00 PM
Ancienne Belgique AB / Brussels, BE / Sun Jan 22 12 /08:00 PM
You can purchase tickets here.
In other fDeluxe news, the band have announced that 2012 will see the release of a remix cd of their latest album “Gaslight” as well as a new video and a live album. Stay tuned to fDeluxe’s official website for all the latest funk!
Photos by G.
FDeluxe! Formerly known as “The Family,” Fdeluxe was born in 1985 as a side project for Prince and was the first act signed to his Paisley Park label. Their debut album has been in high rotation with me for 25 years. It’s only got 9 songs, but it’s a perfect album, according2g. It features the ultra-funky songs “High Fashion,” “Mutiny” and “The Screams of Passion,” two bad-ass instrumentals “Yes” and “Susannah’s Pajamas,” and the gorgeous slower songs “River Run Dry,” “Desire” and the original version of “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Though the members of the band have continued making music since 1985, The Family disbanded way too soon and reunited only briefly for the Woodstock of Prince-Protégé’s, The Family Jamm, in Los Angeles in 2003. I was fortunate enough to attend that show and it only whet my appetite for new songs and more live shows. I got my wish in 2011 as the band got back together to record their first album in 25 years, “Gaslight.” For reasons we’ll probably never be able to figure out (read: jealousy), Prince threatened litigation if the band used their original name. Therefore in 2011, The Family ceased to exist and FDeluxe was born. As Prince, who once changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol can attest to, the name is irrelevant. What matters is the music! FDeluxe are just as funky in 2011 as they were in 1985. They look great and sound great!
St. Paul Peterson and G
Fdeluxe was in New York on October 29, 2011 to play two sold out shows at Joe’s Pub (and in fact, these shows marked their New York debut). I’ve been looking forward to this show for so long, nothing would get in my way of this glorious day. New York experienced a freakish, unseasonable snow storm that day and getting around town was an absolute nightmare! Snow be damned, I ventured out to the show where I met FDeluxe and I had one of the best experiences you can possibly imagine. Lead singer “St. Paul” Peterson joked that he brought the Minnesota weather with him. I gushed to him how much I love his music and he could not have been any nicer.
Susannah Melvoin and G
Co-lead singer, Susannah Melovin was absolutely delightful to speak with and it turns out that my seat for the show was directly in front of her. Susannah even winked at me several times throughout the show!
- Eric Leeds and G
Eric Leeds is one of my personal gods. The music he makes on the saxophone is so funky it literally defies words. I thanked him for all the great music he’s given us throughout the years including work with FDeluxe, Madhouse, Prince and of course his own solo records. He told me that his extremely underrated album “Things Left Unsaid” is his favorite and that his 2000 album “Now & Again” will be re-released soon. Once again, he couldn’t have been nicer.
- Jellybean Johnson and G
Jellybean Johnson who plays bass as well as the drums occasionally for Fdeluxe was also extremely nice. He said that he was sort of in a hurry because the band was doing a photo shoot and people were waiting for him. I jokingly told him that I’d been waiting to see him for a much longer time – 25 years in fact – and he agreed with my logic and took his time chatting with me.
In addition to the band being SO nice, the show was amazing too and I am praying that FDeluxe starts to make this a regular thing. If you want the same thing, spread the word about “Gaslight.” Thanks again to Paul, Susannah, Eric and Jellybean for truly making my life better (and much much funkier)!