One of the most reclusive figures in music came out of hiding last night on May 21, 2014 as the Red Bull Music Academy hosted “A Conversation with D’Angelo” at the Brooklyn Museum. The auditorium was packed with fans, like me all who thought we’d finally get some of our questions answered – namely “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN FOR THE LAST 14 YEARS?!”
Nelson George and D’Angelo
Music critic Nelson George moderated the conversation and it was super fascinating, even though extremely light on subjects such as the two solo albums D’Angelo has released over the last 20 years, 1995’s “Brown Sugar” (which was mentioned very briefly) and 2000’s “Voodoo” (which was discussed for much less time than D’Angelo’s first band – I.D.U. which stands for Intelligent, Deadly, Unique). Name-checked during the conversation were Jesse Johnson, Alan Leeds, Prince and Questlove (who came up to the stage twice to help fill in D’Angelo’s stories). It was also amusing that D’Angelo smoked cigarettes on stage inside the auditorium of a museum! This is the second time I’ve seen someone smoke cigarettes near art (the first being Courtney Love).
D’Angelo and Questlove
The most fascinating fact of the night had nothing to do with D’Angelo’s music and instead it was about Sly Stone (of Sly and The Family Stone). D’Angelo mentioned that he’s met with Sly and Sly’s played him some of the “vast amounts” of unreleased music that he’s consistently recorded over the years including Sly’s experimentation with Auto-Tune, but D’Angelo said that he takes the vocal enhancer to a whole new level of weirdness – and could we expect any less from Sly? Will those Sly songs ever see the light of day? We have no idea. Will any new studio material from D’Angelo ever see the light of day? We have no idea. Though I thoroughly enjoyed watching the talk, I learned less about D’Angelo than is on his Wikipedia page, which was not just disappointing, but it left me scratching my head wondering why “the elephant in the room” (aka “why has there been no new music in 14 years aside from a surprise concert here and there over the years”) was not the focal point of this discussion.
Until there is new music, at least the world has the classic “Voodoo” and “Brown Sugar” albums to help us groove and make babies to. Any time you want to release music, the world is ready, willing and waiting!
Apparently the conversation was streamed live over the internet and I am not sure if it will be archived for later viewing, so check Google.
Not a big fan of posting other people’s videos, but since I was literally just listening to a bootleg of this show over the weekend, featuring quite possibly the only live performance of The Time’s “My Summertime Thang” (not performed by either Prince or The Time, but instead) by D’Angelo (featuring Eric Leeds, Jesse Johnson and Questlove), you have to check this out. It’s the first part of a documentary showing D’Angelo’s return to the live stage in the USA at 2012’s Bonnarroo Festival. Since this video features a Prince cover, it will likely be taken down before the end of the day because Prince is a motherfucking douche bag. But until then…
Some more details:
All music was remixed by Questlove.
Filmed and directed by Danny Clinch.
Episode Rundown and Tracklist:
1. Origins : Featuring “My Summertime Thang”by The Time written by Prince
2. Getting The Band Back Together: Featuring
Pride and Vanity by the Ohio Players
3. Hit It and Quit It: Featuring “Funky Dollar Bill” and
“Hit It and Quit It” by Parliament Funkadelic
4. The Return of D’Angelo: Featuring
“She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” by the Beatles
D’Angelo: Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar
Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson: Drums (The Roots)
Pino Palladino: Bass (The Who)
Eric Leeds: Saxophone (Prince)
Jesse Johnson: Guitar (The Time, Prince, Janet Jackson)
I think Questlove gets my vote as the busiest man in music. Born Amhir Thompson, Questlove or ?uestlove, is a drummer, DJ, rock journalist and record producer. I’ve seen him perform before (and he’s amazing), but yesterday, March 3, 2011 was my first up close encounter with Questo. He was much taller than I expected and in fact, when he agreed to take a photo with me, I was barely able to get both of us in the same frame because I am very short! He was in a rush so our encounter was very brief, but I did get the chance to tell him that I think he’s the best tweeter on Twitter (say that ten times fast). If you don’t follow him, his tweets will fill you in on everything cool happening on the net. Most recently, he joined Prince on stage during Prince’s 5 night stand at Madison Square Garden and he tweeted while on stage! I don’t know how he does it, but all I can say is – RESPECT! Thanks again Questlove! You can follow Questlove on Twitter @questlove and me @according2g. Thanks again Questlove!