funk music

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Exclusive Interview: Wang Chung’s Jack Hues

Posted by funkatop On May - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
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A great band that has always been sorely overlooked over the years was Wang Chung. Beyond Everybody Have Fun Tonight (Everybody Wang Chung Tonight), Dance Hall Days and Let’s Go, Wang Chung suffered at the hands of pop radio and their hits were all anyone had heard.

A deep dive into their catalog of the same albums that housed those hits, you would find some amazing songs that were wonderfully crafted and way better than what people were actually hearing all the way up to their previous release Tazer Up just released a few years ago.

Wang Chung lead singer Jack Hues sat down with Funkatopia’s Mr. Christopher to chat about the loss of PrinceDavid Bowie and how it affected him emotionally. He also delves into his new project Jack Hues & The Quartet as we dissect the 6 song adventure that is available now as we speak.

Enjoy this exclusive Funkatopia interview and learn about the crafting of an album from a living 80’s legend that is still putting out music with Wang Chung and his new project.

Prince’s Revolution Plans To Tour

Posted by funkatop On April - 27 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
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Revolution Reunion

Even before a week has even passed, the members of The Revolution in their original glory are planning a reunion to tour. Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Brown Mark, Dr. Fink, and Bobby Z are all there.

The announcement was made via Brown Mark‘s Facebook page and has already caused quite a bit of discussion. See the video below.

For the Prince purists, some are asking exactly what this will be. Will someone take the place of Prince such as Marshal Charloff who currently performs as Prince in Dr. Fink‘s Prince cover band Purple Xperience?  Or will vocals be taken on by the existing lineup’s vocalists who only consist of Wendy & Lisa? Or will it be the base band with many surprise guests along the way?

The band has reunited once before in 2014 and Prince had no interest in participating even though the band had set up a spot for hm should he choose to make an appearance. He didn’t. Insiders say that he didn’t want to detract or overshadow their show. But the empty spot on stage for him insisted that they would have loved for him to join in.

In forums around the web, some are wondering if this is just happening too soon or if there are other motivations. We’re hoping to get a chance to speak with the members (in sum or part) to see what the plans are so that we can clear the air and get everyone ready for this amazing show.

Many, like ourselves, are very excited about the reunion and hope it comes through Atlanta, although we’re still very raw with the death of Prince, it would be exciting and cathartic to see those Revolution-era songs played by the lineup that did it the best.

Whatever the motivation, whatever the cost, we’re pretty confident that this will be a show that you simply won’t want to miss if it hits your town. And if it comes near us, you can rest assured that we’ll be there to cover it in some form or fashion. High fashion, that is.

Prince and the Revolution

Prince: My Personal Adventures

Posted by funkatop On April - 22 - 2016 1 COMMENT
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Sometimes It Snows In April

Prince Concert - Sold Out

4,678. That’s how many people The Fox Theatre in Atlanta seats in its venue.  That’s how many people on the entire planet that got to witness Prince‘s very last performance that he would ever play.  I was honored to be one of those 4,678.

He played two shows in Atlanta that night of April 14th, 2016 and I was at both of them. At the first show at 7pm, I was in the 5th row and he was right there 8 feet in front of me shaking hands with the front row.  For the 10pm show, I was all the way up in the balcony and it was far more magical there. The acoustics at the top of The Fox is pure heaven.

I was also honored that Prince tweeted about Funkatopia as one his last tweets on Twitter. He consistently tweeted about Funkatopia and I was beside myself every time he did so.

Prince tweets Funkatopia

I shook his hand, I got a chance to sing next to him at the afterparty for the One Nite Alone tour as he nodded his head, smiled and acknowledged me by “slapping me five.”  He sat literally arms length away to me playing keyboards while I sang along. He would continue to “slap me five” multiple times that night. He came out into the crowd that evening to check the sound and I finally stood in front of him and got to tell him how much his music meant to me face to face.

Then the following year, I found a way to get on stage with a half dozen other people and danced on stage while Prince stood 3 feet in front of me playing guitar facing out to the crowd. I wouldn’t have had the nerve were it not for people on either side of me taking the leap of faith and jumping onstage before me. I realized I would never have that chance again, s I went with my gut and joined them. It was euphoric and I was right.

turtles-record-storeMy relationship with Prince‘s music began in 1982 when a friend of my mother’s took me to see Prince‘s 1999 concert. I had heard his music on the radio. I had heard Controversy, I Wanna B Ur Lover. and Let’s Work.  So while I liked his music, I wasn’t a fully functional fan until that night.  I had no idea what I was watching, but the ambiance was thick with sex and funk. I was 14 and had no idea what I was even watching. I just knew it was something bigger than I could comprehend and I had an overwhelming desire for more of whatever it was.

Two years later, I would camp outside Turtle‘s record store for two days to buy tickets to Prince‘s Purple Rain show in Atlanta only to have it sell out two shows before I even made it to the ticket counter. Then something magical happened and he added 3 more Atlanta shows and I bought a single ticket to each one. Prince had officially become my obsession.

lovesexyOver the years to come, I would meet most of my best friends at Prince concerts or during school talking about Prince. My friend Rob and I almost based our entire friendship around Prince‘s existence. We went to all of the concerts together, we bought the albums, we learned the lyrics, we winced at the necessity of having to purchase the Lovesexy album with “that” cover, we were mad that it was all one long track on the CD, we laughed while reading the lyrics to It before we got to the record player to actually hear the song.

For me, the stories would keep coming year after year until it went dry in Atlanta and he toured the world seemingly avoiding Atlanta for 12 years with exception to playing background guitar for Tamar, but it still left a 10 year hole where his presence was sorely missed. So when it was announced that he would be coming to Atlanta for 2 shows, I knew it was inevitable that I would be at both shows.

I cut my family’s Florida vacation short by a couple days in order to make it back for the show. It was canceled hours before the show when we were 2 hours outside of Atlanta. A few days later and Prince would reschedule the show for the following Thursday April 14, 2016.  I had no idea that it would be his last performances, but something inside of me caught fire and it was evident that something special was happening.

Atlantans lined Peachtree on both sides of the street that night and the presence of thousands of people spilled out into the street while Atlanta police had to shrink the 4 lane road down to two while the 7pm and 10pm shows switched places into the venue. Sharply dressed gentlemen, beautifully garbed women and a vast array of fans from 3 generations wearing Prince concert shirts from the past.

dance-partyThe shows were amazing and when it was over, I was mentally floating from the performance. I had high reservations that he would ever be able to perform by himself and fill the room with music that would be a satisfying experience and I was pleasantly happy to be very wrong. I had even purchased almost every piece of merchandise he offered for a reason I still couldn’t justify to myself. A t-shirt, a poster, a program, and even a coffee mug.

The following day when his trip back to Minnesota had to make an emergency landing, something didn’t feel right. Then when he made an appearance at a Paisley Park dance party waving to fans to verify he was okay, it seemed that either the media was yet again out of control or he was doing all that he could to hide something very serious.

Prince fans were used to the media reporting falsehoods about him in the past and this time seemed no different. However, there was still something strange about an emergency landing of a plane for flu-like symptoms. Everyone was willing to overlook whatever the situation was because simply, Prince was okay.

On the morning of April 21, TMZ reported that ambulances and a hearse were outside of the Paisley Park complex. While most all of the attention was immediately directed to the welfare of Prince, everyone was still distraught thinking that anyone in the Prince family could have passed onto the next world. Something inside of me shut down.

I was having a heart attack at work trying to keep my emotions in check and put on  brave face, but there was a “disturbance in the force.” I found myself getting very upset before his death was even verified.

Madly refreshing the TMZ page since their reps were already onsite and would most likely be the first to report it, a wave of nausea hit me when the latest post made the announcement; Prince: Dead at 57. Time froze in that instant. I literally had forgotten how to breathe.

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 12.14.08 AM

For what seemed like minutes, I couldn’t breathe. He had just tweeted about Funkatopia days ago. I just saw him perform both shows in Atlanta and put on two beautiful displays of stunning artistry. There were no signs of ailment or frailty that was evident to me. He was 57 years old, so any degradation in the show was, in my opinion, just a result of getting older. The same aging process that has me grabbing my knees after walking up a single flight of steps.  Even I had come a long way from the teen who was comfortable wearing a pink suit all because of him.

pinksuit

I immediately did like millions of others and went about the verification process. I checked with Liv Warfield, nothing there. I checked with Shelby J, quiet. I checked with his publicist. Nothing. By the time I got to Dr. Funkenberry, he too was in a maddening verification process. I had already echoed TMZ‘s announcement, but he refused to confirm it while thousands sat in wait.  Before he could verify it, the Associated Press had already released it as fact and Prince’s publicist had released the news. It was true. Prince was dead.

Trying to hold it together was very difficult as my cell phone began ringing constantly for the next 5 hours. “Yes, I heard.”, “I know.“, “I’m fine.”

My Facebook account was beeping like a security system as I was inundated with activity alerts every few seconds. “I immediately thought of you when I heard this. Are you okay?“, “I am so sorry for your loss.”  I had to do regular posts just to let everyone know that I was still alive.

He was found by Paisley Park staff unresponsive in an elevator and while I fought it, the only thing I could think of was the opening lyrics to Let’s Go Crazy. They tried CPR and couldn’t revive him. We lost Glenn Frey. We lost Vanity. We lost David Bowie. We lost Maurice White. It couldn’t be true.

Prince changed my world and I am far from alone. He changed the face of music. His albums were responsible for the implementation of the now infamous parental warning stickers. He completely embraced the internet releasing his music and rare tracks via his own online music organization only to swear off the internet and remove his works from every corner he could find. He had even created his own video game.

There will never be another like him and the passion will never be met again. No one was more of complete musical package. Even in death, his legacy will live on for generations to come. Everyone will grieve, but we should never forget to celebrate that we were a part of that legacy. You should feel blessed that you got to be a part of his world and that his music will live on forever.

He passed away in April just like Christopher Tracy in Sometimes It Snows in April and on the day he died a rainbow appeared over Paisley Park. Even days later I keep thinking that it’s a really, really bad dream.

He redefined funk. He redefined music. He changed lives. He saved lives. His music made lives. He made people cry. He made people dance. He made people sing. He made people strive for more. He set the standard. The gold standard. There will never be another. Ever.

rainbow-over-paisley

Prince: Dead at 57

Posted by funkatop On April - 21 - 2016 6 COMMENTS
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Prince-Dies

Photo courtesy of Redfoxbandit on Instagram

The worst possible news that could have happened hit the new and stunned the world. Prince was found dead at Paisley Park today as first reported by TMZ and then by all of the national media in confirmation.

Emergency units were seen entering Paisley Park at 9:47am and then the news got worse as it was soon followed by a hearse.  Rumors began flowing around the web and there were major concerns since after Prince‘s Atlanta concerts, his jet had to make an emergency landing as he had to be taken to the hospital for few hours before continuing his journey home to Minneapolis.

He reported via publicist that the reasoning was a recurring bout with the flu. It was the same flu that had him cancel the Atlanta shows on April 7th and postpone them until a week later. The Atlanta Prince shows were incredible and everyone present, including us, were convinced that he had fully recovered. No one could have predicted that it would be his last two performances ever.

To quell any more rumors, Prince made an appearance at a Dance Party at Paisley Park over the weekend on Saturday April 16 showing everyone that he was okay. He didn’t perform, but showed off his new guitar and new Yamaha piano.  Dr. Funkenberry also did a full podcast covering the events of the weekend that included discussions about an upcoming live CD, and other Futuresexy news.

Upon TMZ‘s announcement that a hearse was present this morning, the purple family prayed. The announcement was then made that Prince had been found unresponsive in the elevator at Paisley Park and was not able to be revived and they officially announced his death. There have been no indications as to cause of death announced, which will serve as no solace to anyone.  TMZ also shot out reports that Prince was making frequent runs to his local CVS for pharmaceuticals to treat some unknown condition.

Prince stormed onto the scene almost 40 years ago and has a full library of hits that have touched the lives of millions. His absence is devastating and we are incredibly honored to have seen his last two performances. We were also relieved to know that his Atlanta shows were documented and are going to be released sometime in the future for all to enjoy.

One can also imagine that many of his musical brilliance from the fabled vaults will slowly begin to emerge as the years go by to keep his memory alive for generations to come. No word on whether the authorized biography that he had agreed to release will come to fruition now, but he has already given us so much.

We are truly heart broken and we know that you are too. Please share your thoughts, prayers and feelings below as a sounding board. The world is significantly less amazing now. May you rest in peace, sweet Prince.

Prince piano

Review: Prince, Piano & A Microphone – Atlanta

Posted by funkatop On April - 15 - 2016 45 COMMENTS
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Prince Concert - Sold Out

Prince came into Atlanta on April 14,2016 after a 12 year hiatus like a man on a mission to prove that a) he hasn’t lost a beat, and b) to hand deliver audio perfection in the form of 2 shows at 7pm and 10pm at The Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, GA. Two sold out shows of 4,678 seats each (9,356 total for you math junkies.)

The Prince, Piano and a Microphone tour was here. The tour originally scheduled for the previous week was postponed a week later due to Prince being ill with the flu, but now he was better and to make good on a great show.

The ambiance was palpable from the moment you arrived as those that were close to the stage were greeted with a light wave of incense that filled the air.  On stage, a single piano spotlighted by two purple stage lights that sat in front of a large screen showcasing kaleidoscope style graphics.

Each side of the stage had its own candelabra and a stool with three candles. Occasionally, the setting was breezed with a small dusting from fog machines and you knew something special was going to happen.

The 7pm Show

IMG_20160414_173627As the lights faded for the 7pm show, the crowd swept into a screaming frenzy as the large screen displayed the brightly colored graphic of the afro’ed Prince with his eyes closed and his 3rd eye. Slowly the graphic begins to fade only to be eventually replaced by a grid of similar colorful graphics that  you’ve seen around the web similar to the Hit N Run album covers.

Then a blast of color and you witness the silhouette of Prince and his now notorious cane. The screen rises and out walks Prince awash in bright yellow light. The crowd screams intensify for what seems like minutes, and finally as the screen closes, he struts the stage and it’s official. He’s arrived.

He starts the show with a slow instrumental tune that serves as the background for his apologies for the cancellation and then the setlist begins;

Little Red Corvette
Dirty Mind
back into Little Red Corvette
Linus and Lucy (The Peanuts theme)
B-side Song (Nobody Do It Like I Do)
Nothing Compares 2 U

As he finishes the song, he walks around the stage as if he can’t stand it and the crowd stands in agreement with him and they don’t sit again until he does. The entirety of the show, the screen behind him dances with kaleidoscope graphics. Some dizzying and some just plain mesmerizing to watch.

He then begins to share a story about his father and how he taught him piano. The back cover of the program offered at the merchandise table also dedicates the tour to his father. He reflects a bit and then the setlist continues;

Chopsticks
Joy in Repetition
Muse 2 The Pharaoh
U Got The Look
Pop Life
Elephants & Flowers
Never Take The Place Of Ur Man
A Case Of You (Joni Mitchell)
I Feel 4 U
Controversy
The Most Beautiful Girl In the World
I Would Die 4 U
Baby, I’m a Star

He thanks Atlanta and leaves the stage. Not so fast.

Encore 1
Heroes (David Bowie)

He tries to leave again knowing that there’s a crowd gathering outside for an oncoming 10pm show. The 7pm crowd isn’t having it.

Encore 2
Diamonds and Pearls
Adore
The Beautiful Ones
back into Adore
Do Me Baby
I Wanna B Ur Lover

Realizing that time has run out, he gets up to leave one more time, but walks back to the piano for one last song,

Encore 3
Kiss

Then Prince grabs his cane and exits the stage.

The 7pm show lasted about 1 hour, 20 minutes, but it was a lot of show and there was still one show to go.

The 10pm Show

IMG_20160414_185743The 10pm appearance started off in the same way, with his entrance exactly the same, but this was a very different show and we knew it would be.  The dancing colorful kaleidoscopic images still made an appearance from time to time throughout the show, but for the 10pm show, there were photos being displayed.

To start the set, the lights dimmed and we see a pair of hands bound at the wrists. The music begins;

When Will B Paid
The Max
Black Sweat
Girl
I Would Die 4 U
Baby, I’m a Star
Ballad of Dorothy Parker
Dark
B-side Song (Indifference)
I Love U But I Don’t Trust U

Little Red Corvette

It was a non-stop onslaught of songs;

Dirty Mind
Linus and Lucy (The Peanuts theme)
back to Little Red Corvette
Nothing Compares 2 U

He thanked Atlanta and left the stage, but everyone knew it was way too soon and the library of hits hadn’t even been scratched. The show continued;

Encore 1
Cream
Black Muse

He begins a song that everyone knows and claims “Y’all ain’t ready.” and begins to walk away. The screen then shows a screen capture from the Under the Cherry Moon movie of Prince holding a phone. They know what’s coming.

How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore

He thanks Atlanta again. Not enough;

Encore 2
Waiting In Vain (Bob Marley)

If I Was Ur Girlfriend
back to Waiting In Vain

He breaks to tell the story of the movie The Way We Were and how Barbara Streisand‘s character had to call Robert Redford even after after he’d been mean to her. The screen shows the famous photo of the Hollywood duo to accentuate the song further.  “Would you run to me if somebody hurt you? Even if that somebody was me?”

back to If I Was Ur Girlfriend

Prince tries to leave again, but it’s the 10pm show and there’s no crowd waiting outside. He gives them one more dose. The screen shows a snowy street at night and the crowd knows what’s coming.

Encore 3
Sometimes It Snows In April

Purple Rain (the crowd goes nuts)
The Beautiful Ones
back to Purple Rain
Diamonds & Pearls
back to Purple Rain

This time, it’s over. And what was accomplished?

After 12 years of his absence, if anyone learned anything that night, it was that Prince is still just as incredible of a performer than he’s ever been. Who else can be in this volatile music industry for over 40 years and still sell out almost 10,000 seats in under 40 minutes within a week notice? You should have also learned that if it comes through your neck of the woods, you better get there.

And if Prince learned anything, he got a first hand look at just how badly we’ve missed him.

Y’all come back now here!

IMG_20160414_210340

 

 

Prince Finally Hits Atlanta

Posted by funkatop On March - 29 - 2016 2 COMMENTS
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PRINCEThe last time that Prince performed in Atlanta was 10 years ago playing guitar as a backup musician for Tamar. As the headlining artist, the last time he came through was almost exactly 12 years for the Musicology tour on April 30, 2004.

Needless to say, Prince fans in Atlanta have been going crazy trying to plead for his funky majesty to come back. They watched as he made appearances all over the world including Australia, Canada, London, France, Belgium and many others and then even revisited some of those locations again. If it wasn’t for the horrendous terrorist attacks on France, they too would have experienced a second visit from his highness.

Of course, we at Funkatopia were at the helm of making a whole bunch of noise about Atlanta being left out for all of these years. Whether all of the incessant whining paid off or if it was finally planets aligning, Prince finally has agreed to step foot back in the Southeastern United States bringing his Prince, Piano and a Microphone tour for a two show stay at The Fox Theater in downtown Atlanta on April 7, 2016.

Reserved seating starts at $100 and upwards to $375. While they go on sale on March 30 at noon via the Fox Theater website, it’s sure to sell out extremely fast since who knows when he’ll grace us with his presence again.

Funkatopia founder Mr. Christopher is scheduled to be out of town in Florida the entire week and abruptly changed his plans to come back for the show. “There was no way I was going to miss him. I’ve waited over a decade to see him live again, which will be my 27th time counting concerts and afterparties. The wife is definitely not happy about cutting the vacation short, but she knows that I’m obsessive when it comes to all things Prince and wouldn’t even bother arguing about it. She knows it’s a pointless battle. ”

Everyone in attendance will get a copy of Prince‘s Hit N Run Phase Two CD after the concert adding to his brilliant strategy that adds to his CD sale count and surges him back onto the charts.  The massive song lists that he has been documented playing during the previous Toronto shows included 57 songs and and was just a taste of what Atlanta can expect for this momentous event.

All we can say to Prince is THANK YOU for finally coming back to the Peach State. The Atlanta concert world without you has truly been the pits.

 

Review: Esperanza Spalding – Emily’s D+Evolution

Posted by funkatop On March - 22 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
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Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution

Wow.

There are certain times when you see a spark of brilliance burn its way onto the world stage and then just as quickly flicker out and disappear. Not many can continue to follow an incredible debut album with a just as impressive sophomore album and then keep the booms coming album after album that they eclipse the previous efforts. Enter Esperanza Spalding’s Emily’s D+Evolution.

The beautifully talented bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding dug deep into her jazz funk sensibilities bringing out a breathtaking collection of songs that will take you down memory lane. But not because these are standards from the past, but because you can hear bits and pieces of influence from Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Thundercat, and a whole lot of Wayne Shorter.

During an interview with NPR she expounded on the album title indicating that the D+ was essentially a barely passing grade and can be seen as either an evolution or a de-evolution, but that we’re barely pushing through to the next level.

Whether you want to see it as devolution and evolution, and the place where they co-exist without one diminishing the other, or could look at it like barely having the tools that you need, but having to move forward, and having to keep moving,” Spalding says. “What do you do when you don’t really have all the tools that you need, but you have to survive? And you need to grow and expand?

I think that the best answer to that question of ‘What do you do?’ is, you get creative with the tools that you’ve got. I’m excited by that skill and the fruits of that intention — of that decision.

Emily is her middle name and this musical journey is very heavy jazz leaning and her insanely talented bass licks really are front and center in this musical masterpiece. No, really. It’s a masterpiece. The project focuses on her alter-ego Emily who she sees as a person that is the beneficiary of her hindsight. She is everything that Esperanza could have been, the good decisions she could have made, and the lessons she never learned.

She tells NPR, “I can start by saying that my personal relationship to Emily is that this is a spirit, or a being, or an aspect who I met, or became aware of. I recognize that my job — and it’s ongoing — is to be her arms and ears and voice and body. To say what she came to say, you know?

That’s my relationship with Emily — I see her and am informed by her, and recognize her spirit and her perspective. I get to be the researcher, the implementer and executor of that vision. It feels like I’m a side-person to her — I’m her artistic development team.

Through that process, I’m getting to know her more. I ask to Emily, ‘So, what did you come here to say? What do you want to do? What do you want to do that I didn’t do? Who are you and why are you here?

Esperanza then takes us on a journey through Emily’s life complete with off-putting forays into the realm of Flying Lotus to the perfect balance of sways and grooves. Powerful layered vocals marinating in-between snare shuffles and Sting-esque bass pops, walks and stiff riffs. Yeah, that’s how hard it is to describe what you’re listening to here.

It’s the moments where you let your guard down only to have the music drop out in songs like Ebony and Ivy where all of a of a sudden a monotone speech drones in, “…fill our minds with double standard vision by degrees we banish slaving over someone else’s questions test our problems and abolish all en-slavery and good grammar and forbid shovels picking your hammers and the starching linen to become the educated ones wrapped in them...” (we’ll let you hear it in its entirety for yourself.)

Funk The Fear is obviously one of our favorites with the intricate runs and slick bass licks and stutter stab drums and tasty fills complete with “Funk The Fear, Live Your Life” call outs.

album-coverThis is one of those albums that goes all over the musical landscape but one where you can never be prepared for what’s next as it jumps from one extreme to the other with a lot of musical theatrics similar to her live show.

There are tons of unexpected moments which has pretty much been Esperanza’s specialty from the day where she quietly walked on the Grammy stage in 2011 and stole away Justin Bieber‘s Best New Artist award. It was the first year that people who knew of Esperanza Spalding thought that it was one the few years that the Grammy’s got it right and you can guarantee that it won’t be the last time you hear her name.

Prince To Write Memoir The Beautiful Ones

Posted by funkatop On March - 19 - 2016 2 COMMENTS
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prince-piano-a-microphoneAs Prince fans we have seen and read just about every book there is to read about Prince. All of it was pretty much unauthorized with bits of factual information from the artists that had been there. But Prince fans will finally get the authorized truth as Prince announced to a small group of under a couple hundred in New York that he had agreed to write a memoir to be released in 2017.

Early in the afternoon on Friday March 19, 2016, Prince announced to invitees compiled of friends and press that he would be doing a show on Tenth Avenue in the Meatpacking District in New York at The Avenue.

He hit stage and gave the audience 30 minutes of jams along with announcing, “The good people of Random House have made me an offer I can’t refuse!” he said. He broke the news that he was writing a book and, “It’s going to be called ‘The Beautiful Ones.’  I literally just got off the plane. I’m going to go home and change and put some dancing clothes on. Props to my brother Harry Belafonte.

Random House imprint, Spiegel & Grau will have the honors of releasing the book. He let everyone know that it would be released in the fall of 2017 and would cover everything from his first memory all the way until the Superbowl in 2007 where he performed at halftime on his amazing Symbol stage that ended with his performance of Purple Rain when it actually began raining under purple lights as if God was the stage manager for the event.

“You all still read books, right?” Prince asked. “My brother Dan (Dan Piepenbring from Paris Review) is helping with it. He’s a good critic. That’s what I need. Not a yes man.” Which is a great thing since Prince has plenty of Yes Men and we’ve seen plenty of periodicals and articles singing his praises and all of it garnished with positivity.

Prince lives and breathes in a positive world, surrounding himself with positive friends and allies and he avoids negativity at all costs. So the fact that he intentionally avoided Yes Men for the book is a breath of fresh air.

After the fantastic announcement, he beckoned, “If you don’t mind, I’m going to go home and change real quick and come back and dance with y’all,” Prince said. He disappeared to do a wardrobe change while the DJ spun tracks from Chaka Khan, Earth Wind and Fire and others.

When Prince reappeared, “New York! Do you want to play with me? Do you want to boogie with me? We want to thank Random House. There ain’t nothing random about this.

Then he leapt into some of his greatest dance tunes including Hot Thing, When Doves Cry, Controversy and Let’s Work leaving everyone breathless and excited.

Spiegel & Grau Executive Editor Chris Jackson is obviously ecstatic about the book. “Prince is a towering figure in global culture and his music has been the soundtrack for untold numbers of people — including me — for more than a generation; his creative genius has provided the musical landscape of our lives. Millions of words have been written about Prince — books and articles, essays and criticism — but we’re thrilled to be publishing Prince’s powerful reflections on his own life in his own incandescently vivid, witty, and poetic voice.”

Couldn’t have said it better. Fall 2017 can’t get here soon enough.

prince-memoir

 

2016 Prince, Piano & A Microphone Tour

Posted by funkatop On February - 5 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
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Prince Piano and a Microphone tour

Prince‘s new solo tour called Prince, Piano and a Microphone tour is back on the books after a long awaited pause. Set in 2015 to start in Paris, the tour was abruptly canceled due to the terrorist attacks.

The tour kick-started at Paisley Park on January 21st that jumped a weekend long party. The set list was pretty intense and you can find more details on our Prince Tour page about that fun-filled adventure.

When the tour started back up however leaving the Minnesota home base, it did not start back in Paris. Instead, His Purple Highness decided to start in Australia and New Zealand in late February.

Fans can expect to hear all of the hits, plus a lot of rarities, B-sides and even never before heard material according to Doc.

  • February 16 – Melbourne State Theater (2 shows) – Melbourne
    Ticket info here. Tickets on sale at 12 noon AEDT Feb. 9th
  • February 17 – Melbourne State Theater (2 shows) – Melbourne
    Ticket info here. Tickets on sale at 12 noon AEDT Feb. 9th
  • February 20 – Sydney Opera House (2 shows) – Sydney
    Ticket info here. Tickets on sale at 12 noon AEDT Feb. 9th
  • February 21 – Sydney State Theater (2 shows) – Sydney
    Ticket info here. Tickets on sale at 12 noon AEDT Feb. 9th
  • February 24 – ASB Theater – Auckland (maybe 2 shows?)
    Ticket info here. Tickets on sale at 12 noon AEDT Feb. 11th

More details were made available in the Brisbane Times and The Dainty Group.

2015 – About The Best Funk List. Funky Afterhoughts

Posted by funkatop On January - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
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Reflections from Funkatopia Founder, Mr. Christopher

As another year came to a close, it still amazes me how many people love our Best Funk list every year. And every year, it literally eats at the pit of my stomach because I always miss great albums that should have been on the list. This year was no different.

Last year, Funkadelic released the album First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate at the very end of December that squeaked in under the radar and for Funkatopia to release a best of 2015 list without having Funkadelic‘s first album release in over 30 years not on it is a travesty. I felt like we totally lost our street cred in that very moment to not have included arguably the founders of funk was a tough pill to swallow. We made good and added it to the list anyway and made a mental note to be as thorough as we could in 2015. Nope. It happened again.

This year, two more albums escaped us for whatever reason. The New Mastersounds Made For Pleasure and Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band Funk Life.  While some people may not even be familiar with them, they were truly great funk albums…And they weren’t on the list.  Yes, we’re aware there were lots of other greats out there, but these hit home a little hard for us.

The loudest noise was made about The New Mastersounds, so we added them to the list as an “Oversight”. Especially since we were aware of its release. And while the Booty Band deserves to be on that list, I think we really can only make a limited amount of concessions and adjustments to the list before the integrity of the list is brought into question.

bootyband-funklifeThe tough part for me is that I truly LOVE both of those bands and consider them friends. I’m hung out with members of the Booty Band and they’re even working with a good friend of mine John Heintz on the new Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown, Volume 2 album coming down the pike. I just simply…missed it.

Same thing with New Mastersounds. I’ve spoken and interviewed Eddie Roberts and Simon Allen personally. We’ve recorded clips of their performances. I interviewed the Booty Band in depth also. But I just simply missed it. The volume of email lists and Facebook alerts I get daily is staggering and I just dropped the ball.

So exactly how does the selection process work? I primarily get my selections from CD’s and promo copies that I’m being sent via snail mail or links to streams sent to me via email.  After that I also try and scour the web on great funk music websites like Funk It, Funkish, Random Acts of Funk, go through emails I’ve received over the year to see what I missed and then compile a list of everything there.  Then I pick out the obvious ones and hand select the rest that I was really feeling. So if a band doesn’t reach out to me or fall within those parameters, things get missed.

In my defense, I did make an effort twice to reach out to everyone on our Facebook page and ask for input and suggestions for the list and it fell on deaf ears. Not one single person offered anything. It was very strange. So I took what I had and assembled the list. And then of course, once the list was done and posted, the comments came in floods and caused many sleepless nights and heart palpitations.

Websites like Funkish do these really great deep dives that really scrape for the undiscovered stuff. And Funk It does an amazing job at capturing the live funk jam bands and letting people experience what the bands are all about. I really envy sites that take a lot of time and dedicate huge portions of their lives in a never ending quest to make sure no stone goes unturned. I love that and we’ll get there.

All of that being said, I need all of you to make this work. I need those independent releases, those hidden gems, and things we’re missing. I simply can’t see and hear everything and be omni-present. I want Funkatopia to become a community effort where everyone is feeding into the machine to make this the ultimate resource. Like the Wikipedia of funk. Well maybe not that intensive.

As for 201Big Ol Nasty Getdown6, you have no idea what I know about that’s coming down the road.  It will be a very funky year. It’s insane.  I mentioned The Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown, Volume 2 that should be hitting the streets soon and you will not be ready for this. It will be in a Grammy realm. No joke. Plus new albums from many funk legends and of course, music from new bands that seem to sprout up all over the world. I am so stoked about 2016.

So please. Even if it’s obvious. Shoot me an email about it. If you’re in a great local or regional funk band, we want to know about it. Funkatopia is for everyone and we want to be great, not just okay. Thanks for letting us bring you the funk for all of these years.

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