D’angelo to stage comeback in Europe?

Posted on 29th October 2011 in Journalism, R&B

Micheal “D’angelo” Archer, the troubled R&B singer who hasn’t released an album since the end of the Clinton administration, has allegedly booked some concert dates. The native Virginia is scheduled to perform at the Paradiso in Amsterdam on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31.

As any fan of the man and his music knows, dates don’t mean much to D’angelo, unless he’s going to court. The release date for his third album has been pushed back so many times you can’t see it without a telescope. But maybe this time it’ll be different. We can only hope. But how long before we turn into this guy, waiting for that wonderful, magical mythical thing that never comes?

UPDATE: A rep for D’angelo says it ain’t happenin’.

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The Funk Relapse

Posted on 16th October 2011 in Journalism, R&B

Once you get into P-Funk, it’s hard to get out. Just ask some of the musicians who have been part of Parliament-Funkadelic and its spinoff bands for decades, or their children. It’s also true for people who appreciate the music. The lyrics, riffs, energy and imagery that makes up their catalog is enough to music to keep you under the influence for a long time. If your’re not careful, you might find yourself in funk rehab.

I’ve stepped away from the mothership music for several years, getting my funk fix from rare grooves, modern soul and 90’s hip hop. But last night’s performance by the Original P has me jonesin’ again. Led by the sole original member, Grady Thomas, “Original P”features family members of P-funk greats, such as Kevin Shider, the brother of Gary Shider. Last night they were joined by former members and local guys Jerome “Bigfoot” Brailey on drums and vocalist Larry “Sir Nose” Hextal, for two shows at the Richmond Folk Festival.

The first show ran like a old locomotive, slowly chugging it’s way uphill, building momentum but never reaching top speed. The second show made the first look like a dress rehearsal. If I didn’t know so much about the performance history of the band, I would have thought they rehearsed during the four hours between their sets. Songs that sputtered in the first set shone the second time around. The band was tighter, yet more relaxed.

Folk festival organizers should have known that once the funk gets rolling it’s hard to stop. After announcing their departure after “Atomic Dog,” most of the band stayed on the stage, amid cheers of “We Want the Funk.” After their pleas were denied by the festival folk, guitarist Skyntight urged the crowd to take a stand and “Occupy the Folk Festival,” and they did, until his microphone was shut off and replaced with muzak.

Organic Musician

Posted on 6th October 2011 in Journalism, Uncategorized

My recent chat with Cameron Carpenter wasn’t easy.  Not only does he play a form of music I know little about, he didn’t want to talk with me the usual way. He wanted to “Skype.” Maybe you’ve heard of this new-fangled way the kids are conversing with each other these days. I had, but I didn’t think I’d be doing it.

Since my computer is a brick from the Bush Administration, I knew this was going to require some special effort on my part. I’m fortunate to still have leftovers from my failed video production business, so I was fairly certain I could make this work, I just didn’t know how.

Since it was too pathetic to photograph, I’ll explain my set up to you. I stacked eight VHS tapes behind my laptop and placed an old Sony minidv Camera on top of them. After aborted efforts with RCA and SVHS cables, I connected the camera to my Powerbook with an original firewire cable. Since I couldn’t determine how to record the interview, I put a tape in the camera and let it roll. I also put a tape in my 1998 microcassette recorder and activated the Voice Memo app on my iphone as back-up.

It wasn’t a smooth operation, but enough of it worked for me to salvage key moments of our discussion.


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