I only spoke to Dominque Trenier once. I called him in an attempt to land a spot for a drummer friend of mine in D’angelo’s band. It was a good chat and I was left with the strong possibility that it might happen. I’d speak to D’angelo directly a couple of times before the near-certainty faded in to a not-gonna-happen. It was a little consolation that I wasn’t the only one this happened to. At the time, the business side of the singer’s act was a little chaotic, but the likely wasn’t Trenier’s doing. If he hadn’t been around, D’angelo’s early career certainly wouldn’t have been as iconic and memorable as it was.
It was Trenier’s idea for the singer to strip down for the “Untitled (How Does it Feel)” video, which saved his second album, “VooDoo,” which Trenier executive produced. Audiences were left with an enduring image of the singer, naked from the waist up, which wouldn’t be replaced for years. Trenier didn’t abandon his artist during his struggles with substance abuse, but he was eventually separated from in 2005 when he stopped communicating with much of his friends and family as his decent continued, according to Spin magazine.
Treneir’s contribution to D’angelo’s career was invisible to casual fans, but that’s how good manager operates. When D’angelo finally released his third album (“Black Messiah”) in 2015, it was bereft that invisible touch that guided his previous efforts. The cover lacked his picture. There would be no official videos. (No, this doesn’t count.) The album isn’t even credited to “D’angelo.” Good managers take care of the details and make things happen. If they do their job right, you might notice notice they’re around, until they aren’t.
D’angelo has been making serious plans to return to the concert stage next year. But like much of what the singer does, the details are murky and difficult to discern. At this point, it’s hard to confirm who is actually managing the singer. With the tour starting in a little over a month, D’angleo is still asking people to play with him. The lead guitarist for The Time, now called (The Original 7even), Jesse Johnson posted on his facebook page recently that he’s been talking with the singer about about playing on the mini-tour early next year.
So if Roots Drummer and D’angelo colloborator Questlove is to believed, Johnson could be joining bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Chris Dave in the singer’s comeback tour. Europe is still far away from where the Richmond native is now, but it looks like he’s getting there.
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’.
Since the 1960s, when they were known as The Upper Room singers, The Henley Family have been spreading the word through song. The group now includes Marlon Cox, who is producing his mother, aunt, brother and cousins on their first CD, “Done Deal.” The disc is a soulful gospel outing with a modern edge and spirit that agnostics might find troubling.
Cox was one half of Dirty Soulz, a rap group signed to a label ran by his other cousin, Micheal “D’angelo” Archer. After the group’s deal faded, he continued making music, teaming up with cousin Mike on the John Singleton film “Baby Boy,” with the smoldering “Talk Shit to Ya” He would go on to do production work for people like Raphael Saadiq and Angie Stone before releasing his first album “Ain’t That Da’ Truth,” in 2006.
His work on The Henley Family CD sounds like a culmination of his experience in the music industry, a cleansing of his “dirty soul” with a “done deal” that includes his return to the music scene. The group recently performed at Gospel Baptist Church and left a standing congregation wanting more. Unfortunately, that might be a problem.
The Henley Family CD is hard to come by at the moment. While it’s making its way to a record store near you and to a proper web site, you can snag one track from the album at Styleweekly.com.
UPDATE: The CD is now available at BK Music.