Grammy Week: Nile Rodgers Gets a Night Off, Jams with Flea (Who’s Asked to Keep it Down)
Tuesday night, Village Studios, West L.A.: incomparable 3 time Grammy winner Nile Rodgers was honored by the Producers and Engineers Wing of NARAS. It’s a big deal. Nile created the group Chic, had a bunch of classic hits that reverberate to this day. His career stretches from the 70s to right now with Daft Punk.
I asked Nile right before he received the award how he felt being the object of such sincere adoration. He quipped, “Weird because I’m always nervous about awards, they make me uncomfortable. But at least I get a night off, I’m not in the studio for a change.” We asked him what was coming up for him. “The Chic album, the first in 25 years, is coming out soon, and the very first single, ‘I’ll Be There,’ which has everyone that sang on the first album should be coming out in March.”
Who does he like now?
“I work with Sam Smith, who is amazing, look at Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson are killing it now. Its not just cause I’m working with them, they are extraordinary. What’s great for me is that talent is staying in the game. It’s not people who don’t deserve it. It’s people that are good and getting better. Hopefully that will change to make the audience understand that we make art and not throwaway pop.”
While we were walking together, the crowd was coming up to him with such reverence. How does that feel?
“I don’t think about being so loved, I love the biz, I love making music, that’s why I do it. “
The crowd included esteemed producer Jimmy Jam Harris, Slash, The Cars’ Rick Ocasek, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Academy Award nominated songwriter Diane Warren– all of whom were among the elite hanging out in the greenroom. Funniest moment was Flea, still in greenroom, playing his guitar as the show started, and was asked to lower the volume. He laughed and happily did, but he still kept on playing. Ocasek was bopping along.
The one big no show of the night? Rick Rubin, of course. The Mountain Man of rock music rarely leaves his bed, and last night was no exception.
Grammy President Neil Portnow introduced Nile to the adoring crowd with one of his famouslyeloquent speeches. Rodgers then went on to hold a ‘salon’ of sorts, playing his guitar and recounting his storied career with warts and all. Flea came up and jammed to classic Chic hits. Kathy Sledge then joined for “We Are Family.” Nile will present at the Grammys and then he’s back to perform at Elton John’s annual Oscar bash for his AIDS Foundation on February 22nd. LA can’t ever get enough of this musical genius.