Back on the Right Track (maybe)
July 3, 2007 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Hardly anything has been heard from Sly Stone since he disappeared in the early 80's. The August issue of Vanity Fair is to be the first published interview with Slyvester Stewart in about 25 years. Taking 7 pages and 12 years in the making, it covers his history and possible future. Very little has been written about this monumental band, but an authorized book is slated for 2009. (more inside)
posted by Chris Brummel (24 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Since hearing this account from 1997 of a Sly and the Fam fan-site webmaster (remember when web developers were webmasters?), I've dreamt of Sly coming back and releasing a huge backlog of unheard material. Outside of the 3 song medley on the Woodstock soundtrack, no live album has been released. "Live At the Filmore East '68" was scheduled for release around 3 years, but eventually shelved for undisclosed reasons. The only live Sly and the Family Stone is on Disc 7 of the Complete Woodstock Bootleg (notice the difference in the guitar on "Dance to the Music" between the official release and the bootleg). Also cute.
posted by Chris Brummel at 4:06 PM on July 3, 2007

Thank You (Falletinme Reedthis Peace Agin)
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:27 PM on July 3, 2007 [2 favorites]

Very little? What about that chapter in Mystery Train? I'm a huge fan and that's part of the reason why.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:32 PM on July 3, 2007

A friend of mine named James Paul (my former boss's son) through a rather remarkable series of connections managed to score a month long internship with Sly Stone. He flew out to LA, hung out, practiced and recorded w/ Sly himself.

It was actually Rudy Love (Motown music icon) that hooked him up w/ Sly. James Paul while still in college has been a session musician on the side with Rudy Love and the Feelz Good Band. James Paul and Rudy Love Jr. have their own band, but the name escapes me now.

He is in a music program at a local university, and all of the music majors must do some sort of internship. I'm sure that all his classmates are jealous of him, seeing as they all most likely had to get crappy internships filing sheet music in some dank music library.
posted by jlowen at 4:35 PM on July 3, 2007

Clive Davis - ""I told him, 'I'm concerned that the serious radio stations that might be willing to play you'—by which I meant the underground FM radio stations—'will be put off by the costuming, the hairstyles.'"

God, I hate music industry types. Fucking parasites.
posted by 2sheets at 4:42 PM on July 3, 2007

Oh, not this Sly Stone
posted by mattoxic at 4:46 PM on July 3, 2007

That would be Stallone, appologies
posted by mattoxic at 4:47 PM on July 3, 2007

About a decade or so ago, when I was a clerk in a bookstore, a somewhat famous rock critic came in. I recognized him from a book jacket photo and struck up a conversation. I introduced him to my manager and we arranged a signing. During the signing the critic said that Sly was such a 'pathetic junkie' that he 'couldn't stand to be in the same room with him anymore.' I mentioned that people used to say that about David Crosby and he said that Crosby was 'nothing short of a miracle.'

/pointless anecdote
posted by jonmc at 5:12 PM on July 3, 2007

jonmc, would that be the same critic who wrote the book I referenced above?
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:16 PM on July 3, 2007

I worked with him in '88. He did a track on a Bar-Kay's Album I was assisting on. He was fun to be around.

The track was computer based with Sly doing the sequencing. He was really good with the computer.
posted by bhnyc at 5:26 PM on July 3, 2007

@allen.spaulding: What's the chapter about? A specific time in his life or a generalization? I'm currious. I'll try to grab it at the local library...
posted by Chris Brummel at 5:27 PM on July 3, 2007

Nice piece. I have such a powerful feeling for Sly and the Family and the incredible music they made back in the day that I've tried to ignore all the bad news about his life since; I'm sure glad he's still around and apparently in good shape, though I wouldn't bet money on another album coming out (or spend money on a promised appearance). And that book "slated for 2009" is probably a piece of crap ("A year by year chronology and celebration of one of the most innovative groups popular music has ever known," uh huh, and "authorized" to boot, w00t!). But "Stand" and "Thank You" and "Family Affair" and "Everyday People" will be engraved on my soul forever; they're part of what makes me feel good about America on those occasions when I can manage to. Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 5:36 PM on July 3, 2007

allen.spaulding: no, it's not Greil Marcus.
posted by jonmc at 5:36 PM on July 3, 2007

Nice post. I remember seeing Sly Stone on Letterman in the early 80's. In the early 90's, there was a bar band in my area that did several Sly and the Family Stone songs. If You Want Me To Stay and Running Away are a couple of my favorites. Thanks for the post.
posted by Sailormom at 8:46 PM on July 3, 2007

Hot Fun in the Summertime

What languagehat said...
posted by jaronson at 8:54 PM on July 3, 2007

random sly factoid: sly has a cameo on Funkadelic's The Electric Spanking Of War Babies in the track "Funk Gets Stronger (Killer Millimeter Longer Version)". how i wish i could have been a fly on the wall during that session...
posted by the painkiller at 10:14 PM on July 3, 2007

All hail. Holy, holy.
posted by Wolof at 12:02 AM on July 4, 2007

Thanks for the update! Always a favorite musician -- hope this means Sly's releasing new shtuff.
posted by Twang at 12:27 AM on July 4, 2007

word has it family stone is playing in san jose this saturday.
posted by lapolla at 4:20 AM on July 4, 2007

2sheets wrote God, I hate music industry types. Fucking parasites.

Don't worry, they won't be around much longer.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:29 AM on July 4, 2007

god bless this post : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:46 AM on July 4, 2007

Sly Stone's greatest achievement was producing Bobby Freeman's monumental single "C'mon Let's Swim" in the early 1960s. This single foreshadows everything that was great about Stone's later music. It's an explosion of pure joy, like "Dance to the Music." Then he produced that incredible string of Beau Brummel's hits that included "Don't Talk to Strangers" and "Laugh Laugh." After that, he led the way into the darkness that swallowed nearly all of R & B in the 1970s, and from which it never emerged.
posted by Faze at 7:10 AM on July 4, 2007

@lapolla - That show seems to be the band mentioned in the article (a Sly cover band w/ Cynthia as the only original member and Sly MAYBE making an appearance). If you click through, it links to their site.

Notice their request for an assistant? "- Speak 1-3 languages". Apparently, if you only speak English, that's fine. But if you speak English, French, Spanish, and Italian, you have no shot at the job. ;)
posted by Chris Brummel at 10:47 AM on July 4, 2007

Call me crazy but I could have sworn that Sly Stone died in the late 90s.
posted by zorro astor at 6:01 AM on July 5, 2007

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