Maybe James Brown was TOO funky
April 5, 2008 4:27 PM   Subscribe

James Brown was known as the hardest working man in show business. Most people concentrate on his musical legacy while others see him as a central figure in the civil rights movement. And while there are many who view Mr. Brown as a "moral conscience for black people" those inside his his private world seem to have viewed him as a drug fueled maniac who grew up in a whore house and had little regard for women. via
posted by aburd (46 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am prepared to agree with his mistress that motherfucker was, indeed, crazy.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:34 PM on April 5, 2008


The hardest working man in show business was actually James Brown's hair stylist.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:49 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


When Mr. Brown grew up... he fucked a lot of women... He’d hop on, roll off. Straight missionary, straight to the point. He never saw a reason for much else... Hell, the man was in his sixties before he discovered doggy style on the Playboy Channel.

This is highly entertaining as a biographical detail and as a novel concept. He was so alpha and promiscuous, he was virtually asexual. Sex was so freely available that it was as routine as excreting for him. In the process it was stripped of all the joy and transgression and infatuation and experimentation and vulnerability and emotion and connection and creativity and mysticism and exchange that actually makes sex sex.

James Brown died a virgin. (or, to quote Strangers with Candy: a virgin whore)
posted by dgaicun at 4:52 PM on April 5, 2008 [11 favorites]


The problem is, he also left behind: Fourteen children (pending DNS tests)

wait - online sex can get you pregnant?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:54 PM on April 5, 2008 [6 favorites]


What? Wait, he didn't die, did he?
posted by chococat at 4:55 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


And c'mon, the irony. James Brown, Jesus-like, transformed sex into music and that music went on to inspire an unfathomable amount of sexual creativity in others. And here he was - the impotent pornographer - infinitely more sexual on the dance floor and on the stage than in the bedroom.
posted by dgaicun at 5:00 PM on April 5, 2008


pyramid termite writes: The problem is, he also left behind: Fourteen children (pending DNS tests)

wait - online sex can get you pregnant?


And, suddenly, "round robin" takes on a sinister new meaning.
posted by anifinder at 5:01 PM on April 5, 2008


He was probably a half-decent guy when he wasn't totally dusted.
posted by The Straightener at 5:05 PM on April 5, 2008


He was probably asleep half-decent guy when he wasn't totally dusted.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:07 PM on April 5, 2008


He was probably asleep half-decent guy when he wasn't totally dusted.
posted by Roman Graves at 5:11 PM on April 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


Holy shit:

One night in the summer of 2001, after he’d slathered her in Vaseline (“He liked you all greased up,” she says. “Like a porkchop”) and wore her out trying to come, he gave up and left the room, and Gloria dozed off. When she woke up, Mr. Brown was standing at the foot of the bed in a full-length mink coat over his bare chest, a black cowboy hat, and silk pajama pants with one leg tucked into a cowboy boot and the other hanging out. He had a shotgun over his shoulder and a white stripe of Noxzema under each eye. “I’m an Indian tonight, baby,” he announced. “C’mon, let’s let ’em have it.” Then he dumped a pickle jar of change on the floor, told her to get a machete, and went out to the garage. He took the Rolls, drove ten miles to Augusta, weaving all over the road, clipping mailboxes, smoking more dope, and screaming about being an Indian. Gloria kept thinking she should flag down a cop, say she’d been kidnapped.
posted by The Straightener at 5:13 PM on April 5, 2008 [6 favorites]


he was probably barry manilow when he wasn't totally dusted
posted by pyramid termite at 5:15 PM on April 5, 2008


Well, I think we can all agree that he wasn't an Indian when he wasn't totally dusted.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:17 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


but at being totally dusted, that's where he was a viking
posted by pyramid termite at 5:20 PM on April 5, 2008 [6 favorites]


Is is bad that I laughed at that quote by The Straightener?
posted by bravelittletoaster at 5:36 PM on April 5, 2008


This thread is awesome.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:43 PM on April 5, 2008


I don't think it's all that bad. It's quite the quote. So, James was a crazy mofo you say?
posted by Richat at 5:46 PM on April 5, 2008


I saw James Brown perform live once, shortly before he died. He acted crazy as hell. Like an old man who had smoked far too much crack.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 5:55 PM on April 5, 2008


James Brown is possibly the only performer who could (and did) steal an entire scene (and several afterwards due to aftershocks) from Jackie Chan.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:00 PM on April 5, 2008


"The Night James Brown Saved Boston" just started on VH1...
posted by First Post at 6:02 PM on April 5, 2008




Oh man, I am VERY bad. When irfh said it was clear JB wasn't indian? I wondered...dash or dot? FORGIVE ME FATHER, for my mind works just like yours, and YES, it can be bad and entirely too politically incorrect. Oh well. Might not be the brightest light, but the hardest working brain. It would be very nice if no one suggested a good...."dusting".
posted by LiveLurker at 6:28 PM on April 5, 2008


Everytime I read an fpp about James Brown, I fret over the rumor of his being dead.

Ha! As if.

I mean think about it. Radiohead is alive and James Brown is dead?

LOLOLOLOLOL
posted by humannaire at 7:03 PM on April 5, 2008


JB sure looks a little bit American (Geronimo) Indian to me.

Actually, just read the first paragraph of this.

Or: Did I miss something?
posted by snsranch at 7:07 PM on April 5, 2008


Obligatory clip of the JBs - especially guitarist Phelps "Catfish" Collins, his somewhat better known bass-playing brother William, and trombonist Fred Wesley - absolutely tearing that shit up and making you willing to give just about anything in the world to die and be reincarnated as an audience member at the Olympia, Paris, 1971.
posted by googly at 7:43 PM on April 5, 2008


"I look good! I smell good! I feel good!"

A very hammered JB on CNN in 1988 or so.
posted by BoringPostcards at 7:44 PM on April 5, 2008


And yet, there he was in Boston on April 5, 1968.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:15 PM on April 5, 2008


I just watched When We Were Kings last night and there's some great footage of the music festival in Zaire which featured Brown and B.B. King. There's also a scene where Brown is shown talking politics with Don King, too. It's a fantastic movie.
posted by ooga_booga at 8:35 PM on April 5, 2008


“He liked you all greased up,” she says. “Like a porkchop”

Damn. The next time my boyfriend calls me his Little Porkchop and coats me in Vaseline, there's gonna be hell to pay. 'Our special thing' my ass.
posted by grounded at 9:26 PM on April 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


Crazy good.

A lot of people who provide us with awesome art have really fucked up personal lives. News at eleven.
posted by caddis at 10:05 PM on April 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


he also left behind: Fourteen children (pending DNS tests)

*ping*
posted by quonsar at 11:27 PM on April 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: all greased up like a porkchop
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:38 PM on April 5, 2008


People like JB and Elvis, who grew up in horrible poverty and learned various dysfunctional strategies for getting by, and who discovered they had some kind of talent or gift that they could ride and pushed that gift as far as they could see, even if no one else was looking in that direction, and became lost within their own bodies which they placated with drugs and food.... Well, those people are never-ending sources of amusement to those of us who have never made a mistake or committed a crime or had any talent to speak of.
posted by CCBC at 2:43 AM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


So I wanted to read stories of drug-fueled lunacy... but instead it''s the feeding-freezy of all the supposed relatives (and especially their lawyers) over the assets. That's just depressing.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:05 AM on April 6, 2008


Not just the man, but the art is psychotic. The obessively tight, jerky rhythms. The machine-like riffs that repeat and repeat without changing, without developing, like an impotent idiot compulsively masterbating. "The scream": that hideous, girlish shriek drawn from the depths of his poor, damned, abused soul -- a sharp wail drawn by torture. The addled, head-lolling horn parts. The desperate, begging cry: "Beat me!" The art of mental illness.
posted by Faze at 6:57 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


More on The Night James Brown Saved Boston, from npr on the anniversary of King's death.
posted by nax at 7:43 AM on April 6, 2008


Not now James, we're busy.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:24 AM on April 6, 2008


Not just the man, but the art is psychotic. The obessively tight, jerky rhythms. The machine-like riffs that repeat and repeat without changing, without developing, like an impotent idiot compulsively masterbating. "The scream": that hideous, girlish shriek drawn from the depths of his poor, damned, abused soul -- a sharp wail drawn by torture. The addled, head-lolling horn parts. The desperate, begging cry: "Beat me!" The art of mental illness.
posted by Faze at 6:57 AM on April 6


Thanks for the review, grandma. We'll put on one of your big band albums and get you a tall warm glass of milk before we hightail it out of the nursing home with all possible speed.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:22 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the review, grandma. We'll put on one of your big band albums and get you a tall warm glass of milk before we hightail it out of the nursing home with all possible speed.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:22 AM on April 6 [+] [!]


Fairly certain "grandma" wouldn't make masturbation metaphors in her criticism, but then I suppose you weren't really going for accuracy. I think Faze is actually pretty on in his remark, and I don't find his choice of vocabulary either too negative or against the spirits of the late Mr. Brown. "The art of mental illness" isn't a new concept, and there's nothing wrong with recognizing that sometimes crazy makes a special sort of creation.
posted by nonmerci at 11:12 AM on April 6, 2008


My friend told me a story about when his mom worked at a hotel in san fransisco. apparently James Brown and his large entourage of large dudes were walking through the lobby when the briefcase one of his boys was carrying opened and about a dozen crack pipes fell out. so when I see a professional-assistant type with a celebrity I remember that he's just the crack pipe fall-guy.
posted by MNDZ at 11:16 AM on April 6, 2008


> Not just the man, but the art is psychotic. The obessively tight, jerky rhythms. The machine-like riffs that repeat and repeat without changing, without developing, like an impotent idiot compulsively masterbating. "The scream": that hideous, girlish shriek drawn from the depths of his poor, damned, abused soul -- a sharp wail drawn by torture. The addled, head-lolling horn parts. The desperate, begging cry: "Beat me!" The art of mental illness.

And in comparison everything else is just watered down bullshit.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:58 PM on April 6, 2008


Not just the man, but the art is psychotic.

you say that like it's a bad thing
posted by pyramid termite at 3:34 PM on April 6, 2008


You can tell a story is good when they have legitimate cause to use the phrase "but wait, there's more". (Quite frankly this article could have used it a few more times.)

Am I the only one who pictured his son Little Man as a CGI Wayans Brother?
posted by Kiablokirk at 5:29 PM on April 6, 2008


What an extraordinarily well-sourced article.
posted by librarylis at 11:26 PM on April 6, 2008


"The scream": that hideous, girlish shriek drawn from the depths of his poor, damned, abused soul

Oh. Please. In fact, "Please, Please, Please"! Have you ever seen him in person, Faze? It was more like being in God's presence than the devil's.
posted by kozad at 7:14 AM on April 7, 2008


Saw him twice before the end (should that be "The End"?) and it was as much a religious experience for me as anything. One time, in the woods of Live Oak Florida, I was center front row, mashed against the stage, and he looked right at me. He probably thought "Stupid White Boy" but I was just enraptured.

We all make mistakes. Brown made a few. But he worked so hard to give pleasure to everyone who heard his music, how could you fault him? I'm an atheist, but James Brown is as close to proof of God as anything will ever be.

"What it is is what it is." Right on James.
posted by Dantien at 11:23 AM on April 7, 2008


« Older If it looks too good to be true...   |   "I find myself looking for catharsis." Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments