Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hilarious, Fascinating, Dramatic - The Story of Nile Rodgers and Chic

There might be no better opening quote than this:
You probably don't know my name, but I bet you know at least one of my songs.
It is Nile Rodgers, the man behind Chic and many other great productions, who introduces himself in the BBC documentary "The Hitmaker". And from there it just goes off. Watch the fascinating story of his life, hilarious background stories of some of the best selling records of all time and the tragedy of the last concert with his legendary partner Bernard Edwards.

Nile was the guitar player of Bernard and Bernard was the bass player of Nile. And both together changed the world of music a few times over the course of about 20 years. Bernard Edwards died on April 18th 1996 in Tokyo after a fabulous comeback concert with Chic.

This year Nile Rodgers was named JT Superproducer of the Year in Japan  and was invited to perform at The Budokan. Just before the concert in Tokyo, Edwards fell ill and was advised to not polay the concert and go to a hospital immediately. But despite Rodgers' insistence, he refused to cancel the gig. He managed to perform a great gig, but had to be helped at times.
After the concert he retired to his hotel room where he was later found dead by Rodgers. Bernard died of pneomonia.

You can watch the full documentary here: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/ZQz4mIjykN8

This is a kind of follow-up post to 6 Lessons You Can Learn From The Story of Disco that I published some weeks ago.

There are more stories to be told by Nile Rodgers. As I said, really hilarious stuff.

Here are the liner notes to the BBC documentary from YouTube

Nile Rodgers has sold over 100 million records. He helped define the sound of the '70s, as disco took the world by storm. Nile and musical partner Bernard Edwards captured the essence of New York's iconic Studio 54 creating hits like Dance Dance Dance, Le Freak and Good Times for Chic and We Are Family and Lost In Music for struggling vocal group Sister Sledge. But the music that had made Chic would also break them, thanks to the 'Disco Sucks' backlash. What could have been the end for Nile Rodgers would actually be a new beginning as a producer, helping create some of the biggest hits of the 80s for the likes of Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna and Duran Duran.

In this profile documentary, the ever-charismatic Rodgers contributes an engaging and often frank interview to tell the tale of how, born to Beatnik, heroin-addict parents in New York, he picked up a guitar as a teenager and embarked on a journey to learn his craft as a musician, before becoming one of disco's most successful artists

In the '70s and '80s he lived the party lifestyle thanks to his success with Chic and as one of the music industry's hottest producers. Drugs and alcohol would become part of everyday life for Nile, contributing in part to the break up of Chic in the early '80s. The band would reform in the mid '90s, but their return was quickly marked by tragedy with the death of Nile's long-time friend and musical partner, Bernard Edwards in 1996.

Then in 2010 Nile was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of prostate cancer, which last year he announced he had beaten. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, Nile's talent and ambition remains undimmed, deservedly earning himself the title of hardest-working man in pop, with Chic's seemingly inexhaustible live performance schedule.

Nile Rodgers: The Hitmaker recounts a captivating and moving story of a man who has created some of the most sparkling and ebullient pop music ever recorded.

Contributors include: Nile Rodgers' fellow Chic members, singers Norma Jean, Alfa Anderson and Fonzi Thornton and keyboard player Rob Sabino, as well as recording engineers Bob Clearmountain and Robert Drake.

Other artists Nile has worked with talk passionately about his talents, including Sister Sledge's Kathy Sledge, Bryan Ferry, Steve Winwood, Johnny Marr, La Roux's Elly Jackson, Valerie Simpson, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein from Blondie and Duran Duran's John Taylor.

His latest collaboration happens to be the upcoming and highly anticipated album of Daft Punk.

If you're more into books, I can also strongly recommend his autobiography Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny.

Nile Rodgers - Le Freak

And finally, take your time to watch a full Chic concert on YouTube

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Always Keep At Hand the Periodic Table of Booze

Mayra Magalhães designed a nice infographic "College Students' Guide to Boozing" that breaks drinks down by category (fermented, mixed, distilled) and shows additional infos like flavor and the year the drinks were invented. The percentage of alcohol steps in for atomic weight.

This couldbe useful if you're out of college, too.

Alcohol Periodic Table

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Everything You Need To Know About Beer-Making In 5 Minutes

Charlie Bamforth, the head of Malting and Brewing Science at UC Davis, explains the basics of beer-making and reveals how to pick the freshest pint when you're at a pub. He lifts some of the mysteries (for outsiders) involved with the process of brewing beer.

Of course it's more interesting if you're completely new to brewing beer, but it sums up the whole thing rather nicely.

Found via PopSci