Thursday, July 18, 2024

Walking on Planet C

I Thought I Was About To Pass Out

April 21, 2012

The journalist asked me, "Do you feel okay to start?" - I said, "I guess so"

Until last night, I'd only slept about two and a half hours since arriving in Japan four days ago. I'd already performed six concerts and was ready to go the hospital from total exhaustion. But just when I thought things were at their worst, I somehow was able to get the strength to do the job I love doing. I even did a number of interviews, which is one of the hardest part of my job too!

I believe it's the love of the audience, the workers, and my amazing crew that gives me the ability to pull it together. I never want to let them or myself down. Most musicians have this ability to call on that extra little bit of energy, just when you feel you don't have anything left. Here's what I was able to pull of yesterday, even though I Thought I Was About to Pass Out.


By the time I finished the last of my three interviews, which was for HERS Magazine, I was already starting to reenergize

I get to the band's dressing room and they are partying, which helps to get my blood pumping

We start the show with CHIC's "Hanging"

In "Hanging" the horns carry the groove

The unit starts to come to life


Jerry, Jerry!!!

Then the girls start getting me pumped up

It was like a miracle because I started feeling good

The crowd responded and then we really started jamming!

Then it was funky business as usual

"Just throw your hands high in the air and party hearty like you just don't care"

And after that show was ended we had to do it all again. But by now as you can see I was feeling fantastic!

By the beginning of the 2nd show I felt great even thought at the start of the night I Thought I Was About to Pass Out


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We Are Family

April 20, 2012

Hanging with some of my Japanese Family at last night's show

I've had a couple of bad days in a row physically and emotionally but I never let it show and I never complain about it. I use these blog posts to inform and help me cope. I have many gifts which I use as coping mechanisms: chief among the are music, friends, and Family. But the lines between friends and Family Are starting to blur.

As I travel the world, people seem to feel closer. It could be because when I was hit with cancer, people and life seemed to matter more. I'm not going to waste time looking for the answer because I don't care about the reason, I only care about the feeling. I feel like when I'm playing music with CHIC, every participant in the entire experience feels like We Are Family.


Some of my Family at the Blue Note

The CHIC Organization with our Blue Note Tokyo Family

You can feel the love

Selan, Folami, and Kim

My guitar tech Terry


Freaking out with my Blue Note Family

He comes to the shows every year

"Everybody Dance!"

Nearing the end of a great night

The growing family

More of the crowd - They Are Family

Soloing at the end of the night after the band's left the stage

A photo with the ever growing Family

More Family nearing the end of a great night

Some Family with the "Team Good Times" CHIC Japan 2012 tour book


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Check These Pictures Out!

April 19, 2012

Talking to the people before the show

Legendary TV impresario Dick Clark died last night on the sixteenth anniversary of Bernard Edwards' death. He says Bernard's name first in the debut video of CHIC on American Bandstand. We worked for Dick Clark a number of times after that and he did a lot to bring us to the attention of the American masses.

Last night, while Dick's news was breaking, CHIC was performing in Tokyo. Dare I humbly say, we brought the house down. I feel totally energized to play this music that both Dick and Bernard loved so much.

CHIC has many second homes around the world, and Tokyo being the largest city in the world, feels like they've adopted us completely. Check These Pictures Out!


Debut video of CHIC on American Bandstand


Then it's on!

Dick Clark hosting American Bandstand

Holding up Nard's solo record brought by one of the fans

Folami doing "Like A Virgin" with the crowd

Begging Kim to rip a cadenza in the middle of "We Are Family" with the crowd

Rich and me doign a duet on "Everybody Dance"

CHIC opening the set walking through the crowd playing "Hanging"

New Japanese Nile Rodgers t-shirt swag

I grabbed some shy Japanese people and made them do "Le Freak" with us

Next thing you know one dude started singing


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The Show Must Go On

April 18, 2012

The view from my bed in Tokyo

Tonight I was lying in my bed here in Tokyo, Japan. I was still awake at the same hour that Bernard passed away in April 1996. I feel honored that our first show in Japan this year will be on the same day. Bernard and I used to always say "The Show Must Go On," and this is a philosophy I still believe today.

Last year at this time I played my first show after having radical prostate cancer surgery. The doctors were not sure if I was going to make it, but my whole team worked hard physically, mentally, and spiritually.

A year has passed and I'm doing much better. Honestly, I can't believe how good I feel. It's almost as if I have a new life. I'm composing a musical which coincidentally has a song that is a metaphor for my own situation. It's called "Start Again."

When I had my operation, the cancer was so aggressive that I believed I was looking Death in the face. Maybe Mr. Death looked back and said, "The Show Must Go On."


April 18 2011 - Me holding a photo a fan had brought in tribute to Bernard

Me, on the day of my surgery

Me, just a few days ago in an original CHIC t-shirt from 1980. As long as I'm living, The Show Must Go On!

"Start Again" lead sheet for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival's concert reading

Nile and Nard at the Budokan, April '96 - Bernard's final show

Maybe Mr. Death looked back and said, "The Show Must Go On."


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The Blue Note Tokyo

April 17, 2012

Nile Rodgers & CHIC at The Blue Note Tokyo

Yesterday, I began my journey half-way across the world from NYC to Japan. In the 14 hours I spent up in the air, Adam Lambert's team launched audio clips of his upcoming album, including the track I did with him and Sam Sparro, "Shady." The response is fantastic. Just wait 'til you hear the whole thing!

I'm going to get some rest now, but I'll catch up with everyone in tomorrow's blog, as I get ready for my week of gigs at The Blue Note Tokyo.


For the last few years we've been hosting a guitar giveaway contest which is fun and funky

Playing at the Blue Note Tokyo has become a tradition

I look forward to seeing many friends


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Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon

April 16, 2012

If you are reading this, I'm most likely flying to Japan

If you are reading this, I'm most likely flying to Japan. This is my favorite time of the year there. Almost anywhere you look you can see cherry blossoms. This yearly trip has become something of a tradition for us, and so has playing at the Blue Note Tokyo. We love playing there because we get to experiment with different music in this intimate nightclub setting. For the last few years, we've been hosting a guitar giveaway contest which is fun and funky.

I look forward to seeing my many friends, as well as family (my godson's mom is in Okinawa), and the professional Blue Note Tokyo staff, who feel like extended family, too. Speaking of extended family, while I'm there I think I'll get a chance to see ex-Power Station vocalist Michael Des Barres and Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon.


Almost anywhere you look you can see cherry blossoms

For the last few years we've been hosting a guitar giveaway contest which is fun and funky

A Japanese print ad for audio cassettes (remember them?) That's how long I've been going to Japan

Playing at the Blue Note Tokyo has become a tradition

I look forward to seeing many friends

The professional Blue Note Tokyo staff with my dear friend Angelique Kidjo, who loves them too!

Back in the day with Michael Des Barres

Back in the day with Simon Le Bon


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Proudly Labeled #GuitarPorn

April 15, 2012

1980 Gibson SG Signed by all members of AC/DC plus Arnold Schwarzenegger - Try and figure that one out?

Yesterday, as the dim morning light shined through my window, I picked up one of my guitars that I rarely play. As soon as I started playing it I noticed how great it felt, even with old rusty strings. I turned on the light and realized why I don't play it much. It's one of the guitars that's been signed by a lot a great artists to commemorate an event. I get guitars signed every time I participate in a unique event.

Some people don't like signed guitars, but I find them very beautiful. Not just because I like the way they look, but because of the occasions and people they represent. To me, all of these guitars are sexy enough to be Proudly Labeled #GuitarPorn.


A Rickenbacker 12-String Signed by Sting, Lenny Kravitz and more after I played it on a Beatles tribute

Tokai Strat Signed by Herbie Hancock, Angelique Kidjo, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Carlos Santana and Ravi Coltrane

Fender Telecaster Signed by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith when we played on a Grammy telecast together

Close up of the Grammy Telecaster

Those are really Elmo's, Big Bird's and Oscar the Grouch's actual signatures as well as many other puppet and cartoon characters

The character's guitar close-up

One of my super rare Fender Custom Shop Hitmaker Strats - signed by Steve Winwood, Stevie Nicks, Kid Rock, Robert Plant and many others

Close-up of the Custom Shop Hitmaker

Gibson LP Junior Signed Bruce Springsteen and the entire E Street Band

Rainforest Backup Guitar Signed by all the Headliners

Rainforest close-up signatures Debbie Harry, Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga


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To Name But A Few

April 14, 2012

Here's But a Few of My Gold and Platinum Records and awards

Awards and accolades are not the reason why I do what I do. I do what I do because I can't help myself. I'm completely compelled to create music because it's one of main traits that defines who I am as a human being. Awards and accolades are simply the fringe benefits that come if I do a good job. I love doing the work and I love the people that I've worked with.

Yesterday, I was sent an article from the prestigious magazine NME, that listed the 50 Greatest Producers Ever (according to them.) It's cool being on the list and it's cool that they believe I'm worthy of being in the top 5. As I read the list of my records they had noted in the article, I thought of how lucky I am to have played with so many amazing artists.

I may be a producer and a composer, but I'm also a guitarist. I've played with hundreds of artists over a wide range of disciplines: Nina Simone, Phoebe Snow, Billy Joel, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, Adam Levine, Adam Lambert, Herbie Hancock, Bonnie Raitt, Wayne Shorter, The Stray Cats, John McLaughlin, Marcus Miller, David Lee Roth, Carlos Santana, Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Big and Rich, Idina Menzel, Elvis Costello, Beavis and Butthead, Big Bird and Barney, Hall and Oates, and Meryl Streep, To Name But a Few.



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The Adam Lambert Song "Shady"

Friday the 13th, 2012

Working in the studio on a composition

In the course of an average day in my life, I do a great many things and yesterday was no exception. I worked in the studio with my own music composition and production. I organized the artists lineup and run of show for the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 13, the night that I'm performing and curating. I also had two conference calls and I did an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. It was regarding the Adam Lambert Song "Shady." I played on this song a few months ago.

The journalist wanted to know what it was like to work with Adam. I explained to him that working with Adam felt comfortable and desperate at the same time. "Desperate?," he asked. "In what way?" I said, "We only had a few hours to work because of both our schedules." I was leaving town the next day as was Adam. Time was our enemy but because we had no choice we booked Avatar studio and just went in to get it done.

Adam was professional and focused but he also allowed me to interpret the song my way. After I played what I wanted, we collaborated on some other ideas. Then, I just jammed along and improvised on The Adam Lambert Song "Shady."


MJF CEO Claude Nobs, showing me in a coffee table book about Montreux Jazz Festival

Rolling Stone Magazine

Me playing "Shady" with Adam Lambert

Working with Adam felt comfortable and desperate at the same time

Adam was professional and focused but he also allowed me to interpret the song my way

After I played what I wanted we collaborated on some other ideas

Then, I just jammed along and improvised on The Adam Lambert Song "Shady"


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Every Emotion

April 12, 2012

Me & Nard April '96 at the Budokan - Bernard's Final Show

Next week I'll head to Japan. I'll be performing at the Blue Note Tokyo. I go there every April to honor the death of my long time partner Bernard Edwards. We did our final show together in April 1996 in Tokyo.

The following documentary has the last footage of Bernard, hours before his death. The film starts with the Lennon/McCartney song "Let It Be," which was their final collaboration and symbolic of my final collaboration with Bernard.

Eighteen months ago I was attacked by very aggressive cancer - it caused me to take another look at my life - and the life of my former partner. When I last posted this, I'd experienced two incidents of déjà vu.

Last night I had a powerful dream about Bernard and I thought I should repost this film. It was a TV special produced by Br@in for WOWOW, that focuses on my life and Bernard's death in Japan. Please watch it. It's in Japanese and English. You may not understand Every word, but you'll understand Every Emotion.


Documentary: Nile Rodgers
Duration: 43:45
Format: NTSC 16:9


This journalist interviewed me and Bernard the day before he died

The Yoshida Brothers (Shamisen virtuosos) and me last year

Me and Pop Star / Voice Actress Aya Hirano backstage at Tokyo Blue Note

CHIC Live on Sukkiri Japanese TV last April

Honoring my former partner Bernard Edwards' death in Tokyo last April


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