NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — In this installment of “22 Minutes,” 1010 WINS anchor Brigitte Quinn sits down with legendary music producer and guitarist Nile Rodgers.
Rodgers discusses his storied career and his upcoming Freak Out Let’s Dance (FOLD) New York concert.
BQ: Did you get the inspiration for that [“We Are Family”] song at Woodstock?
NR: No, people get that a little bit twisted. There’s one section of the song that we use as what we would call in musical terms a second ending, if you will. And we use that second ending to go to the breakdown, and it’s a chromatic chord sequence of ninth chords — I don’t want to get too technical, but it goes (sings)… So it’s that section that we use those chords. And I had taken that chord sequence from a band that I went to see in Woodstock called The Children of God. The wacky story there is that the lead singer of The Children of God is a girl named Martha Velez. Well, Martha Velez’s brother — If you ever see [Jimi] Hendrix at Woodstock, he’s the guy on stage playing congas with Hendrix and everybody’s going, ‘Who’s that guy on stage playing congas with Hendrix?’ That’s Martha Velez’s brother named Gerardo Velez. And so Gerardo became our drummer for many, many years — our percussionist for a gazillion years. So that’s the loose Woodstock connection.
BQ: So it’s not like you were sitting in the mud thinking…
NR: (Joking) Oh my God, I can’t wait to write this song called “We Are Family” because I see all my hippie brethren and sisters… No, it was definitely not that.
BQ: So here we are in the Adorama Theatre. Lady Gaga was here a little while ago…
NR: Yes, that’s my girl!
BR: And I know that with her album they’re kind of teasing out factoids about the album. I guess it comes out in late October. But the word is that you worked with her on the album. Or on a song at least?
NR: Well how about this, let’s make it a little clearer. Let’s say the word is that I worked with her. And I worked with her on a song. And I worked with her on a song that will appear on an album. And that’s all factually correct.
Check out the full interview above.
About Nile Rodgers:
Nile Rodgers is a guitarist, songwriter and producer known for co-leading the band Chic as well as working with Madonna, Diana Ross and Daft Punk, among many others.
Born on September 19, 1952, in New York City, guitarist Nile Rodgers formed the group Chic with bassist Bernard Edwards, landing major hits during the disco era with “Le Freak,” “I Want Your Love” and “Good Times.” Rodgers also worked as a producer and arranger with the likes of Sister Sledge and Madonna, among many others. He returned to the scene in 2013 with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
Rodgers crafted anthemic dance songs for a number of artists outside of his band. He and Edwards were writers and producers for Sister Sledge’s classic We Are Family (1979), featuring the title track and “He’s the Greatest Dancer,” both R&B chart-toppers. The duo also helmed Diana Ross’s 1980 album, Diana, featuring “Upside Down” and the celebratory “I’m Coming Out.”
On his own, Rodgers handled production for David Bowie’s Let’s Dance (1983) and the 1984 album from a certain provocateur who changed pop-music conversations forever with “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl.” Rodgers also worked with the likes of Duran Duran, the B-52s, the Vaughan Brothers and Grace Jones. Additionally, he released the solo albums Adventures in the Land of the Good Grove (1983) and B-Movie Matinee (1985), performed/recorded with the group Outloud and later added soundtrack work to his repertoire.
About Brigitte Quinn:
Brigitte anchors mornings at 1010 WINS radio and has worked in broadcasting for more than thirty years. She was a TV anchor at the Fox News Channel, MSNBC and NBC. She holds an MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a BS from Cornell University. Her first novel, “Anchored” was published in 2015.
Follow Brigitte Quinn @BrigitteQuinn11