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James Brown Last Night! Whoa!!!

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by mchildree, Apr 29, 2001.

  1. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I have been to the mountain! I ran a production crew for James Brown last night...I watched the man hisself from about 10ft away on stage left...and all of the 20-25 people he had onstage with him. His band consisted of:

    2 bass players
    4 guitar players
    2 drummers
    1 percussionist
    1 keys player
    5 horns
    5 backup singer
    3 dancers occasionally
    2 or 3 Emcee "Yowsa" type guys
    1 Pregnant wife/girlfriend/singer
    1 James

    First time I've seen 2 bass players in a band and one of them wasn't soloing all the time. One guy played an old Musicman Sabre 4-string and the other a Carvin 5. Bassically, the 4-string guy played the grooves, doubled by the guy 5-stringer down low. It was groove hell, let me tell you! An average guy couldn't just walk up there...he'd have been overwhelmed by the funk.

    It was pretty interesting to watch what it took to do that gig, though. These guys could not take their eyes off James for even a millisecond..he runs the show like a conducter. Really he's almost playing the band like an instrument. He'd turn his back to the crowd at times to face the band and his trademark big old smile would disappear and he'd be shooting death threat looks all over the stage for offenses that I couldn't hear. Then, it was like he'd put back on the "smile mask" and turn to the crowd again. Sound check was the coolest part. We got the PA and monitors up, and the band just wandered up onstage 2 or 3 at a time and started jamming on a groove...then a few more would come up, then a few more, until all the musicians were up, just weaving this smoking groove, big smiles all around, having a great time. Then the limo pulls up and everybody freezes up and actually almost come to attention. James is obviously and absolute dictator. Pays off, I guess. That was a whirlwind show...so much movement onstage at times that you'd get dizzy. Looks like one of those gigs that isn't really that hard to play, but a killer in terms of politics and kowtowing to "The Man".
  2. my big brother saw a guitarist get fired onstage :eek: at a James Brown gig about 10yrs ago at the Brixton academy, London. (maybe that's why he has 4 of them.....)
  3. I saw a recent JB show, taped at a House of Blues, on the tube last week. Same setup, and man the band absolutely SMOKED. Scary. He's definately a bit of a dictator though. He used to fine his musicians for every mistake, probably still does. Good incentive to keep your chops up, eh?
  4. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I saw him about 3 years ago in Montreal, the set was almost the same, but no pregnant woman and as far as I remember only 1 guitar player. It was the best show of my life!
  5. Mike you lucky lucky man! :D That must have been an education in the art of the groove and the science of funk!

    By the way, keep your eyes open for UPS, you got something on the way! :)
  6. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    I see James all the time since we live in the same small town on the Carolina border. No one in this town likes him. He played here last year and only a few hundred came. Also at a hockey game he was gonna sing the national anthem, but the announcer said he couldnt make it. everyone cheered. guess his criminal background makes him unfavorable here. hes always in the papers for some outlandish run in with the law when hes in the paper. he was recently accused of pulling a knife on the meter man at his home. oh well, and that guy has so many young fine white women its unreal.
  7. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Yeah James has a "way" about him, that's for sure. I guess some would say he's earned the right to be eccentric. I can tell he's nobody I'd want to personally be around for any length of time...but any time he wants to send his band around to funk it up, I'm there!

    Thanks Gard! I'll keep my eyes peeled.

  8. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    I dont think he has the right to pull a knife on anyone. he isnt anyone special. he must abide by the law as well.
  9. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Yeah, I did get to talk to a bunch of them...really cool guys, most of them. I didn't get too many names, though..I was too busy keeping the tour manager happy with 10,000 details. The trumpet player was an short, older guy who acted as the MD most of the night. A top-notch bunch of players, every one of them (or so it appeared to me).
  10. Yeah, I saw JB last year sometime... an amazing show.

    How on Earth does a 70 year old man play live for 2.5 hours?

    I love JB, and the show was totally amazing!
  11. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I had the priviledge to see James Brown in Nashville about a year and a half ago. Some of the horn section were Nashville players, it was announced at the start. Also, I believe it was Trisha Yearwood, but don't make me swear to it, came out and sang one song with Brown.

    I was blown away by the band and the TWO bass players, a configuration seen even less often than two drummers. Too, I couldn't get over Brown's energy. Heck I'm fifteen years younger and I couldn't do that. Brown played the piano once or twice too.

    Of course, when I saw the show, I had no idea what a ruthless dictator James Brown is. From what I saw every one was having an excellent time.

    Still, honest to goodness, I think I had more fun when I saw George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Now THAT was a show I'd like to see again. WIth James Brown, I'm glad I saw him, but I wouldn't go back unless he was playing with other bands I wanted to see.

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