"We're up all night 'til the sun
We're up all night to get some
We're up all night for good fun
We're up all night to get lucky"
Number one in 65 countries!
And what's the most distinctive element of "Get Lucky"?
NILE RODGERS'S GUITAR PART!
So they put the Daft Punk track up on the PA, Nile's got to hear it, he hasn't played it for a year, he doesn't know the key, he doesn't know the lick.
And he starts off all wrong. Finally figures out it's in B minor. And he's looking down at his Stratoscaster, up in the air for inspiration, he's making mistakes, he's not only trying to find the notes, but the groove.
And then, you can feel it, he's locking on. He's settled in just when you figure he'll be unable to. And his right hand is flicking, his head is nodding, his body is writhing, he's playing along to himself.
And then it gets better, he STANDS!
I'm thousands of miles from home. It's way too early for Ibiza, where most people don't arise until noon and dinner is close to midnight. I'm in a conference room. The lights are bright. And suddenly I'm having a peak experience. The link between sitting at home in Santa Monica listening on my headphones to being in the presence of the creator.
"We're up all night to get lucky
We're up all night to get lucky"
That we were!
Nile figured he'd never connect with Daft Punk. When they were in Paris he was in St. Tropez. And vice versa. But finally they rang him in the Big Apple, his hometown, and they came to his apartment and…
They talked concepts.
That's what Nile wants to do, hear you describe the drawing in your head. And then he adds paint to complete the picture. He's all about building from the bottom up. Writing then rewriting. What comes out first sucks, but when he's done, it's magic!
We saw this exact process in front of our very eyes!
First and foremost, Nile Rodgers can talk.
This is unusual. Too often the musicians are distant, laconic, two-dimensional people who can barely complete a sentence. They speak through their music and that's it.
But not Nile. Maybe because he's from New York, the land of conversation.
And the land of the hang. That's how Nile's got so many of his gigs, by hanging. He was in a club imbibing while David Bowie drank orange juice and the end result was…"Let's Dance."
Wanna work with Nile?
Hang with him.
And I'm sure he's a good time. Because he's smart, he's got insight. You can see him working it, but you don't mind, because he's so entertaining. If you think becoming successful is purely about playing, you haven't made it. The social aspect is at least fifty percent.
And you need help. Collaboration. Nile believes in it. Pushing each other to greatness.
After Daft Punk got "Get Lucky" they'd have everybody redo their parts, individually. And then they'd send the result to the next person in the chain. Nathan East heard Nile's new work and then he had to recut his bass part, he had to raise his game to complement Nile and the other players.
Complement. That's Nile's style. He wants to add the accents.
Speaking of which, he said he doesn't argue about song splits, because often the tiniest little thing pushes the song over the top, like "ahh…Freak Out!"
What I loved about Nile was he was not humble.
He said Chic was so damn rich they didn't even file a purchase order for their albums, they just delivered them and got a check. Hell, that's how they found out they were dropped, when they delivered their new album and the label wouldn't pay for it!
And Nile doesn't work with you unless he can add something.
And he plays guitar on every album he does.
And he jumps from project to project…
Not that he doesn't live online. He's easily reachable!
The old myth is I'm better than you, I'm different from you, I want nothing to do with you!
Not that Nile has much time.
And the insights!
How could Madonna use "bourgeoisie" in a song?
He winced, then he found himself singing along in the car.
He's driven by jealousy. He wishes he did what you did. So he takes it and twists it and improves it and makes it his own.
He rarely thought his records were hits, he depended upon the label and the deejays to make them so.
And the stories!
Miles Davis imploring Nile to write him a "Good Times."
The inability to create a hit for Peter Gabriel, who blamed himself for delivering substandard songs.
And his best gig ever… Playing the stadium in San Diego where cheers were so loud the police insisted they take a tour around the warning track in a golf car to allay a riot. The band had already gone back to L.A., they couldn't play, and Marvin Gaye was already set up. Furthermore, when the cops knocked on the dressing room door they thought it was a bust. For they were hoovering up lines of coke!
These are the things that musicians remember.
And Nile never goes to clubs anymore. He's sober, and he can't take hearing "I love you man!" over and over again as the bass thumps.
But he loves dance music.
That's his goal, to create hits. Indelible productions that play worldwide. Obscurity is no fun.
And he wouldn't shut up, he wore us out. If you're not passionate about what you do, if you're not more into it than we are, if you don't live for it…you're never gonna make it.
Nile Rodgers figuring out his part on "Get Lucky": http://t.co/1K15FTER44
Nile in "Get Lucky" full swing: http://t.co/1W90xY6PS7