0 Rick James Movie is Super Freaky Part One

Is "party all the time" the main theme of a new biographical movie about the late funk master Rick James?

Rick's daughter Ty is the co-producer of the project. Hollywood insiders are buzzing that the Rick James story reveals all about wild all-night parties with Linda Blair, Elisabeth Shue, Tatum O'Neal, and Eddie Murphy.

We lost Rick James in August, 2004 when he passed away of natural causes.

The biopic won't hit the silver screen for some time, so let's revisit "punk funk," and look at the official Rick James story...


"Rick James entered the world as James Ambrose Johnson Jr. on February 1, 1948 in Buffalo, N.Y., the third oldest child in a family of eight. "It was my mother who raised us," he said.

"She was a small elegant woman of great dignity and strength. She always had two jobs. Sometimes she worked as a maid, but her main income came from running numbers for the Italian mob. She raised us as strict Catholics."

An early 80s icon rebelling against the establishment, Rick James started early by joining the navy at age fifteen and going AWOL soon after.

He fled to Canada, and it was there, in Toronto, that he founded his first group, the Mynah Birds with future Buffalo Springfield members Neil Young and Bruce Palmer, and Goldie McJohn (who later joined Steppenwolf).

It was at this point that he became known as Rick James.

As the nephew of the Temptations' Melvin Franklin, Rick James was no stranger to Motown, and he and his band were signed to the label in the mid-sixties.

Although the group recorded a couple of tracks, nothing was ever released. Probably because Rick James (who had now relocated to Detroit) was in trouble with the military, and because the rest of the band moved to Los Angeles.

Not easily deterred, Rick went to London where he formed the blues band "The Main Line." He commuted between London and North America (where he was a staff songwriter for Motown in the late sixties) for the next seven years.

In 1977 he finally returned to the US completely, forming a band (the Stone City Band) with which he experimented at mixing rock and funk - creating "funk 'n' roll."

"I'm into rock," Rick James said. "I'm trying to change the root of funk, trying to make it more progressive, more melodic, and more lyrically structured...?

?More honest, as opposed to putting riffs together, saying, 'Get up and get down. I feel alright. Oomph! Good God! Get up and boogie' and all that redundant bull."

When he approached Berry Gordy in 1978, he had an entire record in hand. Impressed by his tapes, Berry Gordy once again signed Rick James to Motown - this time to the Gordy subsidiary.

The album was released later that year as Come Get It and two of its songs immediately hit the charts.

"You and I" went gold in September and "Mary Jane," a barely-disguised hymn to marijuana hit US R&B #3 in October."


To be continued in Rick James Movie is Super Freaky part two, coming next time.

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Rick James Movie is Super Freaky Part One
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