blog

A Conversation with the Everything Man: Jimmy Castor, 1947-2012

January 17, 2012

Jimmy Castor as The Everything Man, from the sleeve of Supersound (Atlantic, 1975) - artist uncredited; scanned from author's collection

I once interviewed Jimmy Castor, the doo-wop, pop, soul, funk and R&B pioneer who died yesterday. As with two other recent losses - Melvin Bliss and Eugene McDaniels - the interview was done on the phone, and I never got to meet him or even see him perform. But all three made music that has had a big impact on my life, and they all were particularly generous and engaged interviewees, whose work has only meant more to me after having the chance to talk to them. All three seem to have been denied what I would consider their rightful place in history, too, so their deaths seem all the more unjust: in Castor's case, heartbreakingly so, given the efforts he'd been making in recent years to re-establish himself in an entertainment business he enriched and enlivened with the range, breadth, ambition and quality of the records he made.

By way of a memorial, then, here's Castor in full flow, largely unedited, down a crackly transatlantic phone line 12 years ago. I didn't transcribe any of my questions, but in truth, I may not even have asked any: he had a lot to get off his chest. At one point, he said: "I'm telling you this because I believe in you. I don't talk to everybody this long. I know that you are taking it in. Because this time around I have to be successful again to teach these people what's happening." And that just makes his passing seem all the more unbearably sad. Rest in peace, E-Man.

-----

I get emails constantly, Angus, from everywhere. I had to at this point because I'm in business again, I've started my own record company. I had an excavation company emailing me from Spain, they said 'We can't believe that we have your email address! Anyway, we've found a new body, and the bones are female, so we're gonna call her Bertha'. And the guy said, 'It's because of you we're doing this'. So I mailed him back and told him to call the next one Luther!

But I get emails all the time - not phone calls, 'cos I don't give out my number. But the reason why it's available is that I had to start my own record company. People were starting to really bug me. But what I did is, you know, you're only as good as your last record, especially if you're a person of colour. And in the '70s I raised a lot o' hell, and it was great. It was a great ride. It got almost out of hand. In the '70s the ride was huge. I found myself in Saudi Arabia, I found myself everywhere. Because I had been in this business since I was nine years old.

When I was nine years old I lived in the same neighbourhood as Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers - Sherman, Herman, Joe and Jimmy. One day I was in the grocery store where Frankie worked, and he siad, 'We just cut a record'. And I'm like, 'You cut a record? I just came to get some milk…!' You know? And they were like, 'Yeah, but we don't like the tapes'. Anyway, we all went to junior high school together, PS164, and four weeks later all you heard was Why Do Fools Fall in Love. And I was there, I was involved.

Frankie was very precocious - at 13 he was 20 - and he did what he wanted to do. So I cut a record for Mercury, because right then, everybody wanted to be Frankie Lymon, and I had the voice. So I cut a record entitled I Promise to Remember'. And their management - George Goldman, Morris Levy and those guys - thought I was a threat. So they covered the record, and it went gold - their third hit. They only lasted like a year and a half, but they had crushed my record completely, and came to me to be Frankie's understudy. And that's what I did.

I was smitten with the business. I went to great schools, I had to take tests to get in, because I was studying music and I was talented. And eventually at the demise I was able to fall back on my saxophone, my clarinet, my writing, keyboards, timbales, percussion and everything I did. And since I did everything, they started calling me 'The Everything Man'. It started catching on in the '70s really. When I was with RCA, the last album I did for them was Dimension III - my partner at the time, John Pruitt, said, 'You know, you are really The Everything Man. You produce, you write, you perform, you act, you publish music.' And that's when it caught on. So the first album for Atlantic was called The Everything Man, and the cover shows that I'm doing everything.

So I wanted to tell you that, because I started at age nine, and I've been in the business so long. I had a fairly nice career. It wasn't great, but it was fairly nice, because I wasn't promoted well. Not like George Clinton, Cameo, groups like that who were really being promoted. There were a lot of groups who weren't being promoted well, like Con Funk Shun. But I was promoted mediocre... I dunno the word... halfway. In other words, when you saw me, you wanted to buy the record, so I had to get out there and sell the record myself. Sometimes I didn't have product in the stores, and I was pissed, because I knew it had to be done.

I packed places. I'd be playing Madison Square Gardens, Constitution Hall - I mean, I played RFK Stadium with It's Just Begun and Troglodyte. Washington DC - Capital Center: a big Jimmy Castor town. When we played Washington we had to stay in Virginia because we couldn't walk the streets - it was like that. And sometimes you'd have to do record store appearances and you'd need security, which was a great feeling to be that popular, but I'm from the people so I never ran from people. I only ran once. I saw 2000 people running at me, at RFK Stadium as a matter of fact. I was doing an interview and I turned around and I heard, like, elephants, feet stomping, and I saw all these people, and I jumped the fence. They ran all over the interviewer! They just want to touch you I guess. But that was the only time I was afraid, because they could pull your limbs out of joint, you know?

I had a great ride, but again I don't think record companies promoted me properly. And then, with the current exposure, they own the record itself, and every time It's Just Begun is sampled you have to go see RCA. And every time Bertha Butt is sampled, like with Ice Cube in the movie Friday, they had to see Atlantic. So I've started my own company now because people were crying out to see me. If you get over 150 emails a day - 'Where are you? What are you doing? We love you, wanna see you'; great things, amazing. I mean, I didn't know I made that much impact. I got one yesterday saying Whiter Shade of Pale is my favourite record, where can I get it? And I said 'Thankyou, it's on the Dimension III album, which is no longer available, but I'll send you a copy'. Because I do that for people. Because when I went to Panama, I got off the airplane and I was waiting to hear them shouting for Hey Leeroy or Bertha, but they were yelling 'La Blanca Polinaise'! Which means 'A Whiter Shade of Pale'. You know? And I'm saying, 'Wow! That's the song they wanted to hear?' And when I went to Jamaica the number one record there was Love Scene. I did that on saxophone on the Everything Man album, because if I hear a great song I like to play it - that's what I do. But I don't do it on the horn so much now because people like Kenny G come along and make millions out of listening to me or King Curtis, and it kind of took the desire out of me to play. Clive Davis really went after him and promoted him, which no-one ever did for me. So it's not like I'm bitter, it's almost like it's a waste of time me doing it. But people are forcing me to do it again, so that's why I started my own record company. And I've really got into it deeply.

The first [new single] is called I Got Something for Ya and the back-side's called You Gotta Be Strong Today. So I did that, and I'm sorta disappointed. Because everyone wants me to do something and come back, and I put that out to test the market and then put an album out immediately. But although the people love it, they're not hearing it, because radio's not playing it. And why's radio not playing it? I serviced it to them, and I wrote personal notes saying 'Hi, this is Jimmy Castor, and this is something new'. I did all the shows - Midnight Special, Johnny Carson, I did Soul Train many times, I did all of that. But you're still only as good as your last record. Unless you're Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi or someone like that, because they market them so greatly that they're on Jay Leno even when they don't have product. But you try to get Jimmy Castor on Jay Leno! Well, maybe Jay's different, because we ride motorcycles and maybe, but I dunno. It's so difficult.

But I want to control my own destiny, and I was listening to Prince, with the whole Warner Brothers/slave thing, and that's where I got the idea. So I started E-Man Recording Corporation and with Courtney Love on the internet saying what record companies do to you... and it's true. So you should do it yourself, and that's what I'm doing. But I don't have the promotion or the distribution I should have. Because you got these program directors now listening to a record and saying 'It doesn't have "the beat".' And when they're saying 'beat', they're forgetting the groove, and they're forgetting that they're in that position today because of Maurice White, Kool & The Gang, Jimmy Castor - we gave everybody the groove, the real groove, and my new single is a groove.

I believe so much in it, but only because I know what people want from me. I'm not saying what they want from Wilson Pickett or what they want from Bon Jovi, I'm saying what they want from me. And I know what they want from me - they want everything, because I'm the Everything Man! But I gave them a groove. And if I'm saying, "I walk the city streets at night where most chumps won't/Cos they're uptight when danger darkness and fear say 'No'/What I got beneath my coat says "Yo!"...' Now, I'm not a rapper, I'm a storyteller, OK? So right away, a program director is gonna say, 'He's not a rapper'. Of course I'm not a rapper! Troglodyte is not a rap. Bertha is not a rap. These are very successful records. But I don't have time to educate everyone.

I'm giving them the beat, the groove, and Jimmy Castor. It's clever, it's an education. When I taught them the word Potential they didn't know what it meant, so I had to spell it out! When I taught them the word Troglodyte they didn't know what it was - it means 'Caveman'. So what they're trying to do with me is do what every record company tried to do - put me into a little box. All the time, every time. And it kills me, because I do more than that. At RCA, they were like 'What is he? Laurence Welk?' when I started blowing Whiter Shade of Pale and Bridge over Troubled Waters on my last album with them. That's why I left. When I got to Atlantic, Butt of Course', a great album; E-Man Groovin', a great album; Space Age, I Don't Wanna Lose You, and then , which they didn't promote at all, because they wanted Chic to produce me.

I helped get Chic on that label. That's a long story. When I saw Bernard and Nile in the street one day, and I was getting ready to park my quote-unquote Mercedes - because at that time that's who I was, I was Jimmy Castor, and I always had a great car because I never starved, I was always smart. And they were on the subway, they came up to me and gave me a copy of a record on their own label and they said, 'We know who you are, we're not getting any promotion, blah blah blah'. And I looked at it and it said, Dance Dance Dance, Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah. And I said, 'I don't like Yowsah Yowsah', because I thought it was a racial epithet. But it wasn't, it was 'Yow-Sah! Yow-Sah!', Al Joleson, that type o' thing. But I took it to my business manager, he took it to the guy in the next office, and before you knew it I had introduced my business manager and attorney to Jerry Greenberg, who was the president of Atlantic, Jerry loved it and bought the master, and Helicopter Records, and the rest is history. I never even got a bottle of wine for that and everybody made 40 million.

I couldn't fight them. They didn't like Maximum Stimulation, which was a great album in the annals of Jimmy Castor. But they just equivocated and ignored me, basically. But I don't have to be jealous, because Jackie Wilson, Tom Jones, all the greats said, 'Hey Jimmy, just do your thing, that's how good you are'. These are great entertainers, and they said this. Because years ago... I'll never forget this show: Jackie Wilson, Wilson Pickett, Lloyd Price, Brooke Benton, Jerry Price, the Isley Brothers: it was in Brooklyn somewhere. And it was, 'Who's gonna headline?' It was one of those shows. Jackie didn't care who headlined - though he ended up headlining. Everyone came on and did their thing - the Isley Brothers, Wilson. When Jackie came on he did backflips. And you got a great guy like that - who I knew and loved - talking like that...? So I'm always very confident. Because no matter who's headlining, you're gonna remember Bertha, Troglodyte, you're gonna remember E-Man Boogie, Potential - these are timeless records. They could be put out today. Listen to Space Age - it's a today kind of record.

So when I put out a record I believe in it. And I've put my money behind this new record. Record companies never believed. Even when I did Hey Leroy, they chased me out of town! And if it wasn't for Sammy Davis Jr taking me to Mercury it never would have come out. They didn't want to put it out, but he did. Let's take Troglodyte: Clive Davis turned down Troglodyte, he called it "tripe"! I went from office to office to office and finally someone at RCA heard the album. And we were gigging in Canada out of a van, and they loved this album. Even the R&B department didn't like the album. Because I'm a pop crossover act, you know what I mean? The diction... I want to reach the masses Angus, that's why I do what I do. I purposely do it. And when you hear my new record you'll be like, 'Oh, right'. It reaches everyone. I'm not gonna be stagnant and be R&B Number One because then you just go nowhere.

So I mean, when Troglodyte came out, they said it was garbage but that record blew Washington DC right open - Boom! - and the rest is history. I got telegrams saying 'Not since Isaac Hayes' Shaft album has a record sold that quickly!' That was Jim Schwarz, and that was a big distributor at the time. OK, so this is what I'm trying to let you know: nobody wanted to hear Leroy at the time, nobody wanted to hear Troglodyte. It's Just Begun - 'what is that?' [Hums the intro to It's Just Begun] you know what that is? That's 21st Century! Practically. That's why it's been sampled over 3000 times. So you come along and say, 'Why don't you do another song with Bertha in it?' Because she's already in Troglodyte, and she became a character. But Atlantic didn't want to put it out, and that sold the Butt of Course album. Among other things. Then they were, 'Why are you doing King Kong?' You know? Because, I said, one day I was walking down the street with my business manager and the President of Atlantic Records and I saw the Empire State Building. We were going to a bookstore. And I looked up and I said 'Wooo-woo woo, wo woo woo-woo woo!' You know what I mean? And I said, 'Komo sambe, Kong!' You know? From the movie. And I said, 'He lived in the jungle where he was born a king/His great strength made him lord of everything/No creature crossed his path and lived for long/His name, so legend tells us, was King Kong'. You know what I mean? And that gave it the story. I was telling my kids, we were watching the movie the other day, and it's just like how I told it in the story.

So I did King Kong, I started blowing my horn again, and I started getting into a lot of things with the Jimmy Castor Bunch. Almost a rhythm and blues jazz type thing. But I still came in with my voice to make an identification. But Atlantic wanted, you know... 'I'll slit my wrist if Potential's a hit!' That's how he talks. That was the President of Atlantic Records. I'm not gonna say his name, but right now he works for Michael Jackson. The minute I said 'dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum dum dum dum' the world went crazy!

C is an underground album. It sells for a thousand dollars some times. It was such a great record, but we couldn't get it played. But then, of course, in 1980, starting your own record company was taboo. The majors would eat you up. And I had no way of getting that promoted. I tried to get Frankie Crocker in New York to help me, but he was jealous because at the time JD Holliday at Kiss was playing it, and the politics ate me and swallowed me up. I couldn't get them to play it. And the trucks were delivering the records to my home, and they were heavy and they were cracking my driveway. I was through with record companies then! But I was trying, because I was always ahead of my time. I couldn't get it played. Godzilla! 'He stood as big as a pillar! His name was Godzilla! He was bigger than Kong the giant gorilla!' That was so big in Japan. Things like that. But people just cast it aside. I guess when I've passed away they'll realise what I'm doing, what I've done.

Super Love: you know, they used to listen to that and say, 'What are you? White?' I do what comes from me. 'A woman's love is something pure and great...' That's how I felt it! 'That men don't know how to appreciate...' I'm a pop artist, you know that. I'm a pop-R&B artist. How can I not be an R&B artist? Look at me. It was pop with a groove.

Potential was so big. I was on the Mothership Connection tour with George. We toured the south, and it was 30 days this particular segment. It was billed like this: George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership Tour, The Jimmy Castor Bunch, Bootsy's Rubber Band, Rare Earth, The Manhattans and Patti Labelle. George of course closed the show. I came on before Bootsy, and Bootsy was before George. The rest was down. So after the second show... After my act, when you come out with Hey Leroy, Troglodyte, Bertha Butt, King Kong, E-Man Boogie, then you pick up your horn and you blow You Make Me Feel Brand New, I go to the timbales...? It's a big show. That's what I do. It's no brag, it's just fact. I've done it all my life. Charlie Atkins, the dancing instructor for Motown, weaned me and taught me of Vegas even before I knew what it was, and taught me how to entertain. I know how to entertain. It's hard to be on the show with me. Not hard - I mean, you just have to hold your own.

So when I got to the second city, it was Charlotte, North Carolina - we were playing arenas. There was 16 people on the road with me. Everybody had their own bus. George was an underground cult humongous figure. He's got Funkadelics all over the world. So when I get off the stage, Georgie Woods, who was promoting this whole thing, came to my room and said 'We want you to close the show from now on'. So I said, 'What? I'm not closing the show!' Because first of all, Angus, from a business standpoint I wasn't getting paid for it. Second of all, it's the Mothership Connection Tour! I can't close that show, you know what I mean? I had some bigger hits than George, because don't forget, I was pop, and George was underground. I drew everyone to the concert. People wanted to hear me sing Maggie, for instance. Bom Bom. It's such a complete show that people really wanted to see more of me. So whenever I didn't headline, whether it was KC, War... the Spinners, when I came over to the UK, they had a problem working with me. The Detroit Spinners didn't want me on the show after the first night. What's the name of that place? The Hammersmith Odeon? Elton John came out of the audience hugging me, because he was kinda high, you know what I mean? My choice of music... I'm just different, Angus, and I'm glad I'm different, and I thank God every day for this talent he's given me, even though it's been lying dormant for many years.

So when they asked me to headline this show, I said I wouldn't do it. But I'm in the dressing room getting ready to go on, and I hear George is on stage! They say, 'Well, Jimmy, George didn't like the idea of you not wanting to do what he asked you to do'. And I said, 'I don't wanna headline this show, this is very unfair.' Now, George'll go on, and he'll stay on forever. You know that. He'll dress up, go on, come off and get high, go back, whatever. He was on for an hour. All the rest of the acts had been on. This place has a curfew. The curfew is 12 o'clock, and at 11:40 George is still on! So he comes off, it's 11:50 and I'm very down. You know what I mean? I've got to be off at 12. People have been walking back and forth and screaming when they get told I'll be on. That's a good feeling, they've reached, they're in tune with something that came form your head. So I came out and they went insane. I said, 'Hold it, hold it... we have about 8 minutes'. They were like, 'What are you talkin' about!?' I said, 'Listen, thank you very much for even sticking around for me. Paul's going to play nine notes for you. And I'm sure you know what it is'. So he played the intro to Potential, and they went crazy! They tried to tear that place down! So that's how strong Potential is.

In the interim, I moved to Las Vegas to live in the desert and the mountains. I didn't want anything to do with it. I left New Jersey, I was very depressed there. I couldn't earn like I wanted to because you're only as good as your last record. Every now and again someone would want to see the Jimmy Castor Bunch and it wasn't worth it for me. To bring the Bunch out I would end up paying - the overhead ate me up. And I had to bring out enough people to make the sound proper. I love the Bunch, they're like family. So you had to have the basics, and that's six musicians. So I came out here, and then my son would email me and say, 'Dad, two million people want to know what you're doing'. And I'd be like, 'Get outta here!' But I just said, 'OK'.

I decided to write a song, and I got Johnny Pruitt - you'll see Castor/Pruitt, it's everywhere, we're no longer together but I got him and we did the lyrics and the music - and I got Elwood Henderson, my drummer, who wrote Potential, Space Age, Maximum Stimulation, A Groove Will Make You Move, he wrote some great songs for the Bunch - and we wrote this song, I Got Something For You. 'Cos people say that today: "Don't worry, I got something for you!" I'm always doing something that's catchy. I have to be. I don't have time to wait for you to get into my record - I want it to hit right away. So with this record, right away you say, 'Oh, that's Jimmy Castor'. I can't wait 'til the middle for you to get into it, because then a record company won't put it out, or a radio station won't play it, or you know what I mean.

So I decided, since all these people wanted to know what I was doing, to put it out. But I'm disappointed it's not being played as much. Because everyone... You're of the hip hop community, you know you need a beat. But what the hell is it?! It's a beat! They say, 'You need Jay-Z' or someone: no I don't! I love those guys but I don't need them. I'm Jimmy Castor - they learned from me. If this record was to catch on everybody would be sampling it. And when you hear it, I really believe in it. And I'm preparing another record right now, another single to put out. 'Cos I'm gonna do it 'til it catches on! I'm never gonna surrender now, because of record companies or of people not wanting to play the product, program directors or music directors saying, 'Oh, Jimmy Castor, he's old school...' Isn't that awful? What is old school? Sting isn't old school, he's still happening, but I'm the same age as him. Mick Jagger? It's a racist thing.

I didn't go away because I wanted to, I went away because Atlantic wouldn't press up enough records. When you put out a Jimmy Castor album you should press up at least five hundred thousand. They were pressing up fifty thousand, and that would sell immediately. People would go into the shops and say, 'Do you have the new Jimmy Castor? OK, can you order it?' Then after a couple of weeks and it hadn't come in they'd be like, 'OK, gimme the new Stevie Wonder instead then'. That's what was killing me. I played the Superdome in New Orleans - well, half of it, they cut it in half - to 45,000 people. Next day there was no product in the store. I said, 'Wasn't the Atlantic man here?' They said, 'Yeah, he was here for the Spinners, he was here for Phil Collins, Genesis, Mick Jagger...' It's a race thing, Angus, and it's very bad. Ben E King once told me - 'Do you ever go up to the sixth floor of the Time Warner building?' I said, 'No'. Man, I got off at the sixth floor by mistake once. You see streamers, posters, sweaters, everything, for the Rolling Stones or Tom. It's a marketing machine. And you don't see that for Ben E King or the Jimmy Castor Bunch. And they killed me.

Right away, when you go in to the record company they send you to the black music department. And right there, I say, 'Hold up. I don't belong to any department, except the promotion department. My stuff goes to everyone.' 'You mean the pop stations as well?' 'Yes.' Look at Boys II Men - here's a perfect example. Look at what Backstreet Boys and N'Sync have done to Boys II Men. I mean, Boys II Men... Well, they didn't start it, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers started it, because at the induction into the Hall of Fame it was Boys II Men who gave us the statue, because they know that it was Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, one of the cornerstones of rock and roll, who gave us all the voices. A youthful pop voice that changed music. Of course Alan Freed named it, and he's the man, but there was Fats Domino, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. Those four did it. Shit, you know what I mean?

So I didn't do it on my own. I said 'Let me get out of all this snow on the east coast, with these squirrels...' - 'cos I lived in the mountains, I like to build big pretty homes. So I said, 'Let me go where there's deer and I can get out and ride my motorcycles and forget about this.' So I'm out here, and we only get about five inches of rain a year, maybe. And I like that. Heathrow, man - every time I get off the plane it's pouring! But I didn't do it on my own - I was put out of it. And I was fighting and using up all of what I'd saved. Going to Saudi Arabia - because you can't play the United States 'cos you're only as good as your last record - so you go where they say, 'Meesterrr Jimmy, Meesterrr Jimmy, we have your cassettes, we love you'. So you go there, where the gas is once cent a gallon and there's ginat ants. And then I just said, 'No, I can't do this any more. I'm on a jet plane all the time, 8 hours, I just couldn't do it'. But now I'm coming back, really with a vengeance, because I've found out who I was. I'm an innovator and that people really wanna hear me, and that I'm from the people and I enjoy it, it's my life.

So we'll see. This is a test, this single. Nobody is playing it, but maybe they'll play the next one, which is a ballad with a falsetto vocal called Give Me Your Love, like the Delphonics and the Stylistics used to do. And the A-side will be an uptempo thing called Firecracker. I always identify. Right now I'm just like any independent record company looking for distribution and promotion, and I'm busting my ass to make it happen. And it's happening slowly, because people like you are emailing me constantly. Again, I'm being very selective. I'm using this promotion company in the Bronx called Heavy Rotation, and when I call and ask to speak to the President, they ask who's calling and I say 'Jimmy Castor', and there's a dead silence... 'You mean, Jimmy Castor from the Jimmy Castor Bunch? Are you really him? Oh shit! Look who I'm talkin' to!' They're DJs, you know. 'Oh, man, I can't go anywhere and play without Potential or It’s Just Begun!' And that's what's happening everywhere. Everything's right. I'm in this business now and I'm running it with two other people. Promotion in New York. I'm trying to break in the tri-state area and then try to break all over the country. Because no-one's really knocking the door down to distribute this properly. So it's through conversations with people like you and the press I'm starting to get... I just did Sister To Sister which is Jamie Brown, and with the Frankie Lymon thing... then they look at me and they think there's a picture in the attic that ages, but not me!

But, basically, that's where I stand now. You need a groove. Listen to Madonna's new record, it's just a groove. That's the secret of a hit record - you've gotta have a groove. That's why they only wanna hear the '70s music, why it's being sampled so much, because there was a groove. All the grooves were in the '70s and the '60s. In the '60s the Temptations had a groove; in the '70s Al Green had a groove, Earth Wind & Fire had a tremendous groove, Kool & The Gang had an unbelievable groove. The Jimmy Castor Bunch grooved. George Clinton had a groove. But there's no grooves today. That's why Puffy and everybody is trying to make a groove. If my record catches on, I will be the groove again. But I got to get it to catch on. And they're not knocking the doors down. But I'm making myself more available and becoming more visible because I want to do it. I've found out that this is what I do, period. I can ride motorcycles all day and ignore it, but I come home and the inbox is full, 'Where are you, what are you doing?' People in places like Malaysia writing to me to say, 'Jimmy, I got married, and me and my wife loved this song you did called You Make Me Feel Brand New. Where can I buy it?' 'It's no longer in print but I can send it to you'. They don't believe that I would do that, but I do because I'm from them, and they made me. Every song I've done they've asked for. But now's the time for me to do it. I have my own company now, and I'll re-record those songs if I have to.

I saw Chuck D on TV talking about the Napster thing, and the lawyers and the record company people were very angry with him. And he was telling them, 'This is new, you have to adapt to this. Of course lawyers are gonna be angry, because they make the deals and there won't be any work for them to do. But this is new, this is the 21st century'. And that's what it is. So I emailed the company that he records for, and I figured I'd hear from him, but I didn't. I went to see Public Enemy once, and he gave carte blanche for me to go upstairs afterwards, but I just didn't go. Flav got on the phone, 'Oh man, are you really Jimmy Castor!' You know. So I really just want people to know now that these guys who are out there now - Maurice White, George Clinton, myself, James Brown, we're responsible for them being there. The first time was the Beastie Boys. I got back to Russell Simmons and all them, they were very angry. But then you didn't need a license. And then there was like 20 straight away - Rob Base, Luther Campbell. But with this I had to go to court. C&C Music Factory - I had to fight them in court also. Oh, and NWA. I had to fight quite a few people until they found out I wasn't playing. Because 'What we're gonna do right here is go back' was used on everything. And I'm saying, wait a minute.

One night in the studio we needed another track. We always played this music like... 'Cos we loved Sly, and I said 'Let's just play that prehistoric music!' Because I had studied anthropology. And I just said, 'Turn the mics on... What we're gonna do right here is go back. Way back. Back into time…' And I just told a story. So I had to fight it. What happened was LL Cool J said 'You can't take his music like that!' I'll never forget. LL said 'That's like going into somebody's garage and taking their classic car and driving it away!' He said that on TV. I'd gone on Entertainment Tonight and made a record called It Ain't Like That. It went, 'My name's JC and it's plain to see/ A lot of people are dissing me/They keep using my songs without my permission/Talking all that jazz, making commissions/And it aint like that'. I said 'Who is not important? You know who you are/With the help of my creations you all become stars/You gotta give credit where credit is due/That's right - I want credit, and the money too!' And I began to sample myself... So I said that on ET, and when LL heard that, he said 'That's right'. They sampled me to death. So that means something is happening. And this new thing is going to be sampled too.





Comments

Click here to add your comment.

Comments will be subject to approval and should not be defamatory, obscene, racist, in breach of copyright, or contrary to law. Neither Angus Batey nor the site host is reponsible for any views expressed here.

Archive

home

about/contact

features

photo gallery

reviews

mailing list