By Steve Baltin, Rolling Stone, June 16, 2005
Chili Peppers go to school, P.O.D. throw a Boo-Yaa-Que
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea enlisted a few of his friends — from bandmate John Frusciante and Tracy Chapman to jazz great Charlie Haden — to perform at a benefit last week for his Los Angeles music school, the Silver Lake Conservatory of Music. “People are coming out because they’re grateful the school is here,” said Flea. “It’s just a fucking cool night.” The bass player then took the stage with two of the conservatory’s teachers and drummer James Jackson to perform a set of covers by New Orleans funk band the Meters. The theme of the night got many of the performers thinking about their early musical days. “The school resonates with me,” said Chapman. “I’m mostly self-taught, but when I first started I took lessons at a community boy’s club. They would pick me up at my house by bus and take me there. It made a difference in my life.” Chapman played a five-song set that began with “Talking ‘Bout a Revolution” and closed with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” Among those on hand to lend support were Greg Dulli, Perry Farrell and Incubus’ Mike Einziger. After watching some of the students perform, Farrell said he’d be coming back to the school “because I need a cellist.” Dulli said, “I’m probably going to end up taking piano lessons here. I’d like to learn how to play classical piano” . . .
One L.A. studio packed in the talent recently, as Christina Aguilera, Stevie Wonder and Black Eyed Peas’ Will.I.Am found themselves in late sessions down the hall from one another. Wonder popped next door to lay down a harmonica solo for the album Will is currently producing, by Brazilian superstar Sergio Mendes. “I wrote a song for Stevie in Portuguese years ago,” Mendes said. “He remembered every word of it and just started singing it.” Will hopes to release the album on his own imprint, Will.I.Am Music Group, by September . . .
If Wonder’s lucky, maybe Will will thank him with a feast. That’s just what P.O.D. was doing at another studio — that of uber-producer Glen Ballard — to thank rap group the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. for guesting on their upcoming album. P.O.D. got hands-on with the BBQ, with frontman Sonny Sandoval and drummer Wuv handling all the chopping, marinating and cooking in the kitchen. “My grandmother makes her own seasoning,” says Sandoval, who wouldn’t mind going the Paul Newman route and stocking supermarkets with P.O.D.’s special spice. “But I don’t know if she’d let us. She never tells anybody what it is” . . .
Veteran rocker Stephen Stills had grandmas on the mind during a recent chat from Amsterdam, touring behind his new album, Man Alive. “Old is in in Britain,” he joked of his European tour’s success. Should the interest wane, however, Stills can always turn to winter sports. “My wife is a skater,” he said, “and if the canals ever freeze up again, we’re coming right back to Amsterdam” . . .
Speaking of people who appreciate what’s on offer in Amsterdam, Ol’ Dirty Bastard was the topic of a recent talk with Chris Rock. “I was presenting at the Grammys when he attacked the mike — just walked onstage, took it and said, ‘Wu-Tang’s for the kids!’ I remember turning my head, hoping he didn’t say anything to me. God bless him! There should be a big Ol’ Dirty Bastard tribute at the Grammys” . . .
(Posted juin 16, 2005)