New York, NY (July 11, 2005) -- Eagle Rock Entertainment, the leading independent source for high quality music audio/visual programming, will release Rick James: Superfreak Live 1982 on DVD on July 26, in which a German audience experiences a raucous live performance from the king of early 80s funk and his Stone City Band. The show was taped in Essen, Germany on April 3rd, 1982 for the 10 th Rockpalast Festival and marked the first time James performed in Europe.
Before his death last year, James' reputation had undergone a renaissance due to Charlie Murphy's "True Hollywood Stories" sketch on the 2004 season of Comedy Central's "Chappelle Show," commonly regarded as the best comedy program on television . In it, Dave Chappelle plays a cackling, corn rowed, drug-addled James bedeviling Murphy (Eddie Murphy's brother). Immediately, "I'm Rick James, bitch!" became one of last year's most inescapable catch phrases.
But James' legacy is more than that. Before revitalizing Motown Records' profile in the late 70s and early 80s with soul/funk salvos like "Give It To Me," "You and I" and "Super Freak" (later sampled on MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This"), James had been a journeyman rocker since the early 60s. Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1948, he fled the United States as a deserter from the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1964, ending up in Toronto, where he formed the Mynah Birds which later featured Neil Young. The band recorded for Motown, demos of which were never released because James turned himself in to the FBI and served a year in jail.
Afterwards, James kicked around L.A. for a decade before coming to a formula that would yield huge hits and a live show that, like George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic, would rival white acts of the day for sheer spectacle. With his glammed-out getups and thick cornrows, he cut an unforgettable figure.
Superfreak Live 1982 comes from this period: James leads a crackerjack, ten-piece band; plays bass, keyboards, harmonica, percussion; gestures lewdly; peppers his songs with curse words; sings fabulously, and changes into different outfits no less than four times. Indeed, James and the Stone City Band sports some of the most alarming jumpsuits ever glimpsed by human eyes. The show's highlight is "Mary Jane," a soulful ode to "ganja," which culminates with a hilarious mock operatic crescendo where James conducts the band with a baton as the background singers trill, "we love Mary Jane/we love to smoke the reefer."
The hits would dry up for James a few years hence: although he helmed chart-toppers like Mary Jane Girls' "In My House" and Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time," he was in many ways eclipsed by Prince. By 1993, his cocaine usage had taken him over and he was convicted of assaulting two women and spent two years in Folsom Prison. However, he found redemption in his last decade, via fans that prized his high octane R&B and celebrated his larger than life persona. "The Chappelle Show" may have rendered him a pop culture punch line, but this show emphasizes that few could touch Rick James live in his prime.
“All Day All Night”
“Fire It Up”
Guitar solo/harp solo
“Standing On the Top”
“You And I”
“Give It To Me Baby”
Eagle Rock Entertainment is one of the leading independent sources for music audio and audio/visual programming, which it releases worldwide on DVD, CD and other formats, as well as through channels such as television and VOD. Eagle Rock's mission is to bring music fans high quality music audio and audio/ visual content from the broadest range of artists, with superior production, sound and high definition visuals, as well as other historically significant releases. Eagle Vision's extensive catalog covers every genre of music, and includes the Classic Albums documentary series, which tells the stories behind some of the greatest albums in rock history, and Live at Montreux, which features performances from top artists at the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival.
The company's record imprints include frontline artist label Eagle Records, and the hard rock/ heavy metal label Spitfire Records. Eagle Media releases a variety of comedy, television and fact-based programming. Eagle Vision, Eagle Records, Eagle Media, Eagle Eye Media and Spitfire are imprints of Eagle Rock Entertainment, Inc. in the U.S., which is a part of Eagle Rock Entertainment, Ltd. The company's North American headquarters are in New York City. Its corporate headquarters are in London, with offices in Toronto, Paris and Hamburg.