Nile Rodgers is feeling a bit ambivalent about tonight's (April 7) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in Brooklyn.
On one hand he's pleased to be receiving the Award for Musical Achievement; On the other, however, he's sorry that he's not being inducted with his band, Chic, after 11 nominations. Rodgers tells us that,
"I'm still weird and ambivalent about that because if it weren't for Chic...They say it's for musical achievement or whatever. It's like, OK, has the other stuff that I've done achieved more than Chic?...We have three albums. You put up the collective sales and influences of those three albums and it's pretty damn incredible."
Chic was best-known for disco-era hits such as "Le Freak" and "Good Times," as well as the Sister Sledge anthem "We Are Family," but Rodgers went on to work as a producer and collaborator with David Bowie, Duran Duran, Bryan Ferry, INXS, Madonna, Daft Punk and many others.
Rodgers adds that his roots are very much in rock 'n' roll, dating back to the mid-60s when he was growing up in New York:
"I grew up believing and I actually still believe this in my heart, that I believe that rock 'n' roll was a state of mind. We had different types of genres of rock 'n' roll...We started out as your basic rock 'n' roll blues band. That's where we started. WE were doing gigs that were just those kind of gigs. We were playing all the same kind of songs everybody else played, and it was only after we couldn't get a deal with our original rock songs that we finally wrote our first dance record, and that very first song we wrote as a dance record we got a deal with."
Rodgers is working on a new Chic album, "It's About Time," that he hopes to release this year. He'll be honored along with Journey, Pearl Jam, Yes, Joan Baez and Tupac Shakur tonight at the Barclays Center. HBO will film the ceremony for broadcast on April 29.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.