DID YOU READ

Exclusive Premiere: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings “Game Gets Old: the Trilogy”

Exclusive Premiere: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings “Game Gets Old: the Trilogy”  (photo)

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If you’ve ever heard the needle dropped on a Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings 45, you know how expertly their music invokes the sounds of 60’s and early 70’s soul. And if you’ve ever seen them live, you know how effortlessly they can transport you there, like well-dressed deep soul time travelers. Director Philip Di Fiore captured this phenomenon in a three-part short film, which we have here for the first time in it’s entirety, “Game Gets Old: the Trilogy.”

Feast on that below and then read the chat I had with Sharon Jones over the phone while she was in Queens with her Mom — we had to put our conversation on hold more than once while Jones took care of business and looked after her Mom’s health. It’s plain that she’s still struggling after all these years but she and independent Brooklyn label, Daptone, have come very far sticking to their guns. We talked about that, along with Martin Luther King, how the Dap-Kings would never touch Auto-Tune, and this dreamy memory she has of seeing James Brown perform in a little club in 1969.


You might remember me from the old days, when I was booking you up in Milwaukee, back in like ’03, just before you guys started really blowing up outside of NY. You’ve come a long way since then.

You know, we did so many shows, but yeah. Yeah, one of the first ones that got us out there, get us started in the Midwest, and then stuff started happening. Oh, yes we finally, we’ve come a long way. And we still have a long way to go, but yeah. Thank you.

Back then you guys were cutting 45’s like “Make it Good to Me” that I still keep right next to the turntable, it’s so good. How has your sound changed since then?

Yeah, I haven’t sang that song in a long time, too! [laugh] I think, we’ve changed over the years, from 2003 to now, definitely changed. The band has gotten stronger. The band has gotten tighter. Because, at that time, the drummer was still messing up beats, still learning how to hold a beat, you know? [laughter] And I mean, I remember the first two years, it took him a while, you know, to get the hang of things. So um, yeah, I think we’ve come along a little bit. You know we, by listening to all these old classics over the years, we just got more ideas. We’ve got the horns, and then we got violins. Strings to me just add, they make it sweet, you know? We’ve matured. We’ve grown.

You grew up in James Brown’s hometown in Georgia right?

Actually, I was born in Augusta, but I really grew up in New York. You know, my mom would let us go back south during the summers, after I turned like uh, maybe 7. You know you start going to school she would let us go back and forth every summer, to spend some time with my father.

Ah so just part time. What kind of impression did that town and James Brown leave on you?

One particular year, we had, went down there one of those summers and James Brown showed up at this small little club. I remember him showing up, I was standing at the bottom of the stage. And I know at the time, my father was still alive, I was about 13. I’m standing there, eye level to the stage, and I remember, James Brown coming on — he just floated clear across the stage. And I was like, “Look Daddy, he’s floating!” [laughter] So years later in New York when these guys [The Dap-Kings] were doing this James Brown, JB’s thing and wanted me to come in and sing for them it was right up my alley. That’s what got them started with the funk, you know, that was the era of funk we started with.

I don’t know if you’ll go there for me but, who’s your favorite Dap-King?

I don’t, my favorite Dap-King? I don’t have a favorite. [laugh] I don’t have a favorite one, because we’re a band, we’re like a family, you know? I mean, you know what? Maybe, I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, but if it wasn’t for this Dap-King I wouldn’t be with them. And that’s Gabe Roth.

You guys have been collaborating with others in recent years, like Amy Winehouse. How are you feeling about her these days?

Well that whole thing was great I mean that, if you really look at it, it put Daptone on the map, people started noticing. Mark [Ronson, who produced Amy Winehouse’s critically acclaimed 2006 record “Back to Black,” heavily featuring the Dap-Kings] already knew about us, Amy [Winehouse] too. You know we been out here since the late 90’s, and all this stuff that happened in 2005. Whether they admit it we inspired all this new soul stuff. It’s all good. They won an award for that, but we’ll get ours in our own due time.

Who you looking forward to making music with in the future, any projects in the works?

Whoever wants to come! I mean, look at the, the thing with Michael Bublé. That, that was a big plus with his album and [the song] “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes).” Um, David Byrne, you know? I’ve done something with Booker T. I did something collaborating with him on a couple of songs, that’s not out yet. I know I’m missing names. We also did this thing, Night of Too Many Stars with Comedy Central for autism. All these movie stars, and actors, and comedians, doing this show, I was thrilled. I would love to do a movie. Maybe we can do a whole soundtrack of a movie. You never know.

Well you did some sound track work for Denzel Washington’s film “The Great Debaters.”

Yes I have some songs on that soundtrack. And it sounds great!

How did that come about?

You know that was SXSW. And that particular year I didn’t want to do it, lot of young kids, and we got to pay for this and that, the hotel, but it was all worth it. Somebody saw me there and then when Denzel was looking for singer, somebody said, “I know this band with a great singer, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.” They got in touch with my manager and had me sing this song, “I Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl.” Denzel saw that and next thing I know he said, “I want her.” So that’s how I got that, by doing a gig at SXSW.

I love the look of this film you guys did with Phillip Di Fiore, the vintage feel it has, how it invokes old Stax and Blue Note record covers.

Yeah it looks cool. When Phillip brought that idea to us, not everyone got it, you know with the knife, that big knife I have [laughter] but I got it. And everyone looks so good.

You guys don’t just have a vintage sound, you live it. And I’ve seen you all dressed up to go out, you even look like you walked out of the late 60’s.

[laughs] Oh yeah I used to go to the vintage stores, buy all my dresses, but I haven’t been there in years. I have all that stuff made for me like that now.

I caught you on the “Colbert Report” a few months back and you seemed firmly against modernizing your approach. What do you think about all these kids these days listening to music on phones and shit. You all right with that?

Yeah, I mean, we’re doing our own thing but that’s all right. That’s modern times. That’s how a lot of kids are hearing us, so that’s all right. But, we’re sticking to our own thing.

What about Auto-Tune, would we ever Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings put through Auto-Tune?

[laughs] No, not Daptone, we’re not interested.

Over Gabe Roth and Neal Sugarman’s dead bodies?

Oh my God, I wouldn’t even, I wouldn’t even ask. Oh my God. I’d have to go into somebody else’s record label and sing with somebody else to be singing Auto-Tune soul [laughter].

If you could live inside of a film, what film would that be?

Oh that’s something to think about [laugh]. You know what? I would say this, something that I missed coming up, you made me think — that film would be — when they filmed Martin Luther King doing his “I Have a Dream” speech. I wasn’t there you know? And I never got a chance to be around ’cause I was young. Just to be near that man, right beside him, while he was doing that speech.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.