Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (2014) Movie Script

James Brown,
ladies and gentlemen.
The hottest record man
in the world!
James! James!
James! James! James!
James! James! James!
A lot of people have tried
to define
exactly what soul music is.
How would you define it?
It's the word "can't"
that makes you a soul singer.
I think one thing
that made a black man
is more heavier for soul
coming from the States
is because of the fact
that he had extra hard knocks
and he lived with
the word "can't" for so long.
So, every time
he can sing about it,
it kind of...
...comes out
a little bit stronger.
I want to tell you a little story.
This is a thing that
they don't write in newspapers,
or hear on a record, because
I am sure it wouldn't sell.
My father being a very,
very poor man, undereducated,
he only got a chance
to finish grade two.
There just was no way for me
to dream of becoming anything,
but trying to be a...
just a laborer,
trying to work, you know,
because that's all
I could see around me.
My father was a laborer.
I dreamed then of eating.
When I was a kid, we would
go out and hustle the men
for the women that was
practicing prostitution.
And I had to buck dance
for the soldiers.
They would throw quarters
and nickels to see me dance.
And I used to sing a lot.
I'd make up songs.
The story of it
touched me so deeply.
- You were a shoe shine boy...
- In Augusta, Georgia.
In Augusta, Georgia.
And you carried the shoe shine
box around with you,
and one thing I was reading
not too long ago,
you held it up
as an example to kids.
Would you tell that story?
I said, with all of the success
and everything that you said
it still don't get away the fact
that I come from the ghetto
and that I got my shoeshine box
on my mind.
And it broke the people up
because they were very glad
that I still remembered.
It was Bobby Byrd's family that
took young James Brown in...
...when he got paroled
and really kind of helped him
find his feet.
And then they went on
to create music together
with the Famous Flames
and Bobby Byrd had to be
humble enough to understand
this used to be my group,
but now I got this young guy
coming in here
just kind of taking over.
Well, he's got that thing,
so I'm going to let him have it.
After he got out of prison
and at my home,
I asked him to join the group.
Had a lot of dissension
in the group
because they didn't know
what type of person he was,
they know that
he was kind of rowdy,
but when he started
doing some songs that he knew,
gospel songs of course
during that time,
something about it
was different.
The rowdy type of thing,
the up-tempo, gutsy stuff.
And the reason we know it was
good because we start rehearsing
and we had the porch
would be full of people
and everybody peeping through
windows and that kind of thing.
They didn't do that for no other
I knew we had something.
At that time "Soul" was more
or less church slang, you know.
They found that most rhythm
and blues sounds
came out of the church, so
they named them "soul singers."
When James Brown
and Bobby Byrd decided
to put together the version
of the Famous Flames,
they took great care to not let
the people in the church know
that they were doing the
secular music on Saturday night
and coming in and singing
in church on Sunday night,
because that was taboo.
A lot of people I liked
in the past, Louis Jordan...
Mr. Brown says, "Louis Jordan
was my biggest hero
because he could sing,
he could dance,
he could act, he could play.
And he had good hair
and good teeth."
It's the longevity
of Louis Jordan's career
that had an impact, the way
he handled his own business,
the fact that he was doing music
that was a hybrid of blues,
swing music, bebop.
That music was
the R&B to rock and roll,
the hip-hop of its time.
And James actually considered
himself a jazzman at heart.
It's a pleasure
to present to you
the one and only Duke Ellington.
James Brown, he liked big bands,
he liked a big horn section
and he liked instrumentals,
he liked arranging.
He liked to be a bandleader.
He carried some of that past,
of the swing era in a funny way.
It's always been soul with me,
ever since I've been singing.
It was my opportunity,
it was my knock on the door.
Soul is survival.
And a lot of days I sang
and we got 25 cents.
But I knew it was something
I had to do.
Every time I got the opportunity
I did everything I could.
The hardest part was being black
and being allowed to perform.
Not even black at that time.
That's what you call
the segregated years.
I came up through those years
and I never will forget
some things
that happened with us.
It's behind me
but I won't forget them.
You've got to keep the white
and the black separate!
James Brown, he was a father
I never had in many ways.
He said, "You didn't know about
sitting at the back of the bus.
I used to have to perform
in clubs
that I'd have to get dressed
in the bus
because I wasn't allowed
to use the dressing room.
They didn't like black folks,
I'll put it that way.
They didn't like black folks.
Boy, what we went through.
What we went through.
You played what you called
the chitlin' circuit.
All of the gigs that you'd play
were for black audiences.
A lot of down-home
Southern places
that were kind of rough,
you know.
I remember being
in Mr. Brown's dressing room...
and something happened with
the promoter didn't want to pay,
and everybody started pulling
out their guns and everything.
And, you know,
I was frightened to death.
That was definitely the
chitlin' circuit at that time.
James Brown said,
"You have to remember, Reverend,
when I was coming up,
you had to be tall,
light-skinned, long wavy hair
like Jackie or Smokey Robinson."
And I was short,
had African features
and I didn't have any
of what was considered beautiful
at that time.
I was determined to out dance
and out sing everybody out there
and I was going to work
every night.
James actually said,
Little Richard and Hank Ballard
and the Midnighters were
probably the two
greatest influences
on him and really
that whole generation,
moving out of gospel into doing
what was called rock 'n' roll
or R&B.
I was in Toccoa, Georgia
and Little Richard came down
from Macon and saw me,
and told his manager about me
and I went back to Macon.
I got to give Little Richard
that credit, you know.
Little Richard got a big
contract to record in
Los Angeles and he left behind
about 30 dates
that the management
was committed to,
so they had the bright idea
to have James Brown go out
and impersonate Little Richard.
And so they let him do
a little bit of Little Richard
and he would do
a little bit of James Brown.
That's where James Brown
really learned to scream,
being Little Richard
for about two weeks.
It was before television,
so nobody knew
what Richard really looked like.
He said, "And my goal was,
I was going to be bigger
than Richard."
The word is that when Syd
Nathan, who ran King Records,
heard them rehearsing the song,
he fired the A&R guy.
Could not hear it being a hit.
He said, all this guy does is
say "please, please, please"
like, 17 times.
Mr. Brown snuck it out,
got it to the radio stations
and it became a hit,
and Syd Nathan just had to
swallow his disdain.
I guess my all time
favorite tune would be,
"Please, Please, Please" now,
- because that's the tune...
- That's the one that did it.
It gave me that extra meal.
You think you wanted success
so badly at the time
that you were really singing
"please, please, please."
I wanted to eat, period, man.
That's Why I did it.
He's begging, "I got to have you,
I need you in my life.
You got to come on,
my heart is shattered"...
...and the women would go:
"Somebody really hurt that man,
oh, they hurt him so badly,
I feel so sorry for him."
It worked all over the world.
For some reason I grew up
with a passion for black music.
I was a disc jockey at a black
radio station in Richmond.
I loved James Brown
like everybody else
that was into black music
in the early '60s.
At some point you discover
James Brown and it's like,
"Oh, my god,
this is the gold standard."
The first time I saw James Brown
perform live
was in the fall of 1963,
and I had never experienced
anything like it.
The energy that was in the room,
it was like going
into another dimension.
In the '50s and '60s,
black music
and pop mainstream music,
the segregation was even more
rigid than it is today.
The black music industry
was entirely dependent
on black radio,
and the whole goal became,
how do we cross
these records over?
Because a hit on pop radio
as much as a million,
a million-and-a-half more sales.
After I got "Please, Please,"
it took me three years
to get another hit.
But I wouldn't give up,
and my next hit was a tune
entitled "Try Me."
Somebody like Elvis, one record
would sell ten or 15 million,
and see, I would have to come
through the race era,
when my records were classed
as R&B and race music.
I'm just trying to figure out
the market like a stock man,
trying to see
what the people will go for.
I always worked hard
on the stage,
but you still need that record
as a performer, you know.
Everyone needs a hit record.
James Brown was an anomaly
in the industry,
not just in his ambition,
but he also had a situation
that was pretty much
unlike any other artist.
He had a manager
who embraced him
and became a mentor
father figure,
who was Ben Bart.
Ben taught James
a lot of the music business
and how to handle things.
And Ben really loved him,
and James loved him.
It was kind of a
father-son thing going on there.
Ben was doing everything
he could to move the act,
but James had his own idea
about things.
So now, ladies and gentlemen,
it is Star Time.
Are you ready for Star Time?
Thank you,
and thank you very kindly.
It is indeed a great pleasure
to present to you
at this particular time,
national and international known
as "The Hardest-Working Man
In Show Business."
Here to sing "I'll Go Crazy,"
"Try Me,"!
"Mr. Dynamite," the amazing
"Mr. Please, Please" himself,
the star of the show,
James Brown
and the Famous Flames.
He would go up
to the Apollo Theater
and they'd be standing
around the Apollo Theater
for the next show
and that'd be around
from one end of the Apollo
around to the other end.
And that's around the block.
And they'd be standing there
for the next one.
That next show let out,
and they let them people in,
and then another line is there,
waiting to get in.
And those blocks are not short.
They made money.
James Brown is just so linked
with the Apollo
in terms of a standard that
was set, in the '60s onward.
It was the peak
of the chitlin' circuit,
so the bands would be
touring around
and they would arrive
in New York City
to show off what they had been
honing on the road.
You'd play about six shows
a day,
each show is about two hours,
and that's a lot.
I remember going there,
and I sat in the balcony.
And there was this sort of
older lady sitting next to me
smoking a big joint.
And I didn't know
that older ladies smoked,
you know, I was a kid.
The James Brown show,
it was like a Revue show.
The band would play
a female singer would come on,
then Bobby Byrd would come on
and sing.
"TV Mama",
they said she was five by five.
She was five feet tall
and very wide,
and she would sing
the song "All Of Me".
"All of me,
why not take all of me?"
Then he would come on eventually
and do, you know, his show.
Apart from the fact
that it was very entertaining,
I was obviously learning
from him, you know,
trying to steal everything
I could possibly do.
Seeing him dancing
and doing the audience rapport.
Especially very young girls
would go to the front
and be screaming and carrying on
in all these places
where he's,
he's teasing them to do,
you know, he's like,
in total control of them.
Danny Ray was the
so-called "Cape Man."
He was the guy
during "Please, Please, Please"
that would drape that cape
over Brown.
James told me that
he was watching Gorgeous George
the wrestler one day,
after the match
they'd throw a cape on him
and he said he liked that.
Between that period of "Please,
Please, Please" and "Try Me,"
there were a gazillion singles
and none of them
were really catching on.
He felt like,
"Man, if people knew...
...what I was offering
on the stage,
they would come in droves."
Syd Nathan,
who ran King Records,
didn't want to back it.
Mr. Brown says,
"No, this has got to happen."
"I know better than this guy,
you know, about my audience
about my business."
Mr. Brown paid
for the recording himself.
That was a huge album,
and it was the worst album.
Screams and stuff all over it,
cymbals falling,
and they put that out,
just like that.
Every black household had
"Live at the Apollo Volume One".
Mine included.
Like that album was so powerful,
DJs would love to play
the entire side.
His first million seller was the
"Live at the Apollo Volume One."
It really just kind of blows up
on the national marketplace.
For an R&B record
to be released in England
it had to be quite big.
Everyone had that record
and they played it to death.
He did want the benefits
of crossing over.
He resented being pigeonholed
as a "race artist,"
but he embraced what that meant
emotionally and culturally,
so it was a very, very thin line
he was walking.
Again and again, we must rise
to the majestic heights
of meeting physical force
with soul force.
We're nonviolent with people
who are nonviolent with us.
My fellow Americans,
I am about to sign into law
the civil rights act of 1964.
This civil rights act
is a challenge to all of us,
to eliminate the
last vestiges of injustice
in our beloved country.
The James Brown tour
was able to do hundreds of shows
all over black America,
grossing about a million dollars
a year.
We're talking about '63, '64,
he became a millionaire quietly,
so a lot of what the civil
rights movement was trying to do
in terms of the hope
of economic justice,
he's already been to the top
of that mountaintop.
He's a civil rights movement
of one.
This is the group that was there
in 1964,
that's Maceo in the back.
That's Melvin Parker,
19 years old.
James told me,
"if you ever need a job,
playing those drums
the way you play,
you have a job with me."
I said, "Oh, by the way..."
"This is my brother,
my brother Maceo,
he's a saxophone player.
He needs a job, too."
He said, "Well, I don't need
a saxophone player."
And I gave him that look.
He said, "Oh, just a minute,
wait a minute, wait a minute,
we had,
we need a baritone player.
My baritone player left
the other night."
He said, "Can you
play baritone?" to Maceo.
My major instrument at the time
was the tenor saxophone,
but I answer like this, "Uhhh,"
with a long "Uhhh",
yes, sir, yes, yes I do."
I can't say no.
He said, "I tell you what,
you can meet us,
along with your brother,
two nights following.
How about that?"
And we would go,
"wow, this is great."
And then we got
The T.A.M.I Show,
now that was fun.
I have been in the
black community ever since '56,
but it really started happening
for me in 1964.
I had the pleasure
of doing The T.A.M.I Show
with the Rolling Stones,
Gerry and the Pacemakers,
the Supremes,
all the major acts, you know.
It made the white America
familiar with James Brown,
and what he was doing.
The T.A.M.I Show was
a major breakthrough.
It pitted Brown,
who had largely been confined
to the chitlin' circuit,
against all these artists
who were tearing the country up
at that time.
The T.A.M.I Show
is not really a show.
It was shot like a movie.
You break for an hour,
and then the other act comes on
and then they break for an hour,
then they re-light
and they change the audience,
and another act comes on.
The story goes
that James Brown is annoyed
that he is not closing the show,
and so I was asked
by the producers of the show
to go and talk to him
because I knew him.
I said, "sure," you know,
I was, what, 20 years old.
I was supposed to talk him down
and say:
"Yeah, don't worry it's a movie,
you don't know what's
going to happen in the movie.
They may, you know, cut it..."
which, which ever,
which is all true,
but I mean,
that wasn't really the point
as far as James Brown
was concerned.
He wasn't really that mad,
but he was a bit pissed off,
I think.
Well, wait a second,
wait a second...
He apparently said
something like,
"Well, I'm going to kill."
Well, fine,
but that, that's good.
He did.
It was definitely an apotheosis.
You were distraught to
where you'd collapse in begging.
But somehow
the strength sweeps you up,
and then you rise
like a phoenix again.
And people you could watch
in the audience
would go through this,
probably reliving
their own lives.
The idea is that he's got to be
taken away against his own will.
It's just not good for him
to do anymore.
It's obviously an act,
but you worry about him.
The people would say,
"Oh, don't take him.
He must be looked after."
You know, "I want to be the one
to look after him."
Are you ready
for the "Night Train"?
When we got to "Night Train",
Sam, the bass player,
whispered in my ear.
He said, "Melvin.
Let's see if those guys
can keep up with us."
Night! Night!
He said, "Night! Night! Train!"
It was off to the races...
There's that famous story
of Mick Jagger
standing off the side of the
stage watching Brown,
and just being devastated
and traumatized.
No, that's bullshit, because
the whole place was cleared.
And, like,
they re-lit the whole thing.
Now it went to another audience
and screaming teenage girls.
I don't think
they'd even seen James Brown.
And it was hours later.
So, what I said to him
was actually true.
But if you watch the film,
then you see us up against him.
So it's a bit...
Then you go,
like, "Well, you know,
they're not quite as good
as James Brown for real."
But, you know, whatever.
We were performing
at the Howard Theater.
We were on stage,
it was such a big ruckus
in the audience.
You know, and I said,
we must be getting down.
The people getting crazy
out there in the audience,
making all that noise,
jumping up and down.
Of course,
James Brown in the audience.
You know, so, it was so exciting
to meet James Brown, 1965.
He was at his peak.
He asked us,
would we travel with him.
It was like, oh, my God.
And he gave me the name High.
My name is Martha Harvin.
But he said to me one day,
"Martha Harvin,
that's not a name for the stage.
I got to come up
with a name for you.
Let me see.
What should I call you?
I know.
I'm going to call you
"Martha High."
And I said, Martha High?
"How you like that?"
And I said, oh, okay.
"Martha High,
that's what it's going to be."
He wanted everything.
He wanted your all.
And he gave his all.
Up until "Papa's Got
A Brand New Bag" in 1965,
all of the James Brown stuff
seemed pretty traditional.
It was like kind of coming out
of this blues gospel feel.
That, coupled with his love for
jazz and embracing the unknown,
it came as the early ingredients
of what we call funk.
"Papa's Got A Brand New Bag"
had the guitar sound.
James heard it.
"Jimmy, give me this."
I mean, the funk was just there.
Now what you had
was called a vamp.
Vamps were only used
mostly in live performances.
The vocalist wanted to talk
to the audience and jive around.
Now of course, in his live
shows, he vamped all the time.
But nobody would ever think
to go in the studio
and record the vamp.
You don't take a two bar phrase
and repeat it ad nauseam
and call that a song.
That's exactly what James Brown
wound up doing
through that period.
It was James Brown.
I think, without question,
Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis is one
of the most important co-pilots
of the James Brown sound.
Pee Wee's seriousness
and his sense of jazz
and understanding
what Mr. Brown was going for.
I think the two of them really
were a quite a formidable team.
I got drafted.
James mentioned to me
that he was thinking about
getting Bobby Bland's drummer,
Jab'o, to join the group.
I said, yes, that's what you do.
James Brown had been listening
to Bobby
and he sent one of his people
to ask me
if I wanted to join his band.
He said "Whatever they're paying
you over there with Bobby,
I will double that."
But then you have to understand
when I joined that band,
what was going on
when I first got there, too.
Five drummers on stage.
Maybe two weeks after that,
he hired Clyde.
He took me out on stage
and there was five drum sets.
Five drummers on his show,
I went, oh, my God!
You know? All these drummers.
What do he want me for?
He says,
"Pick out a set of drums.
We going to do a little jam.
See what you do."
And I was scared, number one.
I was totally scared.
I was going,
God, what am I doing?
And I left out of there
and went to the dressing room
where the band was dressing.
And there was Jab'o
sitting in there.
I said, who you used to play for
before you came here?
He says, "Bobby Bland."
I said, you played
with Bobby Bland?
That was one of my favorites.
And that's when Jab'o and I said,
man, we're not playing enough.
We got to get rid
of some of these drummers.
I go, yeah, man.
We got to get rid of them.
So we started knocking them off
until it got down
to Jab'o and I.
Jabo's style
is more of a blues shuffle.
My style is...
He plays jazz and blues more,
and I played funk and soul.
We took it over. We had it.
Attention, everyone.
James Brown is coming
to your area.
The show everyone
has been waiting to see.
The dynamic king
of rock and roll.
Star of stage, screen
and television, James Brown!
And his big variety show for '66
featuring Bobby Byrd,
the Famous Flames,
James Crawford,
"TV Mama" Elsie Mae,
The Jewels.
In the early '60s,
he worked almost constantly.
Three hundred sixty two days,
Thank you,
greetings and salutations,
ladies and gentlemen.
I'm your emcee, Danny Ray.
I would like to name a few tunes
of the past and the present.
Such tunes as "Try Me",
"Signed, Sealed and Delivered",
"Out Of Sight",
"Papa's Got A Brand New Bag",
"Oh, I Feel Good".
Introducing the King of Soul,
recently has been crowned
as one of the hardest working
entertainers in the world.
The living legend,
the fantastic, Mr. Dynamite,
James Brown!
Once he walked on stage,
the band,
we pay attention to James Brown,
nobody else but him.
You never took your eye
off of him.
Because, see, he had things
that he was doing.
I had to keep the time going
to the music,
but ready at any time
to accent his moves.
that's what we would call hits.
He'll make the hits.
We loved to do that, you know.
We would hit with him.
And he would try to trick us,
and we would get him.
If he would see
that you're not watching him,
he would change the song
just like that.
To throw you off,
and then he'll fine you.
He would go like this, you know.
That would be like five, ten,
fifteen, twenty.
He would look at a guy,
and fine them five, fifteen,
twenty dollars like that.
Oh, God, yeah.
That's $30
coming out of your pay.
For what, you don't know.
There's one more thing
I want to say right here.
I guess you can say
James Brown was a tyrant,
maybe because he fought so hard
to learn what he was doing
and learn every aspect
of his business.
He set the bar very, very high.
There was nobody
in the business, period,
that dressed no better
than the James Brown Band.
Oh, man.
He would play seven days a week,
tailor your uniforms
twice a gig,
show up every gig,
pressed, clean.
I don't know how we did it.
I can't even remember
how we did it.
He would look me up and down
and say,
"Miss High...
...that dress has gotten tight."
He was very particular
about what you wore
or how you look.
We had fines if you didn't
have creases in your clothes.
Fines if your shoes
weren't together.
And then it got to where
you had to ride on the bus
in a suit and tie.
As he always said,
"Well, you can't never tell
what might happen.
Somebody might be there,
and you'd be already dressed."
He preached stage decorum.
Mister this, Mister that. Pride.
It was all positive.
As the years went on, I said,
the Mister thing,
where did that come from?
He said, "Alan,
you got to understand something.
Where I grew up, when I grew up,
I was always Jimmy.
My name ain't never been Jimmy.
If they wouldn't call me James,
you know they really
weren't going to call me mister.
But I reached a point
where if you were willing
to do business with me,
you had to call me mister.
And the only way to do that
is set the example."
I realized how that really
had contributed
to his relationships
with white people.
particularly in the South,
who controlled
a lot of the venues.
Business is a part
you've got to adapt yourself to
so you can be prepared
for whatever might come up.
I work with the artists,
and I've...
Forever and ever talking
and trying to get the fellows
to get their business together.
James was in charge
of whatever happened
with his organization.
The manager that he had,
Ben Bart,
it's still was James
that made the decisions
as to what happened.
Because everything
had to come through him.
He saw people like Berry Gordy
and what they were accomplishing
and he wanted to be
a part of that.
He didn't want to just be
that guy who sings and dances.
But then
there was The Ed Sullivan Show.
I was talking
to young Jim Brown,
he was born in Augusta, Georgia.
Where he worked on a farm,
picked cotton
and worked in a coal yard,
and always sang his songs.
So we are delighted
to present James Brown
on our stage on this show.
So let's have a fine welcome
for a very fine talent.
I remember when James Brown
was booked to play Ed Sullivan
for the first time,
black radio was promoting it
like a major event.
Understand when black artists
would come on Ed Sullivan,
they would usually come on
and perform
with Ed Sullivan's house band,
who were excellent musicians.
But you got no soul
out of them at all.
James Brown made it clear
he was coming on one way
and one way only,
and that was with his full band.
So you were going to see
the James Brown Show.
Sullivan was the kind of show
where the whole family sat
in front of the TV on Sunday
and watched together.
So my mom and dad, it's like,
"Oh, that James Brown
you always talk about."
It was like watching something
from outer space for them.
And I imagine white America,
probably their jaws dropped.
The Ed Sullivan Show
was the peak
of American musical
entertainment at that time.
The black community
was very proud
that he would be
on the same show
that presented Elvis
and the Beatles,
and that catapulted him
to a whole new level.
My act was so revolutionary,
they couldn't believe it.
I got so many applause
at the dress rehearsal,
they didn't know if they should
keep the dress rehearsal
or film it again.
I was sure of myself,
I knew what I had.
Fine. Thank you very,
very much.
Singing was the first step to
the real things I wanted to do.
Programs normally seen
at this time
will not be broadcast
in order to bring you
this CBS News Special Report:
The March in Mississippi.
I plan to begin my voter
registration march
into Mississippi on Sunday,
June 5th, 1966,
from the downtown
Memphis Peabody Hotel.
They call it the place
where the Delta begins,
the Mississippi Delta
of rich soil and big plantations
and a population
that is predominantly Negro.
"If I can walk through
Mississippi without harm,"
Meredith told reporters,
"other Negroes
will see that they can, too."
Not everyone
was glad to see him.
Two miles further on,
Meredith was felled
by three shotgun blasts.
From the moment
the civil rights leaders
rushed in to continue
James Meredith's march,
there's been a struggle
to see whose philosophy
would guide the steps.
The moderates or the militants.
- What do you want?
- Freedom!
- When do want it?
- Now!
- How much of it do you want?
- All of it!
- We want Black Power!
- Black Power!
We want Black Power!
What do you want?
Black Power!
As we went down the highway,
we recognized that
we had to overcome our fears.
And we also knew
that we had to challenge
the old tactics and strategies
of the civil rights movement.
It was just too slow
for the younger generation.
We wanted our freedom
and we wanted it then.
Black Power!
- What do you want?
- Black Power!
We had some situations
where they used tear gas
and beat the hell out of people.
But we began to recognize
that we gonna actually make it
to the state capitol
and we said that we needed
a major event.
And who was the better person
to carry the message
we're trying to carry in,
but a soul singer
like James Brown.
Like a lot
of black entertainers,
as the civil rights movement
really begins to pick up steam,
they had to kind of pick a side.
He said, "You got to understand,
I don't believe in non-violence.
You grew up admiring Dr. King.
I respected him,
but I carried two or three guns
all the time.
But I wanted to reflect
the fervor of what's going on."
When we flew into Jackson,
they met us out there
and they had the dogs
and the guns.
They surrounded his plane while
we went in to do the concert.
I don't know if I had enough
time to be afraid.
It was touchy.
At Tougaloo College,
just eight miles
outside of Jackson, Mississippi,
Hollywood and Broadway's salute
to the Meredith Marchers.
The program has just started
and on the stage right now,
James Brown.
Let's join him there.
Dr. King and all the other
civil rights leaders
were working out the program
for the next day.
And Dr. King said,
"Look here, you all.
You all can sit around here and
have this argument if you want to.
I'm going to go see James Brown."
It was just euphoria
all over the place,
that James Brown is here
with us, you know.
And he said, "Hey, you all,
you marched all the way through
and you have fought back
and gave a courageous fight."
He just galvanized the crowd.
We have Dr. Martin Luther King
right before the platform.
Dr. King, what do you think
of this rally tonight?
Oh, it's a marvelous turnout
and I'm happy about the fact
that many of our
outstanding entertainers
have been willing to take time
out of their very busy schedules
to be a part of this struggle.
On that particular occasion,
it was James Brown
that made the difference.
He found a way to fit in
and contribute,
but also to learn a lot
about the people who were trying
to change America.
The James Brown you witnessed,
the rest of this show.
This is Black Power, baby.
"In A Cold Sweat", cut one.
He said...
"In a Cold Sweat", cut two.
By 1967,
when "Cold Sweat" comes out,
now he was officially away
from the rest of the pack.
"Cold Sweat" is a vamp.
But you have
all these different parts.
It was this juxtaposition
of something being tight
but very loose at the same time.
And that's what jazz
really is all about.
Maceo Parker is probably
the most recognizable sound
of the James Brown Band.
When he got to the point
where he start calling my name,
telling me to come out and play,
it was like, "Wow."
When I recognized I could hear
the funky side of stuff,
I said, well, I got to use that
because there is nobody
that can hear it like I do.
And he appreciated that.
Now give the drummer some.
Give the drummer some.
Give him some! Drummer, you got it!
Now, Clyde Stubblefield,
he was almost
like part man, part machine.
Clyde had all these subtleties,
this kind of bouncy left hand.
Music, and especially with soul
and funk music,
it's based on a very simple
emphasis of the one.
Now, in gospel music,
if you played direct rhythm
with the tambourine,
adding grace notes
is those small notes.
And that's the sound of church.
Clyde Stubblefield had perfect
grace notes on his snare.
I never took lessons.
Music, to me,
looked like Chinese writing.
So, I don't know.
I play from my heart and soul.
That concept of the one,
it changed the emphasis
from where it had been in jazz.
In jazz,
it had been on the two and four.
That's two, four.
You move into the funk period,
they change the emphasis
to the one and the three,
and put it down on the bottom
with the drums,
to pick you up,
drop you back down.
Give the band
a big round of applause!
When I joined the band,
he had "Cold Sweat" as a hit.
I didn't like it, you know.
I said it's incorrect, you know.
It's bad, bad musically.
It had a bridge
that didn't go with the head.
But I decided to take the job
to get out of the South,
and go to New York
and be discovered
as a great jazz trombone player.
And even though I wasn't crazy
about these songs,
I knew that they were different
from the ordinary rhythm
and blues that was happening.
And the band performed them
real good.
The thing about performing live
is there's this energy going on
between the musicians
and the audience.
You don't get that
in a recording studio.
That doesn't mean you can't make
great music in a studio.
You just have to have
a different discipline.
I think Mr. Brown's
studio recordings
are somehow just live shows
with no audience there.
James always had to work himself
into what you were recording.
You used to hate to do that.
You'd go from this time of day
till next day almost.
He would come in and say,
"Wait a minute, Jab.
Let me show you
how I want it to go."
So I'm, okay.
And he would get up, you know,
and he'd sit there
and whatever it was
he was doing.
And he said, "You got it?"
And I would say, yeah.
So I would go back and play
what I already was playing.
"That's it, you got it."
And you just laugh to yourself
and keep going.
James is not trained at all.
Which makes it difficult
to understand
what he's talking about.
He knows that he's working
with musicians
who are the best
at what they do.
He doesn't care.
He's like, "Look,
I know you can read music.
I can't do any of that.
But you still got to follow me
because I'm the man."
Part Two of "Get it Together",
they're having an open rehearsal
right in the middle of the song.
I'm thinking,
he left this on the record?
This is brilliant.
"Engineer, I got to go.
Fade it out."
You don't say that
on the record.
I was like, man, this is raw.
When he get through
in the recording studio,
they would print up his records
right there,
next door, in King Studio.
So everything
was coming out in a day.
Didn't take no week or nothing,
just right there.
He owned King Studio,
not money-wise, but talent-wise.
There was no other artist
who had that kind of control
or those kinds of resources.
At that time, his manager,
Ben Bart passed away in 1968.
From that point on, James Brown
was essentially self-managed.
All he talked about was,
how much money he could make
and how big he was.
Sometimes we'd
start a conversation
about football or baseball,
but he'd always get right back
to what song we were going to do
and who messed up
and stuff like that.
He never partied with the band.
It was not a business with us.
He was mainly
with his girlfriends,
and once in a blue moon
he might ride the bus.
He didn't have any friends,
no close friends.
He had to force people
to be around him.
I think he was lonely.
He grew up with a sense
that you really
can't trust anybody.
This is a guy who basically
was taught at a very early age
you can't trust your mother.
Not to say you didn't love her,
but you can't trust her.
Because she's gone.
He was absolutely haunted
by that.
I remember one night we were
riding around and I told him,
I come out of a broken home,
my father left.
He looked at me and said,
"Your father left?
My mother and father left me.
My father gave me to my aunt.
I was raised in a whore house."
He said,
"I'd watch the church women come
and turn tricks all day
and leave at 4:30
so they could be home
to cook for their husbands
and they didn't know
that they were prostitutes."
To grow up like that, it's hard
for you to trust anybody.
I think it also
was why he was a loner.
And once he came of age,
he could never shake that.
We were in Sacramento
and we performed,
and he left without making sure
that the bus could get us back
to the East Coast.
We basically quit.
Eventually everybody
came back to him
but he was angry about it.
He would remind them, you know,
"You left me, you left me.
And I don't trust you
because you left me."
And I think
that was one of his reasons too
of not really getting close
to anyone in the band.
Didn't matter where I was.
I was always strapped.
Because sometimes
James had good days,
sometimes he had bad days.
I didn't want to be a part
of the bad days.
We're in Minneapolis, Minnesota,
I can't forget that.
Gertrude Saunders,
the wardrobe mistress,
comes down, said,
"Hey, Melvin, Maceo.
He wants you guys up
to the dressing room right now."
As we walked in the door,
Tony Walker, the henchman,
is strapping on his .45.
James is doing his hair
and looking in the mirror.
He says, "Maceo, they tell me
you picking at me on the bus."
He put the comb down,
and he stood up
and turned around,
started to walk toward us.
He said, "When we come for you,
you better be ready."
I could see with that left hand,
he was getting ready
to punch Maceo in the mouth
so that he couldn't play
his horn.
I pushed Maceo to the side,
went in my pocket
at the same time, pulled it out.
When you have that automatic,
you always keep one
in the chamber.
Pump it.
Let him know that it's loaded.
When I hit it, the .32 shell
went up in the air,
came down,
seems as if it was slow motion.
And when it landed on the floor,
it hit, boom, boom, boom.
I stuck it right in his nose,
and I said, "I'm ready now.
What do you want to do?
What do you want to do, huh?
What do you want to do?"
He put his hands up and said,
"No, no, no, no, no!
I didn't mean that!
Not like that! Not like that!"
I said, "you don't come for me.
You don't come for my brother."
And that was that.
You had to approach him
with strength.
You had to always be a man.
And I really loved the guy.
But I could never say to him,
"Hey, man, I love you, man."
Because he had a way
of taking advantage of that,
or taking that for weakness.
With men,
he isn't that super tough guy.
He wants to be. He is not.
He is with women.
Brown would be a super tough guy
with women.
And the women do what he want,
when he want, so...
I do remember
the lady that he was dating
when I first joined him.
She only focused on him.
She would never turn
and look at anyone.
Not unless he said, "Baby, look.
You know, there's the Jewels."
And then she'll turn around,
He was very jealous.
He was a very jealous man.
But I don't think that any woman
deserves to be beaten.
I know he was arrested
for domestic violence,
and he has told me he hit women.
I remember he got into one fight
that I was in the hotel.
I walked him out of the room.
When I came in,
they obviously been fighting.
And we went down
and sat by the pool,
and he looked at me,
he said, "Reverend."
He said, "Don't ever hit a
woman. Don't be like me."
He said, "I come from
generations of that.
It's wrong."
Pillage, looting,
murder and arson
have nothing to do
with civil rights.
They are criminal conduct
and the federal government
has no alternative
but to respond.
I think we've got to see a riot
is a language of the unheard,
and what is it that America
has failed to hear?
It has failed to hear
that the economic plight
of the Negro poor has worsened.
We've got to turn our backs
on this country.
This country has never cared
about black people.
Soul is when a man
has to struggle all his life
to be equal to another man.
Soul is when a man pays taxes
and still he comes up second.
Soul is when a man is judged
not by what they do,
but what color they are.
The rebellions that we see
are merely dress rehearsals
for the revolution
that's to come.
We've got some difficult days ahead,
but I want you to know tonight
that we, as a people,
will get to the Promised Land.
At 7:10 this evening,
Martin Luther King
was shot in Tennessee.
Martin Luther King,
20 minutes ago, died.
Probably the most important show
of James Brown's career
is April 1968.
Martin Luther King
had just been assassinated,
and all of America
is erupting in violence.
We were on the way to Boston
and we didn't know
if the show was going to happen.
We knew that Dr. King was shot.
He was dead.
And we didn't know
what that meant for us.
The band was kind of fearful.
The Mayor didn't want James
to come there and do that show.
But that city councilman
told him upfront.
If you don't let him
do that show,
they are going to burn this
city down, and he was serious.
They were poised
to do just that.
I think there's reason
for apprehension
but not a lot.
Boston has great hope
and we are a mature,
patient community
and I hope
we're going to weather this.
Tonight you've turned the Brown
concert into a memorial service.
We're going to broadcast that live
and I assume you feel that
that will have an effect
in the community.
Well, I'm hoping it's one valve
that will let off some steam
and I think it's
an appropriate place to have it
because it's
a peaceful gathering
and that's synonymous
with everything that King did.
Thank you very much,
ladies and gentlemen.
I want to say thanks
for coming out to see the show
and you've made it possible
for me
to be a first class man
in all respects.
Thank you.
In Augusta, Georgia,
I used to shine shoes
on the steps of a... Thank you.
In front of a radio station
called "WRDW."
I used to shine shoes
in front of that station
and I think we started off...
I used to get three cents,
then up to five cents,
then finally,
I got to six cents.
But now, I own that station.
You know what that is?
That's black power.
When we did the show,
we were hurt
but you didn't think
about anything
but doing that show at the time.
Wait a minute.
Move off.
I'll be all right, I'll be fine.
I'm all right, I'm all right.
I'm all right, I'm all right.
You want to dance?
People started rushing the stage
and we weren't playing no more
but they came on, getting ready
and trying to come all up
on the stage
and the police was pushing them,
the guards and everything
was pushing them off the stage
and Brown says,
"Hold it, hold it, hold it."
Wait a minute, wait a minute,
wait a minute,
they all right. It's all right.
That's all right,
that's all right.
Now look,
wait a minute, wait a minute.
Let me finish the show,
now wait a minute,
let me finish the show
for everybody else.
I didn't know what to say
about that myself.
I'm sitting there on the drums
still just waiting, you know,
like, wow, what's going on?
This is no way.
We are black, we are black!
Now wait a minute,
can't you all brother
get down from there
and let's do this show together.
We are black,
don't make us all look bad,
let me finish doing the show.
Get off the stage,
step down there.
Let's represent our own selves.
Now step down.
No, no, that's not right.
You're not being fair
to yourselves or me, either.
You're not being fair
to yourself or me or your race.
Now I asked the police
to step back
because I think I can get
some respect from my own people.
It don't make sense.
Now are we together or we ain't?
Hit the thing, man.
I was like, oh, my God.
You did not just stop the show,
told people off, then went like
"All right,
let's get it together. Hit it."
If I were in the band,
I would've been like,
Uhh, that's my cue, goodbye.
See you.
There's like a riot
about to break out.
I'm out, James.
Oh, God, he handled that crowd
like he was the King
and they respected him.
He cleared them up
and there wasn't
no more fighting or nothing.
It could have been
a turnout of that place.
He was damn good.
Boston was one of the few cities
that avoided any sort
of a fire retaliation
in the inner cities.
Everyone stayed calm.
Trouble was very minimal.
We'd like to announce
that the city
is very quiet and calm,
and the report also states
that everyone is home
watching the TV program.
So I think the fact
that we do have
the television cameras here,
I think it was a big success.
I wanted to see people
get off the streets,
I wanted them to calm down,
I didn't want to see
no more bloodshed
and lives lost.
But yet, still,
I shared in the same convictions
of the people on the streets
because I understood
what they were fighting for.
Around the country,
I've been doing a lot of things,
I guess
I'm real concerned about people.
Overlooking the city,
overlooking Harlem,
I've seen
all the torn buildings,
buildings that still standing
that should be removed
and you know who lives there?
The black people.
You know, in Washington,
houses that we were walking
in front of, condemned,
and no one can be living
in these houses.
I went to Watts,
I found a lot of people
staying in an area
that didn't have nothing
to offer.
I went from black America
and I started talking
to the white America
and I was saying,
these are the things
that has to be done,
we need education worse
than any other race.
We got to go to the people
that are not even surviving.
My fight is just starting.
My fight is against the past,
the old colored man.
My fight now
is for the black America
become American.
Here he comes.
Come here, James.
Come here.
He's my friend.
First, I would like
to say good morning.
I want to say this:
We would like to know sometimes
what's going to be done
for black people.
The black man wants ownership.
He wants to be able
to own his own things
and make up his own mind.
Number one
in the black community,
the lower income areas,
we need housing,
so we don't have to stay
in the dump,
like I've stayed in
when I was a kid.
We need our own banks
so we can get some money
to do things by ourselves.
We don't want nobody
to do it for us,
we want to do it by ourselves.
Now the candidate that gives me
those kind of things,
that's the man I endorse.
I don't endorse the party,
I endorse the man.
- So good.
- So good.
Ladies and gentlemen,
welcome to Black Dignity.
This Sunday afternoon will be
our most spectacular program.
This is not only
Soul Brother Number One,
and rhythm and blues
but there is no man in our race
who has gone
as far as he's gone.
Welcome James Brown
to Black Dignity.
Thank you, brother Don.
All right, we are ready to go
for some calls,
and, ask whatever you want.
Hello, this is Don Warden,
you are on Black Dignity.
- What's happening, James?
- How you feel, brother?
All right. Well, I just want
to ask you one question.
I would like to know
why you got your process out?
Well, this is a black move
and regardless
of what you are thinking,
we all got to think one way
and when we look alike,
we can think alike.
You know, the way I see it,
it's really what's in the mind
that counts.
Well, the mind counts,
but see,
we all don't have a good image
and the image is like, black.
we've never thought together.
You know, in Africa,
a man can do what he want to do
because he know who he is.
Over here, you don't know.
So first, we got to get
our image, our identity.
Everybody thought
when James Brown cut his hair
and went natural, that was it,
that was the height
of the black power era.
James Brown was known
for his hair,
he was absolutely fascinated
with the "Conk" as we called it.
And for him to give it up
was to show
he ultimately did feel
that blacks needed
to learn their natural pride.
Hello, this is Don Warden,
you're on Black Dignity.
I wanted to tell you
that I'm glad you got rid
of that stuff you had
in your hair
and I wish everybody
would wear a natural
and be what they are
supposed to be.
How are you going to get respect?
I'm black and proud.
He told me,
"I was in Los Angeles
and there was
all this in-fighting,
this crime and all,"
and he said that "I looked
and I said to myself,
we've lost our pride."
He said, "I went to my room
and I sat down and started
writing on a napkin."
On the spur of the moment,
it became a song
that literally changed
the social dynamics
of the United States.
Mr. Brown is Number One
Soul Brother United States.
He's black and he's proud.
- He brings out the good in me.
- He's like the preacher.
First thing,
a man has to be a man
and when we say, "Negro,"
this is a term that's been used
so many times
but I don't particularly care
for that term.
I'd rather be a black man
because that's identity.
A black man is a man
who want to pay his own way,
who want to earn his own keep,
a man that stands up among men.
You see, when you stand up
in the States
they say you're a militant
but I say you're a man.
As an eight-year-old
"Say It Loud I'm Black
And I'm Proud" was very clear.
I remember defining myself
as these American terms
of Negro to colored to black.
Because of that one song,
black was beautiful,
the beginning
of being beautiful.
I was 13
and it was revolutionary,
because not only did some whites
look down us,
there were many
light-skinned blacks
that looked down
on dark-skinned blacks.
And overnight,
dark-skinned girls
became the thing you wanted.
Overnight, James Brown changed
our whole teenaged life.
There was fear he had alienated
his white audience
and white people began
to be afraid
to come to the shows.
I don't think
that was his plan at all.
Brown's whole sound
is an assertion
of black beauty and black pride.
There is a black revolution
taking place on many campuses.
Now, what is your feeling
about this?
Well, that's very complicated.
The blacks on the campus
in the first place
are complete separatists,
the campuses I've visited.
They don't associate
with the whites,
they don't eat with the whites,
they advocate
their own dormitories.
They seem to me to be going
back in time to separatism,
when there was a white society
and a black society.
I got to disagree
with you there now.
I think it's wrong for blacks
to eat with blacks
and whites to eat with whites.
- Well, wait a minute...
- We have been fighting forever
to get together.
Why can't I know about me,
if you know about yourself?
I know more about you
than you do about me.
You know nothing about me.
That probably true, Jimmy,
but it's not-
But I have to know that.
Do you call yourself a man,
knowing that I pay taxes
same as you,
to stay right here
and use my sweat and blood
to help build this country
and I got to be a second
or third class citizen?
Do you call that a man?
I believe you ought to be
as good as me and do...
Ought to be?
I know I'm good as you!
What do you mean, ought to be?
- But the conditions...
- What conditions?
You haven't had
a fair crack at it.
A fair crack?
How long does it take, man?
I'm 36 years old,
when am I supposed
- to be a grown man?
- Now.
Oh, I'm supposed to be
a grown man at 21, man,
no, no, not 36.
Jimmy, I'm on your side.
What are you so mad about?
I'm not mad,
I'm just disappointed in you
being ignorant
to what's going on, man,
you just don't know
what's happening.
This is not really a joke.
You're laughing at something
that's going to be a big problem.
Because you got kids out there
that can't eat
and they are robbing
and stealing
doing what they have to do
to make it
and if you don't do
something about it,
we're going to lose the country,
There is a new survey
out today...
We don't want the survey,
the survey is out there
on the street.
Wait a minute, Jimmy,
you can't do that.
You've got to open your ears.
My ears has been open,
have your eyes been open?
Nixon's the one.
His lead over Humphrey
was so close but he won it
and, in winning that,
he won the presidency.
According to present statistics,
only 10 percent of the black
vote was cast for Nixon.
The president has proposed
several plans
which he claims will assist
the Afro American
to get a piece of the action.
The president calls it
"Black Capitalism."
Richard Nixon saw
there was this great desire
among professional
middle class members
of the black community
to make it in America.
James Brown was privately
very politically conservative.
He had supported Humphrey in '68
but James Brown believed
in bootstrap economics,
lift yourself up.
So the appeal of Richard Nixon,
which was a total,
total atrocity to me
but to James Brown
it was black capitalism.
We got a food franchise getting
started called "Gold Platter."
It's basically set up
to get the black man
into being able to run
and own his own business.
It's geared to the ghetto
because I think
every man should help
where he understands
where it's needed most.
And we have
the James Brown food stamps,
which is very important.
This is the idea of us
getting together
an idea of getting money
into the black community.
If we keep the turnover going,
then we shall overcome,
only if we all come over.
If I could give you
one specific James Brown song
where the "one" is underlined
bold and italic...
...I would say, "I Don't Want
Nobody To Give Me Nothing."
The James Brown hard beat
was the one.
It's the beat, but it's also
that you're the one,
you're setting the tone,
you're the trailblazer.
He told me,
"You can't be big and small
at the same time, Reverend,
you got to be the one."
"You got to be the one."
At that time, Nixon was
preaching self-reliance
and not really espousing
systematic structural change
in society.
And in a way that fed
into Brown's own illusion
that he had done it himself
and that, if he could do it,
other people could do it,
just by working hard.
But the fact of the matter is,
Brown was a supernaturally
talented individual.
Not everyone else
is that talented
or that ruthless,
or that driven.
Well, you know, he said
he was a businessman.
But he never took care
of business.
He just hung on to his money,
you know.
When you tried to own
a radio station, they failed,
a restaurant, they failed,
you know.
I mean, this is a man
that would pack an auditorium,
take boxes of money
out of that auditorium,
and not pay the band.
When you got ready to get paid,
you know,
"Hey, look,
we don't have all of the money.
We're going to pay you this amount
and you get the rest
the next couple of days."
And sometimes, it would happen
and sometimes it wouldn't.
Actually, we didn't get nothing
from anything, just a salary.
The most money I made
was around $300
and I don't remember getting
any checks for recording.
It was just my regular salary.
I had gotten to be sort of like
a handyman, you know.
For whatever reasons.
You know, James would say,
"Oh, you're not such a big deal,
Maceo could do that I bet you."
And I hear him, you know,
from a distance saying,
"Oh, Lord, what is he
getting me into now?"
He and I got together, I said,
"Man, I'm working hard,
am I being, you know, funded
for all this work?"
And the answer to that was, no.
Get your James Brown programs!
His attitude towards politics
was the same attitude
that he took towards his music.
On stage, he was the front man
that channeled the energy
coming from the band
in a totally unique way.
But it is very easy to fall
into the illusion
that it's all coming from you.
There's no way
that the James Brown sound
would have come together
without the Maceos,
the Freds, the Pee Wees, Clyde
and on down the line.
If it wasn't for Pee Wee,
we wouldn't know
what to do, you know.
When I came to work for him
in November of '69,
the thing that I sensed,
once I got kind
of "behind the scenes,"
was the discontent in the band.
The band had just reached
a point
where they were pumping each...
"We don't need to take this."
And they came to James
with an ultimatum
with a list of their gripes
one by one,
and James is just not the kind
of guy to be intimidated.
He's like a stone.
You know, he's like a stone.
You know?
"I will not be moved."
What happened is he sent
Bobby Byrd to Cincinnati,
to round up Bootsy Collins,
his brother Catfish,
and their little group.
They had a five
or six-piece band.
And he had Bobby bring them down
to Georgia.
He came in a James Brown
...sent a limo to the club
over in this rat hole
where we was playing at
and picked us up
and everybody was looking at us
like, "Wow."
You know, and we was, like
"Yeah, James Brown," you know.
But we didn't find out
what he really wanted
until we actually got there.
He parades towards the stage
with this new band.
So the old guys
are just sitting there,
literally holding
their instruments and uniforms,
watching Bootsy
and these guys walk on stage.
That was the sad part
because they were our heroes
and we could see,
it's like, dag,
these cats are mad
about something.
We didn't know what it was.
Everybody got their bags
and instruments,
and who ever had cabs
or rented cars, everybody left.
And I'm the only somebody
that was left.
I guess he didn't want to get
into details
because the people
were at riot stage,
so he didn't have no time
for no explanations to us
and this and that.
And, plus,
we didn't need no explanation.
It was like, "What you want us
to do, you know? We ready."
I see a few new faces
in the band.
Yes, this is a New Breed band.
Kids like to see
the young kids up there.
That's the idea.
These were definitely
his peak years,
so to lose his band and have
that kind of a transition
was pretty shocking
and those of us in the office
were really worried about it.
And I'll never forget
the first show
that I saw with the new band,
which was about a week or two
into their tenure,
that just to me,
sounded horrible.
I had to be something
like around 17, 18.
I want to go out there
and have fun
I want to get girls
like my brother's getting girls.
James talking about,
"Nah, son, nah."
"Nah, can't go out there
and play tonight, nah.
Got to ride with me.
Ride with me, son."
He wanted to know
what was on my mind.
"Why are you laughing
at my shoes?" You know,
"What's wrong with my cape?"
You know, I'm saying, I mean,
"wouldn't you wear this?"
He wanted to know,
what a young kid,
how he thought about it.
I remember flying
on the jet with him.
He'd be telling jokes.
I mean,
he was the worst joke teller,
I mean, God.
But he would be cracking up
and then he'd act like
he'd go to sleep on you
and he would bow his head
a little bit,
then he shut one eye
and then he keep
the other eye on you.
That's what he did to me
all the time.
I say,
don't you go to sleep at all?
And he was "Nah, you know,
75 percent business,
and 25 percent music."
He said, "Watch me
and get yourself together.
It ain't just coming out here
and lolly-gagging
and having a good time."
He wanted me to see
that it took hard work.
I'm like, 'What?'
And James Brown,
he wasn't on to the new style
that was coming in.
It really started
with James Brown teaching me
about the one.
"Just give me the one, then you
can play all that other stuff.
But if you give me that one
you can play that."
And he would tell me that
every night.
"Nah. You haven't got it, son."
"No, son, you haven't got it."
You know?
And I mean, it was so cold,
it was like, dag.
Little did I know that the way
he was drilling us,
was all the encouragement
we really needed, you know,
because it made me
want to practice harder.
He always said
"Catfish understood," you know,
because Catfish was older
than me
and he wasn't wild like me.
He really loved my brother.
I could see the love.
Bootsy and Catfish,
they brought
a complete different rhythm.
I had to adjust
to playing with them,
playing James' stuff.
He took the funk from the drum
and put it in the bass.
It was a life-changing moment.
We got the rehearsals,
we got tight.
James started digging it,
you know, he started grooving.
He started opening up
after he starts
seeing that it was
somewhere else to go.
And it was on then.
- Fellas!
- Yeah!
- Fellas!
- Yeah!
I'm ready to get up
and do my thing.
I wanna to get up
and do my thing.
- Like a...
- What?
- Like a...
- What?
Like a sex machine.
- Got to got it on. Got it on.
- Got it on. Got it on.
1, 2, 3, 4...
The song "Sex Machine"
came about on the bus.
The lyric wasn't saying
all that much
but the fact that we were saying
"Sex Machine,"
which weren't supposed
to be said on records,
you know what I'm saying,
you can't say that,
you can't say sex, you know,
and that kind of thing
and they let it out,
and, of course, at that time,
maybe things was changing.
Once "Sex Machine" came out,
and once he had enough time
to really rehearse that band
and rearrange his music
to fit that band,
it really did kind of reinvent
the James Brown template.
And reinvigorated the show
and, frankly,
the box office results.
And, you know, six months later,
we're like, okay, we're safe.
Just 24 hours ago,
these streets were filled
with rioters, looters
and burglars.
Six men are dead,
51 businesses have been burned,
and the National Guard
was called in,
while city officials
and black leaders
tried to work out
their differences.
Negro entertainer, James Brown,
flew into his hometown
and went on television to tell
black people to "cool it."
We're can all walk
to the bargaining table
and sit down and be men
and human beings
and find something that...
Find a medium of reasoning.
Brown toured the troubled area,
asking for calm.
Many blacks say
they listened to him
and would not have listened
to anyone else.
Jim Whipkey, WSB News, Augusta.
Do you feel that whites,
have they accepted you
because of your ability
to deal with your people?
I don't like the word accept,
you know.
You are a beautiful young man
but I think you're
interviewing me a little wrong.
How's that, sir?
I don't think you understand me.
Number one, I'm not trying
to prove nothing to the white,
that I can be a head nigger.
See, that's not my bag.
I'm a man.
I'm not trying to make
the white man accept me
but I would like for people
to accept me
whether black or white,
you know,
and understand what I'm doing
but if they don't I still got
to do what I feel like is right.
I'm not a cat that get up there
grinning and laughing
and say take me in,
please, you know.
I'm saying
don't give me nothing,
just open the door
and I'll get it myself.
Mr. Brown, why are you endorsing
President Nixon?
Well, I'm endorsing
President Nixon
because I believe in the future
of the country lies
with Mr. Nixon
and I feel that some
of the things he's done
is very close to my heart
as a minority, as a black man.
I think James Brown
was going to endorse
whoever was going
to give him an audience.
If a poor kid from Augusta
who's a soul singer
can get the White House
on the phone
once or twice a year,
that's more important
than having the phone numbers
of the guy who lost.
And that confused the hell out
of a lot of people.
He did not see any difference
between being strong black,
strong cultural,
authentic who you was
but politically being
conservative and Republican
and it was this paradox.
So are you saying
that you're Republican
or Democrat, sir?
I'm saying that I'm a countryman
and I'm endorsing the country
and I feel that my best way
of endorsing the country
is to come
and endorse Mr. Nixon.
James and Nixon had talked
and on occasions,
and Nixon was going
to change some things.
Before he got
into this Nixon thing
people would tell him to just be
a musician, be a singer.
Stay out of the eyes
of the camera
because that is going to cause you
a problem down the road
and, of course, it did.
The blacks turned against him,
the albums were being burned
and the record sales
went plummeting.
He knew
that he would be attacked
and people picketed
James Brown shows.
What amazed me
is he didn't care.
He really believed he was right.
A lot of promises were made,
a lot of things were said
that didn't never happen.
Then he got real bitter
about that situation
and he felt
that he had been letdown.
And he had been letdown.
We have a young man
in the studio
who's hereto make
a presentation to James Brown
and his name is Al Sharpton.
1973, I was 18.
I had a met a young man
named Teddy Brown,
who was James Brown's son.
And Teddy got killed
in a car accident.
James Brown and I
became very close,
and eventually he became
the father I didn't have,
and I became
the replacement for Teddy.
Then he flew me to California
to give him an award
on Soul Train.
What do we have here?
Well, we feel "The Payback"
is sort of like the theme song
of young black America in 1974
because it says
many of the things
that young blacks
have tried to say
and could not musically express
in our own little way.
We weren't from
the "We Shall Overcome" era.
We grew up in the
"I'm Black and Proud"
and "Payback" era,
and it was that era
that introduced those of us
that grew up in the 70's,
80's, 90's.
By the mid 70's,
James Brown was so much
of the basic fabric
of American music.
You could definitely tell
his musical children
with no problem.
Easily Michael Jackson,
easily Prince.
Most people,
when they look at the mustache
period of James Brown,
see that as sort of
the beginning-of-the-end period.
But the true disciple of the
mustache period is Prince.
So even James Brown's
down period was influential.
In the late 1970's
when they said
Mr. Brown was having
all kinds of issues
and problems
getting a hit record,
he was hot in the DJ community.
The B-boys
and the hip hop artists
were playing
"Get On The Good Foot"
and especially
the Sex Machine album.
"Give It Up Or Turn it A Loose"
was the hip-hop
b-boy break dance anthem,
so it was like an obvious thing
to actually mimic Mr. Brown.
In the mid 80's,
there was a period
in which producers
would take
these James Brown breaks
and create all these new songs.
Funky Drummer was essential
for that classic hip-hop period.
Everybody used that sound.
I hate that song.
Was it the Funky Drummer?
I don't like that song.
We had been playing somewhere
that night before
and as we get to Cincinnati
going to check into the hotel
to go to bed,
Brown says,
"Go take them to the studio."
We all were so tired,
didn't even want to record,
so I started playing
just the drum pattern.
Brown liked it
and we recorded it
and it became our
"Funky Drummer."
They've only had
one failed single,
and that single's name
was "Funky Drummer."
Go figure.
It's like the song that birthed
my whole movement,
that magic count-off
every rapper loves to hear.
One, two, three, four, hit it!
The hip-hop act that best
utilized "Funky Drummer"
was Public Enemy.
Fight The Power also sampled
"Hot Pants Road."
It was just like,
"Wait a minute,
James Brown is like
all over hip-hop these days."
James Brown would go into a riff
and it would be a nice break.
But for a hip hop record,
you could say,
"Man, we could take this
for like, five minutes."
We are going to keep vamping
on the vamp.
"Fight The Power" comes
from James Brown
saying it like
it had to be in the 60's.
I love James Brown.
There would be no me
without James Brown
so we all owe it to James Brown.
My greatest inspiration
of all time,
musically, is James Brown.
If you listen to, like,
"Watch The Throne",
the most soulful part
of the Otis song
is that sort of climactic...
The James Brown scream,
it's gospel,
it's soulful, it's primitive,
sexual, angry...
Even now, James Brown is here,
whether you acknowledge it
or not.
He never saw himself
as a hit artist.
He always saw himself
as a historic figure.
He said, "The reason
I'm going to be historic
is I wasn't one of the boys."
And he would always tell me,
"Whatever you do in life,
be you, be different."
I think it was also why
he was off to himself
in his own way, musically...
...because he grew up
in the woods, by himself,
laid there in the whorehouse
by himself,
so it gave him the sense of,
"Me against the world."
What was his negative
may have ended up
being his strength.
When he got on that stage,
James Brown
personified his music
and he reflected
a life experience.
Ladies and gentlemen,
here he is,
the greatest entertainer
in the world,
Mr. Please Please himself,
hard-working James Brown!