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Black Eyed Peas Go Ape

Fire won't stop band's "Monkey Business"

August 12, 2004 12:00 AM ET
A fire broke out early Wednesday morning in the Burbank, California, studio where Black Eyed Peas have been recording their fourth studio album, Monkey Business. The blaze -- the result of candles left burning -- destroyed $500,000 worth of instruments and studio equipment, but nobody was injured.

According to a label spokeswoman, the incident is not expected to delay the release of Monkey Business, which is due November 16th.

The Peas discussed the album with Rolling Stone after a rousing performance before a celebrity-heavy crowd that included Lenny Kravitz, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis and Lindsey Lohan at a T-Mobile X-Games party last week in Los Angeles. "We recorded a lot of the new album while we were on tour," said the hip-hop crew's Fergie, "so a lot of it's got a big live feel."

"It's real aggressive," added Will.I.Am, "with edgier sounds, different polyrhythms and syncopations." He also characterizes the album -- whose first single will most likely be "Don't Mess With My Heart" -- as "darker," both in sound and subject matter, than last year's Grammy-nominated Elephunk. "The majority of the songs are about female relationships, turmoil, improvement, both personally and socially."

The Peas, who have been touring steadily for the past year, look forward to bringing the new album to the stage. "We go on the road again in September," said Will.I.Am, "and it will be all Monkey Business."

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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