He’s Still Here, Bitch: The Bizarre Life of LMFAO’s Redfoo
Redfoo’s body is in Australia, but his spirit is home in L.A., unscrewing the cap off a bottle of Fireball whiskey as he prepares for a round of beer pong. Speaking over the phone, the 39-year-old — best known as the big-hair half of over-the-top family duo LMFAO — is breaking down his vision of the perfect night of partying, and this begins at 10 o’clock sharp: Roommates Q and Shufflebot — the old group’s hypeman and trademarked cyborg dancer, respectively — host guests in the living room while Redfoo holes up in his studio finishing some new tracks. Then the real work begins.
“The music is playing, the drinking games are going on, we’ve got some chips and dips,” the rapper-producer explains, setting the scene. “We’ll also be doing a wardrobe check: I kind of have an idea of what I’m wearing, but I’m looking at everybody making sure that I’m standing out and doing my own style.”
Most important, the crew that’s assembling in the living room needs to be majority female, by a ratio of at least two-to-one. “Four-to-one is just incredible,” he continues. “That really is fun: We call that a ‘fellatio ratio.’ Me and my partner from LMFAO coined that. There’s some other rules that we got from the LMFAO days, but we’ll save that until we get into the club.”
The pop-music court jester we know as Redfoo was born Stefan Kendal Gordy on September 3rd, 1975. His father is Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., but his earliest music memories came from spending time with his mother, Nancy Leiviska, the label’s VP of Video Operations and the director of clips like Rick James’ “Super Freak.” As a kid, Redfoo jumped onstage while the Temptations performed “Power” and hung around with the stars after Motown 25.
“I went to my dad’s party at his house, and all the people were at the afterparty,” he recalls. “The main person I remember was Michael Jackson: I was so tired, and he tucked me in. Everybody was hanging out and partying, and I just went to sleep. Him and my mom were right there, and they were just talking.”
Musicians like Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson (his father’s frequent backgammon opponent) were always around, but Redfoo only got interested in the family business after visiting his older brother, “Somebody’s Watching Me” singer Rockwell: “He was working on his album at my dad’s house. My brother Terry and Rockwell were producing it, and I used to watch them play on the drum machine, and I always wanted a drum machine after seeing that.”
At the time, Red’s priority was tennis, but he began to take music seriously when he moved to Sweden and a broken wrist forced him off the court. He was 16 years old, and his first songs were Christmas raps that sampled popular carols. Upon returning to America, he began programming on the Atari STE-50. In 1994, he would use the primitive sampler to score his first major production credit, flipping Teddy Pendergrass to create the beat for Ahmad’s nostalgic “Back in the Day.”