“Been hearing a lot about reddit and decided to come in and have a chat,” Nile Rodgers breezily explained in his opening note to yesterday’s Ask Me Anything session. The dance music pioneer, whose star has been on the rise once again thanks in part to his prominent role on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and collaborations with other EDM artists like David Guetta and Avicii, took a moment out from touring in Japan on Saturday to answer fan questions about his time with Chic, guitar technique, future collaboration plans and more. Below, we’ve collected a few of the highlights.
How do you feel about getting recognized more and more these days following the Daft Punk collaboration?
It’s really weird to be in the spotlight so much, but Daft Punk, like Chic, are semi-anonymous and they asked me to do most of the press. Of course I love the guys and wanted the record to be heard, so I took one for the team.
What in your opinion has been the most drastic or impactful change to the music business since you started?
File sharing, and the fact that the industry DIDN’T embrace it! It should have been handled differently, because none of us mind paying for stuff we love.
How the hell did [Chic bassist Bernard Edwards] play those incredible licks and riffs and is it true that sometimes his fingers bled after chucking too hard at a gig?
He was an amazing musician and yes, his hand did bleed after some very long gigs where we’d do a lot of chucking (which is what we call playing continuous 16th notes and accenting the ones you want heard).
Have you ever had anyone disrespect your skill? And if so, how did you deal with it?
This is funny. Almost every single time I’ve played a new song for a record exec they tell me how much it and I suck. After the records become monsters, they can’t ever remember screaming at me or telling me that.
Can you give me some tips to master my right hand technique?
This is an awesome question. What I did was I practiced 32nd notes on the open notes one string at a time, and tried to cleanly move from string to string. After a while I started to learn how to mute them with my right palm to control the sympathetic notes. After months of this I emerged as the dude you hear playing now. It also works with 16th and 8th notes depending on the tempo of your metronome.
Hey Nile, do you have anything planned with Johnny Marr? That would be amazing!
Not yet but I know it’s gonna happen!
What was it like working with David Lee Roth? Any crazy stories?
I love Diamond Dave. He’s one of the most musical dudes on the planet and he doesn’t get enough creed. The 1st time I met him was at an after hours joint he operated. We were standing inch-deep in piss . . . because they used the shower as a huge urinal. That doubly sucked because I was wearing super-expensive suede shoes. UGH!
Tell us more about the recently discovered Chic Organization master tapes. Will there be a box set Vol. 2?
It’s a really long story and the music is still very close to my heart. I do know that Daft Punk will work on one of the songs, but I’m not sure I want it all to come out at once. I think you understand. It’s the one chance I get to play with my bandmates who have passed on. Sometime it’s fun to just jam with it and not have it be judged as a commercial project.
What is your all-time favourite Daft Punk track? What was it like to collaborate with them?
There’s too many great DP songs to make one superlative, but I’m awed by “One More Time” because I love watching people on the dance floor when the tempo goes away. It was great to work with them!