UPDATE: Thicke has released a statement through his attorney Howard King. “Robin’s moment of personal vulnerability is being exploited in the hope of diverting attention from the obvious weakness of their legal claim,” King said in a statement.
Robin Thicke claims he was “high on Vicodin and alcohol” when he recorded the funky 2013 summer anthem “Blurred Lines.” That revelatory nugget comes courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, who obtained court transcripts of Thicke’s and Pharrell Williams‘ April depositions from their ongoing battle with the estate of late soul singer Marvin Gaye. In the lawsuit, the latter group claims that writers Thicke, Williams and rapper T.I. borrowed elements of Gaye’s 1977 classic “Got to Give It Up” to craft the controversial track – but, as these insane documents show, there’s a lot more to the saga than meets the eye (and ear).
The biggest revelation is Thicke’s claim that, contrary to his statements in various interviews, he wasn’t involved at all in the songwriting or production. Instead of collaborating directly with Williams and even introducing “Got to Give It Up” as a sonic reference point, as he told GQ last year, the singer arrived at the studio in a drug-and-booze-induced haze, with Williams writing “almost every single part of the song.”
“I was jealous and I wanted some of the credit,” Thicke says in the transcripts. “I tried to take credit for it later because [Williams] wrote the whole thing pretty much by himself and I was envious of that.”
The singer – who released his seventh solo LP, Paula, back in July – admits he was only “lucky enough to be in the room” with Williams as the song was being written. And, Thicke says, other media comments perpetuating his false writing involvement – given during a year of “drug and alcohol problems” – were only an attempt to “help sell records.”
Another memorable moment finds the singer struggling to listen to a Thicke-Gaye mash-up played by the Gaye family’s attorney, Richard Busch. “It’s so hard to listen to it,” Thicke says, in reference to the clashing major-minor chords. “It’s like nails on a fucking chalkboard. . . This is [like] Stanley Kubrick’s movie Clockwork Orange. Where he has to sit there and watch. . . Mozart would be rolling in his grave right now.”
Williams’ deposition is equally fascinating, as the writer-singer-producer comments on the flawed nature of writing credits and awkwardly defends his own musical training.
“This is what happens every day in our industry,” Williams says, referencing Thicke’s co-writer credit (and 18-22 percent of publishing royalties). “You know, people are made to look like they have much more authorship in the situation than they actually do. So that’s where the embellishment comes in.”
After confirming that he can read music, Williams is shown a song transcription and asked to identify musical elements. “I’m not comfortable,” he responds eight different times, growing more hostile as Busch pushes the issue.
He also emphasizes that he was not attempting to write an homage to Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” In fact, Williams says, his creative muse is usually dictated by the artist with whom he’s collaborating.
“When I work with a person, I think about three things,” Williams says. “I think about the energy that they’re coming with, but this wasn’t the case because [Thicke] wasn’t there yet. But usually, I think about the energy and what they come in with, like what’s on their mind, you know, argument with a girlfriend, e-mail with the husband, politics, state of the world. People walk in with vibes. They walk in with feelings. This was not one of those days.”
The trial is currently scheduled for February 10th, 2015. Until then, it’s worth reading the entirety of the deposition documents over at The Hollywood Reporter.