Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lafayette afrorock

The Lafayette Afro Rock Band started out in New York in 1970, and moved to Paris in 71. They eventually hooked up with French producer Pierre Jaubert.

They are probably most well known from those who have sampled their work (Biz Markie, LL Cool J, Naughty by Nature, Digital Underground, De La Soul, Black Moon, Montell Jordan, Public Enemy, Masters at Work, Wreckx-n-Effect, Heavy D & the Boyz, Jay-Z and more). They were also DJ staples with the early hiphop DJs like Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa.

Pierre Jaubert was interviewed in Wax Poetics magazine in 2004, but not much is known about him. NZ journalist Martyn Pepperell interviewed him around the time Strut Records reissued their compilation Darkest Light, in 2009.

He posted up the transcript of the interview this week. It's a pretty astonishing read. Turns out Jaubert had a hand in discovering Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Here's the story of how he started the Lafayette Afro Rock Band.

"I started making jazz. I did Alan Silva, all those guys. You know? You ask me how did I find [The Lafayette Afro-Rock Band]. I had a studio where I didn’t record too much, and I had another studio in Paris in. So I did some recordings there of course, everyone would go there. My friend who had a studio, he had a studio on the other side of Paris, but he didn’t do jazz. He called me once and he said, “Look, I have these guys from New York. He wanted me to record them. He said, “Please take these guys. I don’t want to see them again. They want money for their music, please take care of that; bye bye.

So, here came Frankie [Abel] and Donny [Donable] and the rest of [The] Lafayette [Afro-Rock Band. I told the guys, “Okay, we can try something, and of course I recorded a few records with them. First I recorded with them as a group named Ice. It all started with Bobby Boyd as The Bobby Boyd Congress, and when Bobby Boyd went back to the [United] States, they made their own group named Ice.

I made two or three albums with Ice, but nobody could sell it. You know? I liked the music fine, but commercially you could not put it out there. I was speaking with a friend, Manu Dibango. He was at my place and we were kicking and he said, “You should do more with Ice. Get them singing and get a hit song. No covers.” So, okay, I did that. I did the next album, and then I needed a new name. You know? I could not call it Ice, because first legally you cannot register the name Ice.  There are many names like this that you cannot record under or register commercially. 

That is why you have so many variations. Ice Cube, Ice T, everybody is using ice. I thought, I’ll make a name that is easy to register to record under. In France we use complicated names, so The Lafayette Afro-Rock band, that name was kind of complicated. So I invented that and registered the name immediately. It was a group that did not exist. So when you ask me how you found [The] Lafayette [Afro-Rock Band]? There was no such group as [The] Lafayette Afro-Rock Band. I had to invent them.”  

Dozens of people, musicians, would play, you know? Manu Dibango! Willie Mabon. [The] Lafayette [Afro-Rock Band] was a garbage can. Everybody would come there and play with Frank Abel. Of course Frank would be there. So [The] Lafayette [Afro-Rock Band] was made up of guest people, guest musicians, and I owned the name. so [The] Lafayette [Afro Rock Band], that’s my group. I didn’t have any stupid people to deal with. That is the story my dear friend. It was very practical..."

Read the full interview here, at Martyn's blog. Thanks for posting it!

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