The Confessions of Rick James – “Memoirs Of A Super Freak” by Rick James (Colossus Books, ISBN# 978-0-9790976-3-8 / 0-9790976-3-0, $18.95, 350 Pages, Trade Paperback, Photos) scheduled for U.S. publication May 2007.
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Sex and drugs and rock and roll
There is no modern myth more potent or seductive. The dream of rock stardom, of unlimited adulation and unbridled excess, exerts a fascination that has sold countless books, sparked scores of movie and television productions and fueled endless speculation: is the scene backstage, in the back of the limo and back at the hotel suite really as wild, as shocking and as scandalous as the whispered rumors suggest?The answer to hear Rick James tell it, can be simply summed up ‘You ain’t heard nothin yet.’ While the superstar’s customized version of the old saying might be ‘sex and drugs and funk & soul,’ the fact remains that no rock icon, no overnight sensation, no rags to riches tale or saga of sin and redemption can come close to the incredible life, lived to the hilt of James Ambrose Johnson, Jr. Simply put, in the super freaky world of Rick James the sex is steamier, the drugs more potent, the consumption more conspicuous and the music more explosive than any of a dozen other celebrities, dead or alive.
To fans of sassy and savvy urban music, the name Rick James will forever be associated with the mainstream emergence of Funk – that bottom heavy blend of rock and soul that sparked a multi-racial musical revolution in the 80’s and continues to be a prime component in everything from rap to raves, punk to progressive rock. In direct line of decent from James Brown and Motown, Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix, Rick James almost single handedly pioneered a Funk fusion that reached across racial boundaries and united a massive international audience in a get down celebration that
resonates to this day.
It’s a claim backed up by his extraordinary track record a dozen Top Ten hits; ten albums with Motown, advances of more than one million dollars per album; twenty five Top Forty singles; six gold platinum and multi-platinum albums; a musical family that included such major hit acts as The Mary Jane Girls, The Stone City Band, Teena Marie and others, all masterminded by this diversely talented and multi-faceted artist. Rick James’ live act set new standards for showmanship and spectacle and his prodigious creativity in the studio puts him among a handful of popular music’s true innovators. Everyone from Michael Jackson to Prince to any of a dozen of today’s gangsta rap poets owe an artistic debt to this true original. “You And I;” “Mary Jane;” “Bustin Out;” “Give it To Me Baby;” “Super Freak;” “Cold Blooded;” “17;” “Ebony Eyes;” the catalog of Rick James hits reads like a highlighted history of popular music over the past two decades. Small wonder that among the numerous trophies that adorned his mantle was the music industry’s prestigious Grammy Award.But Rick James’ reputation revolves around much more than his incredible recorded output. At a time when pop’s biggest stars were known as much for over the top lifestyles as top of the chart hits, Rick James went further and faster, with more flash and panache than virtually anyone else in the checkered history of the music scene. A legendary sexual athlete, a brazen drug user, a celebrity constantly at the center of conflict and controversy, Rick James lived the rock roll lifestyle with a vengeance. And paid the price.
For the millions who know Rick James through his music, there still are more who only know his name from the lurid headlines generated by his 1993 criminal trials – headlines that screamed charges of assault with a
deadly weapon, aggravated mayhem, kidnapping, drug possession and even torture. As with every other aspect of his outrageous saga, when Rick’s karma finally caught up with him, it was under the relentless glare of public scrutiny. With his personal demons on display for the whole world to see, Rick’s fall from grace was as steep and dizzying as his climb to the top.A stiff prison sentence followed his felony convictions and Rick James seemed to have crashed and burned once and for all. The horrific details of his crack cocaine addiction, his insatiable appetite for kinky sex and his penchant for making powerful music business enemies – from MTV to Motown Records – were all magnified under the pitiless media microscope and, his proven talents notwithstanding, his career had careened uncontrollably into oblivion.
But, through the lessons of a lifetime of perseverance, Rick James had learned to never say never. Publicly disgraced, a convicted criminal, bankrupt and destitute, with true friends he could count on the fingers of one hand, he nevertheless saw opportunity where others would find only despair. He used his three years behind bars to make some of the best music of his career and to write, for the first time the astonishing story of his rise and fall, determined to confess the unvarnished truth in every detail, naming names and sparing no one, least of all himself, in his own amazing tale on a Iife of sex and drugs and music that changed the world.The result is The Confessions of Rick James – “Memoirs Of A Super Freak” by Rick James which promises to be one of the most honest and unflinching looks at life in the fast lane ever written. With “Memoirs Of A Super Freak” Rick James has written the ultimate tell-all confessional with the emphasis on the ‘all.’ Alternately titillating and soul searching hair raising and heart breaking, “Memoirs Of A Super Freak” is everything a major celebrity memoir should be; a long look behind the tinsel curtain of fame into the private lives and closely guarded secrets of the glitterati: an unflinching bare-knuckled account of who did what to whom in bed, on stage, and between the legal lines. The stars with walk-on parts in the Rick James story are on the A list just, as the incidents and anecdotes he relates are on the blacklist. “Memoirs Of A Super Freak” in short makes for some very juicy reading by a man who once called himself “the black Marquis de Sade.”
Of course no account of the life and time of Rick James would be complete without a celebration of his music, and in “Memoirs Of A Super Freak” for the first time, he reveals the in-studio stories behind his biggest hits, from the inspiration for “17” to the off the cuff bass riff for “Super Freak” that would become the hook heard round the world. A delight to the many fans of Funk and a rich resource for any history of modern pop, the musical facets of Super Freak offer a rare glimpse at the creative process of an authentic original.
Yet remarkably, what is most openly revealed in the pages of this often poignant biography, is the restless search of a man looking for love, and truth, in all the wrong places and discovering, along the way, wisdom,
compassion, self esteem and spiritual awareness.
It was a process that would bring Rick James to the brink of madness and back, miraculously, to the bonds of a caring and connected family life, in an odyssey that underscores his lifelong quest for the ties that bind. The all too typical product of a broken ghetto home deserted by his father and left largely to himself by a mother too busy making meager ends meet. Rick, early on, developed a deeply rooted desire for the security and support that only a family can provide. Across the years that followed he would try to create that family for himself – first through his strong creative links with fellow musicians, many of whom he not only discovered, but nurtured and sustained throughout their careers; then through a series of intense and ultimately self-destructive love affairs, as he searched for fulfillment with women interested, only too often in his superstar status; then as the architect of an impressive business and entertainment enterprise, with scores of employees and the inevitable coterie of hangers-on, yes-men and professional friends.
Along the way, Rick’s star status would increasingly estrange him from his real family, an extended clan of brothers and sisters, cousins and kin all caught up in an internecine web of paranoia and betrayal, jealousy, and double-dealing that would eventually rob him of the one thing all his adulation and accomplishments could never provide – a sense of belonging. That void at the center of his life would eventually drive him to the depths of depravity, as he looked for a yet another family among the pimps and players the drug dealers and hardcore hustlers that gathered around him like moths to a glittering flame. The bitter ironies that defined his life have been played out time and again in tales of the rich and famous – the very talent and charisma that drew so many into his orbit would finally isolate him from the human touch he so longed for. But rarely has the age-old cautionary tale been so starkly drawn, or in such harrowing detail.
The end came with two high profile assault cases the details of which will be revealed for the first time in “Memoirs Of A Super Freak” – a term in prison where surprisingly, Rick finally made a connection among the lifers and three time losers who shared his hard time behind bars. It was a de-facto family whose unlikely friendship and loyalty provided him with a chance to reevaluate his life and lay hold, once again, of his destiny discovering rich inner resources in the process.
And waiting for him on the day of his release was the one woman who can lay undisputed claim to living out the vow she would make on their wedding day, “For better or for worse.” Former call girl and crack cocaine
addict, Tanya Hijazi has shared many of the darkest chapters in the Rick James saga: midnight cruises down Sunset Blvd., trawling for fresh sex partners: hosting the open ended orgies played out behind the walls of Rick’s sprawling Mulholland Drive estate, where whores and high rollers, slumming celebrities and psychic vampires cavorted through nightmarish interludes that often ended in acts of shocking violence: running scared through the back alleys of South Central LA, while TV screens flashed the mug shots of a fugitive rock star and his beautiful-partner-in crime: descending into the nether realms of cocaine insanity, when days bled to weeks behind windows covered in aluminum foil: facing the consequences as Rick’s co-defendant in the trials that put them both behind bars.
Yet through it all, Rick and Tanya’s love endured and, following their release and parole the couple slowly, and often painfully, began to build a new life together, centered this time around their young son Tazman. It was Rick James’ last chance – and he held on for dear life.
It’s there that “Memoirs Of A Super Freak” both ends and begins. After all the sexual capers and drug delirium, the fortunes won, lost, and won, the double crosses and dangerous liaisons, what comes across most powerfully in “Memoirs Of A Super Freak” is the voice of a man who has learned, the hardest way, from his mistakes and survived to tell the tale, with humor and humanity, an open heart and a vibrant soul.
“Memoirs Of A Super Freak” comes at a time when the artist himself had re-emerged triumphantly into the spotlight. Signing to Mercury Records in 1997, he released the best selling ‘Urban Rhapsody,’ his first new album in almost ten years, and reintroduced himself to audiences with a subsequent national tour. Just before he passed away in 2004, Rick had completed a new album, scheduled for release in May 2007. The single ‘Deeper Still’ on Stone City Records, dropped February 2007, and was immediately added to radio in over thirty markets. The film rights to his life story have been sold, with a theatrical release set for 2008. His autobiography The Confessions of Rick James – “Memoirs Of A Super Freak” by Rick James will be published May 2007 by Colossus Books an Imprint of Amber Communications Group, Inc. As the poet William Blake once wrote “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. In “Memoirs Of A Super Freak,” Rick James will walk that road one step at a time, one more time, with us.For further information or Individual retail orders please contact Colossus Books: Toll Free: 1-866-566-3144, 602-243-3144, or Order Online: WWW.AMBERBOOKS.COM / Email: email@example.com
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