By: Dream Chimney
The following interview was conducted in November 12, 2023
Foundation Music has just released 'Flowers EP' by Foremost Poets aka Johnny Dangerous. Back in the news after being featured on the Grammy winning Alien Superstar from Beyonce's latest album - but for those that know - he has never gone away. He's been responsible for some huge hits like Problems 13 and Moonraker, as well as ‘Reasons To Be Dismal', which is re-released on the new EP. He we get an insight into the musical mind of this maverick producer with seven albums that have made a dent in his musical world. It was always going to be an interesting journey.
The Meters - Cissy Strut (1969)
Zigaboo Modeliste, George Porter Jr., Leo Nocentelli, Art Neville were onto something. Telling stories without words. In the song ‘Cissy Strut' you can tell it’s a true story. From the early hip hop days, it’s songs like these that stand to time indefinite. The Meters are just that - Metering what songs ingredients are required to hold the attention of multiple generations - no matter what the genre.
They couldn’t know for sure what technology will follow, but with simple mics, amps and an perfectly reverb-chambered room, they pulled of some of the most perfect sessions. Call it on purpose, call it by accident, nobody knowing what their doing in that moment - just being themselves - which is all they needed to know in exactly that moment.
Eddie Kendricks - Keep On Trucking (1973)
Being new to the planet at this time, whatever jumps on me the easiest must be pretty good. Even then, there was a lot of stuff that just didn’t give a chance. Humans all hear different things first. Some hear drums, some hear melodies, some hear solid well-tuned notes. I was listening to stories. All those elements enhanced the journey. Eddie James Kendricks, co-founder of the Temptations, went on his own solo project and created this monstrous song.
With so many great players on this song to name, Motown stopped caring about song structure - and started remixing individual parts (on and off) to tell this story about a man possessed to see a woman again no matter how far she is or how long it takes. If you weren’t born yet, being in any ghetto area in 1973 takes some imagining, but this song takes you there instantly. (Something is happening to music).
The Intruders - I’ll Always Love My Mama (1973)
Kenny Gamble, Gil Scott Heron are mad scientists. Writing songs for so many artists, so many labels and so many songs of his own gave us a marching tune that spoke to the persistence, resilience, and consistency of our mothers. In doing that, the studio is producing an entire genre of music accidentally. The equalization, the hi-hat placement, the kick placement, the bass placement - and other songs like this are engineering a sound that will inspire entire generations into multiple genres.
I’ll Always Love My Mama” is one of those songs that forces you to remember how you got here and who your first example of Love is. It’s no wonder House Music of all kinds owes it’s roots to songs like this. with so many do-op songs by Sam "Little Sonny" Brown, Phillip "Phil" Terry, Robert "Big Sonny" Edwards, Eugene "Bird" Daughtry & Robert "Bobby Starr" Ferguson, it only makes sense that songs like this would stumble into the disco-techs and hit the sound system perfectly. (Something is happening to music).
Dick Van Dyke - Tubby The Tuba (1975)
My father brought this album home for me and my brother to listen to. The first story I ever heard about an Underdog. A tube by the name of Tubby who couldn’t get his melodies approved by the conductor. And what? A Full orchestrated production about it? One day, my music teacher brought the same album to school and played it for the class. She asked questions about the album when it was over. What? I know all the answers to this! I got this album at home.
My first answer was wrong. My second answer was wrong. My third answer was wrong. How? Why did I not know any of her answers when I had the same album? Answer. The same reason nobody accepted Tubby’s melody; it was not their language. Same album, same story, different interpretation. Clearly listening to music was not the entire story. (Something is happening to music).
Dr. Buzzard Original Savannah Band (1976)
This self-explanatory work of art, album cover and all - says it all. Recorded in my home state of New Jersey, who in their right mind wouldn’t want to put their name somewhere on the credits of this masterpiece? The sounds, the stories, the backgrounds, the innovation creating something out of nothing, turning old clothes, old melodies and old memories into a new experience. (Something is happening to music).
Bob Dorrough - Little Twelvetoes (1977)
School House Multiplication, Science, Grammar and History Rock was a batch of musicians teaching children abbreviated American history, how to spell, read, add, subtract and other things. But this particular song from an album of joints stood out to me. The usage of the sounds were very next level at the time. While Dr. Buzzard Savannah Band had sounds on their record I could never identify, this entire song was out of this world (in my opinion). (Something is happening to music).
Kraftwerk - Computer World (1981)
Again, this entire album following the Trans Europe Express project took the United States to another level. I don’t know about anyone else, but I felt like it was the best thing on radio. But I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t more popular. Kraftwerk tapped into computer sounds and game chords (I call them) that have become the rudiment arpeggios of all time. The Drums, the samples, the patterns, the modified ‘Vocordings’ on vocals were not being taken seriously - because computers were not yet the mainstream instrument of the decade, but guess what? Not for long. (Something is happening to music).