The Charles Wright Interview
SYSTEM Greeter: You are now in room "FUNK"
SYSTEM Greeter: You have READ/WRITE Access
SYSTEM Greeter: Charles Wright: has entered the room
Event Host: How are you ??
Charles Wright: Just fine , fine
Event Host: Cool.... ...I'm not sure what kind of crowd we will be having tonight.. ...but it should be interesting
Charles Wright: let's get it on
Event Host: LOL
Charles Wright: Chas is here
Event Host: ok....we will be starting in a few
Charles Wright: Yes found that out the other night
Event Host: I will be in as the Event Host
Charles Wright: fine
Event Host: be open & honest........*no holds bared*
Charles Wright: gotcha
MsODESSSA: What all these Nubians doin in here???
MysticFunk: special guest... Mr. Charles Wright:.is in the Funk house!!!!
Funkoverlord: Hey ya'll how ya funkin???
MysticFunk: greetings to all
SouI Asylum: Welcome to our chat with Charles Wright:!
SouI Asylum: nightrain will be with us in just a moment.
SouI Asylum: There he is
Event Host: Greetings
Event Host: CHAT GUEST Charles Wright: MUSIC-URBAN SOUNDS FUNK Chat room & simulcast on Prodigy Internet & Prodigy Classic Nov. 12, 1997 at 9:30 pm est
Charles Wright: Hello gang
prfkangel: · when did you get your first recording contract
Charles Wright: in 1956
Event Host: What label was that with ?
Charles Wright: It was on Dot
Charles Wright: The record was on a label called Cholly Records who leased it to Dot.
Event Host: What Instuments do you play ?
Charles Wright: Guitar, piano, bass and enough drums to "Express" myself
PraiseLord: Where are you from? How did you get started in music?
Charles Wright: I'm from the cottonfields of the Mississippi Delta and I got started in music in Jr. High School in Los Angeles
Event Host: Were you originally into Blues ?
Charles Wright: No, as a matter of fact my father refused to let me listen to the Blues therefore I only heard it on an isolated basis. However, after moving to Los Angeles I got into the Blues 100%
Event Host: Were you into Gospel music ?
Charles Wright: Yes I use to attend church a lot when I was a child.
Event Host: · PraiseLord: Do you feels gospel and blues were interchangeable musically?
Charles Wright: All Africian- rooted music is interchangable
Event Host: ahhhhhh yes
Funkoverlord: alright..the essence of tha funk!!!
Funkoverlord: ·how did you get hooked up · with Bill Cosby ?
Charles Wright: I was a studio musician and one day he entered the studio looking for musicians to record his first singing album with him.
Event Host: What was the name of that album ?
Charles Wright: It was called Silverthroat
Event Host: Weren't there some hit records on there ?
Charles Wright: The first song we recorded was a top 10 single called "Little Old Man"
Event Host: I remember the song well
MysticFunk: · what year did you move from Clarksdale Mississippi to Watts ?
Charles Wright: Are you trying to find out how old I am????
MysticFunk: lol !!
Event Host: lol
Charles Wright: Actually I was twelve
prfkangel: · Back in the 60's & 70's was it typical for young Black artists to get ripped off by agents, promoters, club owners, etc ??
What were some of the ways this occurred ?
Charles Wright: Record contracts often gave on page 1 and took it back on page 2 or 3
Event Host: did this happen to you ?
Charles Wright: Until I got hep to them
Event Host: What did you do ?
Charles Wright: I learned how to read contracts as well as procure a lawyer to sit with me in meetings.
Shapphire: · Did you think that the song "Express Yourself" would become the 'standard' it did for an entire generation?
Charles Wright: Never even dreamed it, though I really thought it should. I actually thought my song Comment would last at least until America got itself together racially
Shapphire: · Recently Ebony magazine asked: "Did White people steal the Blues or did Black people give it away" ? How would you answer that question ?
Charles Wright: Both.
Event Host: How so ????.....Explain ??
Charles Wright: White peoples intentions were to steal it in the first place. When I first started, they had no idea what the Blues was. Therefore, they always eased up under me asking me to help them play the Blues
Event Host: what *white people* ?
Charles Wright: Most of the white musicians I knew.
MysticFunk: Do you feel that America in the 90's could benefit from a 'remake" of `Express Yourself' ? I always felt this was such a positive song..
Charles Wright: How can I disagree???
Charles Wright: Thanks for the your comment ...
MysticFunk: I...loves ya !!! lol
SewSays: · How did the political climate of the times (ex. Watts Riots) influence your music ?
Charles Wright: With the name like the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, I naturally felt obligated to perform my duties for the hood.
Charles Wright: You'll find that indication in my lyrics to
Rico07: · Any thoughts on the current state of Black music ?
Charles Wright: Yes in my own opinion todays music from a Black perspective is awfully ill.
Event Host: How so Charles ?
Charles Wright: The real spirit of Africian music seems to have given way to computurized junk/funk.
Event Host: LOL...."junk/funk"
Event Host: Care to cite any examples Charles ??
Charles Wright: Almost everything I have heard since 1983.
The5Pearls: : Charles, can you tell us about the way powers that be in the industry silenced artists and their careers.?
Charles Wright: People with money in the music industry today usually think that they should control the creative forces of the planet. Therefore, they say its not what you know, its who you know.
Charles Wright: Therefore, they take it upon themselves to use their power to destroy anyone who has a philosophy of their own. We writers suffer the most. They simply delete us from the public at will
MysticFunk: What local clubs in the LA area did you play in prior to your first big recording ?
Charles Wright: I played many clubs in the ghetto of L.A. but my major jobs I played two years on the Crenshaw strip at Guys and Dolls and 2 1/2 at the Haunted House on Hollywood & Vine St.
MysticFunk: Crenshaw.....ahhhhh those were the days !!! lol
Ebon'e: Yes they were MysticFunk.
Ebon'e: I'm from L.A.....
MysticFunk: ^5 Eb
PraiseLord: · Yeah, who were your musical influences and · did they include blues artists?
Charles Wright: Yes, Jimmy Reed, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, Otis Redding, James Brown, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Curtis Mayfield and others.
Event Host: I'm a Little Walter fan
MysticFunk: very impressive list....
Charles Wright: Oh and don't forget Jessie Belvin
SewSays: ..where the rest of the band is..and what you doing now?
Charles Wright: Lost two members I suspect to drugs, James Gadson our drummer is doing very well, the rest are in obscurity at least musically.
Event Host: How prevalent were drugs at that time ??
Charles Wright: Cocaine was definetely on its way in.
Event Host: What was the impact to the musicians then & now ?
Charles Wright: As you know musicians are always the first to be exposed to drugs. That should answer your question.
Funkoverlord: tell us about your current band
Charles Wright: My current band consist of a lot of alumni from Earth, Wind and Fire plus the infamous Phil Upchurch and Oscar Brown Jr.
Ms Bakarde: · Where is your band playing at these days ? Do you have a record contract ? Are you touring ?
Charles Wright: We play occassional festivals. At this particular time we are suffering for lack of management.
Ms Bakarde: · Ms Bakarde: What was your association with Dyke and the Blazers
Charles Wright: My band played on most of his hits except for Funky Broadway
Funkoverlord: More Soul...a baddd jam!!!
prfkangel: what was mr. wrights inspiration ?
Charles Wright: A Jessie Belvin recording entitled "One Little Blessing". Once I heard that I knew I had to sing.
SmuthJazz: · what was his personal favorite recording ?
Charles Wright: If of mine - Comment (if all men are truly brothers)
Event Host: Any other favorite recordings by other artists ?
Charles Wright: Yes, lots of them -- Cold Sweat by James Brown, Respect by Otis Redding, Catching Hell by Natalie Cole and many others.
MysticFunk: catching hell.....ummhmmm.....
TT4U: · What association did you have with Eric "Eazy E" Wright ?
Charles Wright: None except for their cover version of "Express Yourself".
TT4U: What artist or musician today, do you think
"has it together" as an artist or musician?
Charles Wright: Maxwell, sometime the Fugges and me.
Event Host: LOL_.(of course)
Funkoverlord: · Do you think there was a conspiracy to destroy Black music in the 70's ..and was the government involved ?
Charles Wright: There was/is definetely a conspiracy. I think it is more racial than political. BUT there actually both quite the same aren't they ?
Event Host: DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP
MysticFunk: agree Mr. Wright....
Event Host: How is the government involved ?
Charles Wright: I actually see it from a corporate level, I'll have to think about it before I can elaborate.
SewSays: I still have the 45 "Express Yourself"
Charles Wright: I have two (2) myself and I'm hanging on to them.
SouI Asylum: · According to a Warner Bros. Press release you are working on a book. When will this book be out ?_..Can you tell us what subject matter it will deal with ?
Charles Wright: Yes. The book is the story of my life crossed with the very subject we are speaking of the record industry and the assassination of our music. Hopefully it will be out by mid - 1998
Charles Wright: As well as the self-destructive tendency of the members of the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band once they arrived at the top.
SouI Asylum: That should be good. I'll be looking for it!
movieman: · Mr. Wright do you view Rap music as a passing phase, like disco was in the 70's that wiped out the real musicians of that time
Charles Wright: No. I actually view Rap music as the only vehicle for self-expression of a very very repressed people.
Charles Wright: Therefore, it will be around until something better comes along.
movieman: · Mr. Wright with the current resurgence in 70's music apreciation, are you getting any offers from concert tour promoters to perform
Charles Wright: I suggest you check out my song Comment - on our current re-released CD's. Since I recorded that song in 1970 I have been virtually blacklisted as a performer.
Event Host: What is the name of your new CD ?
Charles Wright: Either pickup "Express Yourself" "The Best of Charles Wright: and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band" or "Express Yourself/In the Jungle Babe" by the same band.
Event Host: Why have you been BLACKLISTED ???
Charles Wright: Some say its because of my ingenious way with words, others say its because I demanded to keep my own publishing and handle my business in general.
Event Host: "Because he don't take no chit" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MysticFunk: ^5 Host
Charles Wright: ^5
Funkoverlord: right on!!
Ms Bakarde · Has any of your music been sampled What are your feelings about "sampling" ?? Is the *original artist adequately compensated ?
Charles Wright: First I thought sampling was a very bad thing. In fact I still do, simply because young artists are no longer as creative as they should be. On the other hand, its certainly been benefical to me.
Event Host: What songs have contained samples of your work ?
Charles Wright: "Express Yourself" has been used numerous times by Zapp Roger, NWA, Solo and others. "High As Apple Pie" has been used by Puff Daddy, Nuaghty by Nature used "I Got Love" and others.
movieman: · Are you tempted to cash in on the Rap craze to help further your own career or will you be sticking to conventional R&B
Charles Wright: I'm sticking to conventional R&B in my effort to save the music. However I have a couple of heavy message songs which lean towards rap.
prfkangel: has he been financially compensated for these *samples* ??
Charles Wright: Of course, as I said I own my own publishing plus I am the writer, thank God. I have been very well compensated so far.
Event Host: ^5_. I'm VERY glad to hear that !!!!
Charles Wright: Back at you
MsODESSSA: Gap band on Vibe singing...
movieman: · Mr. Wright, who do you see in today's r&b market as being the keepers of the flame in the true r&b spirit ?
Charles Wright: Unforturnately, when they gave us the electric drum, everybody went for the okay-doak. I personally feel that I am fighting a loosing battle but I've invested my money strictly for that cause.
MysticFunk: · What direction do you think R & B..Blues Rap..Jazz is headed ? Do you think the new year will bring about any changes in the music industry ??
Charles Wright: I my opinion, we had perfected the art in the early 70's. I'm hoping we can go back and pick up where we left off. That will be my personal effort come the first of the year.
Funkoverlord: · Charles...tell everyone about the most sold song in South Africa
Charles Wright: Again it is my song "Comment". The brothers over there must have got the message that we should have got.
Event Host: ^5
TT4U: Question: What do you think about the state of todays r&b, in terms of similar sounding groups, and artists?
Charles Wright: They all sound like Stevie Wonder
Event Host: lol
Event Host: We have several more questions..
Charles Wright: ok shoot
Shapphire: · Mr. Wright, what was it like working with Bobby Womack ?
Charles Wright: Great....
FM Fats: · Gosh. I was driving out to a Bob Dylan concert in Athens a couple weeks ago, and I could swear I heard a Charles Wright: cover of a Sly tune What would it have been?
Charles Wright: Instrumentally, Everyday People
FM Fats: It was slammin'.
Event Host: · MysticFunk : Who were some of the artists that you and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band shared the bill with ?
Charles Wright: Everybody from the Temptations to Barbara Striesand. Do you want details??
MysticFunk: I love details !!! lol
Event Host: YES OF COURSE WE DO !!!!!!!!!!
Swjrrl30A: yeah , lots of goodies !!!!
Charles Wright: Delfonics, Chilites, Bill Cosby, Peggy Lee, Nina Simone, Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and too many others to mention here
prfkangel: Peggy and Nina, mmmmm
Event Host: Thanks Mr Wright
Event Host: Everybody thank Mr. Wright for coming here & dropping some knowledge on us
Charles Wright: Thanks to all. Hope to chat again with you in the near future.
prfkangel: thankyou mr. wright
MzLeslie: Thank you Mr. Wright
Funkoverlord: thanks Charlie!!!
The5Pearls: thank you...Mr Wright. .well people i am going now.. Peace and joy to everyone ..continue to let His countenance shine upon...
MysticFunk: Many Many Thanks Mr. Wright.....
MysticFunk: Please join us anytime here on Prodigy in the Funk room.....
Event Host: Yes........(this is "home")
SewSays: it's not what U look like when you're doing what you're doing...it's when you're doing what you're doing,,what U look like you're doing...Express yo self NITE ALL
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(The government intervened )
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