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Musician and songwriter David Bowie

It's been 30 years since he created the gender-bending Ziggy Stardust, and produced the now classic album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Over the years Bowie has produced albums for Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, and collaborated with Brian Eno. Bowie also starred in the films The Man Who Fell to Earth, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and Basquiat. This interview first aired September 4, 2002.

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Other segments from the episode on December 26, 2002

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, December 26, 2002: Interview with Vicki Wickham; Interview with David Bowie; Interview with Grandmaster Flash.

Transcript

DATE December 26, 2002 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A
NETWORK NPR
PROGRAM Fresh Air

Interview: Vicki Wickham discusses her book "Dancing with Demons:
The Authorized Biography of Dusty Springfield" and Springfield's
life and career
TERRY GROSS, host:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. It's Encore Week on our show,
featuring
our favorite music interviews of 2002.

(Soundbite of Dusty Springfield performing "I Only Want to Be with You")

Ms. DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: (Singing) Don't know what it is that makes me love
you so. I only know I never want to let you go. 'Cause you started
something, can't you see, that ever since we met you had a hold on me. It
happens to be true, I only want to be with you. It doesn't matter where you
go or...

GROSS: Some critics consider Dusty Springfield the best British female rock
singer of the '60s. She had many hits in England and America, including
"Wishin' and Hopin'," "I Only Want to Be with You," "I Just Don't Know What
to
Do with Myself," "The Look of Love" and "Son of a Preacher Man."
Springfield
died of cancer in 1999, just before her 60th birthday.

A recent authorized biography called "Dancing with Demons" describes the
aspects of her personal life that few of her fans knew about, including that
she was a lesbian. The author, Vicki Wickham, was Springfield's longtime
friend and manager. She produced the British TV music program "Ready,
Steady,
Go," which Springfield appeared on and later co-hosted. And Wickham
co-wrote
one of Springfield's hits, "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me."

Here's an excerpt of the interview with Wickham, which we first broadcast
last
January.

Dusty Springfield really had a look in the '60s when she became a star. Why
don't you describe the kind of fashions she wore, how she did her eyes, her
hairdos.

Ms. VICKI WICKHAM: Dusty had this huge bouffant hairdo which required a lot
of back-combing and a lot of spray, which we would sometimes laugh and say
she
was responsible alone for the ozone layer. She also wore a lot of makeup.
She looked at the fashion magazines and the film magazines of the time and
would look at people like Monica Viedee, I suppose like a Bardot, that type
of
thing. And she followed their eye makeup, which was a lot of black, like a
panda makeup, with a lot of heavy eyeliner above the lid as well as below.

And dresswise, she was what in those days was called a mod; you had mods and
rockers, and Dusty was a mod with short skirts and skimpy little tops. I
mean, she was very fashionable. You know, kids would emulate her.

GROSS: You actually co-wrote one of Dusty Springfield's songs, "You Don't
Have to Say You Love Me," which was released in 1966. How did you come to
co-write the song? And tell us if there's a story behind it.

Ms. WICKHAM: Well, there is. Dusty had been at the San Rainmo Song
Festival
and came back with an Italian song that, each time she was going to record,
she'd say, `I must write lyrics to it.' She never did, so she never
recorded
it. And it came to the time in '64 where she said, `I really need to record
this song.' And I, like a big-mouth, said, `Well, any fool can write
lyrics.'
So she says, `Well, OK, if any fool can write lyrics, go and write lyrics.'

And luckily, I was having dinner that night with a friend of mine, Simon Le
Peubelle, who was a musician. And I said to Simon, `Before we go to dinner,
we have to do these lyrics for Dusty, 'cause she's recording tomorrow.'
Really
in about 30 minutes we'd got the basis of it, and then finished it off in
the
taxi. And the next day, when I was typing them up for Dusty, I called Simon
and I said, `These are horrible. I cannot give these to Dusty.'

And he said, `Well, what are you going to do?'

So I said, `I suppose give them to Dusty 'cause there's no choice.'

So I sent them through or sent them over to Dusty or dropped them off or
something, and she said, `These are really bad.'

And I said, `I know. We know that.' Anyway, she recorded it and, of
course,
it went to number one.

GROSS: Why did you think they were so bad, the lyrics?

Ms. WICKHAM: They're really inane. And if you look at the lyrics, I think
the word `left' is in there about six times, although, you know, when you
become familiar with them, you think, `OK, they're perhaps not so bad.'

GROSS: So--well, why don't we hear the song, and we'll let everybody judge
what they think of the lyrics.

Ms. WICKHAM: OK.

GROSS: It certainly did well for her and for you.

(Soundbite of Dusty Springfield performing "You Don't Have to Say You Love
Me")

Ms. SPRINGFIELD: (Singing) You don't have to say you love me; just be close
at hand. You don't have to stay forever; I will understand. Believe me,
believe me, I can't help but love you, but believe me, I'll never tie you
down. Left alone with just a memory, life seems dead and so unreal. All
that's left is loneliness. There's nothing left to feel. You don't have to
say you love me; just be close at hand. You don't have to stay forever; I
will understand. Believe me, believe me. You don't have to say you love
me;
just be close at hand. You don't have to...

GROSS: That's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," a 1966 hit by Dusty
Springfield. My guest, Vicki Wickham, co-wrote the lyrics; she also
co-wrote
Dusty Springfield's new biography, called "Dancing with Demons."

Now as you were getting to know Dusty Springfield, something that you
learned
about her was that she was a lesbian, and this was at a time when virtually
no
performers were really out of the closet, certainly not in pop music. How
did
you find out about that?

Ms. WICKHAM: Well, 'cause we were friends, so we were hanging out together.
We, you know, had some of the same friends. We were beginning to have our
own
friends. And you know, obviously, you know, you know what your friends are
doing.

GROSS: And are you gay, too?

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes, absolutely.

GROSS: Did you have to keep each other's secrets? Did it need to be as big
a
secret for you as it was for her?--because you weren't a performer and could
maybe afford to be a little more open.

Ms. WICKHAM: Well, exactly. For, me it was never a problem because I
wasn't
in the public eye. And, you know, I was always openly gay and it was
absolutely fine. But for somebody like Dusty, it did matter. I mean, it
was
absolutely unheard of in '63, in the early '60s. And I really do think it
would have harmed her at the time had people really known.

You have to remember, too, the press in England--it's got worse over the
years, but they're very intrusive. I mean, there are a lot of tabloids; as
you know, we have about six or seven daily papers and then all the Sunday
papers. So they need something to write about. And the more sensational it
is, the better. The bigger name you are, obviously, the bigger story. And
it
was a real worry that, you know, the papers would start splashing it across.

GROSS: In the new authorized biography of Dusty Springfield, you write
about
her depressions. You say she was diagnosed as manic depressive and her
depressions were sometimes very severe. What was she like on either end of
her mood swings?

Ms. WICKHAM: She could go into the blackest moods ever, and very irrational
in terms of nothing was right, nothing was good enough, including herself.
Just really deep depressions which would last sometimes for minutes and it
usually resulted in damaging some innate object of some sort, never a danger
to anybody else or, at that point, herself.

And then on the other end, you know, when she'd come out of them, she was
the
most intelligent, wonderful, funny, interesting, up person imaginable. I
mean, it's hard--when she was her normal self, it was hard to imagine that
she
could possibly be any other way.

GROSS: She also mutilated herself. She cut on her arms and legs. I think
much more is known about that kind of self-mutilation now than was known
then.
It seems either more common or at least more publicly discussed. How did
she
and her doctors deal with it? And I don't know whether this was mostly in
the
1960s or '70s.

Ms. WICKHAM: It was both. At the time, you're right, I mean, not that much
was known about it. And the biggest thing that I think was a mistake--and I
mean, she felt the same way--she never found any help for it, meaning a
shrink, a therapist. You know, the British are very anti that type of
thing,
especially in the '60s and '70s. I mean, we all felt that a good cup of tea
would solve everything rather than going to talk to somebody. And, of
course,
now we know better that, you know, it does help to have some professional
advice, some professional help. And at the time, nobody was really doing
that, so it became an occurrence which would happen far too frequently.
And,
you know, like with anything like that, it's a cry for help, and nobody was
helping.

Would the depression go away when she was on stage?

Ms. WICKHAM: It's interesting you should say that. Absolutely. Dusty, as
much as she hated getting on stage, was scared stiff about it, once she got
on stage was, A, the true professional, was absolutely wonderful and
thoroughly enjoyed herself.

GROSS: You were at her funeral when she died?

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes.

GROSS: What was the funeral like, and was there any of her music that was
played there?

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes. I put it together with Simon Bell, the two of us, and I
just said to Simon, `You know, Dust was such a star and artist. We have to
just have a very grand funeral.' And, as you know, the body was put in an
open horse-drawn carriage, which stopped the traffic in Henley. And yes, it
was all her music. We played "Goin' Back," which is very apt, the Goffen
King
song. And the coffin actually went out to "You Don't Have To Say You Love
Me." And as it came out of the church, the crowd outside--I'm only laughing
because she would have loved it--broke into applause. And Elton said it's
the
only funeral I've ever heard of that the coffin gets the applause. She
would
have definitely been chuffed and had a giggle.

GROSS: It must have been odd for you to produce her funeral after having
worked with her for so many years.

Ms. WICKHAM: It was bizarre, but it kind of completed the cycle for me. I
mean, in a way I just didn't believe that she was dead. And by doing the
funeral and going through that, it actually closed the book, which was
wonderful.

GROSS: Vicki Wickham's biography of Dusty Springfield is "Dancing with
Demons." Our interview was first broadcast last January.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. SPRINGFIELD: The look of love is in your eyes, the look your heart
can't
disguise. The look of love is saying so much more than just words can ever
say. And what my heart has heard, well it takes my breath away. I can
hardly
wait to hold you, feel my arms around you. How long I have waited, waited
just to love you. Now that I have found you, you've got the look of love,
it's on your face, the look that time can't erase. You're mine tonight.
Let
this be just the start of so many nights like this. Let's take a lover's
vow
and then seal it with a kiss. I can hardly wait to hold you, feel my arms
around you. How long I have waited, waited just to love you. Now that I
have
found you, don't ever go.

GROSS: Coming up, Encore Week continues with David Bowie. This is FRESH
AIR.

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Filler: By policy of WHYY, this information is restricted and has
been omitted from this transcript

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Interview: Grandmaster Flash discusses his music and career
TERRY GROSS, host:

It's encore week on FRESH AIR featuring our favorite music interviews of
2002.

(Soundbite of song)

GRANDMASTER FLASH AND THE FURIOUS FIVE: (Singing) We're Grandmaster Flash.
We're giving you a blast of class. Huh!

GROSS: Last July I spoke with Grandmaster Flash, one of the pioneer hip-hop
deejays. In the '70s, he developed mixing and scratching turntable
techniques
that became part of the basics of hip-hop. He started off deejaying records
at parties in the South Bronx. His group, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious
Five, were one of the first hip-hop groups to break out of the local scene
and become an international success. Here's their classic 1982 recording
"The
Message."

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man #1: (Singing) It's like a jungle sometimes. It makes me
wonder how I keep from going under. It's like a jungle sometimes. It makes
me wonder how I keep from going under. Broken glass everywhere, people
pissing on the stage and, no, they just don't care. I can't take the smell,
I
can't take the noise. Got no money to move out. I guess I got no choice.
Rats in the front room, roaches in the back. Junkies in the alley with a
baseball bat. I tried to get away, but I couldn't get far 'cause a man with
a
tow truck repossessed my car. Don't push me 'cause I'm close to the edge.
I'm trying not to lose my head. Ha, ha, ha, ha. It's like a jungle
sometimes. It makes me wonder how I keep going under. Standing on the
front
stoop...

GROSS: Grandmaster Flash, welcome to FRESH AIR.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Thank you for having me.

GROSS: I'm interested in how you started mixing music, how you started
using
two turntables or maybe even more than two. Was this something you started
doing at home or in clubs as a deejay?

GRANDMASTER FLASH: My love for vinyl and for the turntables probably came
about when I was old enough to sort of start looking into turntables and
stuff
of that nature, and that's probably, you know, although it was a negative
experience--and when I say negative, meaning like I used to just sort of
take
apart electrical items in my mother's house, including turntables, just to
figure out how they work and why they work, and my intention was to put it
back together properly, but I just could not do it, but I just had this
thing
where I just had to know how the inside of a turntable worked, how the
inside
of a radio worked and my father's stereo. And that's probably where it
really
started. I just, like, had this undying interest of...

GROSS: Well, you basically started using turntables as if they were
instruments. What...

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Yeah.

GROSS: How did you start using turntables to change the music that you were
listening to, as opposed to just playing the music?

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Well, I think coming up, I watched a lot of deejays in
my
early teens and they would play the music, and I just sort of felt like I
can
take the most exciting part of a record, which we call the break, and sort
of
extend that, because a lot of these songs that I was listening to were,
like,
obscure funk tunes where the break section was, like, maybe 10 seconds long.
And from a frustrated point of view, I had this thought that if I can just
come up with a system, a way of just taking duplicate copies of the record
with two turntables and a mixer, I can extend that five- or 10-second part
seamlessly and make it 10 minutes if I wanted to.

And, you know, my thoughts manifested into creating an art form called the
Quick Mix Theory, which is actually taking a passage of music or two
duplicate
copies of vinyl and sort of moving the disc back and forth and repeating a
section of the passage, you know, between duplicate copies of the record.
That's where it started.

GROSS: So you'd let, like, the 10 seconds play on one record and then
switch
to the other turntable and, meanwhile, back up the first turntable to the
beginning of that part of the record.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Exactly. And that was called the Clock Theory, yeah.

GROSS: Because you were putting the needle down on exactly the right part
of
the record with the rhythm that you wanted to hear, could you actually--you
know, some people say that you were able to look at the grooves of a vinyl
record and know exactly where the rhythm was that you wanted, that you could
actually see it in the grooves.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Well, actually, you know, I was pretty decent at it, but
it was my first student that I taught this Quick Mix Theory to. Grand
Wizard
Theodore was probably the best at that, and it was called needle drops. But
what I came up with is what I called the Clock Theory, and the Clock Theory
was where you would place the needles down on both copies of the vinyl, and
when the ending of one was over, you would push in the next fader, but while
the other one was playing, you would sort of spin the record back one or two
revolutions to the top of that break, and then when the other one was over,
you would push in the other, so it was like push, spin back, push, spin
back.

So I actually never--you know, this here, this made it an assured way of
being
able to get back to the beginning of the break section without actually
having
to pull the needle up. And what I would do is I would mark, like, on the
label, if it was a 12-inch from Atlantic Records and if the break began,
let's
just say, at the top of the A, I would sort of put, like, a Magic Marker
right
there, so that would be my clock of where I had to bring the record back, to
one or two revolutions back to re-arrive at the top of the break, and I
would
just sort of do this with two copies of records, back and forth, back and
forth. So picking up the needle, you know, was no longer an issue. And
creating the Clock Theory, which all deejays use today now, where they mark
the album at a certain point, is one of my contributions to the art of the
deejay mix.

GROSS: Now was scratching something that you invented or was that invented
by
one of the people who influenced you?

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Well, actually, it was called cutting because it was
actually taking a section of the rhythm and rearranging it. And this is
something that I've created over 27 years ago. It's now called scratching,
which is sort of just, like, one part. It's almost like, you know, saying
to
a boxer, he's boxing, but now we're going to call it right hook. You know,
the right hook is only one area of a boxer's skill and, like, the scratching
is like one area of what this thing, you know, entails, you know, when you
look at it.

GROSS: Scratching--just for any of our listeners who don't know what
scratching is, it's when you're moving the record back and forth with the
needle on it, and the sound of the needle scratching the record creates part
of the rhythm track that you're going for.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Right, a percussive sort of sound.

GROSS: Yeah. Yeah.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Right. Exactly.

GROSS: So did you practice that a lot at home so you could just, like,
really
play these turntables as instruments and do exactly what you wanted on them?

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Yeah. I was looking for something, because at this
time,
when I wanted to come up with this science, there was no point of reference,
no blueprints around. So I probably was more frustrated than anything
because, I mean, there's so much stuff I had to buy. Like, a lot of it was
trial and error, you know. You know, trying to get my hands on the right
needle, you know, I had to go through countless needles, you know. Trying
to
find the right turntable, I had to go through countless turntables. And
then
finding the right mixer, and then finding the right mixer, but then it
didn't
have a system where I can pre-hear the music in my head, so I had to create
something called the Peekaboo System, so I had to, like, actually jury-rig
these things, you know.

And my frustration kept me more--it fueled the fire to me just staying at
this--just staying at this and, you know, throwing away my teen-age years,
you
know, where--you know, your teen-age years is when, you know, you're feeling
your oats and you want to go hang out with the girls and you want to go to
the
parties and stuff. I think I probably lived either, like, in the junk yards
going through, like, abandoned stereo equipment or, you know, going through
abandoned cars and taking out the speakers and the radios and stuff of that
nature. I probably lived in my room more so, you know, just looking for
something. But at this point in time, I still didn't know what these
internal
parts was, so while I was tearing up all this stuff inside my mother's house
and became, like, public enemy number one with my sisters and stuff, my
mother
decided to send me to school.

GROSS: What kind of school?

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Samuel Gompers Vocational and Technical High School, and
that's where I started to understand, like, what is a resistor, what is a
capacitor, what is AC vs. DC, what is a transformer, what's a push-pull
circuit, what's a dial rectifier, what's an oscilloscope and what's a wave?
And, you know, I started, like, actually understanding as I was, you know,
not--so now when I tore into something, I sort of had somewhat of an idea of
what it is or what it did. So all these things helped me to jury-rig and
put
together, you know, this Peekaboo System to a mix that I didn't have it and
to
figure out, you know, how turntables work and how that works. So it kind of
helped me to put together the system so that I can start on getting this
concept out of my head that just kept--you know, it just kept staying in my
head, so to speak.

GROSS: Why don't we listen to one of your now classic recordings. And this
is "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel."

(Soundbite of "Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel")

PUNAJI MONSTER JAM (Band): You say, you say, you say, you say, you say, you
say, you say, (singing) one for the trouble, two for the time. Come on,
girls, let's rock that...

(Soundbite of whistle)

BLONDIE (Singer): (Singing) Fab Five Freddie told me everybody's high.
Deejay's spinnin' are savin' my mind. Flash is fast. Flash if fast. Flash
is fast. Flash is cool. Francois sez fas, Flashe' no do.

PUNAJI MONSTER JAM: (Singing) You say one for the trouble, two for the
time.
Come on, girls, let's rock that...

CHIC (Band): (Singing) Good times.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: That's Grandmaster Flash from the early '80s, one of his classic
recordings, the "Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel."
You
know what I'd like to do? I'd like to hear that again, but this time keep
your microphone on and have you describe what you're doing as we listen to
it.
Here we go.

(Soundbite of the "Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel")

PUNAJI MONSTER JAM: You say, you say, you say, you say...

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Punch face. This is Punaji Monster Jam(ph). I let it
go
there.

PUNAJI MONSTER JAM: (Singing) ...one for the trouble, two for the time.
Come
on, girls, let's rock that...

(Soundbite of whistle)

BLONDIE: (Singing) Fab Five Freddie told me everybody's high...

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Bits of Blondie here.

BLONDIE: (Singing) Deejay's spinnin' are saving my mind. Flash is fast,
flash is fast...

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Punch face. Punch face.

BLONDIE: (Singing) ...flash is fast. Flash is cool. Francois sez fas,
Flashe' no do.

PUNAJI MONSTER JAM: (Singing) You say one for the trouble, two for the
time.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Back to Spooley(ph) again.

PUNAJI MONSTER JAM: (Singing) Come on, girls, let's rock that...

CHIC: (Singing) Good times.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Into "Good Times," Chic.

(Soundbite of music)

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Into "Apache" on a rub.

(Soundbite of music)

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Cutting it up. Cutting it up. Back in again.

(Soundbite of music)

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Punch face. Queen, "Another One Bites the Dust." In.

(Soundbite of music)

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Cutting it to rhythm. One (singing) uh, uh, uh, uh.

(Soundbite of music)

GRANDMASTER FLASH: I'm using "Good Times" to rub the rhythm against Queen.

(Soundbite of music)

CHIC: (Singing) Good times.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: "Good Times" by Chic.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: Now that release is so nice the way it synchronizes there.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Thank you. Thank you.

(Soundbite of music)

GRANDMASTER FLASH: That's the whole key to it, you know. That's what my
contribution is. Keeping it on time, that was, like, the key.

(Soundbite of music)

FREEDOM (Band): (Singing) Grand master. Cut faster.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: It's--I punch bass...

FREEDOM: (Singing) Grand master.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: ...from Freedom...

FREEDOM: (Singing) Cut faster. Grand master, cut, cut, cut faster.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Cutting it up.

FREEDOM: (Singing) Grand master, grand master, cut faster.

(Soundbite of music)

GRANDMASTER FLASH: I'm punch facing "Good Times."

(Soundbite of music)

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Back to "Good Times."

GROSS: That's Grandmaster Flash walking us through his recording "The
Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" recorded in 1981.

We'll be back after a break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is Grandmaster Flash, one of the pioneer hip-hop deejays.

Now when we left off in your development as a deejay, you were still working
at home and scavenging audio equipment from junked cars and things like
that.
Once you perfected your technique and you started working parties and then
working in clubs, what was it like for you to see the reaction of the crowds
to the thing that you had been doing alone in your home?

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Well, I think the first time that I decided that I would
show this to the public, it was an outdoor dance--a block party we called
it--you can come into the park for free and just, you know, come party. And
I
think the first time that I showed this, I said to myself--my theory was if
I
play the climatic part of duplicate copies of a record, so there'd be, like,
maybe 10 or 15 duplicates back to back, seamlessly, on time, you know, I
should have the neighborhood park in an uproar. And when I got the exact
opposite, you know, it was kind of painful that, you know. It didn't work
according to what I thought it would. People just sort of just stood there
and just stood there. And it turned out that the real fact of the matter
is,
is vocal entertainment was sort of needed to accompany this new way of
deejaying. And I made the first attempt, and I was totally horrible at
trying
to, like, rap with my mix and it was really too much to do at one time
because...

GROSS: Sure.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: ...it's constantly--you know, it's a constant, you know,
taking records on, taking them off, putting them on, you know. So I was
horrible at it. And then what I would do is basically put a microphone out
on
the other side of the table and anyone that thought that they can verbalize
to
this newfound science of mixing, please feel free, you know. Everybody
failed
except for this one person who probably was, like, the savior of my esteem.
His name was Keith Wiggins. He was my first emcee. He went by the name of
Cowboy. And Cowboy had a way of--he reminded me of, like, a ringmaster at
the
circus, you know, and he had a very commanding voice. And he came up with a
verbalization like, you know, `Throw your hands in the air,' `Say this, ho.
Say party,' and this and that. So that was the perfect diversionary tactic
to
get people off of looking at me and to look at him and do what he says do
while I go through a series of breaks--you know, just playing one behind
another seamlessly to the beat.

GROSS: Let's get to your new CD, the Grandmaster Flash, "Essential Mix:
Classic Edition." One of the things on here is Blondie's "Rapture," and
that's one of the songs that you sample in the "Adventures of Grandmaster
Flash on the Wheels of Steel," because she mentions you in the song.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Yes.

GROSS: How did you find out about each other? Do you know?

GRANDMASTER FLASH: Well, actually how it happened was when I was--maybe 10
years before I recorded--making records, there was a gentleman by the name
of
Fab Five Freddie who used to come to my parties, but he also had this
incredible connection with, like, the whites and different races of people
downtown near the Village. So back in the days he was, like, hanging
downtown
in the Village, but he would come up to the Bronx and party with Flash, Herc
and Bam. And he was sort of like our town crier also. He would go downtown
and say, `Listen, there's this guy. He's uptown. You guys--you know,
there's
a guy named Flash. You got to come, you know, check him,' you know. And he
would say to me, `I'm going to bring one of my good friends up, Deborah
Harry.' And everybody at that time knew that name, and I was basically
going,
`Yeah, right. Whatever.' And then, surprisingly enough, a couple of weeks
later, he brought this woman to my party, and she watched me play and she
was
extremely happy with the way that I played and said that she was going to
write a song about me. I took it as a grain of salt--didn't really believe
it
until maybe two or three months later, and she did it. And she opened up so
many doors for hip-hop by doing that.

GROSS: Well, why don't we close with "Rapture," which is on your new mix
CD.
And, Grandmaster Flash, thanks so much for talking with us.

GRANDMASTER FLASH: My pleasure.

(Soundbite of "Rapture")

BLONDIE: (Singing) Back to back. Sacroiliac. Spineless movement and a
wild
attack. Face to face, sadly solitude.

GROSS: Grandmaster Flash recorded last summer. Our encore week featuring
our
favorite music interviews of 2002 continues through New Year's Day, when
we'll
feature interviews with Barry Manilow and Tom Waits. You can hear my
infamous
encounter with Gene Simmons of KISS on Monday.

(Credits)

GROSS: I'm Terry Gross.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Freeze, rock, rock, rock, rock, rock. Aah,
aah, aah, aah, aah.

Unidentified Man #2: (Singing) Bass.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Ooh, white. White. Ooh, white. White.
Ooh,
white. Black. Ooh, white.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) White lies...

Unidentified Man #2: (Singing) Visions, dreams of passion.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) ...flowing through my mind.

Unidentified Man #2: (Singing) And all the while I think of you.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) White lies...

Unidentified Man #2: (Singing) A very strange reaction.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) ...(unintelligible) too unwise.

Unidentified Man #2: (Singing) The more I see, the more I do.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Something of a phenomenon...

Unidentified Man #2: (Singing) Baby.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Telling everybody to come along with white
lies
blow away.
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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