Cultural History Corner


Vanity Fair profiles the great Sly Stone as he tenderly, tentatively steps out of reclusion:

The obvious allusion [in one of Stone's new songs] to the current war jars me, and I soon realize why: Stone has been absent from the scene for such a duration that it's hard to imagine that he was with us all along, experiencing all the things we experienced over the years–the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, Nelson Mandela's release from prison, the rise of the World Wide Web, the attacks on 9/11, the invasion of Iraq. It's almost as if he went into a decades-long deep freeze, like Austin Powers or the astronauts in Planet of the Apes. Except he didn't. "Did you do normal-person things?" I ask about the missing years. "Did you watch Cheers in the 80s and Seinfeld in the 90s? Do you watch American Idol now? Do you have a normal life or more of a Sly Stone life?"

"I've done all that," he says. "I do regular things a lot. But it's probably more of a Sly Stone life. It's probably…it's probably not very normal."

The piece is overlong but interesting, especially for you rock and funk obsessives out there. There are, alas, no comments on the rumors that Sly spent a chunk of his exile as a pimp.

Bonus: See Stone stoned: