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- Posted on Mar 1st 2011 12:00PM by Eric R. Danton
"I had just said for like a whole year, 'I want to record something that has the energy of Chuck Berry,'" Saadiq tells Spinner. Read our exclusive Q&A below to hear more about the album and Saadiq's thoughts on African-American rockers.
What prompted your rock 'n' roll direction on 'Stone Rollin'?'
The blues did, just loving blues, loving Chuck Berry. It's a part that I've always loved, I've always enjoyed, that aggressive guitar licks, riffs. I always liked guitar riffs, and I'd always sit with guitar players and learn riffs and then play them on bass. I just wanted to bring that sort of energy to the stage. That's what I love to do. Rock 'n' roll comes from blues, so it's like a natural progression for me to exercise all of it, you know.
What does Chuck Berry mean to you?
I love Chuck Berry. I love his feel of playing guitar and how much fun he had, and I like to enjoy myself on stage, too. It seems like a lot of those guitarists had a really good time on stage, including Jimi when he played with the Isley Brothers and stuff like that. I always felt that Chuck Berry was riddling with his words, and I didn't really tap into that part of Chuck Berry, but I wanted to tap into his guitar parts and his energy.
It still seems like there's a misconception that African-Americans don't play rock 'n' roll.
It's not put at the forefront to do. Some of them don't even know how it started, they don't know the history of it, and if you don't know the history, you probably won't respect it. But for me, it's just something that makes me feel good. I love it. It has an adrenaline rush that you can't get away from. I guess there aren't a lot of people, but if you search high and low, they're playing it.
You seem to know the history.
My dad is a blues singer and my sister was a pretty big singer in the Bay Area. It's just been all around me, I could never really get away from it. Never really tried.
Who are some of the other black rockers you respect?
Lenny [Kravitz], he dove into it early in the game. Living Colour, Vernon [Reid] and those cats. They have the whole Black Rock Coalition, everybody knows about that. You can count them off on one hand, really. Of course, Prince, you know. That goes without saying. It's like a huge tree, and people who love this kind of music, like blues and rock and funk, we're all from that tree.
Do you think you'll have to convert fans of your R&B sound to this rock album?
I had to do that on the last record, 'The Way I See It.' I always throw something in there. But most of my fans, they roll with me. They know I'm a creative person who loves to get in the zone. I own all these guitars and I walked in my studio one day and thought, "OK, you've got this, what you gonna do with it?" It's time to raise the bar to where you want to go, do what you love, and I think fans follow. A lot of people don't even really know about my career before 'The Way I See It.' They think 'The Way I See It' is my first record. I don't have to change too much.