Nile Rodgers doing it his way

HIS HITS with Chic include Le Freak, Good Times, I Want Your Love and My Forbidden Lover, and he’s written for everyone from Diana Ross to Daft Punk, so you can imagine how Nile Rodgers felt when he “lost” his favourite guitar.

“I was taking the train home and, when I got to my stop, I ran off not realising that I had left my guitar in the overhead bin,” he says, speaking of the panic when he realised the instrument dubbed The Hitmaker was missing.

Nile Rodgers will be bringing Chic to Sandown Park racecourse

“I got all the way to my house, which is about a mile and a half from the train station and realised ‘Oh my god, I don’t have my guitar’.

“So, here’s the really cool thing. I had a speaking event for Toyota and they let me borrow a consumer version of their race car. So I jumped in this car and said to myself ‘If my guitar is going to be anywhere, it’s going to be at the end of the line’.

“I got on the highway and I broke every traffic rule. I’m a former amateur race car driver, I really know what a car can do, so I’m doing everything a car can do.

“I went to the train terminal, and there was my guitar, which they call the $2billion guitar, sitting in the lost and found bin, with a skateboard that could have at best cost $70

However, it seems the New Yorker, who has also produced the likes of David Bowie, Madonna, INXS and Duran Duran, doesn’t treat his guitar with the respect it deserves. “It’s such a workhorse, and everybody can’t believe that I treat it like it’s the cheapest guitar in the world,” he laughs.

With an “old school” attitude, Nile also doesn’t spend hours preparing when he works with someone new, despite all the big names he has written for and produced.

“This is not snobbery on any level, this is the standard by which I’m judged,” says the 69-year-old. “People expect a certain level of precision and expertise. If I’m not on my game, I don’t deserve to be on your record.

“I come from the world of being a studio musician, and as a studio musician we don’t know the song before we get there. I’ll do exactly what I have been trained to do, which is read the music right there on the spot, and then interpret it the Nile Rodgers way.”

He treats his live gigs the same way and will be following this creed when he brings Chic, the band he co-founded, to Sandown Park racecourse at Esher, after the racing on Wednesday 27 July.

Tickets for the best Nile Rodgers can give at the time are on sale from www.thejockeyclublive.co.uk.

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