Raphael Saadiq Channels Chuck Berry's Energy on 'Stone Rollin''
Raphael Saadiq is known as an R&B singer, an old-school soul man who came up in Tony! Toni! Toné! before launching a well-regarded solo career. Deep down, though, he always wanted to rock. His new album, 'Stone Rollin',' draws on the sound of vintage rock 'n' roll in a bid to capture the spirit of one of the genre's innovators.
"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