Thursday, August 14, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I was all set to blog about Peter Gabriel when I learned about the death of Isaac Hayes. The Gabriel blog will come next, but in the interim a few words about Isaac Hayes.
For my TV show Rainbow Soup, I had the opportunity- and ironically it came less than an hour after meeting Peter Gabriel- to shoot an Isaac Hayes show from the pit of the 2001 Womad Festival outside of Seattle. His set started and the band vamped for what seemed like five minutes and then from the side of the stage Isaac walked out, dressed in camouflage, army boots and sunglasses. He shuffled across the stage with a huge smile snapping his fingers. The crowd went wild. It was a great moment.
He sat at his keyboard right in front of me and for 30 minutes played right to our camera. He was fantastic, the audience loved him, I did too, and then security came- even though I had permission- and shut me down. A moment later someone from Hayes' team crawled out to me and asked why we weren't shooting, when I explained he said, "Isaac wants you to shoot him, keep going!"
We fired back up and ten minutes later security came to kick me out. As we left the pit, Isaac looked down at me smiled and gave us a thumbs up. A moment later, between songs, using his "Chef" voice he complained about security being a little to harsh on some members of the press. The crowd cheered and I felt vindicated. After his set I hung backstage with him. He was just a nice man. Very funny, cool guy.
While he might be most known for his Oscar winning song- the theme from Shaft- I wanted to talk with him about his role on The Rockford Files back in the 1970s and his transformation into Chef- this was just before he left South Park.
I am writing this in the quick moments after learning about his death, more thoughts later perhaps. Isaac Hayes will be missed- as will Bernie Mac- a great Chicago talent and presence.