Rick James Got High And Destroyed A Salvador Dalí Sketch
Warning: The source for the following story is Rick James himself, and celebrities are, in general, not entirely reliable sources on their own wild shenanigans. But the basics of the story, who was where and when, seem to roughly check out.
It was 1980, and James had just released Garden of Love, an album he thought would be more successful than his previous ones, since he'd focused his efforts harder on a shorter selection of songs. The album actually did a lot worse than his previous ones, and the one song to do really well was also the one song he hadn't written himself.
He'd been planning a big US-Europe tour, a follow-up to the huge one he'd just done with Prince, but his promoters canceled it. It was time to reassess things, and spend some time with his manager, Shep Gordon ... who, as it happened, had a beach house in Maui, which is a pretty good place to chill.
While there, James threw a dinner party, and Salvador Dalí was one of the guests. Dalí insisted on sketching his host, which was a very Dalí thing to do, and he made this drawing on the only paper available, the napkin in front of him. He gifted it to James when he was done, and James was pretty happy. Even more happy was Shep Gordon, who figured this "priceless" gift probably could fetch some money if they put a real price on it.
The next morning, James did what he normally did first thing each day: He lit up a joint. He headed to the beach and dove into the water. Then he suddenly realized he was wearing the same shorts as last night, and the sketch was in his pocket. When he popped out and took a look, the water had totally destroyed it. He blamed the accident on how "pot destroys short-term memory." And so, that day, he vowed never to do drugs again.
Haha, just kidding about that last part. But the album he recorded right after this was his most successful one, and contained "Superfreak," so maybe this really was a turning point.
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