Amy Winehouse band member recalls reluctant star
Published: 23rd Jul 2011 22:51:36
When Amy Winehouse recorded her multi-million selling album Back To Black and took it on tour in the US, she chose soul group The Dap-Kings as her backing band.
Saxophonist Neal Sugarman, who played on songs like Rehab and Back To Black, recalls what the singer was like on the road and in the studio, and discusses her "depressing" decline.
"I was in the studio for Back To Black sessions and a couple of other things with Amy, and then on her first US tour. When I first met her, she came over to do some vocals and she hadn't broken out in the States.
"I arranged some of the rehearsals. She was a great musician and really open. She was really into collaborating with the band and never came off as being bull-headed in any way.
"All she wanted to do was get everyone's impression of where the music was going and for everyone to put their creative aspects into the music.
"Every time we were with her, it was never as if we were with this star. I think that might have been one of the things that haunted her -she really liked being with people one-to-one, especially with musicians.
"I think she used to like coming to New York in her early days because we would all go out to dinner together and she wasn't being recognised the same way as she was in the UK.
"It seemed as though the best times were when we were able to be casual and just get into music.
"The tour was right when Back To Black came out. One of the things she used to do was play really good mixes before we'd go on stage. We'd always be listening to The Supremes or some doo-wop or girl group stuff. It wasn't as if she had her own dressing room - we were all together getting ready for the shows.
"I feel really lucky to be part of what was obviously a great record that touched a lot of people. It was a true crossover record, which is rare in these times. What great art does is touch a lot of people and that's what her record did.
"When we were doing these gigs, there were black people, white people, gay people, straight people. She really was able to touch a nerve and it was uncompromised.
"The gigs that we had with her were fantastic and there might have been one gig we had with her in San Francisco where she got a little too loaded and the management came around and were giving her the sign to cut it off.
"We were able to play some great music with her. It was a real creative time. There are so many singers who are trying to copy what she did and for me she's a real natural.
"To be honest, the tour was a weird time because she had split up from her boyfriend Blake for a short time.
"When I first met her she was seeing this other dude, and to be honest when Blake came back - I think it was the second tour we did with her - it wasn't as fun. She was obviously starting to do drugs at that point.
"And then unfortunately the last time I saw her, which was a little while ago in London, it was not a pretty sight. It was real depressing. We cut something that she wasn't able to sing on, which was a real drag.
"Everyone loved looking at the tabloids but everyone was hoping that she would make a comeback."
Neal Sugarman was speaking to BBC News entertainment reporter Ian Youngs.
At 00:46:27 in WorldGifts and payments to US doctors from drug firms are seen by some as encouraging unnecessary prescriptions. Do such transfers make any difference and will President Obama's healthcare reform help, by forcing companies to disclose them?
At 00:31:46 in ScotlandDid business expert Lord Digby Jones bite off more than he could chew when he tried to help out a Hawick textile factory?
At 00:29:23 in ScotlandA new exhibition explores the impact of of World War One on thousands of Scots, both in service and back home.
At 00:25:52 in ScotlandThe recent decline in shopper numbers in Scotland has slowed significantly, according to figures released by retailers.
At 00:22:14 in ScotlandThe funeral of a 12-year-old girl who died after a wall fell on her at an Edinburgh school is due to be held later.
At 00:20:50 in ScotlandHe's the Scot credited with helping to establish America's national parks. Now, more than a century later, John Muir is to be honoured at the opening of a long distance path which bears his name.
At 00:20:30 in WorldThe world's largest democratic event, with over 800 million eligible voters, is under way.
At 00:17:43 in ScotlandScotland's economic performance has returned to pre-recession levels, according to a report.
At 00:02:42 in BusinessThe world is addicted to hydrocarbons, and it's easy to see why - cheap, plentiful and easy to mine, they represent an abundant energy source to fuel industrial development the world over.
At 00:02:32 in BusinessThe idea struck Rajiv Singh during a business trip to Germany, when a man arrived with a document from an office on the other side of town.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Amy Winehouse band member recalls reluctant star [Online] (Updated 23rd Jul 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/172450/Amy-Winehouse-band-member-recalls-reluctant-star [Accessed 17th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
Did business expert Lord Digby Jones bite off more than he could chew when he tried to help out a Hawick textile factory?
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
The man cleared of killing PC Keith Blakelock has said he would feel "angry and disappointed at the system" if he was a member of the police officer's family.
Men prefer to watch film adaptations of books than read the original novel, according to a new study, which found the opposite is true for women.
Two men arrested after a security alert in County Tyrone on Tuesday have been charged.
The world is addicted to hydrocarbons, and it's easy to see why - cheap, plentiful and easy to mine, they represent an abundant energy source to fuel industrial development the world over.