Don’t call it a comeback. Actually, for fans of the legendary soul/funk pioneer Sly Stone, a comeback might just might be in store. The infamously reclusive Sly & the Family Stone frontman, who has appeared onstage sporadically (at best) over the last 20 years, has partnered with local musician/composer Sal Filipelli on three songs to be included on his upcoming album, "This Day in Music History."
Filipelli, who has played music in San Diego since he graduated from the San Diego School of Creative & Performing Arts (and counts the House of Blues main stage as his favorite venue to play), told us that the partnership with Stone was half determination, half good ole fashioned luck.
"I first met Sly Stone in 2009 at an event in LA called Legends of Funk. I got to talk to him for a while and we hit it off. Years later, in 2012, I had been working on a project for a while and I wanted to do something special with it; so I reached out to a bunch of cool people in my network. Sly was the only one who really got back to me."
Stone hasn’t released any new music in almost two decades, but the new songs fit right into his wheelhouse. The upcoming single, "One More Hit," has a slow-burning, sultry R&B smoothness to it, led by horn stabs and hip-shaking percussion. Watch a YouTube teaser for the song here.
Along with his brilliant musicianship, working with Stone was a bit of a riot, according to Filipelli: "Sly is a bit of a comedian. One time, Sly and I were walking down some stairs. I was behind him when I noticed his shoes were untied. I tried to run ahead to tie his shoes. I said to him, ‘Sly let me tie your shoes man.’ He replied, ‘Nah, I won't fall – see, if I walk with my feet close together like this [stands still with one foot on his lose shoe lace] then I'll fall. But if I walk with my feet far apart like this you see [spaces his feet far apart like he's riding a horse] then I won't fall.’ Then he proceeded to walk down the stairs with his feet about two and a half feet away from each other, as he also swung his left arm around with every step. It was pretty ridiculous."
For the Sly & the Family Stone fans, "This Day in Music History" could signal the long-awaited return to music for the intriguing and mysterious legend. The psychedelic funk group enjoyed massive success in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s with songs such as "Dance To the Music," "Everyday People," "I Want to Take You Higher" and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)." After their eventual dissolution in 1975, Sly (real name Sylvester Stewart) embarked on a solo career, but eventually stopped recording and performing, for the most part, after 1987.
The forthcoming album, which features performances and collaborations with Munyungo Jackson (Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder), Adrian Terrazas Gonzalez (the Mars Volta), Raw Syl (Sly Stone, Rufus) and Blaise Garza (the Violent Femmes) among others, has already been recorded – but needs a little help to get on record store shelves.
With an IndieGoGo campaign under way (and an accompanying YouTube video), Filipelli is hoping to raise funds to mix, master, press, and promote the album. Various gifts are available for investors such as guitars signed by Stone, inclusion in the record liner notes and a performance by Filipelli in the comfort of your own home. Those big-time perks may help lure backers, but the chance to help release new music by Sly Stone is the ultimate reward. For for more information, and to lend your support, please visit the official IndieGoGo website.
When asked why people should invest in the album, Filipelli modestly summed it up best: “It just may be the greatest album of all time.”