Interview with Teddy Riley about Michael Jackson and Guy

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Teddy Riley Interview This week I saw a nice interview with Teddy Riley in a music magazine of 1992.  He talks about  Michael Jackson, Guy, {safm}Bobby Brown{/safm} and the keyboards, drum computers he used in various New Jack Swing productions. A nice interview to read. Especially if you like Teddy Riley.


The feel is street, but the neighborhood is parking lot.
We're not far from the frat bars whose lights illuminate the gloom off of Virginia Beach, and just a stone's throw from the kind of shopping mall we've all learned to tolerate. Places close early in this part of the country. Storefronts are dark and still. But here, in a smallish office cube hidden off of the main drag, a glow emanates from behind locked glass doors. And music ? mosquito-swat snares, skipping hi-hats, the throb of new jack swing ? starts, stops, picks up again, beat by beat, part by part, slowly piecing together yet another sure-hit record stamped with the name Teddy Riley.

This is The Future Enterprise, a combination office, multi-room recording center, and living quarters for Riley. Born in Harlem, the 25-year-old producer, performer, and fledgling business executive makes this improbable facility his home base. With nothing but chain store outlets around him, Riley has created a space and built an operation attuned to his creative whims. Black wall patterns and thick black carpeting create the muted ambience inside. Brighter colors animate his studio, but in his private room the black motif amplifies, with stereo gear tucked into black shelves, a formidable glass-top desk on four thick black pylons, and a vast black leather couch that faces a TV screen big enough to accommodate the dinky theaters at the nearby mall.

"I do business here from maybe one to three or four o'clock in the afternoon ? just like I'm doing now," says Riley. He's stretched out in his couch, barefoot, oblivious to the Mr. Ed episode galloping across his screen and the ringing from one of the three phones on the glass table before him. "I won't get started with my musical projects until six o'clock at the latest. But I'll stay with that until five or six in the morning. Then I'll sleep until I wake up, and I usually wake up when another musical idea pops into my head."

Riley speaks in the kind of high-pitched whisper that seems to be fashionable in some African-American musical circles. Like Michael Jackson, El De Barge, and Babyface, Riley isn't known for his bellowing. Instead, his voice is delicate, as if all-night mixing and jamming have left him drained until his next session here or his next flight to L.A. for a spell of furious recording with some R&B or rap trend-setter.

Whether by design or by nature, Riley's ephemerality only draws attention to his solid presence in pop music. Over the past five years, his style ? a tight, jazz-inflected variation on hip-hop ? has galvanized pop music. His sound seduced Jackson away from his long-time and lucrative association with Quincy Jones, and prompted Barbra Streisand to suggest a collaboration. Other producers have made similar waves ? Jones with Thriller, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis with Janet Jackson, L.A. Reid and Babyface with Paula Abdul. All have, to one extent or another, created sounds of their own. But only Riley has gone the next step and come up with a label for his sound. This, in a culture where packaging can be more crucial even than substance, was the master stroke, the brilliant touch that put his name on the lips of dance music superstars and his sound all over today's playlists.

The label, of course, is new jack swing. Three words in one capsule, fashioned to slip smoothly down the media's throat?snap, crackle, pop for the '90s. It's the hook of the season, the je ne sals quoi that everyone wants in their rhythm tracks. And everybody knows that Riley invented, patented, and unleashed the style in '87 on two epochal albums ? Make It Last Forever, Keith Sweat's breakthrough effort, and the eponymous debut recording of Riley's own band, Guy.

Just how revolutionary is new jack swing? From the long view, the changes wrought by Riley add up to a mere bump on the back of R&B. Like everybody doing dance music these days, he almost always builds on the backbeat. Once the metronome starts slam-min' the two and four, he adds sweetening ? bass drum thumps, double-time hi-hat, and other details that wouldn't have seemed strange on old Van McCoy or TSOP records. Of course, it's all done with a crisp touch that many producers far beyond Riley's years can't manage. There's a lot of treble, not much reverb. When played through a battle-ready stereo system from a car adjacent to yours at a red light, classic rap assaults your guts with its maxed-out, sloppy bass. Under similar circumstances, new jack swing goes for your feet and your brain. It's as tidy as it is tight.

So what if it differs from other dance styles only in nuance? Details can make all the difference. Check out Riley's arrangements on Michael Jackson's Dangerous. By keeping the beat straight-ahead, giving the snare extra pop, and leaving the bass out on "Why You Wanna Trip On Me," he brings Jackson's vocals out more than Quincy Jones did on some earlier cuts, and gives more exposure to the dotted eighth-note hi-hat pattern that essentially defines new jack swing. Though unmistakably a Michael Jackson performance, the uncluttered texture is also a Riley trademark, and thus passes this year's trendiness test.

Riley was between sessions for the new Bobby Brown album when we met him at The Future Enterprise headquarters. He invited us into his inner sanctum, a honeycomb of studios, guest and private suites, a work space for his staff technician. An amazing amount gear overflows from room to room; a benevolent wraith, Riley drifts past rack after rack, gesturing at his favorite axes and accessories. "Our speakers were made by George Augspurger," he says with an affectionate glance at his monitors. "Everybody thinks Genelec is the best. Bobby Brown has Genelecs in his studio. But" ? a knowing smile ? "they can't stand up to these."

Not too long ago, Riley was one of a crowd of hopeful musicians in New York, jostling through music stores and staring at gear he could only dream of buying. Now he's got it all ? all the equipment, a company of his own, a private phone reserved for family and selected clients. (During our visit, Pepa of Salt-n-Pepa called to ask how she should spell her own name. Bemused, he replied, "You can spell it any way you want.") It's a powerful wave that Riley rides, one that seems at first glance to have sapped him of the strength that's evident in his music. In fact, he is more balanced than burned out. With all of his obligations to his 13-member staff, to the artists clamoring for his time, to the suits demanding his signature on their budget projections, Riley has learned to pace himself. As we left the premises, we watched him disappear back into his studio for another long night of work. Outside, darkness enveloped concrete America; inside The Future Enterprise, the lights burned nonstop until dawn.

As we speak, you're deep into the upcoming Bobby Brown album. On one cut, you've got Bobby dueting with Whitney Houston. How did that come about?
That was my idea.
Did Bobby ask you to line her up for the album?

Not really. They're very good friends, so he also called her himself. But he had to wait a while to think about whether it would be a good idea before he actually said, "I want you to do a song with me." One day she happened to call the studio. She was talking to one of my engineers, who then put Bobby on the phone. He said to her, "We're working on a song, and we're thinking that you should sing it." She said, "Let me hear it over the phone." She listened, and she loved it. So I waited on that one until she could do a rough [vocal]. Now we're gonna get the main vocals down.

In preparing to record her, did you listen to how other producers worked with her to develop any insights?

No. I wanted to push Whitney Houston my way. Everybody has used her in every way, but I wanted to use her in the new jack swing way. So much of her stuff is so wide and clean; I wanted to use her the street way. Her voice will still be warm ? not too dry. I'll have a little reverb, but you'll hear her. She'll be up front.

How did the quality of her and Bobby's voices affect your approach to arranging that cut?

The song that they're singing is classic to me, so I want to put real instruments on there ? strings and stuff that would complement them. I played some of the parts myself. I have a lot of Fairlight string sounds that I use if I can't get the string section sound that I want. It's hard to get the people you need to do what you need them to do, as far as the rhythm and the type of tune I want to do. They may not be able to lock in. But I'm setting up to record some real string players anyway. I want to try to arrange it all myself from the computer and print out all their parts.

Do real string players still give you a quality that you can't get from samples?

I wouldn't say that. I have the sounds of life in my machines [laughs].

So why have real strings?

It was my idea to run with that and get some publicity on it. I like doing things where you can draw good publicity, like using real strings or playing guitar on Michael Jackson's stuff. I don't play guitar, really. I can do funky strums, but no solos.

What was your source for string sounds on Dangerous''

Well, on "In the Closet" the beginning is real violins, cellos, violas, and basses in a computer.

Those particular string parts follow the piano line pretty closely. Were they triggered from a MlDied piano?

They were done separately. I played the piano in real time, so we had to feel it out. I kept the first take that I did because it's real. That's how they would do it with a symphony orchestra, so the timing is real.

Were you playing a real piano?

It was a Bosendorfer. On top of it I had a layer of one soft sustained string playing at the same time. All the other stuff was recorded separately behind it.

So when you want a real piano, you go for a real piano.

Oh, yeah. I got one at home, a Yamaha Disclavier baby grand that my brother bought me for Christmas.

Is the Fairlight your main source for string sounds?

I don't usually tell anyone what I use, but the strings that I did for Michael were from the Fairlight and the [New England Digital] Synclavier. Sometimes you can get the best string parts from the smaller keyboards ? something like the [E-mu] Proteus/1 and 2, or the [Ensoniq] VFX. I have a lot of key boards in my room that give me all the sounds I need. You just have to go through 'em to know what they can do. That's why I sleep here at the studio; I go through all my sounds. I had an Akai MPC-60 the first day it came out. I ordered the first one that came in to Sam Ash on 48th Street in New York.

So even before you hit the big time, you we being aggressive about getting what you wanted.

Yeah, I am very aggressive when I want equipment. Anything that's new, I like to get it before anyone. My keyboard tech, Julian Jackson, gives me the rundown on every new thing that's out. He always calls me: "You know this new thing? The [Roland] RSS?" "Yeah, man. I used that on a remix of 'D-O-G Me Out' [from The Future, by Guy]. I love it!" He tells me about everything that comes out even before he gets it.

What was your first synth?

Well, my very first keyboard was a [Hohn-er] Clavinet. Then I had a 73-key Rhodes. Af-ter that, I bought an [Roland] S-10. Then I bought a D-50. I was using an Alesis drum machine then too. "My Prerogative" [from Bobby Brown's Dance!... Ya Know lt!\ was done on the Alesis and a little eight-track.

You had limited options with that kind of gear.

Yeah, but I was trying to do everything. I was playing pads on the Clavinet. I'd do the chops too, but that would be on another track. That was the only keyboard I had at one time, so I had to utilize what it could do. I did have the little floor model Boss chorus, which could make the Clavinet stereo. I didn't have the money in those days to buy whatever I wanted. But every time I bought a new keyboard, I made new songs because there were more sounds that I could spread around. As I got more things, more new songs came to my head.

Was the piano your first instrument?

Yeah, and organ. I played 'em in church.

Are you self-taught?

I took lessons for about one year from Thurman Thompson, and I took lessons with another teacher, a lady. It showed me that some of the stuff I was studying I already knew. I'm no great, fast, fantastic piano player, but as far as my chops go, I can do anything I want to do. The piano is my love. It's something I live for. Guitar was actually the instrument I started on, when I was three years old. I used to study Jimmy Reed, B. B. King, and those blues guys back around '69. Then I got into the Parliament/Funkadelic stuff that came out later. So it was one or the other: blues or funk. I went into funk, so I said, "I don't want to play guitar, man. With the guitar, you have to move your hands and play a lot of stuff; you have to strum while you play at the same time with your left hand. I want to play drums." So I played drums. I used to play drums for the bands in my elementary school and my junior high school. I was the top drummer, and I read music for drums. I used to play trumpet with the band too. But then I said, "I don't want to play trumpet anymore. This is an instrument that would hurt my mouth, and I be looking funny." And drums hurt my hand; I have calluses now because I still play drums. When I do all my sounds with my sound man, I'm hitting that drum hard; I create blisters every time. By this time, I wanted something that I could play all my life, so I wound up with the piano because that's something you can do when you're old. That's what I'm gonna be doing. I see myself, say, 20 or 25 years from now, maybe doing a piano record of my own music.

How is your reading?

I haven't read music in so long, since I started doing this street kind of stuff. But I'm gonna get back into it, because my daughter is taking piano lessons and I don't want her to beat me out: "Daddy, this is the way you do it." I want to know how to do it right, so I can show her. She's three years old, and she's trying to do the scales with these small fingers. Wow!

So you want your daughter to be a player.

That's right. If she wants to get into pro gramming music on computers later on in life, that's fine. But I want her to be a player first. I don't want her to make the mistakes I made. I was thinking computers when computers weren't even out. I do play, but I was always trying to get around it and not play too much. I wanted to put my music in a computer that could play it back to me, instead of having to go over the parts all the time in the studio. Some people may think I'm a slouch or not good at playing piano, but I try to be as good as I can at it.

What was your first public performance?

That was at the age of seven in church. Actually, we were doing music in the street when I was five years old. I was on 121st Street between Lexington and Third Avenue with some of my father's friends. We had little Fender amps, and we played outside. People loved it.

Do you write at the piano?

Yeah, mostly. Then I put it all in the computer. That way, if I do the Michael Jackson tour and he wants all the sheet music for what we did, I have it later on down the line. It's good that I documented everything. I document everything that I record, from the time the song starts all the way to the end ? the tempo, every part that's played, every program on every keyboard. You never know when you're going to want to come back up with the song. Suppose somebody asks you to do a song like something you did before? You're gonna want to go back to your sources and say, "What did I use on this song for the strings? For the horns?"

Do you think of each instrument as having its own specific function?

Yeah. It's like going to a restaurant. If you go someplace that specializes in Italian food, you want Italian food. So when you buy a keyboard, you look for certain things that it does well. I like the stuff that E-mu did with strings in the Proteus/2. They specialize in strings. Roland, of course, specializes in everything. They're really good.

Do you still play the D-50?

Yes, I do. I have six or seven D-50s, five or six D-70s, four or five JD-800s. I also used the [E-mu] Emulator Three when it first came out ? that long, big keyboard that gave everybody prob lems. But I liked the first Emulator.

More than the later models?

Yeah, because the EMI was too compli cated.

Did you stock up on much Yamaha gear?

No, except back when they had the DX7. I used the DX7 on some of Keith Sweat's stuff, because it gave me the whole catalog of sounds that I needed.
You've also used the Synclavier and the Fairlight, especially on ballads.
They're both too clean, too polished and pop, for me. When I want a song to have street appeal, I wouldn't use a Synclavier unless I could put something pretty in there. But for ballads, they're both great. I used the Fairlight on Kool Moe Dee's rap project, How Ya Like Me Now. It was pretty rich on that one, with a lot of fat sounds, even though we got fat sounds and bottom out of little drum machines and the stuff we had for the Heavy D projects. With the Fairlight, everything is right in front of you. It's just, "Gimme this sound. Gimme that sound."

What instrument do you like to use as your MIDI controller?

The D-70. It has so much control right there. You can change all the presets so easily. Plus it has more keys than most keyboards, like the [Korg] M1. I used to use the M1 as a controller. I also used the JD-800 for about a week, but then I went back to the D-70 because it had a lot to offer.

Do you use the D-70 strictly as a controller, with local off?

Sometimes, but I also use the internal sounds. I'll bring up five or six sounds at the same time.

You're often seen in photos with a strap-on Lync controller.

I love the play the Lync on live gigs. I run it through a vocoder.

You seem to use completely different sets of instruments for your slow and your faster tunes.
Not really, but as I create a ballad I go into a different mode. I change all my sounds. I don't like using the same sound twice on an album. My floor plan is to make the whole carpet colorful.

But you also go for a certain kind of unity. Your snare sounds throughout Dangerous differ from cut to cut, yet there are similarities as well.

Yeah. They're all hot. My engineer and I always have our drums poppin'. We used a variety of drum machines, but we compressed all our snares to make 'em pop.

You reverse-gated the snare on "She Drives Me Wild" in a way that nicely anticipates and sets up the actual backbeat hits.

There are lots of elements on that song. In fact, the whole percussion track is motor sounds: trucks, cars starting, cars screeching, motorcycles idling, motorcycles revving, car horns. Even the bass is a car horn.

Where did you get those samples? I made them myself. You just took a DAT machine out to the parking lot?

We usually do that. We even sampled Michael's tiger. We got tiger sounds, lion sounds, monkey sounds.

What about your regular drum sounds?

We sample most of our drums. If not, we work on and edit the drum sounds in our machines so they don't sound like stock sounds.

One of your most noticeable arrangement techniques on that album involves frequently leaving the bass out. In those sections of "Jam," "Why You Wanna Trip On Me," "In the Closet," and other titles from Dangerous, did you ever consider not taking out the bass line?

No, we didn't. We always just did it the way we felt. When we dropped the bass, the rhythm was always pumpin'. The rhythm was between my music and Michael's vocal. As long as we were hittin', if we didn't have to use the bass, we didn't use it. A lot of people think that having a lot of music is the key to putting an arrangement together. But we don't just add music or instruments just to be adding. It's more about what you feel in the music, what you think is happening. Anything can go, as long as it's hip or street.

When you do have a bass part, it often has a strong analog feel, as on "Remember the Time."

For me, that song was true R&B. I didn't put hip-hop into it until the remix. For that, I used a real upright jazz bass on a hip-hop beat. I really like that one. I also changed the organ part on the remix and did it with my voice through a vocoder.

Some of Michael's early work with Quin cy Jones was much more fully orchestrated. Were you consciously deciding to go in an opposite direction in your collaboration?

As far as my production, yeah. I didn't want to go the same way Quincy went, but I also didn't want to leave his style. So I took a little bit of each. I had my style and his style in my head, and I put them together.

What is there on Dangerous that reflects Michael's earlier style? On "She Drives Me Wild," for example, there seem to be some chordal echoes of "Thriller."

Well, that's what he wanted. He said, "You know what I'd like to have overlaid to new jack swing? I'd still like to have my strings. I want the strings to be really wide." So that's what we did, even on "Dangerous."

They're wide, but they're not overwhelming.
I know. They're part of the flavor. We liked the strings so much that we tried to turn them up as loud as we could get them. But we turned them back down when they started dominating the other tracks.

Michael also seems to be referring to "Bil-lie jean" in his falsetto vocals on "Dangerous. "

"Dangerous" had already been recorded by Bill Bottrell [co-producer of four cuts on Dangerous), but the music didn't move Michael. I told Michael, "I like Billy. I like his producing, and everything about him. But this is your album, Michael. If this is the right tune, I can utilize what you have in your singing. Let me change that whole bottom and put a new floor in there." He said, "Try it. I guess we gotta use what we love." And we did. I'm quite sure that if anyone else had come up with a better "Dangerous," he would have used that. So it's not actually about me or Billy; it's about the music. I always say that the music is the star.

Was there an element of having to follow in the formidable footsteps of Quincy Jones on this project?

Well, that's my plan. I want to be like Quincy Jones. I've always looked up to him, more than to any other producer out there. He's the one. Like Quincy, I just can't stay in one category. I'll do any kind of music. It's like being a scientist: You have to find the right method for solving a problem or curing a disease. That what producers do. When you're working with someone, you've got to find the right style, the right sound, for them. You have to draw a circle around each artist and make them fit into that circle.

How much of your work on Dangerous was based not just on finding a sound that works, but on finding a sound that contrasts with the one that Michael and Quincy developed?

Almost all of it.

So if you came up with something that sounded a bit too much like Thriller, for example, that was reason enough to abandon that approach and search for something different.

Yes. We didn't want to sound like another Thriller. We wanted to top it, even though that's impossible. I guess some people are saying that Dangerous is better than Thriller or Bad. But I won't say it's better until it sells as much as those albums. If Dangerous doesn't sell more than Bad, even with the recession that we're having, then I don't feel that it's better.

Do sales really have that much impact on how you feel about the quality of your work as a producer?

In a way they do. I don't want to say that sales have an impact all the way about how I feel. I don't check up on how many copies are selling. I just think that if it sells that much, it's a great album. Everybody tells me it's a great album, that they love what I'm doing with Michael. I like that; that's cool. But I don't have an ego about it. I just say thank you and be on my way.

You play keyboards on all of the cuts that you produce on Dangerous. But a number of players in addition to you are also credited as keyboardists on the opening song, "Jam."

Well, "Jam" was brought to me as just a drum beat. Rene Moore and Bruce Swedien came up with the idea and gave it to Michael as a beat, so you can't take that credit away from them. But it was just a stripped tune until Michael did his vocals and I came in with the icing. I actually added most of the keyboard parts, all of the percussion elements, all of the horn parts, and all of the guitar parts to make the tune what it is today.
How did you formulate the idea of new jack swing? Did you used to play more straight-ahead hip-hop grooves?

As a kid, I was playing gospel, funk, hip-hop, R&B, and pop grooves. We couldn't call it all of those things, so we came up with one name for it all ? new jack swing. In reality, it's all types of music.

Does jazz also factor into the new jack swing concept?

Modem jazz does. There used to be modern jazz festivals during Harlem Day every summer. It was like Mardi Gras in New York, and a lot of musicians would come out and play ? Chick Corea and those kinds of guys.

That influence is reflected in the dotted eighth-note patterns you generally lay down for your hi-hat parts.

So is the hi-hat part the element that distinguishes this style?

It's in every element of the percussion. I can do some things with the hi-hat that will make a song stand out. I can do some things with the bass drum that will make the song stand out too. I don't just rely on one instrument. Lots of people try to do what I do, but they don't know how to do it. Everybody is trying to catch on to my technique.

A lot of it seems to boil down to common sense. When you change the snare timbre slightly going into a new section of a song, it's usually for a good musical reason.

You could say that.

The snare sound on the Guy ballad "Let's Chill," for example, becomes more authentic when the vocals begin.

That song starts with a high conga sound that's actually a high-pitched [Roland TR-] 808 snare. I use that on most of my ballads because it's a nice cross between a conga and a snare. It's really small on the track because everything around it is wide. The snare I added was a real snare, high-pitched. I also made some 808 sounds of my own ? warm sounds and funky sounds. That was one of my first drum machines. But I didn't think it was nothin' then, so I sold it.

Did you use the 808 to get that big boomy rap-style bass drum sound?

Oh, yeah. That long bass. But I don't do that anymore, because I wanted to make a change. You gotta change. If you don't, somebody will beat you to it. You gotta be on key as far as style, but at the same time you want to be at least one or two steps ahead of everybody else.

The drum part on "Let's Chill" also feels like something a real drummer would play.

Yeah. It's like "Long Gone," a slow song that I sang on the same album. It has Phil Collins-type drums. I was trying to use real drum fills on that. I think it came out good.
Do authentic drum patterns work better on ballads than on up tunes?

Yeah. On up-tempo tunes, anything goes.
Like most dance music, your up-tempo songs empasize a strong backbeat. But not always: "jam" has a more complex snare part.

That's new jack swing. You can do anything with the snare in new jack swing. You just have to change the pitch to take it somewhere else. If you keep one straight snare, you can put breathing on it. [Riley articulates rhythmic breathing around a steady beat.] That gives the snare more rhythm and actually brings the snare out. Sometimes you don't realize that you're doing that kind of stuff until it happens, and then somebody else notices. That happens a lot with me. I don't really notice that what I'm doing is unique, because it's natural to me.

What sequencer do you use for your drum tracks?

The MPC-60. Now that they have the SCSI port for it, we can use the hard drive to load up sounds. I play a lot of live stuff into it. I like to do all my percussion live and in real time, using sounds that I made and put into the Akai so it will come out the way I want it to swing.

Do you also use a software sequencer?

I use [Mark of the Unicorn] Performer when we go on tour. It's the best program because the Mac holds so much. For the last Guy tour, we ran [Opcode's] Studio Vision, even though it drives a lot of people nuts. I still get calls from people who want to find out how to do this and that with it. There's so much stuff you need to make Studio Vision work the way you want it to work, where you can just pick up an instrument and it comes in on the right MIDI channel. But for me, it's easy.

Why didn't you take Performer out on the last tour?

Because I wanted to record a live album with Studio Vision and [Digidesign's] Sound Tools. But we didn't get a chance to do that. We stopped the tour when our show was at Madison Square Garden. We were supposed to have more shows after that, but that was our last one. I was just too busy with other things to keep going.

Do you sample a lot off of records?

I try not to. It's really becoming a hectic thing for artists, especially for rap artists, because they're afraid of getting sued. I don't want that to happen to me.

What about sampling an individual drum hit from a record?

I don't do that either, because it's not strong enough. I can't take something from a song that's not strong enough for me to put on a record, that isn't clean enough for me to hit hard onto tape.

So it's a combination of practicality and legal safety.

Well, it's not about being legally safe. It's more about being creatively safe. It's about the difference between taking a sound from a CD and having the real thing. I like to hit things hard. My snare drums have to hit hard. If I did that with a sample from a record, it would come out distorted.

Running a business like The Future Enterprise is such a different process from playing music. Why move into something that's so far outside the range of activities you've enjoyed throughout your life?

You want to do it all. You want to grab up there for what you don't have. You want to go for everything.

How did you decide to put your own business together, instead of just working as a producer for hire?

I didn't look for it. If you look for something, it never comes. This deal came to me. I wasn't even prepared for it. Someone from MCA called my lawyers and said, "We're ready to do a deal with Teddy Riley." "What kind of deal?" "We want to give Teddy Riley his own label." At this moment, I still don't know to the fullest what to do. I only know what to do musically. As far as strategies for promoting records and staying on top of who's gonna do what, I don't know. I just hope MCA is behind me on it. I'm still looking for a president for my company ? someone who has the ability and experience with promotion, artistic development, and knowing the music industry, so I don't have to answer for all that. My thing is being creative. I don't want to get into the business aspect, because if my records don't sell I can't make any more records.

Your outside projects forced you to bow out of your own band's last tour. Now you seem to be worried that you might be overbooking yourself with the business side of your career.

[Whispers:] That's right.

With all these pressures, with so much of your work cocooning you here in this facility, are you in danger of being too isolated to do real-life music?

No. I never let anybody keep me in. I'm always gonna hang out and do what I need to do to stay on the street vibe.

By Robert l. Doerschuk keyboard  1992

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