Hanging with Rick James

The show went on live, and I was mesmerized. Then Rick put us all in limos after the show and walked us right into Studio 54, past the long line of wanna-be's.

True story. My best friend from Buffalo, NY, was hanging out with Rick James and the Stone City Band back in the '80s. "Super Freak" was at the top of the charts.

I lived in New York City and was going to art school, so needless to say I was broke. My friend calls and invites me to meet her at 30 Rock to watch Rick James sing on _Saturday Night Live._ A backstage pass and all that comes with it.

So I sprayed my hair as big as I could get it, put in my one blue feather earring, and drove my beat-up old Nova into the city and parked nearby at a free meter. The night was amazing: standing in the wings watching the cast rehearse their skits, Lorne Michaels changing stuff up, Rick belting out two songs up close and personal...and back in the green room getting to rub elbows with other famous people who happened to stop by (Bernadette Peters, Laraine Newman, and a few I've forgotten by now).

The show went on live, and I was mesmerized. Then Rick put us all in limos after the show and walked us right into Studio 54, past the long line of wanna-be's. I sat on a couch, under spinning disco balls, watching the dance floor surrounded by more famous people like Bill Murray, Lauren Hutton, and Eddie Murphy. I was barely able to speak by 1:00 a.m. because, being so nervous, I was pounding the free drinks (Rick picked up the tab). We were drinking Dom Pérignon and rum-and-cokes. There was cocaine everywhere--so I wasn't sleepy, that's for sure. We bar-hopped until dawn, and I was in awe and yet oddly turned off by the over-the-top, all-out crazy way these people lived.

When the bars finally closed, everyone went back to Rick's hotel for what I figured would be a "pick someone to sleep with" party, so I stayed in the limo. Once everyone was gone, I politely asked the driver to take me to my car. The sun was coming up, and like Cinderella (my name is Cindy) the carriage turned back into my crusty Nova, the mice went back to being city rats, and the fairy tale ended.

Looking back, it was one of the most outrageous nights of my life. I left out a lot of the debauchery cuz, well, I have only 500 words to work with here, and those are stories are for another, less sophisticated, publication.

Backstory

The story came alive because I too was a party girl (back in the day) who bug Rick and his boys and their music. I did my fair share of drugs, alcohol and all that came with it. And I'm glad I'm here today to talk about it.

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