Published on November 15th, 2012 | by Alan Cross


Everything is Connected: 15 November 2012

[Brent Chittenden connects more dots in ways that dots need to be connected. -AC]

Welcome to Everything is Connected, be warned, I fall into these internet sinkholes so you don’t have to, if you try this at home, you may find a few hours of gone within the blink of an eye..

Now, as regular readers know, we usually attempt to chain connect one person with one set of circumstances or events. A very popular version of this is 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon where you attempt to connect any actor/director/etc within six steps to actor Kevin Bacon. For a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out who the musical equivalent is.

To my surprise, it’s Rick James.

While most of our younger readers know Rick James mainly from a series of sketches on The Chappelle Show and an unfortunate bout of drug abuse (including a fair amount of jail time), James was also a very talented producer, bassist and song writer.

And he is a nexus point of connections.

For example, Rick James, after going AWOL (we’ll get back to that) played bass in a Toronto band called The Mynah Birds. Even though they never released an album, the Mynah Birds are notable for including among their members Nick St. Nicholas and Gordy McJohn who would later form Steppenwolf as well as Bruce Palmer and Neil Young who would start up Buffalo Springfield and Neil’s subsequent legendary musical career.  Now think of how many bands that then connects Rick James to.

But wait! There’s more.

James had ended up in Toronto after failing to appear for duty in the US. Navy. His posting? The USS Enterprise. Rick James was scheduled to serve on the Navy’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier. That alone is kind of an interesting point of history but on the pop culture side, The Enterprise was the main setting for the film Top Gun as well as part of the fleet chasing the Red October in the Sean Connery film. It was also a major set piece for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home starring William Shatner which means Rick James is within 6 connections of our own Alan Cross!

As was documented by The Chappelle Show, Rick James became good friends with Eddie Murphy in the 80’s  which means James can easily be connected to the Shrek movies, Beverly Hills Cop and beyond.

Through Eddie Murphy, I can connect Rick James to Walt Disney.

Now combining that with the supposed number of sexual conquests by the Super Freak, I figure pretty much everyone is connected to Rick James.

Rick James, musical nexus point.

So for those scoring at home here are a few examples:

Rick James – Mynah Birds – Neil Young – Pearl Jam – Cameron Crowe

Rick James – Mynah Birds – Steppenwolf – Easy Rider – Jack Nicholson – The Monkees

Rick James – USS Enterprise – Star Trek IV – William Shatner – Alan Cross

Rick James – USS Enterprise – The Hunt for Red October – Sean Connery – James Bond – Daniel Craig

Rick James – Eddie Murphy – Joe Piscipo – Sidekicks – Chuck Norris – Mitt Romney

Got any to add? Let us know in the comments section.

About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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