Welcome to Between Takes; where artists and musicians tell stories about what happens behind the scenes.
WDET’s Sam Beaubien has been dedicated to making music in Detroit for 20 years, and this series connects you with the stories he has heard on gigs and at recording sessions.
Get a look into Stevie Wonders audition for Motown Records, sessions with funk master George Clinton, renowned hip-hop producer J Dilla’s first days with a drum machine, and many more stories about what shaped the legacy of this musical city.
Amp Fiddler is known to be a connector between 70s funk and soul with contemporary hip-hop and electronic music in Detroit.
Starting off performing with groups like Enchantment, Was (Not Was), and Parliament-Funkadelic in the late 1970s and early ’80s, gave Amp a front-row seat to the change that was happening in music during that time. The shift from live instrumentation and bands, to synthesizers, drum machines, and DJ culture in the early 1980s was something that Amp embraced.
George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic were gods to techno and house producers in Detroit. Clinton’s development and contribution to funk helped birth a new form of dance music that embraced electronic instruments and experimentation. Since Parliament-Funkadelic lived and recorded their music in Detroit, Clinton became a part of the DNA for future generations of producers and musicians in the city. Amp Fiddler was close to Clinton and performed regularly with the group. Because of this, techno and house music producers were interested in Amp and hired him and his brother (Bubz Fiddler) as session musicians to record on this new style of music. For Amp, being a hired gun to record keyboard parts was nothing new, it was how he made a living.
One of the most important figures in Detroit’s electronic music scene is House music producer, Kenny Dixon Jr (also known as, Moodymann). His style of production has influenced artists worldwide and he is known as one of the godfathers of house music. Despite his widespread notoriety, his image is mysterious: He rarely gives interviews and while his music is highly sought after, you have to be in-the-know to have access to buy it, which makes his albums collector items. Amp Fiddler became friends and colleagues with Moodymann and regularly releases music on his record label, Mahogani Music.