Rick James was a big “super freak” in his heyday and Showtime’s newest documentary about the late rocker shows that might be an understatement.
The network released the trailer for “Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James” Tuesday and it gives viewers a taste of the music icon’s crazy life.
The doc will spill some juicy tea about James’ music career, his journey to Toronto to escape joining the Navy, his drug use, sexual trysts and much more.
“There was plenty of dope around,” keyboardist Levi Ruffin Jr. revealed in the doc. “I think I snorted everything on God’s planet Earth when I was in the band.”
Archival footage of James will also be present in the film. “I wanna be nasty, I wanna be raw,” he says at one point.
In one scene, he spoke about the insane amount of wild debauchery that went down. “We were f–king standing on the verge of insanity in those days. Everybody was snorting cocaine,” he said. “Everybody was taking quaaludes, drinking Cristal and Dom Perignon Champagne, and getting butt naked and doing it in the bathroom.”
The trailer features legends such as Ice Cube, Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins and more who speak about James’ influence and significance in the music industry as well as sexual assault accusations that emerged.
The Buffalo, NY-born Motown record producer, born James Ambrose Johnson Jr., died at 56 on Aug. 6, 2004, from cardiac and pulmonary failure. Nine different drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine and diazepam were found in his system at the time.
James formed a band in the 1960s with Neil Young called the Mynah Birds that created a record for Motown. By the 1970s, he began to feature several sexually upfront stage acts that many artists such as Prince copied for their shows afterward.
Throughout his career as a songwriter, he collaborated with icons such as Joni Mitchell, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Nile Rodgers, Eddie Murphy, Teena Marie, the Mary Jane Girls and MC Hammer.
The film premiered at the Tribeca Festival in June and will air Sept. 3, at 9 p.m.
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