Talk about a bad trip! In Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny, the new memoir from Nile Rodgers out this October, there’s a acid-addled anecdote involving a certain downtown art superstar, a story that’s perhaps never seen the light of day. It involves a party in Little Italy gone wrong, where someone slipped something in Mr. Rodgers’ drink. It turned out to be the stuff the kids now call DOM. Hell of a drug!
We all down the wrong hallucinogenic concoction every once in a while, but this time there’s a surprise celebrity appearance: Andy Warhol, and he’s been shot! Take it away, Le Freak.
I don’t remember how long I was tripping that day, because I was fading in and out of reality. At a police call box near the corner of Second Avenue and Houston Street, I phoned the cops. I was taken by ambulance to Columbus Hospital, a few short blocks away, panic-stricken and rapidly going mad. Even in my extreme psychotic state, I noticed dawn had just broken. I looked down at my arms. My skin had the texture and color of a lizard’s. So like any self-respecting reptile, I spread my fingers wide and tried to catch flies with my tongue.
The atmosphere in the ER was almost festive. The doctors and nurse seemed to be having the time of their lives. There were few if any patients. Hours passed in the blink of an eye, and it was now in the afternoon. Suddenly, apropos of nothing, I was whisked out of the way as a gurney smashed open the ER doors; it was bearing the body of a bloody Andy Warhol, by now one of the most recognizable and important figures in the Village scene. A crowd of people surrounded him and I became irrelevant. Though my head was still a little twisted, my heart told me Andy needed help more than me. I later read that Andy actually died on the operating table, but emergency surgery brought him back.
Crazy trip, Nile! There are plenty more tales to be told in Le Freak, and if you want to hear them first hand, the book party is tonight. Gayle King will be there, too, but we doubt she’s got the war stories like Mr. Rodgers does. But who knows.