Rudy Love

Exposing the legend

Written by JC Guest | Photography by Shane Ricketts, John Alexander

My partner, in both work and life, John Alexander, takes my arm, pulls me close, and says, "Just stay next to me." Together we march toward the loading dock of the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, trying to act cool and get as close as we can without attracting attention from the vigilant security guards. As we approach, we see a band tour bus ready to depart, the driver anxious to head out. Before we can get close, George Clinton, the leader of Parliament Funkadelic, slips into the front passenger seat. He rolls up his window and the bus starts moving.

We came here for one purpose, so in a Hail Mary, John starts shouting "Rudy Love! Rudy Love! George! George! Rudy Love!"

The bus stops. The window rolls back down. Our musical idol and the King of Funk, George Clinton cranes his head out of the window and says, "Rudy Love? How do you know Rudy Love?"

George turns to look down the street, where a black limousine trails off around the corner, "You just missed Sly. Rudy was Sly's best friend." It was this moment, with traffic stopped in downtown Los Angeles, because George Clinton wanted to tell us about Rudy Love and Sly Stone, that I knew Rudy Love was the real deal.

If George Clinton admires Rudy Love to this extent, who else does? John and I became driven to pur- sue this quest, and gather testimonies to expose the legend of Rudy Love while also investigating why, unlike the rest of his musical collaborators, Rudy Love never become a household name. Over the past few months, we have sought out and spoken with many of Rudy's friends, colleagues, and collaborators, and regardless of place or situation, his unsung heroic qualities hold true.

Part of Rudy's mystery comes from the fact that few understand the full scope of his work and impact. From getting his start with Little Richard as a teenager, to writing songs for Ray Charles, becoming Sly Stone's righthand man, pioneering karaoke music in Hong Kong, to becoming a cult UK soul music icon, Rudy's influence has been widespread geographically and over the decades. He has left his mark at each juncture in his work, and when summed together, the full picture of Rudy Love is a complex career of an artist that is exceptional in its depth, scope and intensity.

Despite this, people in recent years, even in his hometown of Wichita, often forget about this man's unbelievable impact in the world of music. Talk to Rudy himself, and little mention of his music will pass through his lips. Humble to his craft, his surroundings, and the other musicians around him, Rudy is a pure artist. He has no tendency toward self-promotion, and much of his recorded music is incredibly hard to find. Original Rudy Love vinyl singles sell online for more than $560, yet in the defining spheres of Spotify, Pandora and iTunes, Rudy Love is nowhere to be found.

Fortunately Rudy Love and The Love Family are experiencing a resurgence, with their recent George Clinton show at the Cotillion, their performance with Sinbad at Riverfest on June 7, not to mention "The Love Story," the upcoming movie about Rudy Love and The Love Family which John is directing, and I am incredibly proud to be producing with Shawn Rhodes.

What does the future bring for Rudy Love? With a renewed influence of soul music on hip hop and house music, Rudy is finding himself more frequently collaborating on recordings with artists half his age who seek him out for his voice, style and legacy. As he enters a new chapter of his career, Rudy looks to continue innovating artistically while bringing his music to new audiences.

How can I find Rudy Love?

Fundraiser for the McAdams Revitalization Plan
May 27, 7-10 p.m.
The Abode Venue
Suggested donation at the door

Sinbad and Rudy Love
June 7, 8:30 p.m.
Riverfest, RedGuard Stage

"The Love Story"
Twitter @IAmRudyLove

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