Philly natives Conrad Korsch and Jay Davidson to perform
STORY WRITTEN BY FERN BRODKIN
For 21st Century Media
It’s going to be a very funky Christmas. After all, that’s the mission of Everett Bradley, aka Papadelic, during the holiday season.
Bradley is the creator of Holidelic, a concert presentation featuring funky music, dancing and costumes — all with the Christmas theme. This year’s show will be presented at Underground Arts in Philadelphia on Dec. 20.
“‛Sugar Daddy’ is this year’s incarnation of Holidelic. And the Sugar Daddy is me, of course, bringing sweetness to the world,” said Bradley, in a phone interview from New York. “There are some new songs, including the song ‘Sugar Daddy,’ which opens the show. And it’s a collection of material that I’ve been performing over the last 12 years.”
Bradley explains how Holidelic began.
“It started with the events of 9/11, actually, as a way to heal myself,” said Bradley. “I started writing Christmas songs. I wrote a couple — and there was something happening and I kept going. That collection of original Christmas music turned into an album called ‘Toy.’
“I performed ‘Toy’ for two or three years and then my drummer and bass player had this idea to do a P-Funk [Parliament/Funkadelic] version of it,” he laughs. “And it was sort of magical that they said that because that’s the music that I grew up on. One of my first albums was Sly and the Family Stone and then my uncle introduced me to Parliament/Funkadelic and I really got into that whole sound of ’70s big bands. I’ve always been inspired by that music and loved it so it made perfect sense for me to do a version of ‘Toy’ like that, and once I did it I never turned back.”
Bradley, who is the musical director of the “Meredith Vieira Show” and has toured with Bruce Springsteen, is able to get top-notch talent for his band.
Bassist Conrad Korsch, who lives in New York City, is a native Philadelphian and Temple University graduate.
“Since I am on the road playing bass with Rod Stewart most of the year, I am only able to appear as a special guest on shows that occur when Rod is not working,” said Korsch in an e-mail interview.
Korsch will be performing at the Philadelphia show and looks forward to his homecoming.
“I love returning to Philly to play gigs. Now it seems like the only time I play (in Philly) I’m at Wells Fargo Center or someplace like that, which is much less intimate. It’s great to come back to my home town and play a club to get amongst my people!”
He adds: “It’s the only gig where I get paid to wear a diaper and drink Jack Daniels.”
It is Korsch who introduced Philadelphia saxophonist and keyboard player Jay Davidson to Bradley.
“I heard about the production. I went and saw it (and) I fell in love with it,” said Davidson in a phone interview, just after he returned home from this season’s first two Holidelic shows in Hudson, NY. “What is there not to like about original funky holiday music fronted by a monstrous character named Papadelic who’s just Mr. Funky Christmas?” he asks rhetorically.
This is Davidson’s fourth year performing with Bradley in the show.
“I’m grateful that a bunch of first-call New York session singers and musicians are letting this Philly boy get the holiday spirit on with them. It’s my (most fun) gig all year.”
What about the scrooges, or those who get stressed or depressed around the holidays?
“I have to admit I’ve saved a lot of people, people who despise Christmas or hate the holidays when they come around and I have people (who) I’ve converted,” said Bradley. “They say they actually like the holidays now because of Holidelic, and I think it’s because of my take on the holiday.”
Bradley also acknowledges that the holiday season can be depressing for some people.
“I lost both my parents at the holidays, so Holidelic is also a personal celebration for me to celebrate the anniversary of the loss of my folks. I miss them, but at the same time I celebrate all of the many gifts they’ve given me and blessed me with. I try to acknowledge that for others too because I know people do have a difficult time (at the holidays).”
IF YOU GO
What: Holidelic presents “Sugar Daddy”
Where: Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., Philadelphia
When: Saturday, Dec. 20 at 9 p.m.; doors open at 8.
Ages: 21+ only
Tickets: $25 in advance at www.undergroundarts.org
Artist Info.: www.holidelic.com