That Quincy Jones Interview, But If It Was About Thinly-Veiled Food Stuff
Basically: we're not over it.
February 13, 2018 ● 5 min read
By Richie Nakano | Photo illustration by ChefsFeed
Last week, legendary music producer Quincy Jones gave a batshit-crazy-wonderful interview in Vulture.
In it, he reveals who killed JFK, that the Beatles were trash musicians, and that he dated Ivanka Trump, among other revelations. It was like listening to a drunk uncle go ham at a family gathering, only in this case your drunk uncle is telling stories about Jimi Hendrix and Michael Jackson, and you believe them.
The only thing missing from this glorious tell-all was culinary context, of course—which is where I come in. I am not an expert in, well, anything per se, but I know and identify with crazy, so I feel uniquely qualified to break this one down for you.
"You just mentioned the Clintons, who are friends of yours. Why is there still such visceral dislike of them? What are other people not seeing in Hillary, for example, that you see?
It’s because there’s a side of her — when you keep secrets, they backfire.
Like what secrets?
This is something else I shouldn’t be talking about.
You sure seem to know a lot.
I know too much, man."
Translation: Knowledge is power, but it can also bring with it pain and misery. For example: did you know that to make the fajitas sizzle at Chili’s they use this stuff called sizzle sauce, that's basically just a really crude vinaigrette? See? By telling you that, I just took four years off your life. Also in this quote, QJ says keeping secrets backfires, then KEEPS A SECRET. Levels.
"Really? The Charlie Parker concert with Mingus and those guys?
Yeah, man. I saw the contract after. The whole band made $1,100. I’ll never forget that. At the time it was just another gig. It wasn’t historical. Like with Woodstock, Tito Puente told me he wanted to go out to that gig. Those festivals ain’t my thing. Elon Musk keeps trying to get me to go to Burning Man. No thank you. But who knew what Woodstock would turn out to be? Jimi Hendrix was out there fucking up the national anthem."
Translation: This is like when chefs cook a collaborative dinner, then somewhere between the fifth and sixth course, everyone realizes that tickets for the dinner were $150 per person, and there are 80 guests, and yet each chef was only allowed a $75 stipend…so everyone starts drinking and the dessert course never goes out. I digress. Burning Man with Elon Musk sounds like an insufferable hellscape. Dude definitely has a chef making—coordinating?—meals solely out of raw water and Soylent for his campmates.
"I used to date Ivanka, you know.
Yes, sir. Twelve years ago. Tommy Hilfiger, who was working with my daughter Kidada [A former model and current designer, Kidada is the daughter of Jones and his ex-wife Peggy Lipton. Jones’s other daughter with Lipton is the actress Rashida Jones. Jones has five other children, with four other women.], said, “Ivanka wants to have dinner with you.” I said, “No problem. She’s a fine motherfucker.” She had the most beautiful legs I ever saw in my life. Wrong father, though."
Translation: I feel like a date with Ivanka goes something like: arrive at Trump Tower. Text Ivanka, “yo should I come up or do you want to come down or” to which she just texts back, “k” and you’re like, the fuck? What do you mean “k?” Then Donald Trump's bodyguard Keith comes down and says, “Ms. Trump will be down shortly” and you say “K,” and Keith just stares at you then says “She's a special woman you know. I just think you should know, she’s really special.” Then Keith coughs loudly and starts sweating while muttering something under his breath. Ivanka comes down, and you go do the vegetable tasting menu at Jean-Georges, during which she spends 90 minutes talking about how great cucumbers are.
"There’s a small anecdote in your memoir about how the rock musicians who’d been asked to sing on “We Are the World” were griping about the song. Is there more to that story?
It wasn’t the rockers. It was Cyndi Lauper. She had a manager come over to me and say, “The rockers don’t like the song.” I know how that shit works. We went to see Springsteen, Hall & Oates, Billy Joel, and all those cats and they said, “We love the song.” So I said [to Lauper], “Okay, you can just get your shit over with and leave.” And she was fucking up every take because her necklace or bracelet was rattling in the microphone. It was just her that had a problem."
Translation: This is basically every stage ever. Some kid comes in that who just graduated CIA and did an externship peeling fava beans at Eleven Madison Park, and now thinks they’re god's gift to cuisine. They try to tell you about a “better” way to clarify your consommé and you say, “Why don’t you take your fucking consommé technique down the street to The Olive Garden,” and they shut up, but also they scorch the chili you made for family meal.
"Is there innovation happening in modern pop music?
Hell no. It’s just loops, beats, rhymes and hooks. What is there for me to learn from that? There ain’t no fucking songs. The song is the power; the singer is the messenger. The greatest singer in the world cannot save a bad song. I learned that 50 years ago, and it’s the single greatest lesson I ever learned as a producer. If you don’t have a great song, it doesn’t matter what else you put around it.
What was your greatest musical innovation?
Everything I’ve done."
Chefs: No one is innovating, cuisine isn’t moving forward, our industry is becoming dumber and moving closer and closer to basically being the lowest common denominator. Instagram is only good for direct messaging other chefs all of the terrible food posts out there.
Also chefs: My way is the best way and honestly it feels like everyone is trying to steal my ideas and techniques.
"Marlon Brando used to go cha-cha dancing with us. He could dance his ass off. He was the most charming motherfucker you ever met. He’d fuck anything. Anything! He’d fuck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye."
Translation: What would a date between Brando and Richard Pryor even look like? Did they go out for pasta? A cocktail, then an evening stroll? Netflix and chill? When Brando invited Richard Pryor over, did Pryor roll his eyes and go UGH BUT YOU JUST HAD MARVIN GAYE OVER LAST WEEK. If I were Richard Pryor I would bring up Marvin Gaye and say, “Let me guess, you made him an offer he couldn’t refuse,” and then Brando would kick me out of his house. What was the food situation at this cha-cha joint?
"Okay, let me ask you a left-field question. In your memoir, there’s a section where you talk about —
Being a dog?"
Translation: I got nothin'. Who among us hasn’t thought about how great it would be to be a dog, though?