Melvin Van Peebles plays Johnny Brenda’s

Melvin Van Peebles and his band wid Laxative are at Johnny Brenda's this weekend.  Credit: Melvin Van Peebles
Melvin Van Peebles and his band wid Laxative are at Johnny Brenda’s this weekend.
Credit: Melvin Van Peebles

It’s all about the song these days for Melvin Van Peebles.

Peebles, the 81-year-old film icon whose 1971 “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” started the black exploitation movement in movies, is coming to town to play Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown, Saturday, Feb. 8 with his band wid Laxative.

Peebles wrote the soundtrack to “Sweet Sweetback” as well as the soundtracks to his other films and solo albums.

“I was walking down the street about a year and a half ago and I heard a song and it was a song I had written 40-something years ago,” Van Peebles says from his New York City home. “It became the anthem of the Wall Street uprising and they’re using it everywhere. It was a song I had written for (the 1970 movie) ‘Watermelon Man.’”

“Love, That’s America” first appeared in “Watermelon Man,” which tales the story of a white bigot who turns black, and was also released on his ‘71 album “As Serious as a Heart-Attack.”

“Music — some people just don’t know that part of me,” says Van Peebles, the father of actor and filmmaker Mario Van Peebles.

The Van Peebles sound is a blusey, jazzy spoken-world flow with lots of groove and character — and characters, too. Wid Laxative is composed of members of the New York City-based collective Burnt Sugar.

“It’s storytelling, it’s like old blues or old country artists,” Van Peebles says. “It’s telling something and then you set it to music so you can dance the night away.”

Members of Burnt Sugar performed the live “Sweet Sweetback, the Hood Opera” with Van Peebles 2010 in Paris. The original music from the “Sweet Sweetback” film was performed by Earth, Wind and Fire.

“Forty years ago, I went to a drive-in in Dayton, Ohio, and saw ‘Sweet Sweetback’ and then it came on with that iconic bass, and me being a bass player, I was hooked right there,” says Nickerson of Burnt Sugar and wid Laxative. “For me, playing this music is my teen-age wet dream.”

Melvin Van Peebles wid Laxative and Ernest Stuart
Saturday, Feb. 8, 9:30 p.m.
Johnny Brenda’s
1201 N. Frankford Ave.
$25, 215-739-9684
www.johnnybrendas.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Newest java joint in bastion of hipness is…

Little may represent the change the neighborhood is undergoing right now like the arrival of the first Starbucks. The chain which is ubiquitous in Manhattan, opened a Williamsburg store at…

National

Black and white are the new orange at…

By Brendan O'Brien(Reuters) - Black and white are the new orange in a Michigan county where the sheriff has made a wardrobe change for jail…

National

Traps set after reports of giant snake on…

New Jersey animal control workers have set traps to snare a reported 20-foot-long serpent slithering through the waters of Lake Hopatcong.

Music

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks more accessible than Animal…

Believe it or not, Avey Tare — the man in the mustachioed mask pictured here in the pool of blood — may have made the poppiest music of his career.

Entertainment

‘The Leftovers’ recap: Season 1, Episode 4, ‘B.J.…

Last week’s episode of “The Leftovers” was apparently a fluke, because this week’s episode returns to focusing on the Garveys and it is so boring.…

Movies

Interview: Luc Besson says 'Lucy' is very different…

Filmmaker Luc Besson talks about his new film "Lucy," how it's different than "Limitless" and his crazy first conversation with Egyptian actor Amr Waked.

Music

Weezer releases first new song since 2010

Weezer releases "Back to the Shack," their first new song in almost six years.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony talks about his charity work in…

As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…

Tech

Ulises 1 is the world's first singing satellite

A group of artists and engineers in Mexico have unveiled Ulises 1, the world's first opera-singing satellite.

Home

Wallscape on a budget

Skip the wallpaper and ombre an accent wall instead.