Sly Stone has fallen on even tougher times. The legendary, long-troubled funk and soul pioneer is now homeless, living in a van he parks around the rough-and-tumble Crenshaw area of Los Angeles.
Stone, who was tracked down by the NY Post, gets help from a local retired couple, who makes sure he eats once a day and lets him shower at their house. Their son serves as his driver and assistant.
“I like my small camper,” he says. “I just do not want to return to a fixed home. I cannot stand being in one place. I must keep moving."
The former front man of Sly and the Family Stone, who topped the charts with influential classics like "Everyday People" and "Stand," has long been struggling with substance abuse, financial troubles and bizarre, reclusive behavior. But things took an even worse turn in 2009 according to Stone, when he accused his manager, Jerry Goldstein, of fraud and his royalty checks stopped flowing. Stone says he was fooled into signing a shady contract with Goldstein in 1989, giving the manager control of his finances in exchange for a weekly check. Last year, Stone sued Goldstein for $50 million, charging that he had been stealing royalty payments for 20 years.
“My music is a format that will encourage you to have a song you won’t forget. That’s why I got so much money, that there are so many people around, and that’s why I am in court. Millions of dollars!” Stone says. “But now please tell everybody, please, to give me a job, play my music. I’m tired of all this s--t, man.”
But Stone also freely admits to blowing countless wads of cash on drugs, expensive cars and a lavish lifestyle over the years. In 1984, he sold his music publishing rights to Michael Jackson for just $1 million.
The singer seems to be suffering from a major case of paranoia as well, claiming that the FBI is after him, and that his "enemies" have hired hitmen to kill him.
However, he does still make music — on a laptop in his van. He says he has hundreds of songs recorded, but that he's reluctant to release them because he doesn't trust the music biz. He insists that will change soon — as long as the money's right.
"With new energy, it will feel good to step on stage,” he says. “I see all the guys playing those old songs. Let these guys know, like Lady Gaga, let me come in, just let me come in and pay me if you like it.”
(Photo: Brad Barket/PictureGroup)