In 2012 my friend Kevin asked me if I wanted to go to a music festival in Utopia, Tx to take photos for the Austin Chronicle. I had no plans that weekend so I went. We drove 160 miles from Austin to a rugged canyon in the Texas Hill Country. Once we arrived we went to the green room to interview an artist by the name of Charles Bradley. He was such a shy sweet soul of a human being. His smile made you feel all fuzzy inside, but there was an underlying pain in this man you could feel. When he looked at you he brought the wisdom of 1000 years. When he spoke he was a true empath that could feel all of our pain and describe it vividly with only a few simple words. It was like nothing I could describe. Instantly I had a true connection with this man. Still to this day the most raw human I have ever met. Someone who had been treated like trash his whole life by this racist world and still gave each person a fair shot when meeting them.

It was raining all day. We didn’t know if Charles would perform because it was so muddy and the weather wasn’t letting up. When 8 o’clock rolled around, the rain subsided for a moment and His Extraordanaires belted on stage with the most soulful sound I had ever heard in person. The pain in every chord put you in a trance to move your pants. Then the rain came down and The Screaming Eagle of Soul came out in a black jumpsuit and gold coat branded with a sequence skull shaking his head in wonder. When he walked up to the microphone he started singing “Heartaches and Pain” while tears ran down his face. He was so grateful to have the attention of the people. When Charles dipped the mic into the crowd while doing the splits and pulled it back to him like it owed him money, it made the audience quiver in excitement. This was like no show I had ever seen. It was closer to a spiritual experience. He was the pastor and we were his loyal followers. We were connected. In his graveled voice he said “For you to come out in the rain and show me this much love, I just don’t know what to say. I’m gonna come out there and get wet with you after this.” After screaming his hit “The World(Is Going Up In Flames)” he jumped off the stage and hugged hundreds of people while telling them “I Love You.” At that point we all knew The Original Victim Of Love.

The new video for Chief White Lightning’s “Oh Anne” is out now.

LA Weekly