Funk legend Sly Stone is living in a van in Los Angeles while attempting to revive his career and get clean, according to recent reports.
Stone, 68, who fronted the legendary funk outfit Sly & the Family Stone, told the NY Post that he now makes music on a laptop in the back of the van he calls home, which is parked in the rough Crenshaw neighborhood in L.A.
“I like my small camper,” he told the Post. “I just do not want to return to a fixed home. I cannot stand being in one place. I must keep moving.”
Only four years ago the legendary funk musician, born Sylvester Stewart, was living in a Napa Valley compound complete with a vineyard and his own collection of cars. Now, according to the Post, a family that lives near where the van is parked ensures that Stone eats at least once per day.
Sly & the Family Stone hit it big with their crowd-pleasing performance in a middle-of-the-night set at Woodstock, and went on to record some of funk’s greatest hits, including “Everyday People,” “Family Affair,” and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).”
Stone soon moved to Los Angeles while the remainder of the band, which included his brother and sister, remained in the Bay Area. His behavior soon became erratic, with missed or late arrivals to many performances, while rumors of drug addiction and mafia connections began to circulate.
By the 1980s the group’s popularity had diminished; their final album, 1982′s “Ain’t But the One Way” was a commercial dud. In 1987 Stone performed for the last time for 18 years.
He is now in the midst of a legal battle with his manager Jerry Goldstein, who is suing for $50 million, alleging fraud and stolen royalty payments. Legal and monetary problems pushed him out of his Nappa mansion in 2009.
Earlier this week, gossip website TMZ.com posted an interview with Stone that took place in the van where he is residing. The soul legend discussed his new plan to get clean.
“I’ve got a rehab that I’ve chosen, and I’m gonna go … “I’m gonna put [the van] next to the rehab facility, and put my studio equipment in here,” Stone said. “And if there’s no problem with my music, and not drinking beer, or those kind of things, then it’ll be fine.”
He told the Post that he has hundreds of recorded tracks in the back of his van, but for now, he is keeping them to himself, and said that he hasn’t had beer or cocaine in “a week and a half.”
“I want to have a paper from a rehab that says I’ve been clean for this many … and they will be able to feel it, and see it, and I will be there,” Stone said.