His little-known 1978 tune ‘K-Scope’ was sampled on ‘No Church In The Wild’.
Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera claims he’s owed “six figures plus” by Kanye West and Jay Z over the use of a sample on Watch The Throne – but although the veteran guitarist hasn’t been paid yet, he’s not complaining.
“I haven’t got paid yet but it really reassured me about all of my beliefs, why I’m doing what I’m doing and the power of music,” he told the Independent. “Things come and go – fame, fortune – I’m not interested in that. I just do what I do because I love music but it felt like someone, somewhere up there in the ether, has said, ‘You know what? You’ve been doing stuff for ages, had ups and downs – you can have that now.'”
Manzanera says he got a call from Roc-A-Fella records in 2011 asking for permission to use the guitar riff from ‘K-Scope’, which appeared on his solo album of the same name in 1978.
“Even I had completely forgotten about that track, so I wondered how the hell did they find this riff from this obscure album? I looked into it and I found a film on YouTube of Jay Z and Kanye recording in a hotel suite in New York. There’s a guy called 88-Keys who is friends with Kanye West and he looks round record shops, digging through old bits of vinyl. I think he was going through the bargain bin of a vinyl shop and came across it.”
He added: “The genius thing is, they slowed it down. What nobody knows is that it’s not just a guitar playing. I’ve got this huge harmonica: it’s about a foot long and you blow this one note along with the first beat of every bar and it creates this weird sort of slightly sinister riff. When it’s slowed down, that combined with that guitar low note creates this very special sound.”
After Watch The Throne came out, Manzanera was stunned to see ‘No Church In The Wild’ appearing on TV, films and commercials, even cropping up in Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby. “It turns out while Jay Z and Kanye West were doing the track in New York, Baz Luhrmann popped in, as he does, with Leonardo DiCaprio, just at the moment they’re recording ‘No Church in the Wild’, and they ended up using it in the film.”
The guitarist also recalls that Ice-T once informed him that he’d sampled some of his music. “I don’t know what happened with that, I’ll have to Google it. I’ll add it to my list.” You should probably check that one out, Phil. [Hat tip @MycroftSix]