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Funk Legend Living Out of a Van in Tough L.A. Neighborhood

Sep 26, 2011  •  Post A Comment

A funk pioneer who was one of the most high-profile figures in the music scene of the late 1960s has fallen on hard times and is living out of a van, the New York Post reports.

Sly Stone, known as the leader of the psychedelic funk-rock group Sly & the Family Stone, is homeless, the story says, after losing his fortune to “a lethal combination of excess, substance abuse and financial mismanagement.”

Stone’s van is parked on a residential street in L.A.’s tough Crenshaw district, the story reports. “A retired couple makes sure he eats once a day, and Stone showers at their house. The couple’s son serves as his assistant and driver,” the story says.

Stone, who is 68 years old, says he’s OK with the arrangement. “I like my small camper,” the story quotes him as saying. “I just do not want to return to a fixed home. I cannot stand being in one place. I must keep moving.”

The story notes that Stone formerly lived in the Beverly Hills mansion that was once owned by the Mamas & the Papas’ John Phillips, and as recently as four years ago he lived in a large Napa Valley compound with a vineyard.

In his camper van, Stone continues to record music, according to the story, using a laptop computer.

The story reports: “Stone has been difficult to pin down for years. In the last two decades, he’s become one of music’s most enigmatic figures, bordering on reclusive. You’d be forgiven for assuming he’s dead. He rarely appears in public, and just getting him in a room requires hours or years of detective work, middlemen and, of course, making peace with the likelihood that he just won’t show up.”

Stone’s hits with the San Francisco-based Sly & the Family Stone included “Dance to the Music,” “Everyday People,” “Family Affair,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” and “Stand!”

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