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March 16, 2015 / thackersam

March 15 – Happy Birthday Sly! Dealing with demons.

Sly bday

It is by no coincidence that I exercised, again, to my Sly and the Family Stone CD, as it is my go to music these days for a good, solid and enjoyable workout. But today is also the 72nd birthday of Sylvester Stewart, aka Sly Stone. I’m still having a hard time getting around to writing about the history of the band, and how Sly’s substance abuse led to the demise of something really great. There was a reason why it was Sly and the Family Stone, even though the group consisted of some very talented musicians and depended on the concordance and cohesiveness of its members under Sly’s creative leadership. My inability to write about them does a disservice to the other band members, and even my article about Family trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, with whom Sly has a daughter, is lacking. I apologize.

I was happy to learn of his recent victory in a lawsuit against his former management, which paid him $5 million in back royalties, although I’m sure many of us wonder how long it will last. My research shows promise though. Sly has been more of a recluse over the past couple of decades rather than a homeless bum who totally succumbed to his addictions. And he’s come out now and then, playing in his youngest sister’s band, which has also included the great Cynthia Robinson. At 72, Sly looks much older in photos, so I’ve gone with one from the day.

And now for something completely different, but still under the heading of demons. We all have our demons, don’t we? I think that years of intense therapy will never uncover the reason why I have this problem with laundry rooms – or the specific machinery involved – or maybe just the laundry itself. If it is some deep seeded memory of some awful thing, it’s not coming up. I remember everything. You know that. Not like that talent that Marilu Henner has, in which you can throw a date at her and she can tell you exactly what happened on that day, but my memories, when triggered do surface with ease and much detail. So if something not so nice occurred regarding laundry, that one is staying put.

Or, it could just be that I’m lazy. I’ve refused to admit that something as simple as going down to the laundry room has gotten the best of me, so I threw in the towel, so to speak, when I ran through all clean sheets and towels recently and only got as far as dragging the cart out of the closet with no signs of actually putting anything in it and taking it downstairs. I filled a laundry bag that I had purchased long ago and brought a 10lb load to one of the local cleaners. It’s not like having a drug addiction or overcoming it, but I feel good about being able to recognize my shortcomings and giving in to a solution. I will no longer beat myself up over my inability to do my own laundry. Yes, the cleaners does pick-up and drop-off to my building, but I’m not ready to commit that much quite yet.

There’s a good, yet eight-year-old article in Vanity Fair in which Sly give a rare interview at:, and offers the comments of other band members.


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