By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
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By Stephanie Zacharek
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By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Fear of a Party Planet
Electro-hop duo/eternal optimists LMFAO prepare for an arena show in Anaheim, bitch
When your father is Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr., you’d expect certain doors to automatically open to you. Not so, says Stefan Gordy, a.k.a. Redfoo of hip-hop/electro pop duo LMFAO, the group he founded with his nephew Sky (known professionally as Sky Blu).
The pair got started by making dance tracks in their studio apartment, later playing them in Hollywood clubs where they worked as a DJ/MC duo. When they released their current hit, “I’m In Miami Bitch,” it was through MySpace, not a major label obtained via daddy’s connections.
“Having a father like Berry Gordy was, well, it was actually a ‘de-fluence,’ if that’s a word,” Redfoo says from a tour stop in Vancouver. “Growing up, he steered us away from doing music. He wanted us to go to college and be financial advisors and have degrees in something noteworthy.”
“We have a degree in pimpin’,” Sky Blu chimes in.
While these two are constantly cracking jokes, they take their musical philosophy seriously: To make the world a party planet. “If the world was partying, that means we’d all be friends,” Redfoo says. “We’d dance to the same beats, very rarely would there be a fight. It would bring people together to celebrate life. That’s our goal; that’s why we make the music we make: It’s to bring people together.”
And the public is definitely responding, as LMFAO are often compared to the Black Eyed Peas. Redfoo let will.i.am record his first demo at the Gordys’ home recording studio; both attended Palisades High in Pacific Palisades, where Baywatch was filmed. “In a way, we’re like those lifeguards,” Redfoo says. “We’re lifeguards of the party, up in the VIP room. When we see a sober dork, we go in and give him a shot of Goose and loosen him up.”
The strategy seems to be working. LMFAO have seen “I’m In Miami Bitch” hit No. 60 on the Billboard Hot 100, and they have sold copious amounts of merchandise through their clothing label, Party Rock (also the title of their album and EP).
Critics have not responded nearly as well as the marketplace. In a two-and-a-half-star review, Rolling Stone wrote that after a few listens, “brain rigor mortis sets in, and we don’t mean the good kind.”
“Rolling Stone gave a fiddler four stars,” Redfoo says. “Now, I’m sure this fiddler is really good, but who’s going out to hear a fiddler?”
“It’s not reality, Sky Blu adds. “It’s opinions, not facts. The facts are that we’re selling records and selling out shows.”
Despite the negative press, LMFAO are excited by the growth of their party-atmosphere movement, which includes a spot in Power 106’s annual Powerhouse show this weekend at the Honda Center.
“People really, genuinely feel the vibe we give off,” Sky says. “A year ago at Powerhouse, we performed in the parking lot with other bands. No one really knew us, but now, this year, we’re on the main stage and really high in the lineup.”
“We’ve done big concerts before but this one goes deeper. It has a lot of layers of emotional value for us,” Redfoo says. “Power 106 is one of the radio stations that broke us, and for them to ask us to do this, it feels really good.”
Redfoo and Sky plan on showing their gratitude by putting in extra prep time for the Powerhouse gig. “We’re going to make this one great,” Redfoo says. “We’re going to really use the big stage—the whole stage—and rock the stadium atmosphere.”
The gig could also be good prep for the near future: LMFAO are also currently in talks to join the Black Eyed Peas on tour as early as September.
As for Redfoo’s hesitant parents, what do they have to say now that their son’s musical venture has paid off?
“They support us now, mostly because they see the pelvic thrusting and the ladies screaming. But it wasn’t easy,” he says. “The truth is, I was inspired to do music because of my dad’s life. Hearing his story and wanting to live in his footsteps, my only choice was to do it like he did it. I hope that I do.”
LMFAO with Jay-Z, Pitbull featuring Lil’ Jon, Sean Paul, Flo Rida, Kid Cudi, Fareast Movement, Ya Boy, New Boyz and more at Powerhouse ’09 at the Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 704-2400; www.hondacenter.com. Sat., 6:30 p.m. $52-$125. All ages.