“She and I [would sit] up all night listening to Miles’ ‘Sketches of Spain.’” James, whose real name was James Johnson, went by Ricky James Matthews to avoid military authorities. Afterward, James took off to Los Angeles to reconnect with his since-relocated Toronto crew.
He utilized the Roland TR series of drum machines which were dominant on the '80s-era Jimmy Jam-and-Terry Lewis-produced hits of The S. The song was sampled by TLC on their third album Fan Mail on the interlude "Whispering Playa"; the sample was later removed on future versions of the album and replaced with a sample of the group's own song "U In Me".
On Chappelle's Show, during an episode with a Rick James sketch, James, played by Chappelle, sings the song after slapping Charlie Murphy.
He seemed hypnotized by the flow of his own blood, saying things like, ‘Isn’t the blood beautiful? ’” James, fearing the mystery man would bleed to death, woke Stills, who responded, “Oh, f–k.
He’s doing it again.” Stills “gathered up bandages and gauze and took care of the guy, who remained passive throughout the ordeal.
But between drugs, women and music, he couldn’t remember to attend his twice-monthly Reserve sessions and found himself ordered to Vietnam.
He fled to Toronto, where he became friends with hot local musicians including then-unknowns Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. “It wasn’t sexual but musical as a motherf–ker,” he wrote.
The hangover saved James’ and Seville’s lives, as Sebring, Tate and the other guests were brutally murdered that night by Charles Manson’s clan.
After his song “My Mama” hit it big in Europe, James toured clubs there.
One night, Sebring invited James and his girlfriend, Seville, to a party he was attending at Roman Polanski’s house, which was being thrown by the director’s wife, Sharon Tate.
“There was gonna be a big party,” James wrote, “and Jay didn’t want us to miss it.” Unfortunately — or so he thought at the time — James was nursing a horrible hangover that left him barely mobile.
The song was featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on a fictional funk station, Bounce FM.