Funk legend Sly Stone homeless and living in a van in LA!
Today, Sly Stone — one of the greatest figures in soul-music history — is homeless, his fortune stolen by a lethal combination of excess, substance abuse and financial mismanagement. He lays his head inside a white camper van ironically stamped with the words “Pleasure Way” on the side. The van is parked on a residential street in Crenshaw, the rough Los Angeles neighborhood where “Boyz n the Hood” was set. 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.
Inside the van, the former mastermind of Sly & the Family Stone, now 68, continues to record music with the help of a laptop computer.
“I like my small camper,” he says, his voice raspy with age and years of hard living. “I just do not want to return to a fixed home. I cannot stand being in one place. I must keep moving.”
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.
There was a time when Sly was difficult to escape. Stone, whose real name is Sylvester Stewart, was one of the most visible, flamboyant figures of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The multiracial, multi-gender band that Stone assembled fused funk, soul and psychedelic rock and became one of the most influential acts ever. The San Fran-based group released a string of hits beginning with the 1968 album “Dance to the Music,” followed by “Everyday People,” “Family Affair,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” and “Stand!”
The group’s costumes and showmanship were just as memorable. The members favored giant afros, flashy capes, Beatle boots, neon vests and leopard-print jumpsuits.