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N*E*R*D "honored" to be on the road with Gorillaz

of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Pharrell Williams says he and his band, N*E*R*D, are “very honored” to be part of Gorillaz’s highly anticipated U.S. tour this month. And he promises that “we’ll watch their show every night.”

“This is big for us,” explains the Virginia-born Williams, 37, who has a vast record of hitmaking as part of the Neptunes production team with N*E*R*D cohort Chad Hugo. “Damon (Albarn, Gorillaz’s co-founder) is one of those guys. “What I admire about him is he mixes imagination with reality; that’s super rare, and when people do it and do it well, you’ve just got to give it up.”

N*E*R*D, meanwhile, has done pretty well itself since the group, which also includes Shay Haley, came into being nine years ago.

The group has released three albums, two of which have gone gold, and produced hits such as “She Wants to Move,” “Maybe” and “Spaz.” Meanwhile, N*E*R*D is gearing up for the Nov. 2 release of “Nothing,” which has been preceded by the single “Hot N’ Fun” with Nelly Furtado and also includes a collaboration with the French electronic duo Daft Punk called “Hypnotize U.”

“We kept pushing the (release) dates back because we needed to perfect the sound,” says Williams, who’s also worked with T.I., Avril Lavigne, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Nelly, Robin Thicke and others this year. “Once you put it out, it’s out. You can’t take it back. So we opted to hold it back until it’s right.”

In fact, Williams says, the trio even scrapped initial versions of the socio-politically themed “Nothing” because “I didn’t feel like we were pushing ourselves as much as we could.

“We wanted to make timeless music,” he explains. “We used a lot of vintage sounds and just spoke to what was going on in people’s consciousness. We want it to be a time capsule so that 10 years from now people will look at that album and go, ‘Y’know, I remember that era. That’s when the ‘Nothing’ album came out.’ That was what we wanted, and I think we got it.”

N*E*R*D performs with Gorillaz at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $99, $65 and $49.50. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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