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October 15, 1999 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-15

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 15, 1999 - 9
Funky Clinton steers P-Funk entourage into 2000

y Jason Birchmeier
waily Arts Writer
Has Dr. Funkenstein discovered the
ecret to eternal youth? Perhaps it's
iis secret formula for the P-Funk he
eceived from the Mothership.
*ver since he declared "free your
'end and your ass will follow" way
>ak in 1970, nothing has slowed
owh the Atomic Dog and his funk
nob. Encounters with Sir Nose
'Voidoffunk and the Mothership did
ittle but increase the funk level. Not
ven when Parliament and Funkadelic
emporally disbanded at the dawn of
he' 1980's did Uncle Jam give up
,ow at age 59, George Clinton has
Lsembled many of the key mem-
eis of his funk empire to record new
'arliament and Funkadelic albums to
>e released early in 2000. "Bootsy
Collins) and Bernie (Worrell) played
vith us earlier in the year and played
vith us on the album," Clinton said.
With the original funk mob intact,
hese albums promise to raise the

Clutch Cargo's
Tonight at 8

funk level back
to the height it
reached in the
late '70s when
Clinton, Collins
and Worrell had
huge success
with albums such
as "One Nation
Under a Groove"
and "Mothership
"There's going
to be a lot of dif-
ferent rock 'n'
roll people on
there" Clinton

"We've been having fun doing a
bunch of the old stuff and a bunch of
the new stuff, just having a ball and
keeping fresh," Clinton said.
In the past few years,
Parliament/Funkadelic have stayed on
the road, headlining the Smoking
Grooves tour and as part of the 1994
Lollapalooza tour. In addition,
Clinton and his band have also gone
on tours of their own where they've
been able to play longer shows with
more freedom to experiment with
their funk.
"There's a paradigm shit every time
we play. You know what I'm saying?"
Clinton said. "We never know what
we're going to do, but we always try
to keep our ears and eyes open and be
ready for whatever's happening out
there. Then whatever's happening out
there comes through us when we do
old songs, new songs and make up
songs on the stage. We've been doing
that for thirty years."
Actually, Clinton's first began his
musical career over 40 years ago
when he formed The Parliaments
back in 1955. This early incarnation
of Clinton's band had a small R&B hit
in 1967 with "(I Wanna) Testify" but
eventually dissolved. A few years
later in 1970 came the first album by
Clinton's new group, Funkadelic, on a
small record label in Detroit called
The group members of Funkadelic
grew as the years went on. Bernie
Worrell soon joined on keyboards and
then Bootsy Collins joined in 1972
for the famous album, "Maggot
Brain." Worrell's song arrangements
and futuristic synthesizers became
essential to the future success of
Clinton's funk mob. Collins, on the
other hand, had vital experience play-
ing as part of James Brown's band,
The JB's. He also would soon become
a key songwriter for Clinton.
While Funkadelic continued to
release over an album a year in the
early 1970's, Clinton formed
Parliament in 1974. Vocals, horns and
synthesizers characterized
Parliament's sound more than the psy-
chedelic guitars that dominated
Funkadelic's music. As a result,

Courtesy of Oogone Records
At age 59, George Clinton still embodies the funk life with extensive tour dates.

ing as George Clinton and the P-Funk
All Stars. Though his new material
never compared to the music he pro-
duced in the '70s, Clinton's profile
grew thanks in part to the mass num-
ber of hip-hop artists such as Dr. Dre
and De La Soul who sampled his
Now at the dawn of a new millenni-
um, Clinton is getting serious about
reaching the same level of success he
once had. He has been touring relent-
lessly with his current roster of P-
Funk All Stars and has put a lot of
effort into his two upcoming albums,
working again with Collins and
Worrell .
Somehow even after 30 years, the
P-Funk continues to evolve to an even
funkier state. The majority of
Parliament/Funkadelic's current line-
up has been together since the 1970's.
Though Collins and Worrell probably
won't be there tonight at Clutch
Cargo's for the show, fans can expect
Garry "Starchild" Shider playing gui-
tar in his diaper and Michael "Kid
Funkadelic" Hampton to perform his
famous "Maggot Brain" guitar solo.
"You know it's always fresh
because--the band-we've known
each other for 30 years," Clinton said.
"Everyone has different kinds of
interests, different kinds of music. So
when we get on the stage, I just kind
of blend all the styles together. It
doesn't matter what. Even if it's old
stuff, it comes out with whatever's
happening today in the streets."
"We take that into consideration,"
Clinton added. "We don't copy, but
we have that in the back of our minds.
So we end up being on time most of
the time with whatever's going on.

And consequently, our music ends up
having three or four generations lik-
ing the same music."
Clinton may encounter a problem
tonight when his 20 band members all
attempt to squeeze onto the tiny stage
at Clutch Cargo's. An old church
transformed into a concert venue,
Clutch Cargo's only holds a few hun-
dred people. This will be a rare
chance for fans to see the P-Funk in
such an intimate environment.
"I haven't been to Clutch Cargo's in
years," Clinton said. "This time we're
going to do alternative vibes because
we have all kinds of different audi-
ences. We could come to town again,
and it could be another whole crowd.
We have to think about where we're
playing at."
Even if fans can't make it tonight to
the packed show,
ParIiament/Funkadelic will surely
return sometime in the future on
another of their seemingly endless
"I can't think of nothing else to do,"
Clinton said. "People keep coming to
the shows, and no one's telling us to
get the hell off the stage and go home.
And even then, we might not go for
, awhile. I like doing what I do, and you
got to have a job anyway so you might
as well do something you like doing."
After 30 years of dropping the
bomb (the P-Funk, that is), the age-
less Dr. Funkenstein refuses to tire.
After the funk mob plays a New Year's
Eve show in Fiji and release their two
new albums, there's a good chance the
Mothership may reconnect in hopes
that Uncle Jam can finally establish
one nation under a groove, just for the
funk of it.

Parliament eventually began getting
radio play and building a large fan
base beginning with title track from
their first album, "Up For the Down
By 1977, Clinton had his first num-
ber one hit with "Flashlight." In addi-
tion, he had been working on albums
for a number of P-Funk side projects
such as The Parlets, Brides of
Funkenstein, Bootsy's Rubber Band
and The Horny Horns.
Though Clinton's funk mob kept
busy on the various albums, the
majority of the effort went into
Parliament. Each of the albums used
a conceptal narrative as a foundation,
including a cast of characters
(Starchild, Sir Nose D'Voidoffunk,
Mr. Wiggles, Uncle Jam, etc.) and
various motifs. In addition, these
roles and stories were then reenacted
on stage during concerts such as when
the Mothership actually landed or
when the Bop Gun made its appear-
Around 1980 though Clinton's funk
empire crumbled after a number of
lackluster albums, lacking the strong

conceptual framework found on early
albums. Tensions had built among the
collective of nearly 50 P-Funk mem-
bers resulting in squabbles over
After a short vacation, Clinton
signed to Capital Records and resur-
rected his career with a solo album in
1982, "Computer Games." This
album featured many members of
Clinton's funk mob focusing on a
more hi-tech sound and included the
huge R & B hit, "Atomic Dog."
Throughout the 1980's and 1990's
Clinton released a number of
mediocre solo albums while perform-

dded. "There's going to be Henry
ollins, Chili Peppers, D'Angelo,
rince and Del the Funky
Tonight the P-Funk entourage
eturns to Clinton's home, Detroit, for
.cial show at Clutch Cargo's. Fans
v get a chance to hear some of the
ew songs along with many old clas-
ics such as "(Not Just) Knee Deep,"
Bop Gun" and "We Want the Funk
Tear the Roof Off)" during the 3-4


Pixie Anne Pennwright
Spokescritic * Conspiracy Theorist - Organ Donor

ate.... --
_. .
. ...
_. .

online at

The University of Michigan
Friday, October 15
Hill Auditorium, 8:00pm
" Walton's Jubilate Deo - Ferko Hildegard Triptych
. Poulenc Mass in G - Brahms Op.92
" Excerpts from Fine's Hour-glass
October 15 & 16, 8:00pm; October 17, 2:00pm
Mendelssohn Theatre (Tickets $18 & $14: call 764-0450)
A Little Night Music
Saturday, October 16
Hill Auditorium, 7:30pm
Tickets: $8.00 (Send self-addressed, stamped envelope with
check made out to University of Michigan Bands to: Univ. of
Mich. .1275 School of Music 1100 Baits Dr. * Ann Arbor, MI
48109; or,tickets can be obtained at Hill Auditorium Wed.
10/13-Fri 10/15from 9:00am-5:30pm or Sat 10/16 from
9 :O0am-7 : 3pm)
Sunday, October 17
Britton Recital Halt, E.V. Moore Bldg., 2:00pm
Virginia Martin Howard Lecture Series of the Stearns
Collection of Musical Instruments. Lester Monts, V Provost &
Prof. of Music lecturing on "Bring out the Devils": Musical
Instruments and Masquerades of the Guinea Coast (West
Monday, October 18
Britton Recital Hall, E.V. Moore Bldg., 8:00pm

a silvery hypnotist


slips spellbinding sogs
of sealed-in freshness
into your Subconscious...

; i

@ctoge. 16, 1999 e
lI'a tulrat 6P MPMLt J
Saturday 6P M-lO P M

Tuesday, October 19
Hill Auditorium, 8:00pm
* Bright Sheng's Fanfare from China Dreams
. William Bolcom's Clarinet Concerto
" Michael Daugherty's Metropolis Symphony
Wednesday, October 20
Cady Room, Stearns Building, 3:00pm
Contemporary Jazz Ensemble


Wednesday, October 20
Cady Room, Stearns Building, 8:00pm
Contemporary Jazz Ensemble
Thursday, October 21
Rackham Auditorium, 8:00pm





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