Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Imagine James Brown's precision and Sly Stone's coke. That's what Funkadelic are musically. Something like orchestrated disorder. Anarchy, perfectly executed. Or as Doctor Funkenstien himself might describe it 'hemlock in your cornflakes' or 'the ring around your bathtub'. It's the kind of music that made it cool to cowbell. Uninhibited fun with a political undertone. P-funk (without the chronic anxiety and mindless violence) And the head chef behind the organized chaos is a man called George Clinton.
Clinton has been the driving force of the band since its birth from the doowop band 'The Parliaments'. It's his innovation and ideologies that birthed classic records like 'Maggot Brain' and 'Mothership Connection'. That, and monster musicians. 'I had access to good musicians, like Motown, (The dude wrote for them don't forget) James Brown, (Maseo Parker, 'Bootsy' Collins etc) so my thing was come up with a good concept'
It was also his genius that later birthed an album called 'Dope Dogs'. (1994) A record that rivals some of the hip hop that was coming out at the time. You know, minor albums like 'Illmatic', 'Ready to Die', 'Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik', and that sort of thing. 'It was all about different dogs and how they dealt with drugs you know some was being tested, some was police dogs, some was dogs that dope dealers made fight. "A US Customs Coast Guard Dope Dog, Nickname Bustem just say ding dong and I'm sprung, I spring every time a bell is rung" If that's not bigger than Biggie then how about "Now he's in line for his issue of the booty, never do he do a line in the line of duty" That shit right there is lyricism before they even called it that.
However, if you were still in nappies while Gary Shider was in them on stage then you might not remember that. You may still confuse P-Funk with De La Soul (Me Myself & I, Potholes In My Lawn) Red Man (Blow Your Mind) or every single one of Ice Cube's songs. You probably didn't know that Andre borrowed that wig from George and that in that 'Fish Bone' clip you like they got Funkadelic's poster on their wall. See George Clinton is one of, if not the most sampled musician of all time. 'They were all kids when I first started, 'Dungeon Family' was all one group at the time, I met Dre before there was an NWA. 'LA Dream Team'. 'Uncle Jamms Army'. Tupac was 'Digital Underground', they was a band.' ... No, it's not one of your Grandpa's Vietnam stories again. George Clinton is just one of the most influential people in music. Ever.
And he's not all just promiscuity and star shaped sunglasses. Funkadelic is about politics and equality. (No Bono) It's a message that is subtle and at times even subliminal. 'We could talk about anything long as we could make em dance' . Records like 'America Is Eating Its Young' and 'Hey Man, Smell My Finger' are some of the most powerful politically charged records of all time without ever taking themselves that seriously. Something like a legalize-marijuana march, you don't even know what's going on because you're too busy having a good time. 'When people realise what they need to give up to make the perfect world, the average people just gone say, "well i didn't mean that much, I didn't want it that right". Leave room for people to have fun, make money and all that shit. But your comfort in things that you like probably fucking somebody else up somewhere else in the world. you got to know that. you can't have all that luxury and someone not getting fucked up'.
Take that message and add the bass line from hell's elevator and you got Parliament/Funkadelic.
Now get up off your ass and get down to the Powerstation 23rd of April.