Aww, man, the first time I took acid.... That would have been in Boston with some of the college kids up there at Harvard. We stopped playing the Sugar Shack up there, around 1967 or so. We were doing Motown music. We changed there. We took the acid, and the clothes and everything we wore became psychedelic in real life. Even when we weren’t trippin’, we were trippin’.”
Altough Clinton has been sober (or acid-free) for several years now, he doesn’t mind reminiscing about the beginnings of Funkadelic.
George Clinton revolutionized R&B Music. He twisted soul music into funk and mixed in some psychedelia that would basically define a new genre. Simply put, there is Parliament Funkadelic, and then there is everyone else. Possibly from another Planet, a theory even he himself believes, Clinton and his star children funk too new heights. It’s safe to say that some of the greatest hip hop albums of all time wouldn’t have been born were it not for Parliament Funkadelic. He’s without question one of the most sampled artists of all time. But after a lifetime of living along the outer reaches of reality, along with a good long run at addiction, this is a Fact Clinton can’t cash in on. Most of his publishing rights were signed away a long time ago. But that doesn’t stop Dr. Funkenstien Playing the music he created. And he’s bringing the Mothership to Macon Georgia on April 1 as part of the street party for a show you aren’t going to want to miss. Brad Evans Caught up with George at his home in Florida last week to talk about his long career making the funk. Of all the nicknames you’ve been given, what’s your favorite? Ha. The Maggot Overlord sounds good to me. I was just listening to Maggot Brain this weekend. Such a great album. Well, thank you a bunch man. What was the first music you ever remember hearing? (Sings) Don’t let the sun shine in your eyes, don’t let the music break your heart. We grew up on country music where I came from in Virginia. All we got was country on the radio, that’s the very first music I can remember. Up until 10 years old I was in Virginia, then New Jersey. That’s where I started getting into Louis Jordan, right on through the Doo-Wop days. What were your folks like? Well, my father was in the Korean War. I didn’t see him regularly
until I was 10 years old. I would see him off and on, but it wasn’t until then that I saw him on a regular basis. But we were country folks. I do remember him coming home on leave. Then he, of course, came back and moved us to Jersey.
When did you first take LSD? Who were you with? Tell me about that. Aww, man. That would have been in Boston with some of the college kids up there at Harvard. We stopped playing the Sugar Shack up there, around 1967 or so. We were doing Motown music. We changed there. We took the acid, and the clothes and everything we wore became psychedelic in real life. Even when we weren’t trippin’, we were trippin’.
You sang doo-wop and wrote songs for Motown, how did that begin? Remember your first gig? “Bootsy was already into that psychedelic Oh, my cousin that I grew up with in thing before he got to us - maybe not as Virginia, she lived where the Shiremuch as us... Then he called Fred and lles used to live. I used to watch Tell me about when Bootsy and them rehearse. That was the beginFred and Maceo came over to your Maceo Parker over. Now they were a little ning of me liking music. I used to band. All of them had come over out of sorts...” dream about going to the Apollo from James Brown’s band, and Above, Clinton with Bootsy Collins Theatre. Then Frankie Lymon came he was known for being quite the out with “Why do Fools Fall in Love” and it was all over after taskmaster. Was it a shock to them? that, that gave me the bug. Then came Elvis. I started skipping Well, Bootsy came first, and he was already into the psychedelic school to go see bands at the Apollo. Smokey and the Miracles thing before he came to us - maybe not as much as us, but when came through. I was hit, man. Blown away. Then the Beatles. he got there, we realized he needed to be his own band. The RubJimi Hendrix. Come on, man. Motown was it until the Beatles ber Band. Then he called Fred and Maceo over. Now they were came along. surprised when they got with us. They were a little out of sorts. But they fit in good. Yeah, you talk in your autobiography about seeing Jimi Hendrix and some of those groups for the first time, and I got the opportunity to interview Bootsy a few years back how it changed you. You had a group called Parliament at and he talked very fondly about his time spent with you. the time, though they were a Motown type band. But to- One thing he told me was that the first time he met you, wards the end of the run there, you can hear it become, you were wearing a chicken suit. Does that sound like someshould I say –weirder? thing you’d do? (Laughs) Yeah, it got a little weird at the end. We got so weird we Ha! What do you think? Of course it sounds like something I’d actually made the Temptations weird. That’s what got them into do! I used to wear these chicken feet shoes back then all the Cloud Nine. They were hanging around us too much. time. That sounds about right. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 11thHourOnline.com 27