It’s been an incredibly exciting weekend for us here at Tf&SR as we were invited on board George ‘Dr Funkenstein’ Clinton’s Mothership to experience the P-Funk first hand. George Clinton and this latest version of Parliament-Funkadelic are in the midst of a uk tour promoting the 40th anniversary of Parliament’s seminal classic ‘Chocolate City’, as well as Mr Clinton’s autobiography (‘Brothers Be Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You’), plus Funkadelics incredible brand new album First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate.
By some intervention from the interplanetary funk overlords we were granted the chance to sit down with Mr Clinton at Jumbo Records in Leeds this Saturday, where he and members of Funkadelic we’re holding court and signing copies of his new album. You can here the interview in full below; we talk ‘Chocolate City’, music copyright, his new music, and most importantly, whether two young white boys from England can truly ever have the funk…
Unlike many other older acts, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic played what can really be only described as extended 12″mixes: the first three songs lasted almost twenty-five minutes, featuring blistering guitar solos from all three of the excellent guitarists on stage. Mr Clinton took the opportunity to introduce some of this newest songs off his excellent new Funkadelic album First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate, including ‘Meow Meow‘ which featured the excellent ‘NAKiD87’ on vocals, as well as Mr Clinton himself on ‘Ain’t That Funkin’ Hard On You‘.
Three hours is a lot of time for any act to be on stage for, but for George Clinton – who is 73 years old! – being on stage for that long gives him the ability to play what he likes, as long as he likes. The classic P-Funk hits littered the show: ‘Maggot Brain‘ seemed to last an eternity, with the guitarists locked into a tasty battle; ‘Not Just Knee Deep‘ was performed for nearly fifteen minutes (to be fair, the original version lasts about the same), and the classic funk ‘Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Of The Sucker)‘ was produced with such brilliance it makes you want to have the band in your room every time you want to hear the song.
Quarter to ten arrived, and at the edge of the stage O2 Academy bods were clearly getting anxious that the legend of the funk might ruin their chances of opening early for the club night. Mr Clinton seemed to notice this, encouraging his band to take long guitar and saxophone solos incensing the managers further. The set was eventually ended by Mr Clinton’s 1982 smash hit ‘Atomic Dog‘, and Funkadelic’s universally known epitapth to the funk, ‘One Nation Under A Groove‘.
With Mr Clinton ushered off stage, the audience in Leeds could tell something magical had happened. George Clinton is a true legend of popular music, not just funk, and to be in presence whilst interviewing him as well as in the crowd is one of the those great life moments that will last a lifetime. If you get the chance to see George Clinton live, purchase yourself a ticket. You will not be disappointed.
For us, even better still, George Clinton told us that we had the funk!