Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You?: A Memoir
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In this seminal music memoir, Father of Funk George Clinton talks four decades of hit songs, drug abuse, the evolution of pop, rock, and soul music, his legal pitfalls, and much much more.
George Clinton began his musical career in New Jersey, where his obsession with doo-wop and R&B led to a barbershop quartet—literally, as Clinton and his friends also styled hair in the local shop—the way kids often got their musical start in the ’50s. But how many kids like that ended up playing to tens of thousands of rabid fans alongside a diaper-clad guitarist? How many of them commissioned a spaceship and landed it onstage during concerts? How many put their stamp on four decades of pop music, from the mind-expanding sixties to the hip-hop-dominated nineties and beyond?
One of them. That’s how many.
How George Clinton got from barbershop quartet to funk music megastar is a story for the ages. As a high school student he traveled to New York City, where he absorbed all the trends in pop music, from traditional rhythm and blues to Motown, the Beatles, the Stones, and psychedelic rock, not to mention the formative funk of James Brown and Sly Stone. By the dawn of the seventies, he had emerged as the leader of a wildly creative musical movement composed mainly of two bands—Parliament and Funkadelic. And by the bicentennial, Clinton and his P-Funk empire were dominating the soul charts as well as the pop charts. He was an artistic visionary, visual icon, merry prankster, absurdist philosopher, and savvy businessmen, all rolled into one. He was like no one else in pop music, before or since.
“Candid, hilarious, outrageous, [and] poignant” (Booklist), this memoir provides tremendous insight into America’s music industry as forever changed by Clinton’s massive talent. This is a story of a beloved global icon who dedicated himself to spreading the gospel of funk music.
Armen sued him for using “Atomic Dog” in various songs: a Nona Gaye song, a remix. I thought we were fine with “Heaven.” When that came off the album, the label backed off of everything, withdrew the album. It’s a shame, because there are a few songs on there that are real nice late-period funk, as abstract and strange as “Stillness in Motion.” “Mathematics of Love” even got Grammy buzz when it first came out. People were calling me and telling me that it was under consideration. But when the
samples “Free Your Mind” and “One Nation Under a Groove” Yo-Yo, “Make Way for the Motherlode” samples “Mothership Connection (Star Child)” APPENDIX C: STATEMENT OF JANE PETERER THOMPSON I, Jeanne “Jane” Peterer Thompson, formerly d/b/s Jane Peterer Music Corporation (collectively, JPMC) do hereby declare, state, and affirm as follows. 1. I have personal knowledge of the matters discussed herein and am able to testify as to the matters set forth herein, as called as a witness. 2. I
his first electric tour and went on to become the Band. Ronnie’s partner in the place was a guy named Ron Scribner, who ran a local agency that managed the Guess Who, the Stoned Soul Children, and various session players who would become part of the Detroit rock scene, whether with the MC5 or Alice Cooper. We met Ron one of the first times we played up in Canada and developed a strong relationship with him. At that time, there was a second wave of Plainfield musicians, Garry Shider and Cordell
in the right direction. That’s how we kept our currency. Along the way, up there in Newburgh, we managed to finish up our record for Warner Bros. There wasn’t much of a concept for Hardcore Jollies other than what the title says: it’s about playing the shit out of your instrument and getting your jollies—or, if you’d prefer, getting your rocks off by getting your rock and roll on. That’s why I dedicated that record to “the guitar players of the world.” Finally, after weeks of rehearsing every
hair in those days. Singers wanted processes, and also pimps and preachers. The older barbers tended to customers who wanted normal haircuts, while the younger barbers did pumps to get pumped up. Nobody around Plainfield kept their hair natural. I remember the first time I ever saw real natural hair. It was a little later, maybe 1960. My friend Ernie Harris and I were going to a meeting in New York City, and we were walking around midtown. On the sidewalk, we saw a woman with her hair all nappy