P-Funk Mob turns South Shore Room into a party
Make way for The Prime Minister of Funk. All hail the Leader of Parliament, and The King of Interplanetary Funksmanship.
We’re not worthy!
No, it doesn’t get any funkier than George Clinton, as you will discover if you attend his show on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Harrah’s South Shore Room. It may seem an incongruous venue for Clinton: He of the long, colorful dreadlocks and droopy T-shirts. A Sinatra show this ain’t. But hey, great music is great music.
At a George Clinton show, everyone has a great time. Normally the venue is cleared out after a concert. But on Saturday concertgoers can remain in the South Shore Room as the venue is transformed into VEX.
“If you play with him one time and if you go to one of his shows, you will probably end up on stage,” said Trey Stone, a former member of Tower of Power who now fronts the Trey Stone Band. “There are a lot of Funkateers around.”
Clinton, known for endless tours with a huge P-Funk Mob that plays marathon shows, certainly will feature selections from his first studio album in almost a decade, “How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent?” on Saturday. Like the concert, the music is diversified and plentiful. The double-CD release is more than two and one-half hours. The inside cover photo on the jacket has Clinton raising his arms at the casino formerly known as Caesars Tahoe in May 2005.
One of the tracks, which features Prince, begins with a rhyme “Hey brother, can you paradigm,” a verse that can define P-Funk: Smart, inventive, hip and amusing.
Asked if he remembered any funny times working with the man who revolutionized R&B in the 1970s, Stone laughed, “Everything was funny, man.”
Clinton, whose popularity waned by the mid-1980s, experienced a resurgence in the early 1990s, as many rappers cited him as an influence. Clinton then signed with Sony 550 and released T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. (The Awesome Power Of A Fully Operational Mothership) in 1996, having reunited with several old members of Parliament and Funkadelic.
In the 1990s, Clinton appeared in the films “Graffiti Bridge” (1990), “House Party” (1990), “PCU” (1994), and “Good Burger” (1997). Most recently he appeared as the voice of The Funktipus, the DJ of the Funk radio station Bounce FM in the 2004 video game, “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” in which his song “Loopzilla” also appeared.
Mad About Music owner Boyde Wenger, who has seen Clinton several times, had advice for people who are considering attending the show: “It’s good. Go,” he said. “Watch out for the dreads. Wear goggles to protect your eyes.”
South Lake Tahoe resident Robin Hall was present for the 2005 show and agreed with Wenger’s assessment.
“There are lots of great costumes and lots of color,” Hall said. “It goes on forever. The guy never gets tired.”
As Bootsy Collins, who people say came up with the vernacular before Snoop Dog made it mainstream, might say, that’s fershizzle.
Clinton, 65, formed an evolving and enduring doo wop band, the Parliaments, when he was a teenager in 1955. His new rendition of “Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight” is an example of the roots to rap.
When the Meters came around in 1966, Clinton knew he wanted the funk. He credited them as a major influence to his artist direction.
“That was one of the bands we thought was funky,” said Clinton, who had recently returned from the group’s hometown for the New Orleans Jazz Festival. “The Meters and their rhythm sections, and Booker T and them guys – to me was just plain funky. It’s straight funk with no cut on it.”
Stone, who shares July 22 as a birthday with Clinton, explained.
“It’s not commercialized,” he said. “It is uncut funk, the raw deal. There’s no sweetening. It’s just musicianship.”
Under the names the Parliament and the Funkadelic, Clinton twisted “soul music into funk by adding influences from several late-’60s acid heroes: Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa and Sly Stone,” music critic John Bush explained in the All Music Guide.
Clinton had three No. 1 hits and more than 40 singles in the 1970s.
Record companies and legal issues around the Parliament and Funkadelic names caused the eventual switch to the P-Funk All Stars.
The key to Clinton’s longevity and success? “It’s living what you’re doing, plus it’s a good job at the least,” Clinton said.
He has stayed busy recording and touring over the years and is a living legend in the musical industry.
“He keeps a lot of people employed,” Stone said. “He’s known for having a strong group and it’s very entertaining. And when you think of all the rap groups that have sampled his stuff, George is the real deal.”
P-Funk’s “Motherpage” Web site wrote, “If Sly Stone was the Beatles of funk, then Funkadelic would be the Rolling Stones.”
And Clinton would be funk’s Woody Guthrie to folk. Hey brother, can you paradigm?