Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You?: A Memoir

Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You?: A Memoir

George Clinton

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 1476751072

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.

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decade earlier, when Nene and Armen had acted like I wasn’t alive. Judge Real looked at the facts of the case and decided that the masters should come right back to me. He determined that there were only three reasons they had gone away in the first place: scandalous managers, corrupt attorneys, and uninformed judges. Getting the masters back was a huge victory, practically and morally. It gave me strength for the fight ahead. But it also exposed the degree to which I had let things get out of

360–62, 364 Parliament-Funkadelic/P-Funk All Stars, 315, 368 Parliaments, 13–14, 15, 23, 34–36, 68, 72, 73, 74, 87, 105, 109, 111, 125, 147, 154, 181, 182, 193, 197, 221, 243, 333, 359 “Party Boys” (Parliaments), 14, 359 “Party People” (Parliament), 217, 364 Patrick, Charles, 14 Patrick, James, 14 Payne, Michael “Clip,” 218, 295 Payton, Lawrence, 42 PCU (movie), 304–5 Perkins, Al, 190 Pete the Magician (barbershop customer), 27–28 Peterer, Jane, 290, 313, 341–42, 352, 379–85 P-Funk,

he seemed especially sincere: just a guy out there with his guitar, singing in a nasal voice about love and politics. But when I started seeing his interviews, and then especially when he broke out of that troubadour mold, I saw more clearly what he was. He was a poet, and he was using language to open things up. Those two influences fed me during that first phase of Funkadelic, along with many others. I was also doing lots of reading: Black Power books, novels, pulpy shit, underground comics,

and then it was off to the islands, where the two of us relaxed in the sun and watched all the other lovers running on the beach and diving off the cliffs and hang-gliding. In that paradise, I wrote about a dozen of those ballads. The vast majority went to Bootsy. The Bootsy program was simple at that point. It was clear that we had to extend him further into cartoon land, while keeping him legitimate as a romantic figure. We had talked about Casper the Funky Ghost on the first album, and we did

on Hump, like the single, but Nene took the record back to CBS without asking anyone and submitted it to fulfill the terms of the Uncle Jam deal. It replaced the Jessica Cleaves record, which was never delivered, and that was the four-album history of Uncle Jam Records. I was sad then that the Jessica album didn’t come out, and I’m still sad. She was a great soul diva, mainstream enough to be a big chart artist but with enough of the P-Funk character to really stand apart. That’s a beautiful

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