George Clinton Interview

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By Litho Freeman

“Free your mind and your ass will follow.” These are the famous words of one of music’s most influential artist of all time, Mr. George Clinton. On February 9th, the Metro Campus Black Box Theater was the chosen venue for the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to hold an interview with the Funk legend himself.

As the crowd, varying in leaps of generational gaps, excitedly waited for the notoriously great performer to arrive on stage, Fred Wesley, trombonist of Parliament-Funkadelic, appeared to introduce the night’s guest via video compilation. Immediately after arriving on stage Clinton stood before the audience and begin the chant “we got the funk” with the crowd returning “Gotta have that funk.”

Dr. Lauren Onkey, V.P. of Education and Public Programs at the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and the nights interviewer, began by speaking about his new novel titled; “BROTHAS BE, YO LIKE GEORGE, AINT’ THAT FUNKIN’ KINDA HARD ON YOU?”, a book in which the musical legend fulfills the myths of a wild P-Funk parties and drug induced instances of the nineteen seventies and eighties and provides the reader with insight about the backstage business of the music industry.

As the interview began Clinton set the tone for his honest answering in saying “ I was a crack head, but after I realized I couldn’t take care of the business end (of music) I stopped, no rehab or nothin’. “ The musician, now in his early seventies then answered questions and spoke about the artist interactions of the sixties and seventies, such as working with the then to be musical legend Sly Stone in quote saying “ It wasn’t long to realize Sly wasn’t like Parliament Funk, he was Sly Stone. “ Clinton then went on to talk about the court cases that Sly and himself had to go through one currently being reviewed by the United States Congress, a case in which the artist is suing on the basis of countless musical sampling of Clinton’s original music by musical industry companies.  “ I left all that such at the end of the book” Clinton said before recanting stories about the introduction of “The Mothership” a half a million dollar spacecraft that appeared during concert shows once summed by P-Funk band members, then would appear “Dr. Funkestein” himself in the  flying stage prop.

As he reminisced about his band wanting to become better than other bands of the time and always searching for a more funky sound, he explained the process of becoming what those very artist wanted to become with saying “if you stay in touch with the youth and the youth will stay with you.” Clinton, who has always been known for his collaboration with artist of all kinds spoke about making music with artist such as Snoop Dogg and The Chili Peppers.

George Clinton Interview with Dr. Laursen Onkey in the Metro Campus Black Box Theater; Photo by James P. Whitfield

As the night came to an end, George took on crowd questions from his adoring fans, answering all with same brutal honesty that is promised in his novel, on bookshelves now. The grand finale of the night was the personal touch of the autographs and picture opportunities for attendees.

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