Kendrick Lamar, D'Angelo, Bruno Mars...with so much of George Clinton's sonic footprint in the air, Soundcheck thought it was time to revisit our recent career-spanning interview with Dr. Funkenstein himself.
"If it wasn't for flashbacks, I wouldn't have any memory at all," says George.
Over his 50-plus years in the music industry, the funk pioneer best known as the founder and driving creative force of Parliament-Funkadelic, and later, the P-Funk All-Stars, has seen -- and done -- a lot. Clinton started out as a doo-wop singer and and a songwriter in the Brill Building in the 1960s. But his sound quickly evolved into something much more rock -- and, eventually, funk -- oriented. Clinton describes that funky sound as "psychedelic versions of the songs that my mother would listen to."
"Music from way back up in the woods," he says. "Matter of fact, all the way in the jungle. We wasn't even going back to slavery -- we was going back primal."
With his '70s and '80s bands -- Parliament and Funkadelic — Clinton achieved four No. 1 R&B hits, including the anthem "One Nation Under A Groove" and "Atomic Dog," which topped the R&B charts for four weeks in 1982. Other songs like "Flash Light," "Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)," "Maggot Brain," and "Mothership Connection," remain indelible, and frequently-sampled classics. And with his exuberant marathon concerts, Clinton and his sprawling, colorful band earned a reputation as one of the most memorable and unpredictable live acts around.
Clinton's winding musical journey -- and his longtime struggles with a crippling crack addiction -- is chronicled in his new memoir, Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You?
In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Clinton reflects on his early years bridging divided black and white audiences, his musical highs and career lows, and the invention of famous The Mothership.