George Clinton, the musician who at the head of his Parliament / Funkadelic band rescued black music from the “facelift” to which it had been subjected for the commercial consumption of the white public,
This Thursday July 22 turns 80 George Clinton, the musician who leads his band Parliament/Funkadelic He rescued black music from the “facelift” to which it had been subjected for the commercial consumption of the white public, from a particular style that combined funk, psychedelia and, fundamentally, a lot of humor.
In that context, Clinton creates a colorful own universe where all those clichés of black culture to which the establishment resorted to show it to the general public were exacerbated, which they concentrated on an imaginary one “P-Funk mode“of which he declared himself absolute leader.
To do this, in addition to staging with the musicians emerging from spaceships, colored clothing, Afro hairstyles of literally up to a meter in height, and anarchic movements, the artist took old slogans from official American culture and subverted them to his new order. .
Thus he launched ingenious slogans such as “Uncle Jam Wants You”, alluding to “Uncle Sam” and his summons to young people to fight in Vietnam; “One Nation Under A Groove”; “Undisco Kidd”; or “In Funk We Trust”, a new reading of the phrase inscribed on the US currency bills; and others that operated as an invitation to release such as “Free Your Mind … and Your Ass Will Follow”.
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic – Give Up The Funk
All this to the rhythm of a musical style that combined elements of the old vocal groups of doo-wop, extreme funk and psychedelia, brought together in songs that under a hypnotic rhythmic pattern and a constant melodic motif, could extend for long minutes.
A native of North Carolina, Clinton got his start in music as a member of the vocal group The Parliaments, while earning a living as a stylist, perhaps an activity that would provide him with aesthetic-related ideas for future art projects.
The rejection of his group by the Motown label, the factor that conditioned black music for mass consumption in a process that concealed its most combative aspects, prompted the musician to take his sound interests to the extreme.
In the midst of the hippism fury, and inspired by artists such as Sly & The Family Stone Y Jimi Hendrix, created Funkadelic, a musical collective destined to develop its own genre which it defined as “funk in acid“.
But also, after The Parliament was dissolved, it took up the idea of rescuing the doo wop from its new place, so it finally renamed its project Parliament / Funkadelic, in a dynamic where it assumes one or another name depending on the musical approach.
Throughout the ’70s, and surrounded by the best musicians of the genre, such as bassist Bootsy Collins, Parliament / Funkadelic became an overwhelming rhythmic machine that, live, displayed a visual appeal characterized by excessive and humor.
Throughout his career George Clinton gave numerous concerts full of funk, psychedelia and humor, like this one from 1976.
An influential musician
In this way, Clinton’s artistic activity served not only as resistance to Motown’s cover-ups of the more radical aspects of black culture, but also to the explosion of black culture. disco music.
At the beginning of the ’80s, the musician dissolved the group, with which he would return intermittently years later, to start a solo career, but mainly to extend his mark through his work as a producer.
So it was that he musically oriented Red Hot Chili Peppers in its beginnings and inspired Afrika Bambataa, a central figure in the birth of hip-hop, among others.
Over the years, Clinton spaced out her public appearances; however, each time he did so, he again proved that his style and artistic conception is unique, and that his humor remains intact.
It is enough to review the group’s appearance at the 2006 edition of the traditional Glastonbury festival, when it turned the place into a gigantic dance floor, while one of the musicians scoffed at his advanced age by appearing on stage barely dressed in a Geriatric diaper. . More George Clinton and more Parliament / Funkadelic than that, you don’t get.