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Putting on THE ONE
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Michael Hampton wearing his
black-on-white ONE jersey.

Part Two: ... of the saga of the black souvenir jersey from the 1998 Missoula P-Funk concert. Lead guitarist Mike Hampton wore a white version while I wore a black version. We both wore them backwards with the letters P-FUNK 1 showing at the front. "Nice shirt!" he said.
The story continues a few months later at the NBA Playoffs in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls series was tied. The sold-out game had been shown free on huge video screens outside the downtown arena.
When the street party broke up, I recalled that the nearby Zephyr Club featured live music, and went over to see what I could hear. The doorman took one look at my P-Funk jersey, and immediately escorted me inside...

The Author in his white-on-black ONE jersey.
I mingled with the crowd -- there were a lot of technical people in town for the NBA Playoffs, and they generally dressed like me, in casual black-on-black clothes. The P-Funk 1 jersey was an instant ice-breaker. Many were from the East and Midwest, and had seen some incarnation of Parliament, Funkadelic, or Bootsy's Rubber Band over the years. Some of the younger patrons told me of a legendary winter concert at Bruce Willis' place in Hailey, Idaho a few years before.
The first sight that greeted me when I came through the door was a tall red-haired lady at the edge of the stage above my head. She was dressed in smooth brown leather, and sang this high, strong, keening note which resonated throughout the whole room. Next moment -- song was over, and so was the band's set. Everybody filed offstage and went wherever they went.
"That was a nice note!" I said to myself, "I wonder if she has any more notes like that?" When the band came back, I settled in to listen. They were called the Disco Drippers and, true to their name, specialized in playing popular dance classics of the late 70's. They also delved into soulful R&B like Love Roller Coaster -- whether inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or the Ohio Players, they kept the humor of the song intact.
I was most impressed by their lead singer Lisa Rogers. Musicians in Salt Lake rarely dress for the stage, but she was made up to the NINES, plus she stylishly moved with purpose and feeling as she performed. Much more than that, she sang like one of God's own angels. To top it off, her sister Tamara stood behind the microphone next to her, and was blessed with the same divine gift of song.
Yes, we all heard those powerful notes again and again, and the audience agreed with me that she was FUNKY, in the best sense of the word. Considering that they mostly came from bigger cities than Salt Lake, and were more African-American than usual in a Utah crowd, their praise was as significant as it was heartfelt.
Disco Drippers 1
(L to R) Tamara and Lisa Rogers together onstage
Disco Drippers 2
Tamara Rogers matches Thelma Houston's bravura
vocal prowess on Don't Leave Me This Way.
Aftermath: I was doing temporary work in town, but I saw the Drippers once more that Summer before I went back to Montana. A second impression gave me some perspective on the rest of the band when they played outdoors for the grand opening of the Hard Rock Cafe. Their lead guitarist was VERY fleet, and supported the horns exceedingly well. The bass player used Mutron effects at times, just like Bootsy Collins. They started the show off with a laugh -- doing Jungle Boogie, so that everybody would Get Down, Get Down, and we sure did! Nothing was better than the Rogers sisters singing Abba's Dancing Queen, though -- those gorgeously combined sibling voices made me lightheaded -- since it was over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit, I drank another bottle of water.
Late October found me in Salt Lake again, between jobs this time. I was working at my computer when the power went out. "Why are you sitting here at 9:30 on a Friday night on Halloween weekend?" I said to myself in a moment of lucidity. "Those ladies who sing so well are performing at the bottom of the hill tonight!"
I used a flashlight to find my drawing tools, grabbed my black hooded jacket to go with the jersey, and bought a pair of glow-glasses as an improvised costume -- with my hood up, I could say I was the Unabomber, since I was from Montana. I had a good night at the Zephyr with my pad and pencil. I whipped out one particularly fast sketch of a lady wearing an outrageously pink feathery boa in about 45 seconds. When I looked up, the Rogers sisters were on both sides of me, looking over my shoulders. Tamara said, "He sure nailed HER!" (Meaning the person in the picture -- some fifteen minutes later, I sold it to my subject's boyfriend for twenty bucks.)
Lisa, Tamara, and I became friends that night, and eventually everyone in the group got to know me. I set my troubles aside when I was in Salt Lake City on weekends by sketching the very active scene around the Disco Drippers band at the Zephyr Club and their alternative venue at Liquid Joe's in the suburbs. THAT story, and the related drawings, deserve their own web page, and they will have it before long.
(Watch this space!)
Disco Drippers 3
Lisa Rogers is a decathalete among theatrical divas.
Her powerful solos DEFINE dynamic artistry.
Part Three of Putting On The ONE will be coming SOON: Featuring P-Funk veterans Bernie Worrell, Gabe Gonzales, Rodney (Skeet) Curtis, Greg Boyer, and Maceo Parker
Return to Putting On The ONE (Part 1)
More FUNK in: Putting On The ONE (Part 3)
All color digital images are from sketches originally made at the Zephyr Club in Salt Lake City on October 30, 1998
Monochrome digital images made from personal photos and drawn from memory. Copyright 2006
by Michael R. Evans