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Part Three ... Bernie Worrell and Maceo Parker come to town!
The story continues after New Year '99 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Two of the finest musicians in the field of Funk and Jazz brought their bands to the area on the last weekend of January. Bernie Worrell is one of the most accomplished keyboard masters of the latter 20th Century. He played with Keith Richard, Sly & Robbie, and the best lineup of the Talking Heads. He also co-wrote P-Funk's greatest songs. Maceo Parker was James Brown's legendary sax soloist, who also shared the road and studios with P-Funk...

William "Bootsy" Collins from an autographed photo
January '99 was part of a season of hard work and little pay for me. (Things were starting to change however, and the upcoming Spring would be much better.) I had some money in the bank, though, and time on my hands, so when I heard that Bernie Worrell, one of my favorite musicians in the entire world, would perform two shows, I was as happy as I could be that moment. The next thing I heard was that Maceo Parker would play at the Zephyr Club with a band that included Rodney "Skeet" Curtis and Greg Boyer -- all three had played with P-Funk over the years. Maceo had also been a star in James Brown's various road bands, and recorded the most famous solos on his hit records.
Another odd circumstance came to pass -- Patti Collins of Bootzilla Productions asked me if I would spread some of Bootsy Collins' promotional items around my musical contacts in Salt Lake City.
Bootsy had released a new CD in the United States called Fresh Out Of "P" University, and was also working with his old mentor James Brown again, at least in the studio. I was honored by the request -- I'd been a card-carrying fan club member for about four years, but there's STILL more to tell about it below.

Adventures at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, while buying tickets for Bernie Worrell's concert at Steeps:
It was Monday the 25th of January in 1999. Winters in the Salt Lake Valley can be dark and cold from air pollution and temperature inversions. The mountains are blessed with warmer weather and sunshine. This was the case when I drove up to Park City to scope out the place where Bernie Worrell would be playing Thursday night.
The Sundance Festival is famous now, but it was once the modest Park City Film Festival, before Robert Redford rode to it's rescue. The most notorious entry that year was Sex; The Annabel Chong Story. It was playing at Prospector's Square, the first theater off the highway, so I stood in line to see if there was any room -- there wasn't. However, director Gough Lewis arrived when I did, along with Grace Qi (AKA Annabel Chong). They were both very friendly people. I told Grace about Bernie's concert and she interjected "P-Funk!" when I mentioned his history. She invited me to the Q&A session after the movie.
During the intervening two hours I drove up to the delightful chaos of Park City's Main Street, where I guided Troma Pictures chief Lloyd Kaufman to the Wasatch Brewery, and saw cast members of The Blair Witch Project signing autographs. The latter movie would be a big media sensation a few months later.
As I drove back, I stopped at the Jack Ass Coffee Bar for an espresso. When I told the crew I was going to meet "Annabel," they gave me about ten bucks worth of coupons for coffee and snacks for her. She accepted them with a big smile.

Sights on the streets of Park City, Utah: (Clockwise L to R) Grace Qi was promoting a documentary called Sex; The Annabel Chong Story about her own career in the porn industry. Stars of The Blair Witch Project signed autographs, and Troma's Lloyd Kaufman promoted his book.

Poster for Bernie Worrell's concert at the Ritz Club --
Which was next door to a popular bowling alley.

I got my Bernie Worrell tickets at the Park City Resort after Gough and Qi finished their presentation. They spoke frankly about extreme hardcore porn with an emphasis on "consent."
It was an interesting, if disturbing, meeting. Grace asked me to visit It still exists, even though Ms. Qi has long since retired from the sex industry.
After I drove back down into the gray muck of Salt Lake, I got to work on making some computer graphics as gifts for Bernie Worrell, Maceo Parker, Skeet Curtis, and Greg Boyer. Skeet and I had already exchanged emails about meeting at the Zephyr Club that Sunday.
On Tuesday morning the mailman brought me a package from Bootsy and Patti Collins. There were three copies of "P" University, some EP-style CDs featuring his latest single, a large number of promotional tapes with the EP on one side, and James Brown on the other, plus some autographed postcards, a color photo, and a black T-shirt with Bootsy Collins' face and name on the front.
I gave Fresh Out of "P" University to an independent dance DJ, the Disco Drippers, and KRCL FM. The rest of the promotional stuff was passed out to every music store and head shop between Salt Lake's East Side and Park City.

Bowling Alley Funk: When I located the Ritz Club the next night, it was in a hall next to a bowling alley on Salt Lake's main drag. With my artwork under my arm, I walked inside. A friendly guy started talking to me as I passed the pool tables, and I found myself raving about Mr. Worrell and his music. After I thought to ask his name, he told me it was "Daffy." I asked if his name was also "Fitz" -- and he nodded. Greg "Daffy Ducking" Fitz was also in Bootsy's Rubber Band, as I remembered from CD covers. "You even have your Funk Card!" he said with amazement, as he saw my fan club membership.
When I showed him my image of Bernie, he introduced me to the boss himself, who grinned broadly when he saw his picture, and escorted me in turn to meet his manager and wife Judie Worrell.
While the audience filtered in, I saw Randy Block, the Funk DJ from KRCL-FM, and let him know about the promotional "P" University CD coming his way. My friend Chris Snarr from the Disco Drippers showed up, and I met Drippers' bassist Tosh Brown for the first time that night.
I was in Funk Heaven when Bernie and his band, the Woo-Warriors, did their sound check by playing full-length versions of Red Hot Mama and Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On -- two of my all-time favorite Funkadelic tunes. I sketched and listened while Vinyl played a long opening set. They were actually co-stars on the tour, and
Chris and Tosh had come to see THEM rather than Bernie Worrell. They made very pleasant, well-played dance music, but I liked my Funk with a harder edge, and got it when the Woo-Warriors took the stage.

Keyboard Master Bernie Worrell as "Vulcan On The Mothership"
The first of my digital assemblages for that weekend.

Lead male vocalist and Bernie's keyboard protoge, Greg Fitz was the first member of the Woo Warriors I met. He started talking to me as I wandered in by the pool tables where he and female vocalist B.J. Nelson were sharpening their skills with the cue sticks.

The band Vinyl, from Florida, was on tour with Bernie Worrell.

Sherri Berg and her friends turned up at every show that weekend -- and they came to DANCE!

I gradually met the other Woo Warriors one by one -- Donna McPhearson, Michael Ruben, Brenda Nelson, and the remarkable Gabe Gonzales, who became a valued friend of mine.
Bernie Worrell is simply one of the best musicians to ever touch the keys of a synthesizer, organ, or piano. The music that boiled over from his side of the stage that night was beyond my ability to praise in execution or originality.
His band impressed me as well -- Donna's nuanced bass lines took full advantage of those long electrified strings on her instrument. Every little touch and pluck was rich and resonant. "Daffy" turned out to be a capable lead singer as well as supplying horns and effects on his own keyboard. Michael called himself "Moon," and had a pair of the surest hands I've ever seen on a guitarist -- whether is was rhythm or lead, he was right there with clean lines of melody, or precision strokes on his chords. Brenda had a trained Gospel voice, and shared vocal chores with Greg Fitz.
Next to
Bernie, though, my favorite player was drummer Gabe Gonzales -- his skill and flair for rhythm were on par with greats like Chester Thompson, and he induced a nasty wiggle in the hips of every lady who heard him.
I even danced a little that night, and would dance more the following evening, but I spent a lot of the last part of the show hovering around Bernie's array of keyboards, pedals, and equipment -- he amazed me by stepping from one instrument to another, triggering sound after sound, and generating more music than any one man had a right to make.
As the concert finished, I spoke with a lady who had danced near me for awhile. Her name was Sherri Berg, and in the course of our conversation, I learned we were neighbors on Capitol Hill, and that she and her friends would be in Park City for Bernie's next show. Gabe Gonzales came up to us wearing a hand-puppet, and joined in the small-talk. Sherri left soon afterwards, still laughing about Gabe's Praying Mantis puppet (named Zeke). Bernie, Gabe, and I sat for a long time talking afterwards. Bernie signed some CDs I brought -- including a fabulous jam with Jazz great Pharoah Sanders.

Part Three of Putting On The ONE is getting too long: Read about the Bernie Worrell's Park City show in Part Four!
Return to Putting On The ONE (Part 2)
Check out Putting On The ONE (Part 4)
Digital images by Michael Evans Pictures from the Sundance Festival are from then-current publicity, or drawn from memory with the aid of photos. P-Funk alumni and Woo Warriors are montaged primarily from photographs by David Brooks. Original image of Vinyl from their website:, and digitally altered by ME. The original sketch of Sherri Berg was drawn by Michael Evans.