Links to our Contributers:
Nicole 11:11 Electronica Web Site
George Clinton's Web Site
Maceo Parker's Web Site
Bernie Worrell's Web Site
Bootsy Collins' Web Site
Gina Hall's Award-Winning Atomic Dawg Web Site
"Enemy Squad" Web Site
Dennis Chambers' Discography
one of many sites
devoted to this giant of contemporary Jazz
Billy (Bass) Nelson's Web Site
Tosh Brown's "Slapdown"
JSconi and Birgit contribute to the P-Funk Bulletin Board here
at One Nation
Alternative Series Part II
Outliving "The Dead"
Many Faces of Parliament/Funkadelic
By Michael Evans
(Photos from Gina Hall and Niki11:11)
Rock 'N Soul legend George Clinton with his "Underground Angels."
Rapper LaShonda Clinton was a big hit in Missoula. She's pictured (Left) at Woodstock '99. During the Lalapalooza tours, Detroit's "Nicole 11:11" did "Angel" duty in the East and Midwest with George and the P-Funk All Stars. (Center and Right)
When the Deadhead wave crested in the 1990's, before Jerry Garcia's death, there were other "jam bands' making their own scenes on concert stages throughout the world: Phish, Widespread Panic, and one very special, totally unique entity from the psychedelic 60's, and 70's -- "P-Funk," also known as Parliament/Funkadelic. Before Vernon Reid called it "Black Rock," they called their music "Funk."
All the sudden they were everywhere, out-freakin' the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the Grammy Awards while playing "Give It Away Now," up-staging Miss Kier of Dee-Lite while she sang "Groove Is In The Heart," trackin' behind Digital Underground, Snoop Doggy Dog, entering the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and appearing at Woodstock '99.
Long ago, "Funkadelic," shared stages with the likes of Alice Cooper, Iggy and the Stooges, and the MC5., featuring a mercurial lead guitarist named Eddie (Maggot Brain) Hazel, a keyboard wizard named Bernie Worrell, and a five-man singing group from a New Jersey barbershop called "Parliament," who made their OWN records.
George Clinton at the University of Montana Fieldhouse, April 1, 1998.
Taken from front and center (near Garrett Cheen) by an unknown photographer, and discovered in the office of The Mercury.
The leader was George Clinton, owner of the barbershop, and ex-employee of Motown Records. Then, as now, he had a charismatic stage presence that galvanized thousands with a wave of his hand.
Clinton made musical history when he stole away members of James Brown's band to tour with his "Mothership" road show. Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley led the "Horny Horns," and the most prominent officer on deck was bass virtuoso William "Bootsy" Collins, with his star-like sunglasses. This band of bandleaders was destined to change over the years, though.
It's true what they said on "VH1 Legends" about Parliament/Funkadelic going home on a bus with $20 after their last gig in 1981, but they didn't say that they were ALL back together within months, recording "Atomic Dog,"
George leads his own P-Funk All-Stars, Bootsy, Bernie, Fred, and Maceo lead their own groups and do session work.
Talented young musicians like Dennis Chambers and Gabe Gonzales come and go, breeding new incarnations of this music that touches Rock, Soul, and Jazz. When you see any of these bands you'll hear a mix of new and old players that is well worth the trip.
Funk fans keep in touch with the Internet, and chat with their musical heroes in cyberspace. What was once a phenomenon of Black America is multi-racial now. The audience is all colors and nationalities. We've gathered a cross-section for you.
(Photo by Gina Hall)
Gabe Gonzales has known George Clinton from the age of 7. At 17 he was in the P-Funk All Stars. Mike Evans met him when he was Bernie Worrell's drummer. Gabe played at Woodstock '99, and brought his own group "Enemy Squad" to the snowy Northwest last February.
Mike Evans and Garrett Cheen of "The Mercury" saw George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars at UM in Missoula two years ago:
Garrett: I was right down front! The crowd got so excited when George came out.
Mike: They liked those electric guitars too! I was up in the stands. I laughed when Carlos (Sir Nose) McMurry gathered all those pretty girls together, and they danced onstage during Atomic Dog!
Garrett: I'd NEVER seen that before -- that guy was so double-jointed! They liked George's granddaughter too.
Mike: Yeah, LaShonda Clinton, the Underground Angel? A young white woman out of Detroit named "Nicole 11:11" used to do that number in the early 90's."
Garrett: I saw them at Lalapalooza, opening for the Beastie Boys, and I saw them in Orange County, California. It was like a reunion show -- Bootsy was there, and the Horny Horns. It was over 4 hours long!
Mike: The Missoula show was almost 4 hours!
Garry Shider (Center) and Cordell "Boogie" Mosson (Right) have been with P-Funk since 1972. Dwayne McKnight (Left) has also played jazz with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Charles Lloyd. (by "The Mercury's" unknown photographer)
Garrett: Yeah, but the crowd wasn't chanting and getting into it like they were in California.
Mike: You're right! George had to cut some things short. They couldn't even get "Up For The Downstroke!"
Garrett: In Orange County, I remember the whole band took a break, and there was just one guitarist onstage. He started playing "Maggot Brain" all by himself, then the drummer joined in halfway. He was awesome! By the time they were done, the whole group was back on, and they were slammin'.
Mike: If it was 1992, it could have been the original guitarist. I'll research that! (He did, and it turns out that Eddie Hazel didn't play on the West Coast that year, and died in December of 92. The E minor blues solo named after him is usually played by Michael Hampton.)
(Photos by Gina Hall)
Lead guitarist Michael Hampton (right) was the crowd's favorite at UM. After the show, Hampton introduced Mike Evans to P-Funk's co-founder Billy "Bass" Nelson. (left) Mr. Nelson SMILED when Evans reminisced with him about Nelson playing bass with "The Rascals" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction show.
John (JSCONI) Watson, from Chicago writes: The show was in December right after Christmas, like 12/29 or some'n like that...close to the (anniversity of the) day Eddie died and that's why it was dedicated to him. Regarding Maggot Brain, I remember thinking while I was watching that it was one of the ABSOLUTE BEST MAGGOT BRAINS I HAD EVER HEARD. Me and my patnas was LOVIN that! …they really seemed like they put a lot into it that night - with the keyboard effects, lights, etc - probably because of the Eddie memory. And yes - Mike was most definitely workin' it.
(In-concert photo by Michael Evans)
Tosh Brown co-stars with Lisa and Tamara Rogers in Salt Lake City's biggest band. He graciously shared his recent experiences of seeing George Clinton's West Coast tour with "The Mercury."
To help bring it up to date, Tosh Brown, a master bass-blaster from Salt Lake City, who leads his own Funk band "Slapdown" says, "I saw the All Stars at Kingsbury Hall last March. I also saw them at the "launch party" for IAM.com in Los Angeles in January too. Buddy Miles jammed with them, and they had a woman violinist working with the lead guitars. Kingsbury is the LEAST dance-friendly place, but they made it work. The horns spoke to me the most as a musician. I hear Fred Wesley likes P-Funk's trumpeter, Bennie Cowans."
Maceo Parker has a NEW CD called "Dial M-A-C-E-O"
and leads one of the best live bands on Planet Earth
Other P-Funk bands put out every bit as much energy! Birgit Haupt lives in Germany, and sends in this report from Maceo Parker's band, touring in Europe, "I've seen them now twice this week and I'll be for one more tomorrow in Zürich. Both were just great, incredible that they do it like that nearly every night without a sign of tiredness. 3,5 hours FULL OF FUNK. Both shows weren't all the same. ... The crowd was totally under their control, they did everything which has been told to them even squat on the floor (!!!) They did some P-funk tunes in a very, very good Maceo style: Atomic Dog, Dr. Funkenstein, Stretchin' out, Up For The Down Stroke...... Who said a while ago that Skeet don't laugh ??? He laughed all the time while playing is groovy bass with the jazzy flavor... You need good shoes, only a shirt and about 3 bottles of water, because they'll make you dance without a break."
This "Skeet" she speaks of is Rodney Curtis, a 20-year veteran of Clinton's band, who tours with Maceo now. Mike Evans spoke with him last year and he had these words about Missoula, where he nailed a lonnng bass solo, "That was a GOOD GIG!"
(Photo from D'Addario strings)
Rodney "Skeet" Curtis knocked the UM audience DEAD with his extended bass solo. After 20 years in sweats with Clinton, he put on a suit and tie to join Maceo Parker later that year.
(Mike Evans speaks): I have personally had the pleasure of meeting an increasing number of P-Funkers, in-person, and over the 'net. They are as down-to-earth and friendly as folks can be. They all have their jobs to do , but they love to meet their fans.
When I told Cordell Mosson how much I listen to his music, he asked me for a hug.
Mike Hampton introduced me to Billy "Bass" Nelson, who co-founded the group when I was still in high school!
George Clinton lingered and spoke to everyone who wanted to talk to him, even though he had a flight to Cleveland in 6 hours.
Bernie Worrell is as fun-loving as a teenager -- a black "Amadeus" from New Jersey who parties with the Rolling Stones and Talking Heads.
Maceo Parker is as dignified as a man can get, but he laughs easy and loud!
Contrast this approach-able-ness with Phish, or the beleaguered members of the "Dead." Mix it with some of the best music in history, and you have a sure winner in the Alternative Universe!