George Clinton recently released the first recording under the Parliament label in over 38 years. “Medicaid Fraud Dogg,” contains 23 tracks and is almost two hours long. The first single, “I’m Gon Make U Sick O’ Me,” brings back all the funk you associated with Clinton and features vocals from Scarface and Mudbone.
George Clinton has been in the game for a long time. He led both Parliament and Funkadelic and the name, “Parliament-Funkadelic” became synonymous for whatever combination of performers from the bands was performing. They gave us “The Mothership Connection,” in 1975, “One Nation Under a Groove,” “Flashlight,” in 1978, along with “Atomic Dogg,” in 1982. Clinton went on to collaborate with Prince in later years and was introduced by Prince when inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Parliament-Funkadelic at the time was the largest band ever inducted. And now they’re back!
In addition to the new music, Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic will be among the headliners at the Richmond Jazz Festival, August 9–12, alongside Gladys Knight, The O’jays, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Tony!Toni! Tone!, Brian McKnight, Joss Stone and more. They are currently on a tour which will take them to Belgium, Brussels, France, Norway, and Poland before bringing the funk back home to America.
If you’ve never experienced a P-Funk show. There’s probably no way to explain it to you. Hearing their music is one thing, seeing them live quite another.
“ We love to funk you, Funkenstein Your funk is the best Take my body, give it the mind To funk with the rest (kiss me on my ego) Hit me with the one and then If you like, hit me again We love to Funk-a-stein”
Dr. Funkenstein — George Clinton — Parliament Funkadelic
April 21, 2018 will mark the second anniversary of the death of Prince. It still seems like just the other day. I grew up in Minneapolis in the same era as Prince, yet we never crossed paths at that time. He was Northside and I was Southside. I was into athletics and he was music. We had mutual friends. One of my basketball teammates was “Jellybean Johnson” of The Time. Jellybean’s nickname was Buddy Miles then (another famous drummer) and he was always carrying drumsticks beating on things. When teenaged Prince was playing in clubs with his band. My parents weren’t about that life which meant I wasn’t about that life either. We didn’t cross paths.
My first Prince concert was in Jacksonville, FL and he was opening for Ashford & Simpson. The skinny kid with the big ‘fro and black bikini drawers was singing songs like, “Head,” and “When You Were Mine,” from the “Dirty Mind” album. The title track will always be one of my favorites.
“It doesn’t matter where we are
It doesn’t matter who’s around
It doesn’t matter
I just want to lay ya down”
The next time I saw Prince was at a club in St. Paul, MN called, “The Taste.” For those of you that saw “Purple Rain,” it was the club where Apollonia performed with the group Morris Day put together. Prince was sitting alone at a small table and I did what you’re supposed to do when a man wants to be left alone. I let him be. No asking for autographs or declaring what a fan I was. I gave him his space.
A couple years later, the movie, “Purple Rain” came out. Prince mania started then and never really died. My son was born around that time and he heard Prince in his crib instead of lullaby’s. Two of the singles from the album were #1 hits. The album has sold well over 25 million copies and as of a few years ago was the third best-selling album ever. It was the Number One Soundtrack of all time and certified platinum 13-times! My youngest daughter grew up on Prince as well. It may have confused other drivers to see us rocking out to Prince while stopped at a light. That was just the way it was.
“I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted one time to see you laughing
I only want to see you laughing in the Purple Rain”
The next time I saw him was several years later in Lakeland, FL, I brought someone I was dating, who wanted to walk around the lobby and see who was there rather than watch the show. Then she wanted something to drink… later to eat. I should have known then the relationship wasn’t going to work out. At that concert, Prince performed “Purple Rain” live for the first time in years and but for fortunate timing I might have missed it.
We attended another Prince concert together in Tampa at an arena and I set the ground rules in advance. “I will buy you anything you want to eat or drink before the show starts. If you want something during the show or to go mingle, you’re certainly welcome but I am staying in place and don’t intend to miss a moment of the show.”
I bought my tickets for that show on-line, because I was a member of the NPG Club (New Power Generation), I could buy advance tickets and had excellent seats on the floor, 12 rows from the stage. I was mildly surprised that the majority of fans nearby were white but I knew Prince had an international fan base. It didn’t surprise me when they stood the entire concert, singing along and knowing every word. It did unnerve me when Prince pulled out an obscure song that I, his biggest fan, didn’t know, and they were still standing, singing every word. It was the best concert I attended in my life.
At that time, I was in the novelty merchandising business where Prince affected my life twice. I was in Minneapolis, working at the first Super Bowl held there. A group of us went to a downtown BBQ restaurant which was more like fine dining… but BBQ. The place was owned by Minneapolis Central High School’s former track star Harry Davis who I swear had the largest head I’ve ever seen. I wonder how much faster he could have been if his head was just a bit smaller? Back to Prince, I did what you’re supposed to do when a man is eating food with his friends. I left him alone.
Back in Florida, I worked a small concert in Tampa at the Sun Dome and when we got out (about 1 am) we had to drive to Miami for the Florida Marlins home opener. Spider, Joe, Travers and I piled into my car and I drove. The route took us through Alligator Alley which is the darkest most desolate stretch of Interstate highway I’ve ever encountered. Now and then, someone would wake up and ask if I was okay? I said, “I’m good” and they went back to sleep. It was probably best they slept through, “The Black Album” because they wouldn’t have understood but Prince did what I needed him to do and we got there just fine.
Believe me I have more Prince stories, some not fit to print. I’d really like to hear yours. Please share your Prince story in the comments and pass this along to any true Prince fans you know so they can tell theirs.
“My name is Prince, and I am funky
My name is Prince, the one and only”
R.I.P. Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 — April 21, 2016)
If you aren’t a football fan, the Super Bowl is usually still worth watching because of the Halftime show and the new commercials. This year, both were arguably so disrespectful as to take the joy from both.
Dodge Trucks, so devalued the words of Martin Luther King as to try to turn a profit off them. They used audio from one of his last speeches, delivered February 4, 1968 also named, ‘The Drum Major Speech.” Two months later he was assassinated. Among the lines quoted, “Recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant … That’s your new definition of greatness — it means that everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” Nothing in those lines suggest a desire to sell trucks but they tried it. Intellectual Properties Management (Dexter Scott King) approved the ad because it, “embodied King’s philosophies.” The King Center and Bernice King, indicated they had no role in the approval in what appears to be a long running family feud.
Prior to the Pepsi Halftime Show featuring Justin Timberlake, rumors spread that Timberlake would feature a Prince hologram, despite Prince’s widely known feelings about them. Of holograms Prince had said, “If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon.” Prince fans were in an uproar and when contacted by former drummer and protege Sheila-E, Timberlake told her there would be no holograph. Technically there wasn’t, he used a video of Prince in which the late artist was reduced to the role of a backup singer. In his last Super Bowl performance, Timberlake weakly said nothing while Janet Jackson saw her career damaged by a wardrobe malfunction involving the both of them equally.
Dodge is already receiving heavy incoming for its disrespectful use of a Civil Rights icon’s words and life. If history is a guide,Timberlake will be praised for a Prince tribute by corporate America which will dismiss the complaints of Prince fans. Prince himself is no doubt casting some heavenly shade as only he can.
Despite widespread rumors, Prince will not be appearing in hologram form as part of the Justin Timberlake Super Bowl LII halftime-show. After hearing from Sheila-E, long time Prince protégé and drummer and Prince’s fans. Justin Timberlake confirmed that a Prince hologram would not be part of the program.
Prince himself had communicated strong feelings about the use of holograms in performances involving artists no longer with us. He said, “If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon.”
The show will go on in Minneapolis at the Super Bowl. It’s likely that Prince will be honored in his hometown in some other fashion. One he would have better appreciated.
I thought I was the biggest Prince fan ever. I found out I wasn’t even close. The last Prince concert I attended was at an arena in Tampa, FL. Because I was a member of the NPG Club I was able to purchase better seats and found myself on the floor about 10 rows back from the stage, surrounded by other NPG Club members who were able to buy seats there. These people, mostly white, stood for the entire show. Sang along to every song which they knew every word of. Now I knew all his hits. I had, “The Black Album” and “The Vault” which included some pretty obscure Prince songs. In a long set he played a couple songs I’d never heard before and those people didn’t flinch, they might have sung harder as if to prove they knew Prince better than I did. I got over it but knew there were bigger fans out there than me.
What can’t be taken from me is all the memories associated with his music and the connections with people underscored by his songs. Prince was a road trip from Tampa to Miami in the middle of the night thru Alligator Alley. Pitch black with only the headlights, 4:30 in the morning. Nobody sleeping because… Prince. Riding in the car with my youngest daughter, playing “Dirty Minds” at the highest volume, rocking out, causing other drivers to stare, and us not caring. The dance music; put your foot down on the two, jump up on the one, now you’re having fun. The introspection, the romance, the sex.
Did I mention we’re from the same town? Him North side me South. He was a few years younger and our paths seldom crossed. Once while his fame was still building I ran across him in a club, he appeared to want to be left alone and I did so. Another time in a restaurant, again no words were spoken. We have friends in common, I could have met him, but his music was enough for me. Fortunately, there is so much that remains that the loss will be bearable. I think. Miss you Prince