George Clinton, P-Funk funkify Belly Up | AspenTimes.com
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George Clinton, P-Funk funkify Belly Up

George Clinton, the master of interplanetary funk, lands the mothership at the Belly Up Friday as part of the Honda Ski Tour. (Contributed Photo)
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ASPEN The interplanetary mothership of funk is approaching Earth and will be landing in Aspen Friday at Belly Up Aspen for a sold-out show. Dr. Funkenstein himself, the unquestioned king of funk, perhaps the most sampled man in the galaxy, George Clinton, will take to the stage.Though Clinton has long been known for groovalicious sounds and beats, his beginnings were slightly more humble. He grew up in New Jersey. And there, in Plainfield, he ran a barber salon. Early in his career, back in the 1950s, he started a doo-wop group.”I started in grade school in Jersey,” Clinton said. “I started out doo-wopping. Then I went to Motown.”

There, for a while in the 1960s, Clinton was a staff songwriter. It wasn’t until the 1970s that his two bands, Parliament and Funkadelic, took off. He became known for wild shows, synonymous with funk, where the actual mothership was sometimes known to land. To many, George Clinton remains in the 70s, with his multi-colored hair and crazy outfits. But just as funk led into hip hop and other genres, so too has Clinton branched out and moved forward.”Funk is the foundations for hip hop,” Clinton said. “It’s close to the DNA for hip hop. We did a show with Public Enemy about three weeks ago at the House of Blues in LA. So it goes forward into something brand new.”When asked about where funk is going today, Clinton referenced an album, “Freaky Styley,” that he produced back in 1985, the first album put out by a new rock band: The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Clinton said he didn’t know what to call it when working with the Chili Peppers at the time and he doesn’t know what to call it when he plays music with Public Enemy today.

“Rock is becoming part of hip hop,” Clinton said. “All of that is melting into a whole new generation but I don’t know what to call it yet. Funk is anything it needs to be for you to survive. It’s always open to the experimental. It’s all part of a story.”In the ’90s, Clinton’s work experienced something of a revival as he was referenced time and again in both in lyrics and in sampling. It wasn’t long before Clinton answered back with a 1993 album titled, “Sample Some of Disc – Sample Some of D.A.T.”These days, Clinton said he will be joining members of Wu-Tang during their upcoming tour and that he has been doing some recording with Black Eyed Peas.”Wu-Tang is close to home,” Clinton said. “I’ve known many of them for a few years. I’m enjoying the work a lot. All of that, I don’t know what you call it yet, because it’s just started. People have been dancing all along. Now it’s something to keep them there. I don’t know what to call this new fusion. I just go along with the flow.”



Clinton said he just hopes to keep moving forward, finding new stuff to play and getting a new generation into it. And as for Aspen, he said he’s excited to come get the ground shaking.”C’mon out,” he said “and bring two booties which’ou.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com


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