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Godfather of Funk keeps it real — real funky, that is
by Krystal Bick
Jan 02, 2009 | 1159 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy photo - George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic perform on Saturday at the Grand Sierra Resort.
Courtesy photo - George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic perform on Saturday at the Grand Sierra Resort.
It’s always important to respect your elders, especially when they happen to be George Clinton, the Godfather of Funk.

Clinton and his Parliament Funkadelic band, who have forever changed the fluctuating trends in the music industry combining unprecedented elements of acid rock, primal funk and pure dance jams, deserve nothing but respect.

And now they are coming to Reno at the Grand Sierra Resort Saturday to show off where they’ve been, where they’re going, those crazy rainbow dreads that Clinton has and why President-elect Barack Obama is “the man.”

Started back in the 1950s in New Jersey by a teenage Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic was a work in progress. Clinton, the founding member, was listening to the likes of Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers and began recording doo-wop songs.

The Parliaments were formed at this time, with the group eventually moving to Detroit and landing their first R&B No. 1 hit “(I Just Wanna) Testify” (1967).

A year later, Clinton formed the band Funkadelic, which would later sign with Warner Bros. in 1976, eventually leading to the renamed Parliament signing with Casablanca Records.

Two strong bands, two distinct sounds, all one creation. In an interview on his Web site, Clinton described Parliament as “more orchestrated with horns and complicated vocal arrangements while Funkadelic was more a straight up rock band with a heavy rhythm section.”

Each band had the same members, however, making for a musical experimentation that would prove the musicians’ merits in a variety of genres and an outlandishly original stage presence each time.

During their heyday from 1967 to 1983, the bands landed 13 Top 10 singles and six No. 1 hits, including Parliament’s “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)” (1976) and “Aqua Boogie” (1978) and Funkadelic’s “(Not Just) Knee Deep” (1979) and “One Nation Under A Groove” (1978).

Of course, both bands performed under one stage name together, bringing about Parliament Funkadelic, or sometimes called the P-Funk All Stars, and national appeal was no hard feat. Together the P-Funk All Stars have made their way to the Woodstock Festival, graced the silver screen for a Nike commercial during the 2002 NBA playoffs and performed with OutKast during the 2004 Grammy Awards show.

Clinton’s solo efforts were no small feat either, marking some of his biggest hits like “Atomic Dog” from the “Computer Games” album (1982) that still stands as one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop history.

Then come the honors. Clinton and the 14 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, segueing for Rolling Stone magazine ranking them as No. 56 on their list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Writing and composing during an era of growing black awareness and civil rights, it’s no wonder the P-Funk men now have songs like “ObamaNation” and “Paint the White House Black” blaring on their MySpace page or that they have influenced contemporary African American artists like Erykah Badu and OutKast.

The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 for orchestra seating and $27.50 for general seating and can be purchased at the Grand Sierra box office or by calling (800)-648-3568.
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