Saturday, July 26, 2008

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at the 9:30 Club, July 19, 2008

Garry Shider (in diaper) comparing physiques with Sir Nose (right) and George Clinton.

George Clinton rocking his Chocolate City shirt in Chocolate City

Michael Hampton, worthy heir to the late great Eddie Hazel, is still making grown men cry with his heart-breakingly plaintive guitar wailing on "Maggot Brain." George Harrison once famously made his guitar 'gently weep.' Well Eddie Hazel and Michael Hampton have made their guitars both scream with passion and writhe in anguish.

All photos (c) 2008 Incorrigible Curmudgeon

Like I said, my favorite jam bands are Mandrill, Parliament Funkadelic, and War.

Well this has been a great Summer because I've been able to see the first two and they both kicked ass!

Seeing George Clinton again was like seeing an old friend or your crazy old uncle again after a long hiatus.

I've been watching George and Parliament since 1968 when they had solid radio hits like "I Just Wanna Testify," "Let Hurt Put You Behind the Wheel," and "Get Up On the Down Stroke," great party songs but up to this point they were pretty much just another R&B group in matching tuxedos ala the Temptations.

The next year they re-invented themselves, busting out in costumes (the diaper, the union suit, the hair and make-up) as the Funk/Rock hybrid Parliament Funkadelic we all know and love. Forty years later they are still getting it done, George is still the impish gnome in chief, the screaming guitars (led by Michael Hampton) are still putting a lie to the perception that Black people don't dig rock, and Garry Shider is still rockin' that diaper, well into his 60's.

The show was at the 9:30 Club near Howard University and started 2 hours late so we only stayed for 3 of the usual 4 hours they are still renowned for jamming, even at their age.

Unfortunately, they don't let you bring real cameras to concerts like back in the day, but the 9:30 Club only prohibits "professional cameras and video" so I had the frustrating experience of capturing the show on my point-and-shoot digital from the balcony (my leg was injured and I wasn't about to fight the teeming hoards on the dance floor to get up close to the stage). Still it was better than nothing (barely) but you be the judge.

Check out the Washington Post article about George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, a feature piece in the Weekend section the day before the show.


Nonickname said...

Dear Curmudgeon,

I'm writing a memoir about the building takeovers at Columbia and wonder if you could help me check facts about the takeover at Howard that preceded it.
First, what is Charter Day? Why did students disrupt it?
And were these the demands? (I read them elsewhere on the web):
ver the right of the campus newspaper to criticize the policies of the university president. ... Students demanded that the university establish a department of Afro-American history and culture. They wanted a black university president appointed. And they wanted courses which allowed them to reach out into the working class community around Howard.

Thanks in advance for any help,

Kathy Seal

Dr. F. said...

Kathy Seal, Thanks, and I am assuming you are referring to my post in March 2008 on the 40th anniversary of the Howard U. 'A' bldg. takeover.

Please give me an email address and I'll be happy to answer your questions about the Howard 'A' bldg. takeover in depth.

In the meantime, see if you can get your hands on the out-of-print book "Centennial Plus One: A Photographic and Narrative account of the Black Student Revolution: Howard University 1965-1968" by Tom Myles ( (c)1969 by Black-Light Graphics, Washington, DC, Library of Congress catalog card #73-77922).

There was also a documentary on the takeover made by NET (forerunner of PBS). It was called "Color Us Black." I got my copy from Dr. J. Fred MacDonald at Mac Films, .

Thirdly, there's a 15-minute segment on the takeover in the PBS documentary on the Civil Rights movement called "Eyes on the Prize." Not sure which of the 6 episodes it appears in.

I look forward to seeing your account of the Columbia student takeover. please keep me posted.

deeceevoice said...

Yeah, this was a great show. It was enhanced by the fact that one of the staff at the 9:30 Club walked up to me, handed me a free ticket and a VIP pass -- just on g.p., I guess.

Sold my ticket and came away 40 bucks richer. (Bow-wow-wow yippy-yo, yippy-ya-aaay!:) )

But I could have done without the pregnant old guy in the Depends and no jockstrap, hangin' low....

(Nostalgia be damned. Just ee-uuww.)