What the funk?

“If some people don’t like funk music then it’s just the wrong time for them. They will get it. It’s addictive,” George Clinton recently told The Guardian. “That’s why they call it dope. It gets you. If you’ve got a booty and you can shake it, you’ve got the funk.” George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic is […]

Free George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic show at Hollywood Gaming

George Clinton and P-Funk are known for colorful and outlandish stage presence.

By Allyson B. Crawford

“If some people don’t like funk music then it’s just the wrong time for them. They will get it. It’s addictive,” George Clinton recently told The Guardian. “That’s why they call it dope. It gets you. If you’ve got a booty and you can shake it, you’ve got the funk.”

George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic is currently on an American tour, which Clinton says will be his last. He will retire from performing next year at age 77. Clinton has made the most of those years, spending a majority of them in the music business. He was a Motown Records staff songwriter and eventually the intergalactic, wild and colorful hype-and-frontman for both Parliament and Funkadelic. Then there’s that robust solo career. Through all those years, George Clinton has released more than 50 albums and toured the world over, including many stops in the Dayton area.

Having two bands (Parliament and Funkadelic) resulted due to contractual splits and complications in the 60s. Through decades in time, George Clinton was able to keep both bands together, each grinding with a distinctive sound. Funkadelic is decidedly rock and Parliament, more funk. Parliament released Medicaid Fraud Dogg earlier this year. It’s the first Parliament album in 38 years.

Clinton has climbed the mountain of addiction and made it to the other side, safely, if a bit bruised. Decades of addiction gives a person perspective and helps the writing process. Medicaid Fraud Dogg is long, with 23 tracks and clocking in at nearly two hours. Newfound sobriety gives a man a lot to discuss and Clinton is ready to talk, at least through bass lines and heavy sexual innuendo.

Medicaid Fraud Dogg features song titles like “69,” “Proof Is In The Pudding,” “Mama Told Me,” “Pain Management” and the ode to Clinton himself, “Insurance Man.”

With the Bernie Worrell remake of “Insurance Man,” we learn “We got the funk because George left us instructions.” Like every good George Clinton album, there’s some social commentary and in-your-face-realness, too:

“Insurance Man for the funk. Take some insurance out on your rump. You can be sure if you’re insured with the funk. Lots of da da. /

“Coming from the house of pain/nobody cares but Obamacare to make a change./

“And Mr. Donald won’t supply rubbers when it rains /let’s get the clinic providing rubbers to prevent AIDS.”

And later, as the song goes on, the struggle is real:

“Some people go broke just to get a fix/ but nowadays you get sick of being sick / so even if you get your ass kicked hard, you’re gonna need a pile of papers and a plastic card.”

There’s a bit of real-world struggle in every Clinton-related release, even if the over-arching message is one of partying and having fun. For Clinton, that grit came from his mother, a woman who was a major influence on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Clinton remembers his mother during a conversation with a reporter from The Guardian.

“My mother gave me the discipline to follow my dreams. You know: you can do what you want as long as you put your back into it. Just keep
plowing away.”

Plowing away he did, on and on, for decades, racking up album sales and hitting the Billboard charts a time or five as well. Clinton was inducted into the Rock Hall in 1997 and enjoyed a number one single with “Atomic Dog” in 1982. (That song has been sampled too many times to list, but notably helped make Snoop Dogg famous with his 1993 track “Who Am I (What’s My Name?)”. Proving fit for all times and ages, the track even appeared on the 2006 Garfield: The Movie soundtrack).

Now in 2018, George Clinton is feeling reality. In a press statement announcing his retirement from touring, he said simply, “This has been coming a long time. Anyone who has been to the shows over the past couple of years has noticed that I’ve been out front less and less.”

While your chances to see Clinton live are now dwindling, there’s a strong chance Parliament and Funkadelic, or P-Funk, will keep right on rolling.

“It’s never really been about me,” Clinton told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “It’s always been about the music and the band. That’s the real P-Funk legacy. They’ll still be funkin’ long after I stop.”

This current tour will continue through the end of the year.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic will perform at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, 777 Hollywood Boulevard, on Thursday, July 19. The show is free. You must be 21 or older to attend. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show will take place trackside at 9 p.m. For more details, visit hollywooddaytonraceway.com or georgeclinton.com.

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About Allyson B. Crawford

View all posts by Allyson B. Crawford
Allyson B. Crawford lives in Kettering and writes about ’80s metal bands on her daily blog bringbackglam.com. You can usually find her at all sorts of metal shows around Ohio and across the country. Allyson can be reached at AllysonCrawford@DaytonCityPaper.com

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