From The "Barbership" To The Mothership : George Clinton & Questlove Debunk The Funk In Harlem [Exclusive Photo Gallery, Video + Recap]
Photos by Mel D. Cole for Okayplayer
George Clinton and Questlove sought to demystify the legends of the P-Funk cannon, taking it to the stage at Harlem's Schomburg Center last night for a musical history lesson and an evening of funk fanboy-ism set to a hundred trillion. The night began with a quick introduction from journalist and funk-archivist Ben Greenman (editor of Clinton's recently released memoir) setting the climate for the guest of honor: a 4-years sober Dr. Funkenstein with no shame in his game, charismatic as he's ever been and oh so willing to share the successes, pains and origins of his royal funkiness.
Once Questo made his way to the stage, he did what he could to keep things moving along, but there were so many tales; of adolescent impropriety (stimulating Newark's economy with a hefty influx of counterfeit cash) and indescribable uniqueness in a market veritably flooded with the giant talents we now recognize as musical pioneers. Questo and Clinton cover the elder funkateer's migration from Kannapolis, North Carolina to Plainsfield, NJ to a barbershop in Newark to Motown and off into the Mothership, giving an introduction to all of the players in P-Funk mythology and the timelessness of those distorted, cosmic narratives. And the drugs, folks, oh the drugs.
Listen, there's been plenty of tales going around the campfire about what was going on in that otherworldly mind of his and I don't know if any autobiographical treatment would properly cover the depth of the madness in action in those fabled studio sessions, the extent to which his addictions had crippled him and his peers (including, but not limited to: Sly Stone, David Ruffin, Bootsy Collins and the like) and how he and Pedro Bell collided somewhere on that yellow brick boulevard to jointly redefine the album cover forever.
So if you're a loyal P-Funk devotee and managed to miss this momentous occasion or the livestream through which it was broadcast, consider yourself (and all of us) lucky. The good folks at New York Public have the discussion in its entirety for you to enjoy down below and we've got some exclusive snaps to share with you by our good friend Mel D. Cole. Pick up your copy of Brothas Be Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You? via Amazon today to get all of the twisted tales of P-Funk legend sorted out.