The Iconic Bootsy Collins Speaks On 'World Wide Funk,' Embracing The New & Guitar Battles [Interview]
Celebrating a birthday and a new album, Bootsy Collins still has more of that funky stuff to share with the world.
“They call it the White House, but that’s a temporary condition too,” George Clinton, prophesied on the cut “Chocolate City” co-written by him, the late Bernie Worrell and Bootsy Collins. Though we don’t have a Black House, Bootsy Collins’ new album, dropping the day after his 66th birthday is just as funktastic. World Wide Funk, his first album in six years, features an eclectic group of musicians, including Iggy Pop, Stanley Clarke, Musiq Soulchild, Alissia Beneviste, Chuck D and Buckethead to just name a few.
Bootsy is still the starry-eyed otherworldly bassist, grounded in the party funk of everyman, and has been keeping it on the one for nearly 50 years now. Starting as a teenager in James Brown’s backing band, he rode through on George Clinton’s Mothership with Parliament-Funkadelic, co-writing classic jams like “Flashlight,” “Chocolate City,” “Mothership Connection and “Give Up the Funk”. He would later keep it popping with his own Rubber Band, and slay millions as a solo artist with over two dozen albums in the last forty years.
World Wide Funk is due out today on Mascot Records, following his last album Tha Funk Capital Of the World. Like James Brown did with his fatherly discipline (including making the JB’s wear suits) and George Clinton provided for an outlet for all of his far-out space fantasies, World Wide Funk‘s strength lies not just in Bootsy’s virtuosity and flexibility, but in his introduction of supremely talented newcomers like singer and songwriter Kali Uchis, singer and multi-instrumentalist Alissia Benveniste and guitar bender Justin Johnson and having them blend seamlessly with the old guards like Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh and Musiq Soulchild. Newcomers like Johnson show that the industry isn’t searching hard enough to find new talent. Bootsy found Johnson through social media. And he has been grooming the next generation of funkateers by providing instruments to disadvantaged schools through his Bootsy Collins Foundation and his Funk University until he went back out on the road.
Iggy Pop lends his voice on the intro: “Bootsy Collins was born a long, long time ago in a subterranean cavern full of shining dinosaurs deep below.” The tune, “A Salute to Bernie” honors his friend, one half of one of the greatest writing partnerships in funk music, Bernie Worrell, who died last June from cancer. Bootsy honored Worrell with his own recordings, taken from sessions the two of them worked on in 2002. The album isn’t an ego-driven walk through nostalgia, but rather, proof that age has no number on imagination, nor on the funk. But still there are flashes of his familiar starry-eyed humor and wordplay on “Worth My While”: “In funk we thrust, who else been on my bus?” he asks amidst Uchis’s slippery seductive vocals. On “World Wide Funk,” he says, “Don’t start no funk won’t be none.” On “Hi-on-Heels,” he raps, “Aw twerk it. If you need more loving, put this wood in your oven.”
The iconic Bootsy Collins spoke to @Okayplayer about the old days, the new days and the coming days, including a record collaboration with Snoop Dogg.