Clyde Stubblefield and Jabo Starks will likely always be known as the rhythmic backbones for some of the most cherished breaks of our time, acting as the funky one-two punch of James Brown‘s anvil-heavy roster of musicians in early line-ups of The JBs. The foundational kick-snare specialists recently sat with the good folks over at NPR to speak on their embattled tenures with The Godfather’s skin-tight ensemble, where those rhythmic origins lay (the church, naturally) and what it was like being on the other end of James’ fine-dealing fury.
For those unaware, JB would go through musicians like socks, keeping a full bullpen of the heaviest hitters in the game to swap in and out at his beck and call and sometimes running through various line-ups on stage in a single night. The swaps would happen at any given moment, and would be for any assortment of reasons, from showtime screw-ups to just wanting a different feel on the cut, all of which provided an environment ripe for inter-band bitterness. In steps Clyde and Jabo as the drumming duo of the ages, dispelling any semblance of gripe with their lifelong friendship and the perfect point-counterpoint of rhythm that have translated to some of the most timeless hits of the century. Listen as the legendary Clyde Stubblefield and Jabo Starks discuss the origins of The Funky Drummer and their lives with James Brown on NPR’s Morning Edition by hitting the link below.