Free your mind…

George Clinton is not the hardest-working man in showbiz. He just has the best time. Now 67, touring House of Blues-size venues and no longer landing on stage in a spaceship, he doesn’t really need to anymore. Last night in Detroit, he ambled onto stage about an hour into the show, after “Funkentelechy” and “Bop Gun” and still tore the roof off the sucker.

After all, he invented this music — the long, freeform, improvisational funk/rock/blues/whatEVuh party jam that never quite stops. P-Funk went for three hours last night, and that was taking it easy; the Boston show last week went for four. At one point I counted four guitarists, two drummers, two bassists, two keyboards, about six chick singers (although they kept changing), four or five soloists of various genres — rappers, R&B, a Tina Turner clone — along with a horn section and the dancing-pimp guy, Carlos McMurray, and some people from the audience. Clinton doesn’t really sing, and doesn’t play any instruments; he just ambles around the stage like a psychedelic Santa Claus, directing the band and asking for applause and being his funktastic self. The show concluded with a bassist’s father, a skinny old white guy from Flint, singing a hillbilly a capella version of “A Change is Gonna Come.” And it felt entirely in keeping with the spirit of the evening.

The crowd was just as amusing. The woman standing next to me for much of the evening was either a stripper, or just looked like one — D-cup implants, rhinestone grillz, just your average Detroit girl. A woman in front looked like a grandmother, gray hair in a comfy tracksuit. The guys behind us were smoking dope with a vengeance (“Does this offend you in any way?” one politely asked Alan) through much of the “I Got a Thang” singalong.

(The stripper is writing on her blog right now: “Since when did they start letting all these soccer moms in?”)

The rest of the night? Magic. For a while the bouncers had the outside doors open, to cool the place off, I guess. I can only imagine what the neighbors in Royal Oak must have thought

Anyway, this is why I’m late getting started today. I was supercalifunkitastic last night, and my ears are still ringing.

I’m so mellow today I don’t even care who the new attorney general is. Someone do some research and tell me what I need to know.

More links coming later. After I rehydrate with coffee.

OK, one link: They tore down Slumpy on Saturday. Another Detroit tragedy.

OK, one more: George Clinton, interviewed by UBM.

Posted at 10:02 am in Popculch |

14 responses to “Free your mind…”

  1. Linda said on September 17, 2007 at 10:11 am

    George Clinton did a club in Toledo a couple of years ago. The audience had the strangest demographics–about half were people in their 40s and 50s (like me) and half were in their early 20s, no doubt because of Clinton’s influence on young’ns like the Red Hot Chile Peppers and various rappers. He played a three hour set with one of his daughters doing her rap thing, and trolled the audience for marijuana. Toledo had just passed a no-smoking ordinance, but there was smoke everywhere. None from tobacco. A fine evening.

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  2. LA mary said on September 17, 2007 at 10:34 am

    My son and his friend Orlando used my ticket for G. Clinton here at the Greek Theatre. Orlando had just enlisted in the Marines, and we figured we’d give him a good sendoff. The report from the boys included lots of old farts smoking dope, and an amazing stage show.

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  3. ashley said on September 17, 2007 at 10:37 am

    When he plays in New Orleans, he usually doesn’t even go on until about 2:00, and plays til sunrise.

    I’m trying to find out what his current lineup is. Drummers Dennis Chambers and old-Skool Frankie Waddy are amazing

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  4. nancy said on September 17, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Looks like you’re in luck, Ashley.
    October 5 is a Friday, too. Call a sitter now.

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  5. brian stouder said on September 17, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Well, I learned something today. Bejewelled dentures? Who knew? I had to read the link twice before I figured out this wasn’t a bracelet.

    But then, reading these semi-incoherent specifications – would you place the thing in your mouth and leave it there for half a day? (if this is a bad translation – then the question arises – is this Chinese bling?)

    1.Semi precious metal material.
    2.The superior plating of nickel free RH.IPG which doesn’t harm your body.
    3.The differents with are company is that are grillz has been tested an is very safe and convenience for your use.
    4.The fixing bar can use many times which makes easily to put it and out.
    5.It’s a FDA confirmation products that’s why adhesive is not harm for body.
    (code 175.300 TiTle 21(21CFR175.300)it’s possible to use with metal safely.It provides capacity for protecting food between material, and also using the products safely that never happened other chemical material)

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  6. nancy said on September 17, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Another fascinating detail, Brian: At one point stripper-girl took out her lip gloss to re-shine her mouth, because of course if you have glittering teeth, you don’t want to leave your lips out. And her lip gloss had a built-in LED-type light, apparently for application in low-light areas. I’ve never seen that before. Another product I didn’t know I needed.

    And yes, the combination of Chinglish and hip-hop slang is pretty amusing. The urban dictionary defines grillz here.

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  7. john c said on September 17, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    I still enjoy the occasional rock show (a term that’s about as old as me, I know. But I still love it) and have found there are two kinds of old guys/gals at shows like these: those desperately clinging to youth or trying to impress their kids … and the rest of us. We go in more or less normal (in other words, lame) clothes. We don’t crash the stage. We enjoy the people watching. We maybe even leave a little early, depending on who we’ve found to babysit. Oh yeah, and we actually know all the songs.

    p.s. – Since this is a music-related post … has anyone noticed the music bed on a new American Express ad? I heard it a week or so ago and it sparked a memory. I knew it but didn’t know it. It was on the tip of my tongue. Then I smiled. The lyrics: “Stop wasting my time/You know what I want/ Or maybe you don’t/ Do I have to come right flat out and tell you everything? Give me some moneeee.”
    Yes, Spinal Tap has it’s first commerical endorsement!

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  8. brian stouder said on September 17, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    And her lip gloss had a built-in LED-type light, apparently for application in low-light areas.

    Women always have the neatest little gizmos, it seems. Recently I noticed Pam’s cell phone was simply laying on the console between the front seats of her van – and we had been travelling for some period of time. She had some sort of pad which adheres to the console, and to which the phone adhered. But you could pick it right up, and it didn’t have any ‘sticky’ on it. (Gotta love the scene in North by Northwest where Cary Grant is puzzling over the pretty blonde’s mini-mini safety razor, aboard the train…and then later, when he shaves with it in front of other men in the bathroom at Chicago’s Union Station)

    I bet she’d like the lit lip-gloss applicator…although, paraphrasing the tree-in-the-silent-forrest, it raises the question: do glossy lips glimmer if there is not enough light to apply the stuff?

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  9. colleen said on September 17, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    I’ve never been unable to find my lips for reapplying said gloss. Never knew I needed a mirror, let alone a light.

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  10. 4dbirds said on September 17, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Ashley, ditto on Dennis Chambers. My son worships at his feet. A working drummer himself, he’s taken lessons with Dennis and has a snare personally signed by him.

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  11. nancy said on September 17, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Yes, Colleen, I suppose no one’s ever told you your behind-the-back nickname in the FW media salon is Ol’ Chicken Lips.

    I’ve always flown blind with lipstick. Since I never wear colors that would look unusual striped across my face, it doesn’t seem to matter.

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  12. Jolene said on September 17, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    My Lord, Nanc. You know how to find some wicked web sites. Those grillz are somethin’ else.

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  13. Danny said on September 17, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Most of you are probably not fans of Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, but Robert Jordan (James Oliver Rgney) died today. Rest in peace James.

    I’ve been reading his Wheel of Time Series (eleven books thus far) for over ten years and they were very fun. A very pleasant distraction.

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  14. Ricardo said on September 23, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    I saw Clinton with the Parlaments in 1967 in the Lincoln Park (MI) High School auditorium, a little smaller than the HOB. A student group organized the concert which also featured the Soul Brothers Six (“Some Kind of Wonderful”) and some of the Funk Brothers as a backup group to the other acts. The Parlaments played their two hits from that time.

    The music you could see back then for a couple of dollars.

    Too bad they don’t play the whole song for some of the oldies used on commercials. Today I kept hearing …If you want it, here it is, come and get it… from the Badfinger song also used in The Magic Christian, now in a car commercial. My brain fast forwarded to the line in the song: …Will you walk away from a fool and his money?… HONEY…

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