Have I mentioned lately that I love George Clinton? The man who will be headlining at the Wilderness Festival this weekend (where I will be speaking on Sunday). I have worshipped him for decades. Funk music is a singular form of auditory magic. And he is a magician of the highest order.

mothership-landing

I mean, how many people can boast such a cluster of words as the opening paragraph of a Wikipedia entry about their work?

The P Funk Mothership, otherwise known as The Holy Mothership is the arcane space vehicle of Dr. Funkenstein aka George Clinton and his agents of Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication. An integral part of the P Funk mythology, the Mothership existed both conceptually as a fictional vehicle of funk deliverance, and as a physical prop central to P Funk concerts. Powered by unknown means, presumably The Funk and simple stagecraft, the Mothership appeared over the Planet Earth many times during the second half of the Twentieth century, and was even seen to physically land at a number of live music venues in the United States during the 1970s in order to disgorge its Funk to the people.

Superb.

Unfortunately, most people think his music was just about getting high and wearing silly clothes, and the Mothership purely a vehicle for flashing lights and smoke machines. It was not.

Clinton, on the expanding rights and social standing of black people in the 70s: “We had put black people in situations nobody ever thought they would be in, like the White House. I figured another place you wouldn’t think black people would be was in outer space.”

A giant glittering spaceship as an explosive, in-your-face metaphor for civil rights expansion. Sublime.

This BBC Doc, from about 23:00 gets right to the heart of the matter.

“They got their advance, the other band members were like, ‘hey, let’s go and buy cadillacs!’ and George was like, ‘naw – let’s take our money and invest it in the spaceship.”

Some musicians spend their money on giant cars, spinning hub caps and diamond teeth. Others convince their bandmates to spend the cash on a giant, touring spaceship to represent empowerment for the disenfranchised.

How. Cool. Can. You. Get.

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