If the script calls for a whole lotta serious funkin', it's a fair bet that BOOTSY COLLINS - the Jimi Hendrix of the space bass a.k.a. the Funky Funkateer, Bootron, Caspar, Boo-Man- Choo, Fuzz Face and, of course, Bootzilla is pumping the low end somewhere in the vicinity.

Words: Lawrie Thomas

Listen up people. the P funk legacy is blowing up every where from Prince to the chilled sounds of West Coast hip hop. With his comic book persona. his trademark star-shaped shades and bass. his flamboyant wardrobe and his qtrake-a-matic bass style. Bootsy has been at the heart of the funk. Just look at that pedigree listing tours of dtrty with James Brown. George Clinton. Parliament. lr'unkadelic. 'l‘he P-l-‘trnk All—Star's and. of course. Bootsy"s‘ Rubber band.

l’ast forward to the tail end of 97 and all hail the arri\al of. lr‘n's‘lr ()mm P lx’rrr'r'r'rs'r'tv. Bootsy’s first new studio album in three years. Besides finding Bootsy at his typically knee-deep funkiest. this latest waying sees him returning the compliment countless hip hop artists have paid him ever since they started sampling his tracks. by handing the mike over to a selection of contemporary rap talents including .\lC Lyte. Rodney () and Dru Down.

Growing tip as plain ol‘ William Collins jnr.

Bootsy was plucked from the provincial obsctrrity of

Cincinnati. Ohio by no less a figtrre than the Godfather of soul himself. James Brown. who took the seventeen-year-old Bootsy on the road as a member of his legendary backing band. the .lBs.

‘James treated me more like the son he never

had.‘ recalls Bootsy. sequin clad even in interview. ‘I guess he knew that l was this young brat. l was real cocky and had this thing about doing things the way I

I, at?" :. 1% all :r I if a W


Bootsy Collins: the cat’s in space

wanted to do them. He knew all that and he had this kind of stiff-arm thing going on.‘

Serving a 24 carat apprenticeship under the wing of ‘the hardest working man in show biz‘ paid off. During his time with the Godfather. Bootsy left his mark on such stellar moments as ‘Sex Machine‘. ‘Soul Power" and ‘Get Up. Get Into It. Get Involved. But all good things come to an end and Bootsy cut loose with the rest of the JBs.

The young Bootsy headed for Detroit. the home of

Motown. the record label rtrn by the venerable Berry Gordy. ‘We figured we were looking crazy. we had these crazy outfits and we’d been all over the world. pickin‘ tip these different styles and making them our own.‘ enthuses Bootsy. ‘We thought “Wow. Detroit this is it the motor city. Motown. We'll just walk in and get a deal and it'll be no problem ‘eos Berry Gordy‘s gonna love trs . . We walked into Motown

. and the next thing we knew security came and threw us out of there.‘

As fate had it. they hooked up with George Clinton. Serving at the court of Detroit‘s self-styled Dr Punkastein. Bootsy was instrumental in helping create the whole Par'liament/l‘unkadelic interplanetary monster funk which gave birth to a whole new sound: P Funk. as immortalised on the monumental jams like ‘P Funk Wants To Get Ftlllkc‘tl l'p'. ‘Mothership Connection‘ and ‘()ne Nation l’rrder A Gr'oove‘. Then. as if the whole parliafurrkadelicarnent groove thang wasn‘t more than enough to be going on with. Bootsy came up with another outlet for his talents in the shape of llootsy's Rubber Band.

The original Rubber Band played into the early 80s. before Bootsy started working on projects with the likes of George Clinton. Sly and Robbie. Afrika Bambaataa and Dee-Lite. Then. some three years back. the Rubber Band resurrected and produced two new albums before this latest ftrnk voyage. Fray/r ()mm P (/nir'w'sirv which praise the Lord —- shows little evidence of Bootsy resting easy on his laurels.

As long as the space bass is powering on its unstoppable way. the ftrnk couldn‘t be in safer hands. Respect to the far otrt brother in the crazy star shades. Give up the funk y‘all!

Fresh Outta P University is out now on WEA.

preview MUSIC


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