Godfather of funk, George Clinton, has just announced that he will celebrate 50 years since his first hit-single by playing two surprise anniversary shows in Australia.
Clinton and his band, Parliament Funkadelic (P Funk), will mark The Parliament’s 1967 chart-topping summer single, (I Wanna) Testify, at The Palais Theatre in Melbourne on September 27, and at Max Watts in Sydney on September 28.
The celebratory shows will play ahead of the already scheduled headliner slot at The Caloundra Music Festival on September 29.
The song that kicked off Clinton’s unique soul-funk sound was released by Detroit based Revilot Records and shot straight to # 3 on the Billboard R&B chart.
“It’s pretty exciting for us to be in Australia again, so we decided to bring the Sunshine Coast trip forward and start celebrating 50 years here with two more shows. We wanna make the most of coming all this way!” says the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee whose name sits alongside the other legendary progenitors of funk, James Brown and Sly Stone.
Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic helped to revolutionise R&B during the ’70s by twisting soul music into funk and adding influences from several late ’60s acid heroes: Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Sly Stone. In that decade alone, Clinton worked on at least 37 albums across three studios.
The 76 year old one-time hairdresser was originally inspired by Motown‘s famous assembly line of sound and gradually put together a collective of over 50 musicians – James Brown’s illustrious bass player, William Earl ‘Bootsy’ Collins among them. Recordings were made under both Parliament and Funkadelic titles, monikers that morphed into the P Funk abbreviation used today.
But at their inception the respective bands developed quite different sounds: Funkadelic pursued band-format psychedelic rock; Parliament engaged in a funk free-for-all. The latter included freaky costumes and themes inspired by 60’s psychedelia and science fiction. This included the creation of the iconic stage prop, The Holy Mothership, an arcane space vehicle of Clinton’s alter ego, Dr. Funkenstein.
Parliament’s album Mothership Connection went platinum and the space ship is now housed in The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.
In the 50 years since his debut onto the world stage, Clinton has become one of the most sampled musicians on the planet. His brand boasts alliances with greats such as Tupac, Primal Scream, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dog, Outkast, Wu Tang Clan, Carlos Santana, Redman and more.
In 2014, Clinton and Funkadelic released the 33-track LP First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate. It was their first using a pure Funkadelic title in over three decades. Modern day hip hop legend Kendrick Lamar and rap veteran Ice Cube joined the group for a remix of the single Ain’t That Funkin’ Hard on You?
The two September anniversary shows will reflect Clinton’s talent for moving with the times in addition to the his historic ethos of ‘keeping it in the family’ – the band today includes three generations of Clinton bloodline funk. Fans should also be prepared for Clinton’s infamous 3-hour jam and playlist.
George Clinton and The Parliament Funkadelic – tickets on pre-sale from Monday August 28.
September 27 – The Palais Theatre, Melbourne Ticketmaster
September 28 – Max Watts, Sydney Oztix