Memo to the presidential candidates: Funk legend George Clinton is the man you want in your corner
Scan the celebrity support of our presidential hopefuls, and it becomes glaringly obvious that none seems to be attracting the funk endorsement. Sure, John McCain has Sly Stallone's backing, but coaxing Sly Stone out of seclusion would be way more of a coup. Mitt Romney has Donny & Marie Mormonic support, but he's compounding that random act of whiteness with his frighteningly insincere references to "Who Let the Dogs Out" and "bling."
Not even "Sir Nose D'VoidofFunk," whose proboscis grows from faking funk, could be expected to stump for Mitt Romney. Barack Obama has secured champion samplers like Jay-Z and Kanye West, but not the champion samplee. Ditto for Hillary Clinton, who has gotten kind words from 50 Cent and Timbaland but hasn't done anything to attract her namesake to the cause. George Clinton (no relation) has the potential of bringing with him more loyal sidemen to the party than, say, Tony Bennett, who's had the same goddamned piano player for more than 40 years.
Clinton's cross-generational appeal begins with the '50s doo-wop styling of his first band, the Parliaments, which later expanded into psychedelic soul-stirring in 1967 with the R&B classic "I Wanna Testify." Even better was its criminally obscure follow-up "All Your Goodies Are Gone," which made liberal use of Hertz Rent A Car's slogan of the day with its refrain, "Let hurt put you in the loser's seat." Clinton's base grew to include a '70s funk constituency when he recorded for one label as Funkadelic and another label as Parliament — simultaneously! Even the hardest-working man in showbiz, James Brown, never pulled that off. And Clinton did it with many of Brown's former players, like Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins.
While Funkadelic was stripped-down and dirty, Parliament was tarted-up and dirty. Never before had a band worn so little clothing (and so much of it Mylar) as Parliament, who out-glittered glitter with a succession of oddball conceptual albums like Mothership Connection, Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome, The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, and Gloryhallastoopid. Going solo in the '80s, Clinton won over the MTV generation with "Atomic Dog" and his work on Prince's Paisley Park label. In 2005, after a 10-year absence in the studio, he released a new album, which reunited him with the original Parliaments, as well as many of the P-Funk All Stars. He's kept one nation under a groove for more than 40 years. And he's the only soul survivor who can conceivably get our groove back. George Clinton. Strong on funk. Easy on the splank.
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