The rhythm of family has been a constant thread throughout P-Funk’s long lineage and the myriad iterations the band has undergone in its 50-plus years. From The Parliaments to Funkadelic to Parliament Funkadelic to the P-Funk All Stars, George Clinton has conducted the mothership as a reliable father figure. When he commands you to “put a glide in your stride and a dip in your hip, and come on up to the Mothership,” he’s presenting to you the first law of Funktonian physics. We at NPR pledged our groovellegiance when he and his P-Funk All Stars touched down to bless the Tiny Desk.
Clinton has brought his own bloodline into the most recent lineup of P-Funk: His grandchildren are the newest backup singers, while another grandchild serves as tour manager. Though this was a much smaller outfit than their traditional stage shows — no horn section, no dancers, no Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk — the extended family was also in full effect. Garrett Shider on rhythm guitar, filling in for his late father, Garry Shider, aka Starchild. Even original trumpeter Bennie Cowan, who still tours with the group but didn’t make it to the Tiny Desk, typically plays alongside his son Benzel on drums. Blackbyrd McKnight and Lige Curry cement the foundation as elder statesmen who’ve been rocking with Clinton since 1978.
Indeed, the funk father refuses to let the musicianship slip — the band was as sonically tight as ever, blessing us with a canonical three-song set list of classic jams. P-Funk’s influence shaped ‘90s hip-hop and culture immeasurably; without Clinton, we’d have no NWA, no G-funk, no Tupac, no EPMD, no Ice Cube… and, of course, no one’s forgotten about Dre. Clinton and P-Funk brought world class funksmanship, and it was our pleasure to air the room out and squeegee the floors after soaking up their cosmic slop.
“Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On”
“One Nation Under A Groove”
“Give up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)”
George Clinton (lead vocals), Dwayne Blackbyrd McKnight (guitar), Lige Curry (bass), Garrett Shider (guitar), Danny Bedrosian (keyboard), Benzel Cowan (drums), Tonysha Nelson (backup vocals), Patavian Lewis (backup vocals), Tairee Parks (backup vocals)
Producers: Abby O’Neill, Niki Walker, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Beck Harlan, Bronson Arcuri, Alyse Young; Production Assistant: Salvatore Maicki; Photo: Christina Ascani/NPR
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