Thursday, February 7, 2013

Talking Pictures


P-Funk, Flashlight

One of the ultimate funk tunes, from the craziest band of all time. Videos don't nearly do this band justice, as it's hard to fathom just how wild it would to be at one of these shows back in their heyday. An insane stage show literally presented as if from another world, making little logical sense, something straight out of the unconscious. It certainly helped that the band and audience were fueled by freely flowing chemicals in those days, a mix of psychedelics, uppers, downers, whatevers. I managed to see P-Funk once, around 2000. Certainly past their prime, but a great show. At one point I think I counted 27 people on stage, playing, singing, dancing, just getting weird. And the musicianship cannot be downplayed. Many notable musicians spent time among the P-Funk ranks, including Eddie Hazel, Bootsy Collins, and Bernie Worrell among others. That is possibly what made the band so exceptional: amid all the chaos and surrealism, they would lay down some of the greatest music ever heard. At the show I was at, a flutist and guy on a double-necked acoustic guitar jammed out the intro to Stairway to Heaven. It was breathtaking. At another point in the show they had five guitar players driving a monster riff, ala the Beatles' I Want You (She's So Heavy). 

I believe in Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, in what is otherwise a great book, he mentions something along the lines that black people didn't like to eat acid because they were too concerned about losing their "cool." Thank Owsley that George Clinton and crew weren't concerned about that, as their simply is nothing in the cosmos cooler than these freaks tripping out and getting down. Get weird!