CULTURE

Up-front and effervescent

Not long after the end of the Vietnam war, when rock and soul were the dominant styles, a talented black artist filled the gap with a new sound that was coined funk. George Clinton, now 67, influenced an entire generation of musicians, including a big part of the hip-hop world. Clinton will perform his first ever Greek show tomorrow. Considering the man’s long-spanning career, which has led to over 50 albums, a career-spanning performance is next to impossible. But fans should definitely get a good dose of Clinton’s authentic, scintillating and rhythmic funk. Just days ahead of his Athens performance, Clinton spoke to Kathimerini about his extensive past and the present. Clinton has been active in music since the age of 15. He abandoned a job as a hairdresser in the early 60s to focus on music. His songwriting talent was soon recognized by Motown Records, and Clinton began writing songs for various top-selling acts signed to the label, including Jackson 5 and the Supremes. At the same time, Clinton, influenced by the doo-wop band Frankie & The Teenagers, formed Parliament. «We felt the need to discover absolute freedom through music. The music jumped out from inside us and liberated us. That’s the beauty of funk. It allows you to fuse whatever you like. And because I don’t underestimate luck, I think it played a great role because we got together at the right time,» Clinton recalled. «There was both the space and the need for this sort of thing,» he continued. Parliament disbanded in the late 60s and swiftly remerged as Funkadelic. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and Sly and The Family Stone, Clinton and his new group delivered a raw and primitive funk that was infused with psychedelic rock and R&B. Funkadelic put out three emblematic albums, a self-titled release, «Free Your Mind… And Your Ass Will Follow» and «Maggot Brain.» A modern sound was born. «I’ll never forget our live shows from that period,» said Clinton. «The people and us were united by an unbelievable energy. I’ve sought this joy throughout my whole life, and music is the only thing that can produce it for me.» In 1981, Clinton decided to pursue a solo career. He released albums and collaborated with various musicians and groups, including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, who approached Clinton for the production work on their «Freaky Styley» album, which sold about half a million units. Clinton proved a major influence in rap music. Star acts such as Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg have frequently nibbled at Clinton’s work, lifting samples for their own material. «Music musn’t remain stagnant, but should carry on and develop continuously,» Clinton noted. For his upcoming Athens performance, Clinton will be backed by his P-Funk All Stars, a 20-member group that includes rappers, dancers, as well as members of his old band. A good part of Clinton’s course will be presented over a three-hour show with the 67-year-old performer up-front and effervescent, despite his advancing years. «Funk always makes me feel young,» Clinton explained, when asked about his lasting energy. Tomorrow, Vrachon Theater, Vyronas. 8 p.m. Tickets: 37 euros (advance purchases) and 40 euros at the gate.