By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Every dream and nightmare you've ever had owes a debt to George Clinton and P-Funk. The cosmic warrior and his surfeit of Parliament/Funkadelic moondust buddies essentially invented a brand new genre, one that also shook its shaker into rap, jazz, R&B and whatever damned category the Red Hot Chili Peppers belong to.
But first: the Parliaments were quite literally a barber shop quintet that grew from the era when George "Yarn Dreads" Clinton did hair in New Jersey. They had some success in the world of doo-wop, but eventually dissolved like fairy dust into the world of P-Funk. "Parliament" and "Funkadelic" are essentially the same busload of musicians, a mass of squirming mitochondria in a juicy funk cell. Since those early days, they've put out a mass of records, most of which provided songs and samples that are part of the inner core of the modern music canon.
George Clinton et al have never been hemmed in by any stripe of limitation—musical, aesthetic or otherwise. As much political in earthly matters as they are purveyors of interplanetary sounds, their concept albums (and concept concepts) are littered with multiple points of interest, from savvy racial commentary to druggy sex beats to outlandish, inspiring sonic direction.
Much like the jazz heads who attend Arkestra shows long after Sun Ra met his maker, P-Funk fans are happy to indulge the current live incarnation of the long-term freakstitution. Free your mind! You know the rest.