Interview with George Clinton

Interview with George Clinton

Do you feel that you are a different performer when you do a show for a cause like this?

Yeah, I am. First off this is not my band, just some friends of mine. We put this together here, got familiar with it and had a good time. We are a jam band. I do shows like this but the cause is so important tonight. Everyone enjoys the music, but the cause makes it all more receptive.

Darfur’s tragedy is in the news all the time, yet it continues. What can an average music-listener do to affect that situation?

Become educated on the matter. Most people don’t know what’s going on. You’re not gonna get it on the news because this is not something profitable for the powers that be. So we have to shine the light on all these injustice.

Music is a well-known healer. Do you feel that speaking through music you can reach more people?

We are not preaching it, we’re not banging it. Just this is the cause and we are here to let you take a look for yourself.

Most urban music of today reflects non-political and non-world issues. Do you feel that there is a problem with the music or is it normal?

I think it’s not just in entertainment. But see Hip Hop is the music from the hood. It’s justifiable social music. But [a lot of it] does not pick up on that. They pick up on partying or sounding violent. We use to call ‘playing the desert’ when I was growing up. we would pretend that we are talking about each other, make them feel bad, without getting mad. Object is, the one who get mad first is the looser. If you wanna fight, you loose. So its actually a practice that taught us not to fight. You have to get used to that. Noone means what they are saying. You just have to watch out for the people on the side, like media. We called it the peanut gallery. That’s what the music of today is missing. A lot of people are thinking that people are cursing and it’s a bad thing. We are actually making the words bad. We use it so much that they loose the power to hurt you. so the words are not bad no more. Most people need to get past that. There’s no politics in that. Then we won’t have to fight so much.

How often does Funk music speak about the problems in our society?

If you don’t like the effect don’t produce the cause. It says a lot. Free your mind the head will follow. One nation under groove. They are like one-liners, cause people rebel against things but none of us know the answer. If you get mad at what you see you become just as bad as the problem you are trying to solve. We have to pay attention early. You wait too long, then you get mad for real and anyone can push you into anything. We went into this war and it had nothing to do with 9/11. So we just [contributed] to their cause. That’s what they wanted. Somebody does something to you and you go blow them up. all of us thought we were punishing somebody but we didn’t even know who that somebody is. The whole country killed the leader. We look at it and now we realize they were all a crazy bunch of guys. Now we act like we didn’t know. [Funk music] says it, but it says it as in think for yourself. They make sure that teachers are the lowest paid and they make sure people dislike teaching, but these are the ones who teach our kids. As long as we keep doing that we are never gonna get minds that are worth anything. How are we gonna raise good kids and be role models? We don’t even have the answers ourselves. First we gotta pay the teachers more, then we can get different kids.

There’ve not been a lot of well-known new acts on the scene funk music. Is this genre having problems or is it expected not to see much commercial success with it?

Hip Hop is funk. Funk is the DNA for Hip Hop. It’s a different name but the same basic DNA. It may evolve to more sophisticated music like jazz or whatnot but it’s still the same thing. It’s just another version. Just how Rock-n-Roll evolved. It should be noise but it’s made into music. Feedback was noise, now its church music. Scratching on records was noise, till Hip Hop made it what it is now.

You started a label yourself. How is it going?

It’s going good. It’s the biggest thing happening. But radio does not see it that way. Hip Hop is the biggest thing going, so street music is the biggest music. Biggest music is always underground music that has fans and don’t need to be on radio.

Where in this country do you enjoy performing more (Florida, NY, in the south)?

Anywhere. Colleges no matter where. They all have the greatest potential from the audience. When you get that, it’s like, wow.