Happy Birthday Maggot Overlord

Sunday July 22nd, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Happy birthday today to George ‘Dr. Funkenstein’ Clinton. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been a big fan of his music since I was in junior high school, and that’s a long time ago now. For reasons that still tend to baffle me, I have always found myself drawn to the product he puts out.

I have serious doubt that as a Caucasian teenager from Milwaukee I was his target market then, but I was immediately hooked on the funk when I heard it on the radio and I still love it all these years later. You can keep your Led Zeppelins and your Springsteens. Make my funk the P-Funk.

Most of my white friends growing up thought I was crazy, and my grandparents thought I was possessed by Beelzebub himself. I also loved James Brown and Sly Stone and there was nothing I could do about it. When it came on the radio, I knew I loved it. Who can choose personal taste?

I first loved the music of Parliament, but later grew to love their alter ego Funkadelic. They are the same core of musicians, but had two record deals under two names. George was the leader of all of it, and also known as ‘Maggot Overlord’ – which believe it or not is a complimentary term.

There really is no logical reason I should be attracted to any of this, and it’s not just because of the white/black thing. George and most of the band have never denied their affinity for partaking in recreational substances, and many of their fans have said the music takes on a whole new level when heard while high. I’ve never taken a drug stronger than aspirin in my life, but I still love it.

I also love the amazing showmanship of the band, and that’s definitely something George has a flair for. I must have seen him live around fifty times now, and it’s always a visual treat that only adds to the power of the music which I already love. If I had to pick just one music act of all time as my favorite, it would be Parliament/Funkadelic in their prime. Nobody else even comes close.

James Brown and Sly Stone were great in their own right, but George’s charisma is what draws me in. When he walks out on stage there’s just a magnetism that is undeniable. Jerry Garcia had that with Grateful Dead fans, but I don’t find their music entertaining. If I drop acid I may like it.

I don’t fault any fans of any music or anything else. I’m a fan of being a fan, and it’s one of the cool things about the human experience. Entertainment allows one to get lost and forget about all one’s troubles for at least a little while, and I’m all for that. For me, it’s always been via P-Funk.

As I have come through the show business meat grinder as an entertainer myself, I’ve grown to become an even bigger fan of George’s as I see how difficult all the off stage politics can be. It’s a mean vicious game, but George manipulated not one but two big name acts through that course not to mention several other offshoots. That wasn’t easy, but he’s hung in there and still does it.

Getting to meet George in person a few years ago was one of the highlights of my life. He was a down to earth guy and we hit it off immediately. I feel a creative kinship with him for whatever reason, and I’ll always be a fan. I can only hope to attract fans that enjoy what I do half as much.

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