Big time name dropping #11 / Vintage tube guitar amp

By the early nineties MJF technical staff was still pretty much a bunch of hippies trying to figure out what had happened since 1971 and the least we could say is that not many were concerned with timings. This was on one of these occasions, about 09h30 in the morning that I got to witness the Parliament/George Clinton/Funkadelic party for real. What a feat! Where Miles dedicated his entire career and understanding of music to doing incredible amazing shows, George Clinton dedicated equal energy and talent at doing incredible party. Not parties, party. The party. The one that has been going on since forever and still is going I am sure. I have seen their show late a morning around 1992 and at least five years later in Montreux again, in Stravinsky Hall this time and now I am still not convinced at all that the music or the party or whatever you want to call that even stopped in between. To me it is as if the party landed, the party played, the party took off, then landed again sometimes later and played again, without ever stopping the fun, without even worrying about sleep or food or else. I have observed scientifically this phenomenon for some time now and my understanding is, consciously or spontaneously or both, they do play shows, eat, sleep, drink, party, have sex and relax, all at the same time, and all in their own time. Since the party on stage or anywhere else can rely on at least 3 or 4 awaken dudes at any moment, there is no real incentive to stop for resting or relaxing or for any other sort of humanly needs. So I believe the Funkadelic party keeps on going and will always, forever.
Prince I am sure was like me seriously amazed by that very same observation and he sincerely honestly tried to put that together with Paisley Park. He gave all his heart in the project and 100% of his energy and time, but however hard he tried to be George Clinton, the position was already taken. Period. Besides, Prince had too much going for him, too much inspiration, talent, ideas, suffering, failures, to merely act like an MC and have a good time, however high profile and inspired George Clinton MC is. Prince had to suffer. Or as Russel Brand hilariously puts it in the Rock of Ages movie with his lost in California hilarious englishman accent: “suffering is wasted on me because I have no talent, but you have to suffer cause you’re great”.
So if he really wanted to become some sort model size George Clinton, Prince made some mistakes: he was too good, too talented, too involved, too serious about his music with too many girls around in his team. He also probably used the wrong sort of drug too. With that many girls around and all those rules about never ending rehearsals and fines for wrong notes, you probably end up with beautiful music, top selling albums and shows and great concerts, all things sort of missing from George Clinton’s career, but it definitely is not the recipe for a great party based on sex and drugs and funk. If only because girls are pretty happy to go on for a while with the stupid bits, but then they decide time is up and party is over. So inevitably a moment arrives when you have to stop chatting up chicks from the crowd or stuffing more stuff up your nose or stop playing that never ending guitar solo, if only because inevitably time comes for girls to do pretty normal things ladies like to do every now and then, like shower, or dine, or sleep…
I made some mistakes too, because I was too serious about my music or committed to long lasting relationships, but it puts some perspective to your own career when watching the George Clinton party unfold in front of your very eyes from backstage, complete with half naked bass player picking up girls in the front row AND going back to the dressing room with her in the middle of a song, 20 minutes guitar or drum solos and shows starting very late at night, finishing even later in the morning. George isn’t phased by any of this, nor is he tired or hungry at all, all the while keeping a very large “I love what I do” smile on his face, smile he also probably has when he is up himself in the dressing room in the middle of a show, but this is only me guessing…
I have seen the Prince party from backstage too, it was wild, it lasted late in the night, there was incredibly
great music going, there were girls on stage, but there was a little something more, dedication, talent, seriousness, tightness, willingness to do well and a little something missing too: utter letting go. A sort of cleanness and professionalism that did not click well with the wild never ending party concept. And it ended earlier too. My own two cents Roger Nelson: wherever in the sky you now are: smashing to the ground a vintage Twin Reverb tube guitar amp from the festival inventory on your way out of the Cave stage at 4am, while doing a bit for the attitude, doesn’t do much for the letting go thing. So be careful with the heavenly guitar amps from now on, even if they belong to the local venue up there…

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