Funkadelic have created an enduring legacy, and the power of their impact is visceral in Detroit. Their records not only played with genre, but possessed a diabolical sense of humour that led to music domination by the late 70s with Parliament, Funkadelic, Parlet, Bootsy’s Rubber Band and the Brides Of Funkenstein all releasing albums the same year for two years in a row. The music itself is beyond stereotype, but equally huge is that they were a black band not allowing themselves to be limited by anyone else’s notions of who they could be, having a massive impact on the next generation of Detroit music, Detroit Techno. But more than just Techno, it is a freedom of thinking that extends beyond boxes, so we included all sorts of today's generation of Detroit musicians and producers to show the wide range of music that was Funkadelic and how these ideas are still contemporary, they endure and inspire.
We are overwhelmed with how serious the remixers took this project, turning in some of their best work. ‘Sloppy Cosmic’ by Moodymann came about because of this compilation, and that is simply one of the finest odes to the Funkateer generation ever seen, and one of his finest works, here in its purest form. We have people that played in P-Funk in the 80s that eventually had major electronic music careers, such as Amp Fiddler and Underground Resistance. We have the rock band the Dirtbombs contributing their take on the heroin scam rock anthem ‘Super Stupid’. We have a disco edit from the best editor on the planet, Gay Marvine. And all sorts of important players with deep musical insight from the Detroit Techno and House camps. We had jazz hero Faruq Z. Bey working on a new version of ‘Maggot Brain’ but he passed away during the creation of this project. Legendary Detroit producers Theo Parrish, Carl Craig and Wajeed all worked on remixes but felt their mixes just didn’t hold up to Funkadelic's legacy – that is truly a rare kind of respect, and shows you just how much this music still means in Detroit.
The humour of Funkadelic is strange and deep, transforming the crazy environment that was post-revolution Detroit into something you could groove and smile to, like in ‘Loose Booty’, a seemingly straightforward take on Jean Night’s ‘Mr Big Stuff’, with lyrics that seem like a dance but actually reference incontinence from taking heroin – truly a scatological groove. Or in the live video Mothership Connection: Parliament-Funkadelic Live In Houston 1976 where they land the mothership as part of the show, looking like a NASA Apollo mission vehicle on stage. While they perform, other P-Funk members come and steal the tires of the space ship, leaving it on blocks – a hilarious commentary on Detroit’s social situation after the 1967 riots.
Taking inspiration from Sun Ra and Jimi Hendrix and the psychedelic movement that was forged into their very name, Funkadelic effortlessly explored inner and outer space through the cosmic guitar work of Eddie Hazel and the sociopolitical musings of George Clinton, thus laying down much of the groundwork for what would later be identified as Afrofuturism.
Bernie Worrell’s keyboard palate ranged from B3 and Clav to Arps and Moogs, and his studies in accompaniment at Juilliard helped his sounds make the other players shine even brighter. It was in these mid-70s Funkadelic recordings on Westbound where he first got into full swing with his Mini Moog Model D. Later, his Moog bass line for ‘Flashlight’ would change the whole world, but for our purpose it would help spawn Detroit Techno from his very wizardry.
Every member of the band is equally inspiring, from the playing of Bootsy Collins, or the original member Billy Bass Nelson. Or the drums of Tiki Fulwood, or the work of Garry Shider. Or the iconic vocals of Fuzzy Haskins and Grady Thomas, highlighting their doo wop roots. This is a band whose sum was even greater than the parts.
It’s truly hard to name a band that defied societal expectations so strongly, disregarded all stereotypes, yet still made such a major impact on the world. For this very achievement, they constantly inspire people around the globe, but forDetroitthere is a deeper meaning.
– Brendan M Gillen, Interdimensional Transmissions, Detroit, 2017