The Last Word: George Clinton on Alien Encounters, Trump’s Lack of Funk
The Parliament-Funkadelic legend also discusses the perils of LSD, the death of doo-wop and how to find great musicians
By Brian Hiatt
Mark Summers for Rolling Stone
Parliament-Funkadelic founder George Clinton is an irreplaceable walking museum of American musical history, with a career that began in Fifties doo-wop (the Parliaments were originally a Newark, N.J., singing group), and continues all the way to Kendrick-era hip-hop and beyond. Clinton put out an excellent, memorably titled memoir, Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?, in 2014, and he suggests he’s already done enough additional living for another book – though he’s more focused on an upcoming documentary and a new album. He called in for a characteristically amusing and enlightening Last Word interview while on the road for his latest tour, which is set to run through April.
Who are the funkiest people who ever lived?
When I’m just tryna funk, it’s gonna be the Staple Singers, man – Pop Staples. And Ray Charles. Ray could take “Eleanor Rigby” and make that funky. He ends up doing that to anything – to me, that’s raw funk. And then [Motown session bassist] James Jamerson – that is a musician.
And who is the least funky person alive?
Oh, my God! [Laughs] Probably Trump. Can’t be no funk in the Trump! [Pauses] He ain’t gonna like that.