Nearly twenty-three years after she first landed, the Mothership is hovering once again, preparing to dock on Planet Earth this summer. And George Clinton has his telescope aimed at the skies, his bags waiting by the door and his flight crew reunited for the trip.
Today, the forefather of funk is standing on the verge of getting it on. He’s been waiting for this moment since 1981, when the illustrious Funkadelic disbanded and dissipated into the cosmic afterglow. Now, the venerable cavalcade-sized Funkadelic army is falling into formation for its millennial effort, due out later this year with a companion tour.
“Working with Funkadelic is my favorite because I get a chance to make some real loud noise,” says Clinton, who also fronted the Seventies powerhouse group Parliament before launching a solo career in 1981. “You turn the guitars all the way up when it’s a Funkadelic record.”
At the height of its world domination, Funkadelic claimed more than two dozen rotating musicians. The group’s swan song, 1981’s The Electric Spanking of War Babies, employed nearly seventy contributing singers, percussionists and hangers-on. Though the Mammoth Records legal department is still ironing out contracts for the countless reunited Funkadelics slated to appear on the album (set for release some time this year), Clinton did confirm that bassist extraordinaire Bootsy Collins will be on board.
Also joining Clinton’s commando force will be new schoolers Busta Rhymes, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Q-Tip, Professor X of the X-Clan and Outkast, who recruited Clinton for background vocals on their 1998 album, Aquemini. Clinton says all the rappers — whom he has “just bumped into” over the years — will appear on separate tracks, except ODB and Busta, who will perform together on one Funkadelic tune.
The forthcoming album has no title yet, but Clinton says he’s named at least two songs in typical Funkadelic fashion: “Yank My Doodle (It’s a Dandy)” and “Rhythm and Rhyme,” which was completed with Professor X in San Francisco’s Off Planet studio last week.
“Off and on I’ve been working on this album for years,” Clinton says. “I always cut tunes and put them off to the side, but I’ve been concentrating on it for a year. I have to really tiptoe with this one because it’s going to be on Mammoth Records, which is a Disney label. We’ll be funkin’ with Mickey Mouse and stuff.”
In true Disney style, Funkadelic will host its own “Flight of the Navigator” this summer in the famed extraterrestrial magnetic field of Roswell, New Mexico. “We’re going to be celebrating Independence Day in Roswell this year waiting for the alien Mothership,” he says. “This year they seem to be admitting that the aliens are here, so maybe they’ll tell us what happened this year.”