Taken from San Diego Reader (June 22, 2016)
George Clinton on the logistics of funk and the fight to get paid
One bootie ain't enough
by Donovan Roche
Like Prince did, Clinton is fighting to reclaim the rights to his music and get paid as one of the most sampled artists of all time.
Funk music pioneer George Clinton, who is bringing his 22-piece Parliament-Funkadelic band back to the Belly Up on June 23, says the small Solana Beach club is often considered a yardstick for other venues. “We’ve been playing the Belly Up forever,” he says. “It’s one of the examples we always use — if we can get all of us on the Belly Up stage, we can get on any stage!”
Clinton and company are touring through September in support of Funkadelic’s latest release, the 33-song First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate. Following their local sold-out show, the group is traveling to Europe and a well-timed stop in Holland on the band leader’s 75th birthday. “I’ll be in Amsterdam, probably partaking,” Clinton quips.
In 2014, Clinton released his memoir, Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You? which revealed details of his drug-fueled life partying with the likes of Sly Stone. More importantly, the 416-page tome addressed his hard-fought battle to reclaim the rights to his music and get paid as one of the most sampled artists of all time. “They’re pushing back on me harder than anybody,” Clinton says by phone after a performance in Illinois. “We have more songs out there than anybody, and I don’t get one penny from any of the streams of royalties.”
It’s not coincidental that this sounds similar to the war Prince waged against Warner Bros. Records for many years prior to his sudden death in April. “I’m the one who told him all the stuff that I was doing,” Clinton says. “He just added more energy to it and did it so much better. He did everything that I should have done. He did it perfectly and got his masters back.”
Unfortunately, for Clinton the fight continues. He created a website (flashlight2013.com) a few years ago to serve as a public forum, and he is now finishing up a documentary that will carry the same name as his book and make its debut by the end of the year. “I’m doing a documentary so people can see clearly what’s going on,” he says. “The story’s gonna get told.”
First, however, there is the Belly Up gig, which promises to be a marathon of funky hits aimed at keeping people on the dance floor. “We want everybody to break their booties,” he says. “One bootie ain’t enough!”