Books

Where’d You Get That Funk From?

George Clinton, Black Power, and the Story of P-Funk

by Lloyd Bradley

About The Book

The first in-depth biography of this hugely influential musician most famous for his creation of infectious funk

Where’d You Get That Funk From? goes beyond the wigs and the boots and through a series of in-depth interviews and sharp cultural analyses that put George Clinton in his proper context. That is, as a radical part of black America’s turbulent 1960s; as being as musically representative of Detroit as Motown; as leading the first soul group to employ circus hands among their roadies; as being able to pull together music as diverse as that of Bach, the Beatles, James Brown, Frank Zappa, the Moonglows, and the Supremes to create P-Funk, which became a cornerstone of West Coast hip-hop.

Clinton’s principal groups, Parliament and Funkadelic, were two of the most dynamic and successful American bands of the “70s, but their wild shows and badass party sounds represented just one facet of their remarkable leader’s talent. Seminal songs such as “Atomic Dog,” “Flashlight,” “Up for the Down Stroke,” “Give Up the Funk,” and “Bop Gun” became the basis of countless hip-hop hits throughout the next two decades.

Lloyd Bradley’s perceptive and fascinating portrait has been enhanced by his close relationship to Clinton, and the book is peppered with extensive interviews. The significance and singularity of this extraordinary man is superbly reflected in this definitive study.

Excerpt

When asked to think of a black act in that particular place at that particular time, Parliament and Funkadelic were not perhaps the most immediate names to come to mind. But take the term ‘soul music” to mean exactly that–music of the soul–then scratch below the surface to find the soul of Detroit and musically, sartorially, intellectually, and attitudinally the first five years of P-funk was undistilled Detroit. This half decade and the one that led up to it are a cultural paradox of true Motor City contrariness.

Parliament/Funkadelic couldn’t have happened anywhere else in the world or in any other era. Underground Detroit did so much to shape George Clinton’s way of doing things that he couldn’t have been further removed from the city’s more obvious soul-singing
associations–those involving the Miracles, the Velvelettes, and “Little” Stevie Wonder. Yet, if it weren’t for this conventionally presentable end of Detroit’s black-music scene the Funk Mob wouldn’t even have been there to take full advantage of the area’s popularity.

Praise for This is Reggae Music

“A celebration of a music and a culture from the grass roots up . . . written with passion, style, and gusto.” –The Independent on Sunday

“An expansive, impassioned history of reggae . . . An exciting and thorough sense of reggae’s originality and perseverance in the face of crooked businessmen, thuggish interlopers, and general apathy from the Jamaican establishment. This will be the standard reference on the subject.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With flair, skill, passion and stamina, Bradley fluidly traces Jamaican music’s odyssey from the pure energy of 1950s Kingston’s open-air sound system scene to the eruption of homegrown ska. . . . Insider-expert revelations will delight reggae’s many devotees.” –Publishers Weekly

“In a witty and engaging manner, [Bradley] traces the development of the genre from mento to sound- system dances, ska, rock steady, reggae, dub, toasting (the precursor to American rap), and many other offshoots.” –Library Journal (starred review)

“A genuine keeper among reggae books.” –Booklist

“In Lloyd Bradley’s long-awaited history, the ghettos and the ganja are explored alongside
independence and international relations to produce a definitive account. . . . [An] informed analysis and intoxicating aural history.” –GQ (London)