Day 16

July 22nd 1941
George Clinton’s Birthday

Free your mind and your ass will follow,
the king­dom of heav­en is within.”
– George Clinton

George Clin­ton: Essen­tial as a stim­u­lus to cur­rent and future psy­che­del­ic artists and for for­ward-think­ing poets and thinkers. George Clin­ton: Essen­tial because the music that he made between 1970 and 1978 remains some of the most spec­tac­u­lar rock’n’roll ever achieved on record and is still nec­es­sary not only to black peo­ple but to a white psy­che­del­ic audi­ence. Clin­ton dared demand of black lis­ten­ers that they open their minds while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly danc­ing more than they had ever danced. He laid claim to everybody’s black ass. He laid claim to ass. He was ever-pre­scrip­tive in his endorse­ment of the med­ical prop­er­ties of funk. He likened it to an eter­nal bot­tle of milk: “Funk gets stronger by the hour. Funk can sit and sit and nev­er go sour.”

Where­as New York’s The Last Poets were intel­lec­tu­als who threw down the gaunt­let to Black Amer­i­ca with titles like ‘Nig­gers are Scared of Rev­o­lu­tion’, Clin­ton was inclu­sive: his was a mul­ti-age group that brought every­body in. The four singers were already in their 30s, where­as Funkadelic’s teen rhythm sec­tion and 17-year-old gui­tarist Eddie Hazel appealed to the Hen­drix ele­ment. The sump­tu­ous­ly out­landish record sleeves – the sleeve notes, the hand-writ­ten lyrics, the overt demands of his metic­u­lous­ly laid-out ideas – were all prog-rock in their exe­cu­tion, allow­ing fans to share that hip­pie dream of reach­ing deep­er into their cul­ture than ever before.

When these first Funkadel­ic releas­es arrived, Clinton’s daz­zling and demand­ing soup of funk, gui­tar-heavy hard rock and sen­sa­tion­al­ly vision­ary lyri­cal con­tent upped the ante like no black artist before or since. He did all of this while man­ag­ing this errant posse of loco lunatics, bring­ing forth month after month, year after year, LPs, sin­gles and tours for which he rarely had the funds. He did all of this with­out fear of the reper­cus­sions or impli­ca­tions to his brain and cre­at­ed for his audi­ence an entire world­view, nay, an inner world, so cohe­sive and care­ful­ly writ­ten that the main sequence of Funkadel­ic LPs could even be argued to have reli­gious sig­nif­i­cance. He was still pay­ing for the Funkadel­ic tours of the late ’70s over twen­ty years lat­er. Clin­ton was unequiv­o­cal­ly saint-like – a fuck­ing vision­ary. What a hero.

Day 16 of the SydArthur Fes­ti­val cel­e­brates the birth of a Super­hero, funk recidi­vist and cul­ture hero: George Clin­ton. Today we explore the lat­ter side of his per­son­al­i­ty, briefly resus­ci­tat­ing the then-floun­der­ing Sly Stone who guests on drums and vocals for this uproar­i­ous dec­la­ra­tion of funk’s unerr­ing right­eous­ness. This 12th album of Funkadel­ic – 1981’s THE ELECTRIC SPANKING OF WAR BABIES – still saw George Clin­ton mul­ti-task­ing like some musi­cal field mar­shal; writ­ing the songs, man­ag­ing his way­ward assem­bly, and still unearthing extra­or­di­nary musi­cal tal­ent seem­ing­ly out of nowhere. This ver­sion of ‘Funk Gets Stronger’ – the sec­ond on this album – sub­sti­tutes the poet­ic illu­sion of the first ver­sion (funky pow­er, funk can sit and sit and nev­er grow sour), replac­ing it here­in with who for many remains the liv­ing embod­i­ment of the suc­cess­ful funk artist: Sly Stone. Rugged, rude­ly achieved, each Funkadel­ic mem­ber here com­mit­ted to reviv­ing, how­ev­er briefly, the once colos­sal Sly Stone. And what a per­for­mance they pull off. George Clin­ton – here the facil­i­ta­tor, the enabler – we at the SydArthur Fes­ti­val send to you a cos­mic love vibra­tion. No one can repay you for the doors you have opened.

Sat Saturday
Sun Sunday
Mon Monday
Tue Tuesday
Wed Wednesday
Thu Thursday
Fri Friday
Day 1: Saturday Jul 7th
Day 2: Sunday Jul 8th
Day 3: Monday Jul 9th
Day 4: Tuesday Jul 10th
Day 5: Wednesday Jul 11th
Day 6: Thursday Jul 12th
Day 7: Friday Jul 13th
Day 8: Saturday Jul 14th
Day 9: Sunday Jul 15th
Day 10: Monday Jul 16th
Day 11: Tuesday Jul 17th
Day 12: Wednesday Jul 18th
Day 13: Thursday Jul 19th
Day 14: Friday Jul 20th
Day 15: Saturday Jul 21st
Day 16: Sunday Jul 22nd
Day 17: Monday Jul 23rd
Day 18: Tuesday Jul 24th
Day 19: Wednesday Jul 25th
Day 20: Thursday Jul 26th
Day 21: Friday Jul 27th
Day 22: Saturday Jul 28th
Day 23: Sunday Jul 29th
Day 24: Monday Jul 30th
Day 25: Tuesday Jul 31st
Day 27: Thursday Aug 2nd
Day 28: Friday Aug 3rd