George Clinton brings P-Funk to Packard
George Clinton is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Parliament-Funkadelic mother ship — his most famous prop (outside of the multi-colored braids he wore for decades) — is on permanent display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
That doesn’t mean Clinton has retired, at least not quite yet.
Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic comes to Packard Music Hall on Saturday as part of what is being billed as a farewell tour. Clinton, 77, says he’ll stop touring in 2019 after 60 years on the road.
He’s got some new music to share on this tour. Clinton has released 10 albums (and many live sets) under his own name, but “Medicaid Fraud Dogg,” released in May, is the first album under the name Parliament in 38 years.
Clinton, who has a reputation for knowing a thing or two about pharmaceuticals, takes on the evils of Big Pharma on several tracks, but the 23-song set also features the usual mix of sex, social consciousness and beats that listeners have come to expect.
Around 200 musicians have played in one configuration or another of Parliament, Funkadelic, P-Funk, etc. over the decades, from legends like Bootsy Collins, Eddie Hazel and Bernie Worrell to young discoveries.
Clinton told Forbes magazine in May, “Individually I’ve had a bunch of superstars and I’ve got superstars that are brand new I’ve been working with for the last three years as we activated the whole thing, Parliament and Funkadelic for today’s world. So I’m basically just being what I’ve been to other artists, inspiration. Over half of them are my grandkids and my kids, so the rest of them have been in the band forever, the musicians. So that merger is working so good that they can do it now.”
Expect a crew of at least 15 players, singers and rappers on stage Saturday. Based on setlists from other tour dates available online, a few songs from “Medicaid Fraud Dogg” are being played, but the set is dominated by such familiar grooves as “Atomic Dog,” “Maggot Brain,” “Flash Light” “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker),” “(Not Just) Knee Deep” and “One Nation Under a Groove.”
He still espouses the philosophy “Free your mind and your a– will follow,” and Clinton told Rolling Stone earlier this year that his thoughts about that credo have changed over the years.
“I think I was just saying it as a stream of consciousness, you know?,” Clinton said. “But as I get older, I see it as the same thing as “Let go and use the Force, Luke.” If your head ain’t right, everything you try to fix is going to be messed up, ’cause your brain is what you need to fix it.”