George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic plus special guests Galactic, Fishbone, Dumpstaphunk & Miss Velvet
Recording both as Parliament and Funkadelic, George Clinton revolutionized R&B during the '70s, twisting soul music into funk by adding influences from several late-'60s acid heroes: Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Sly Stone. The Parliament/Funkadelic machine ruled black music during the '70s, capturing over 40 R&B hit singles (including three number ones) and recording three platinum albums.
Inspired by Motown`s assembly line of sound, George Clinton gradually put together a collective of over 50 musicians and recorded the ensemble during the '70s both as Parliament and Funkadelic. While Funkadelic pursued band-format psychedelic rock, Parliament engaged in a funk free-for-all, blending influences from the godfathers (James Brown and Sly Stone) with freaky costumes and themes inspired by '60s acid culture and science fiction. From its 1970 inception until Clinton's dissolving ofParliament in 1980, Clinton hit the R&B Top Ten several times but truly excelled in two other areas: large-selling, effective album statements and the most dazzling, extravagant live show in the business. In an era when Philly soul continued the slick sounds of establishment-approved R&B, Parliament / Funkadelic scared off more white listeners than it courted. (Ironically, today Clinton's audiences are a cross-cultural mix of music lovers from 8 to 80.)
In reviewing Clinton's illustrious career and success as a producer / writer/ performer, perhaps his greatest achievement stemmed from his relentless dedication to funk as a musical form. Funk as a musical style had been around for what seems like forever, deeply rooted in the music traditions of New Orleans and the Blues of the Deep South. Following the lead - and commercial success - of James Brown and Sly Stone, Clinton took Funk to new heights, blending elements of Jazz, Rock, Pop, Classical and even Gospel into his productions, eventually developing a unique and easily identifiable style affectionately called "Pfunk." Clinton's inspiration, dedication and determination resulted in the elevation of "funk" music to complete recognition and acceptance as a true genre in and of itself.
It's incredible that GALACTIC has never made a carnival album yet, but now it’s here.
To make CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS, the members of GALACTIC (Ben Ellman, harps and horns; Robert Mercurio, bass; Stanton Moore, drums and percussion; Jeff Raines, guitar; Rich Vogel, keyboards) draw on the skills, stamina, and funk they deploy in the all-night party of their annual Lundi Gras show that goes till sunrise and leads sleeplessly into Mardi Gras day.
GALACTIC was formed eighteen years ago in New Orleans, and they cut their teeth playing the biggest party in America: Mardi Gras, when the town shuts down entirely to celebrate. CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS is beyond a party record. It’s a carnival record that evokes the electric atmosphere of a whole city – make that, whole cities – vibrating together all on the same day, from New Orleans all down the hemisphere to the mighty megacarnivals of Brazil. Armed with a slew of carnival-ready guests—including Cyril and Ivan Neville, Mystikal, Mannie Fresh, Moyseis Marques, Casa Samba, the KIPP Renaissance High School Marching Band, and Al "Carnival Time" Johnson (who remakes his all-time hit)—GALACTIC whisks the listener around the neighborhoods to feel the Mardi Gras moment in all its variety of flavors.
CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS begins on a spiritual note, the way Mardi Gras does in the black community of New Orleans. On that morning, the most exciting experience you can have is to be present when the small groups of black men called Mardi Gras Indians perform their sacred street theater. Nobody embodies the spiritual side of Mardi Gras better than the Indians, whose tambourines and chants provide the fundament of New Orleans carnival music. These ―gangs,‖ as they call them, organize around and protect the figure of their chief. The album’s keynote singer, BIG CHIEF JUAN PARDO, is, says Robert Mercurio, ―one of the younger Chiefs out there, and he’s
become one of the best voices of the new Chiefs. Pardo grew up listening to the singing of the older generation of Big Chiefs, points out Ben Ellman, and ―he’s got a little Monk [Boudreaux], a little Bo Dollis, he’s neither uptown nor downtown.‖
On ―Karate,‖ says Ellman, the band was aiming to ―capture the power‖ of one of the fundamental musical experiences of Mardi Gras: ―a marching band passing by you.‖ The 40-piece KIPP Renaissance High School Marching Band’s director arranged up GALACTIC’s demo, then the band rehearsed it until they had it all memorized. The kids poured their hearts into a solid performance, and, says Mercurio, ―I think they were surprised‖ to hear how good they sounded on the playback.
Musical energy is everywhere at carnival time. ―You hear the marching bands go by,‖ says Mercurio, moving us through a Mardi Gras day, ―and then you hear a lot of hiphop.‖ There hasn’t been a Mardi Gras for twenty years that hasn’t had a banging track by beatmaker / rapper MANNIE FRESH sounding wherever you go. ―You can’t talk about New Orleans hiphop without talking about MANNIE FRESH,‖ says Ellman. His beats have powered literally tens of millions of records, and he and GALACTIC have been talking for years about doing something together. On ―Move Fast,‖ he’s together with multiplatinum gravel-voiced rapper MYSTIKAL, who is, says Ellman, ―somebody we’ve wanted to collaborate with forever. It was a coup for us.‖
Out in the streets of New Orleans, you might well hear a funky kind of samba, reaching southward toward the other end of the hemispheric carnival zone. There has for the last twenty-five years been a smoking Brazilian drum troupe in town: CASA SAMBA, formed at Mardi Gras in 1986. They’re old friends of GALACTIC’s from their early days at Frenchmen Street’s Café Brasil, and the two groups joined forces for a new version of Carlinhos Brown’s ―Magalenha,‖ previously a hit for Sérgio Mendes.
But the Brazilian influence on CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS goes beyond one song. ―When we started this album, we all immersed ourselves in Brazilian music and let it get into our souls,‖ says Mercurio. The group contributed three Brazilian-flavored instrumentals, including ―JuLou,‖ which riffs on an old Brazilian tune, though the name refers to the brass-funk Krewe of Julu, the ―walking krewe‖ that Galactic members participate in on Mardi Gras morning. After creating the hard-driving track that became ―O Côco da Galinha,‖ they decided it would be right for MOYSÉIS MÁRQUEZ, from the São Paulo underground samba scene, who collaborated with them and composed the lyric.
If you were GALACTIC and you were making a carnival album, wouldn’t you want to play ―Carnival Time,‖ the irrepressibly happy 1960 perennial from the legendary Cosimo Matassa studio? Nobody in New Orleans doesn’t know this song. The remake features a new performance in the unmistakable voice of the original singer, AL ―CARNIVAL TIME‖ JOHNSON, who’s still active around town more than fifty years after he first gained Mardi Gras immortality.
The closing instrumental, ,―Ash Wednesday Sunrise,‖ evokes the edginess of the post-party feeling. The group writes, ―There is the tension you feel on that morning -- one of being worn out from all of the festivities and one of elation that you made it through another year.
Celebrating 25 groundbreaking years, FISHBONE has been trailblazing their way through the history of American Ska, Funk, Punk, Rock Fusion and (so-called) Black Rock since starting their professional career in Los Angeles' burgeoning, Alternative Rock music scene of the mid-1980s. Their sound has often been imitated, but never duplicated. They have toured worldwide with such bands as the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Roots, Les Claypool/Primus, Fela Kuti, George Clinton, The Dead Kennedys and many more. Angelo Moore’s ability to combine thought-provoking, humorous social commentary with FISHBONE’s frenzied, up-tempo music and frantic, euphorically entertaining stage show has cultivated their undisputed reputation as one of the best live acts in music history.
Now in their 25th year of composing, creating, recording, releasing and performing original music together, mass critical appeal appears to be returning to the band, fueled by their critically acclaimed full-length feature documentary; Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone. Narrated by Laurence Fishburne, the film earned LA Weekly’s Critic’s Choice Award at the Los Angeles Film Fest in 2010, has been called “effortlessly Entertaining” (Variety), “Brilliant and Groundbreaking” (Pop Matters), and hailed as “more than a documentary about rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a documentary about the American spirit and one that shows the life of one of its most influential creative forces.” (Encore Magazine)
The documentary features celebrity testimonials from an A-list cast of rock icons such as Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), who calls the band “an important musical institution” and “the band that gave us the inspiration to be a band” by Gwen Stefani (No Doubt). The film also includes similar admiration from the likes of Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addition), Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains) Rob Trujillo (Metallica), Questlove (The Roots), Chuck D (Public Enemy), Tim Robbins (Grammy Winning Actor) and many more. The film not only highlights the bands substantial legacy in contemporary music of all forms, but also the struggles, adversity, and inner turmoil that has surrounded the bands career. Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone has already premiered in over 60+ theaters across the country, and many of the dates have sold out. The documentary aired on Public Television’s AfroPop Series as well as Encore early 2012. The DVD is currently available for purchase nationwide at all major retailers, and on NetFlix.
To date, FISHBONE still continues to tour all over the world, turning heads at some of the most noteworthy festivals around the globe such as Ottawa Blues Fest (2012), Montreal Jazz Festival (2012), DeLuna Fest in Pensacola, FL (2012), Bumbershoot in Seattle, WA (2012), Riot Fest in Chicago, IL (2012), Voodoo Festival in New Orleans, LA (2011), Fuji Rock Festival in Tokyo, Japan (2010), Wakarusa in Ozark, AK (2010), Sunset Junction in Los Angeles, CA (2010) and more. This year, the band had the opportunity to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Angelo Moore sat in with The
Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. They also performed three outstanding shows with Primus, and have been featured in a variety of national press this year including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, MTV Hive, Spin Magazine, E! Entertainment, Rotten Tomatoes and more.
Last year, FISHBONE completed a national U.S. tour with Slightly Stoopid and Dumpstaphunk; a sold-out SXSW showcase with Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep; an Australian tour featuring performances with Trombone Shorty and George Clinton, highlighted by a performance at Byron Bay Blues Festival.
The band also toured all over Europe this year and Japan last year, and is currently on tour in support of their highly anticipated new EP Crazy Glue (DC-Jam Records) released October 11, 2011. Crazy Glue is currently available online everywhere and select retail stores nationwide.
The current member line up includes original members Angelo Moore aka Dr. Madd Vibe (vocals/sax/theramin), Norwood Fisher (bass/vocals), Dirty Walt (trumpet, vocals), as well as Rocky George (guitar), Dre Gipson (keyboards/vocals), John Steward (drums), and Jay Armant (trombone, vocals).