By Russ Fagle, @russfagle
Photos provided by William Thoren & georgeclinton.com
Every now and then in life, one is granted the opportunity to see and experience the work of a true pioneer and living legend in a given field.
People in the Cedar Rapids area are about to have such a moment. Funk music legend George Clinton will perform, live at Cedar Rapids’ McGrath Amphitheater May 27. Clinton, 75, who boasts over 50 years in the music industry, is currently touring nationally with his band, Parliament Funkadelic.
The winner of countless music industry awards and accolades, including an honorary doctorate degree from Berkeley College of Music in 2012, Dr. Clinton recently performed at the opening of the African American Museum in Washington DC in September 2016 and is the recipient of the Billboard 2017 Legacy Award and was a 1997 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Beginning in the 1960s, an energetic and rhythmic style of music that became known as “funk” exploded onto the American music scene. This throbbing, irresistibly driving music epitomized the rebellious and psychedelic 60s, with bold experimentation and the embracing of otherworldly new sounds from emerging electric instrument technologies. The movement exuded an urbane swagger of a predominantly African American population energetically emerging from an era of civil rights victories and a nation stretching to new heights of innovation and self-expression. Employing elements of jazz, R&B, blues and a maturing and diverging rock ‘n’ roll tradition, funk defined a rich layer of American musical culture that prided itself on extreme creativity. The funk music movement is universally acknowledged as being the fertile soil from which rap and hip hop music would sprout from a generation later. At the forefront of this movement was George Clinton.
Known as the “Godfather of Funk,” Dr. Clinton has earned iconic status as a performer, songwriter and producer, both as a solo artist and through his work with countless projects and artists over his five decade career that continues to thrive as he now tours with his grandchildren. Clinton’s rise to prominence in the late 1960s with the bands Parliament and Funkadelic through the 1970s and the 1980s saw the beginnings of his solo career. His song “Atomic Dog” reached #1 on the R&B charts in 1982. Clinton continued his prolific output of his various roles in the music industry, working with many top acts, including The Red Hot Chili Peppers and recording at Prince’s Paisley Park Studios through the 1990s and into the 2000s. Currently, Clintons’ career has gone full circle as he continues an ambitious touring schedule with members of his former bandmates in the combined band Parliament Funkadelic. The live performances are noted for their energy and creative imagery and a cosmic audio experience wrapped around a pulsing groove that makes the audience move along with it. Cedar Rapids’ premiere outdoor summer venue will provide an ideal showcase for this landmark performance. It’s gonna be funky!
The performance will take place at the McGrath Amphitheater on May 27th at 7:30 pm. Tickets range is from $35-$75.
Learn more about George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic at www.georgeclinton.com
Tickets for this and other upcoming concerts at the McGrath Amphitheater can be purchased online at
www.mcgrathampitheater.com or by calling 319-362-1729.