George Clinton’s song “The Pinocchio Theory” introduced the notion that funk represented some fundamental musical honesty. “If you fake the funk,” the theory goes, “your nose will grow.” Fans of Clinton and his bands Parliament and Funkadelic need not fear — Clinton’s funky memoir Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You? fakes nothing and pulls no punches.
From the 1950's barbershops in Jersey, to the ’60's Detroit scene and on to the Mothership and beyond, Brotha George does not disappoint. Clinton proves himself a musical fountain that flowed through Parliament/Funkadelic and a myriad of solo and side bands and projects. He namechecks Motown, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who and KISS as both influences, inspirations and competitors, and counts Public Enemy, Digital Underground and Prince as just a few of his progeny. That oddball mixture might seem at odds with Clinton’s psychedelic funk stew, but it all makes sense as he tells it. His far-reaching and shockingly influential vision — both musically and from a business perspective — accommodated many flavors and Clinton clearly both digested and plowed a wide swath of popular musical culture. “Yo, George...” is smartly written, funny and honest to a fault. The Sly Stone stories alone are mind-bending.
And how about that book title? Pure genius, pure George. But — always the innovator and ever the salesman — “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You?” just happens to also be the name of a new Funkadelic song, featuring Kendrick Lamar and Ice Cube. You can scan a code on the cover of the book to access that and four other songs, plus exclusive content to the book. No lie.
Follow me on Twitter: @stevejreviews
#musicbooks #musicbookreviews #bookreviews