interview: the legendary bootsy collins on funk, kaepernick & his collaboration with seramic

September 21, 2016

Arguably the greatest living bass player, Bootsy Collins is funk. After getting his start with James Brown, Bootsy went on to refine and define the sound of funk bass with George Clinton as well as on his own with his Rubber Band. His latest collaboration is with the UK electro-soul act Seramic, which features Bootsy’s inimitable vocal cadence. We recently got the chance to ask the great Bootzilla a few questions about the legacy of funk, his hope for the future, and his choice for a new national anthem.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK contributor

Why do you think funk has endured?
(In the beginning was the Word, that word became the Funk)! Everything has to go back to it’s root’s, it’s maker, it’s beginning. The Funk is the start up program for everything. We all will go back to the “ONE” No matter what style we possess or un-worldly possessions we profoundly produce. They r all “Gifts” from the “One” & they must be returned. U have No stake in that claim, the music do not belong to any group or self proclaimed prophet. We r only Messenger vessels for “The One”. (The-Funk-is-Making-Something-Out-of Nothing)

If aliens do exist, who do you hope comes out when The Mothership lands?
My Mother, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, George Clinton, Sly Stone, Richard Pryor, Michael Jackson, Prince & all the backs we stood on to make it across the finish line.

Other than looking in the mirror, what bass player makes your jaw drop?
There r a lot of bassist now days that make a brother go Dang, that mug is Bad!
But one that leads the pack for me is the one the only: Mr.Victor Wooten I call him my lil brother he is that One no questions asked…

In light of Colin Kaepernick’s protest and the current dialogue about the racist lyrics in the Star Spangled Banner, what song would you pick to be the country’s new national anthem?
“Don’t Call Me Whitety, Nigger, Don’t call me Nigger, Whitey” by: Mr. Sly Stone. Then we all could start to have Real Dialog about how to balance our temperament towards one another, none of it is healthy for either one. Both side would have a big hurtle to jump over but at least it would be a start. Kaepernick struk the match now we have to keep the fire burnin’ til there is results…

What advice would you give to young musicians just starting out?
Being a musician is a school for perfecting Rejection, so get yr mind set for both practice & rejection. I have seen that this generation can’t take critisizum like our generation did. There is no reason u can’t be the best at it now day with so many online schools, video’s, demonstration, lesson’s, etc etc. Yr chances r much better than our’s was, we had to go see people to learn, we had to learn on the job training while saying we can do this & that got us in the door sometimes but it was all up to our skills that got the job done. U can be better than u think if u allow yr self to go all the way there. It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it. Now go funk um up! Bootsy baby!!!