We Want Bootsy wif’ His Hot, Fat Gobs o’ Stank Funk

Bootsy LP

Thanks to Public Enemy bassist Brian Hardgroove for this hour-long interview with William “Bootsy” Collins.

Truly one of my cultural heroes, Collins played bass on such great James Brown records as “Sex Machine,” beginning at the age of 17, then moved on to working with Parliament-Funkadelic, before ultimately forming his own Bootsy’s Rubber Band.

I first heard him, and of him, in 9th grade, with the release of his 1978 Warner Bros. album, Bootsy? Player of the Year, above, and the single “Bootzilla.” That record, which, somehow, ended up on the end of this interview, kinda scared me when I listened to it the first time…but in a good kind of way.

I later met Bootsy, and got to interview him, around 2000, when I was working on an unfinished radio doc—that I kinda wanna get back into—about the history of the bass guitar in popular music. He was a warm and gentle guy, natural, absent of ego, which is amazing when you consider his tremendous talent.

Perhaps because they’re both bassists, Hardgroove and Bootsy talk not a whit about technique, or fundamentals, or advanced theory when playing their instrument. They know how, so why talk about it? I’d have liked to hear some of that, but there’s probably a lot I’d like to ask Collins.

What’s here is very rich, like when Bootsy talks about playing on his first Brown record: “The Grunt.: That’s the same record P.E. pulled samples off for tracks like “Night of the Living Baseheads” and, most uniquely, “Rebel Without a Pause.”

So, listen, and, when you’re done, or whenever, shoot over here and check out this 4:26 clip, possibly from 1978, of Bootsy in concert, performing a Space Bass solo. (Is that “(You’re a Fish & I’m a) Water Sign”?) Remember to pick up any leftover pieces of your mind after it’s blown.



There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment