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Bootsy Collins

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BOOTY BANDIT Futuristic Funkateer BOOTSY COLLINS takes it to the stage. by ADAM KEANE STERN Who would have thought that when a skinny teenager from Ohio named William Collins decided he wanted to become "freaked out," the result would be the only-in-America entity known as BOOTSY? Through his work with James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, and his own Bootsy's Rubber Band, he is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the evolution of the electric bass guitar. Superhero of Funk, self-proclaimed "Black Casper" and Prophet of The One, William "Bootsy" Collins has been tearing the roof off the sucker for close to thirty delirious years. The glasses, the star imagery, the glitter, the mammoth Space Bass - Bootsy strikes a note of recognition in all but the most oblivious music fans. Even your neighborhood Klan member would have to love this guy. As he described himself in his 1978 #1 R&B single "Bootzilla," Bootsy is "the world's only rhinestone Rock Star doll."

What becomes crystal clear in trailing the history of Bootsy Collins is that while his steps seldom came from design, they carried him towards a vision that was indelibly locked in his mind. From his earliest experiences in bar bands, Bootsy's mission was to simply take his music to the people and have fun doing it. Born (1951 10 26) and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, William and his guitar-slinging older brother, Phelps, played music together from childhood. By 1969, their teenage Pacemakers (featuring Phelps "Catfish" Collins (his brother) (guitar), Frankie "Kash" Waddy (drums), and Philippe Wynne) were appearing in bans and clubs that legally shouldn't even have allowed them through the doors.

Luckily, Cincinnati was still a bit of a music town, its heritage supported almost entirely by the stubborn survival of the legendary King Records and its only remaining star, James Brown. The presence of James Brown Productions offered hope of discovery to aspiring Queen City talent and, sure enough, The Pacemakers caught the eye of Brown's production manager, Bud Hobgood.

Having just endured the break-up of The Capps, another local band Brown had nurtured for several years, Hobgood viewed the young combo as a handy replacement.

They quickly received a wide variety of recording assignments, backing up artists as diverse as gospel diva Kay Robinson and jazz crooner Anthur Prysock.

While grateful for the experience, Bootsy and his gang were more impressed with their access to James Brown's own sessions, where such veterans as Bobby Byrd, Fred Wesley and sax star Maceo Parker took them under their wings. Brown reacted by renaming them The New Dapps and putting them on club tours backing Hank Ballard and Marva Whitney. But nothing could have prepared them for what happened next.

It was March 9, 1970. The funk vine quickly spread the news: James Brown lost his entire band. Disgruntled and burned out, the musicians had confronted Brown with a list of ultimatums just before a show in Columbus, Georgia. Instead of mulling over their demands, Brown called his Cincinnati office and set his staff in motion: "Mr. Patton," he told his agent, "you gotta find Bootsy and those kids now!"

Bob Patton tracked down bassist Bootsy Collins and his band, at a dive called the Wine Bar. Veteran JB sidekick Bobby Byrd made the call. In a matter of hours, a teenage band that had only briefly toured behind Hank Ballard and Marva Whitney was on its way to Columbus in Brown's Lear jet.

Bootsy : We were rehearsing one afternoon at the Wine Bar on Gilbert Avenue and all of a sudden we got a call from Bobby Byrd At first I thought It was someone trying to play a joke but sure enough it was him. He told me they needed us right away and that he'd be there in 45 minutes to an hour Don't worry 'bout a thing, just come like you are, he said. So I said "Okay, cool". I told the fellas what was happening but nobody really believed me until he picked us up and took us to the airport. We flew to Columbus, Georgia, on James Brown's private jet and went straight to his gig. We didn't have any idea about what was going on. Once inside, Bobby tried to rush us past the band and into James's dressing room but the first person I saw was Kush (trumpeter Richard "Kush" Griffith). He was standing over James and he wasn't smiling. I knew then there was gonna be some serious trouble that night. I thought "Oh, man what have we walked into?"

The idea of us playing with James was so incredible, we didn't know which way to turn until he came and kinda settled us into it. The crowd was chantin' because the show was late. We didn't have any rehearsal and James just called the songs off. I remember the crowd was pretty much into it and the way James pulled it off, I don't even think they knew what was going on.

One gets the sense that in a weak moment Bootsy might admit to not really knowing what the audience picked up on that night. After all, he could barely comprehend the significance of having just replaced his own mentors. In fact, when quizzed about his first months on the road with Brown, he has trouble recalling where they played.

Every town was pretty much just a town. Being with James, the music was more important. It wasn't the town. It wasn't the people. It was James we were in awe of. Our whole thing was just that we were getting ready to do another show with the Godfather! Using Larry Greham of Sly & The Family Stone as a prototype, 18-year old Bootsy commandeered the rhythmic edge of the band. "Bootsy had a different concept of playing his instrument," says Starks. "When he would sit in a groove, everything on you moved."

That wasn't all. Bootsy's enthusiasm turned "gawky" into a statuesque stage presence, giving his boss a natural foil. He soon became one of the only bassists to earn a solo spot in a James Brown Show. "I was just happy to be around," Bootsy told me recently, the enthusiasm still in his voice. "James was our hero. To be up on stage with him was mind blowing."

The new groove did wonders for the standard Brown repertoire

James Brown gave Bootsy and his pals a college degree in show business, introducing them to international touring (Africa and Europe), posh night clubs (the Copacabana and the Latin Casino), legendary vaudeville houses (the Apollo Theater) hectic one-nighters and the occasional television appearance. Oh yes, over the course of nine months they also recorded "Sex Machine," "Super Bad, "Talkin' Loud And Sayin'Nothin", "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" and "Soul Power"óall undeniable soul classics. Unfortunately, that wasn't all. After a while they started learning what had driven their predecessors away.

Just like James was growing through our influence, we were growing too. The games he played didn't work anymore but he doesn't wanna play any other games. If you won't play the games he likes to play, he starts lookin' for people who will. I just knew it was time to try something else.

That something else was to gather a new group of pals in Mama Collins's basement and form The House Guests. Leaving the Godfather's regimented organization was an emancipation in more ways than one. Adopting the Carnaby Street fashion they had discovered in European clubs, the band's new garb was as colorful and unique as their amalgamation of funk and rock.

By the summer of 1971, The House Guests were financing their own records and hustling an expanding itinerary of club gigs. If an over-eager promoter or club owner (such as those who ran Pittsburgh's Post 755} chose to advertise them as "James Brown's Band" they didn't exactly go out of their way to tear down the posters. In fact, they might have hung them up in the first place. We did dates all over Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. We were booking them ourselves so we'd try to get to a town a few days in advance and put up posters. It worked

Pretty soon we started hearing about Funkadelic -this other group people said was wild and crazy just like us. So l started spreading the word that we'd like to crush them on stage. lt got where we heard about them so much we were actually trying to track them down just to prove who was the best band.

Finally, we wound up in Detroit but we had run out of money. Our luck turned when we met a singer named Mallia Franklin at the Love Club. Thank God for Mallia. She and her mama had a storefront with several rooms upstairs and they put us up while we tried to get work around Detroit Then Mallia took me to meet George Clinton.

Having lost their original name in a courtroom, George Clinton's doo-wopping Parliaments remade themselves in 1968 under the name of their back-up band, Funkadelic. Now, several albums and a cult audience later, the band had fallen apart amidst drug problems and professional jealousies. Almost overnight, The House Guests joined organist Bernie Worrell and Memphis guitarist Harold Beane to become the very band they had been chasing.

We were supposed to have gone out with them as The House Guests but it wound up that we were Funkadelic. Since that went against what we wanted to do in the first place, it had a lot to do with us not being there too long. It seemed every place we went the veterans were in a complaining mode and we were just havin' the time of our lives until we'd get in and see what was happening -then we'd have to move on.

Back in Cincinnati once again, the band took on the name Complete Strangers, cut a single for a short-lived local label and spent an otherwise uneventful year. Growing disillusioned with the toll of hanging posters and sleeping on floors, Bootsy turned to writing as a means of building a foundation for his career. Along with Phelps and Gary "Mudbone" Cooper, a singer they'd recruited in Baltimore, he compiled a collection of demos that led him back to Detroit and George Clinton. Motown was gone but Detroit was still enjoying a busy studio scene when Bootsy settled there in 1973. Choosing not to limit himself to Clinton's camp, he sought outside work and ended up on a bevy of sessions over the next two years, including Johnnie Taylor's "Disco Lady." Meanwhile, his contributions to Funkadelic and the recently salvaged Parliament were gaining in prominence -first an uncredited bass line on "Cosmic Slop" and then his co-writing of "Up For The Down Stroke," the record that put Parliament back on the charts.

Working with Clinton in the studio proved a lot more gratifying than sharing the stage. Collins played on and co-wrote more than half of Parliament's Chocolate City album and three songs for Funkadelic's Let's Take lt To The Stage. One of the latter was the hysterical "Be My Beach" which introduced the Bootsy vocal persona that would be the prototype for his own project.

l was cutting the track and George wanted to try something different I was really just sitting there joking -saying whatever came off the top of my head- and he built the whole lyric around it. I think It was the best time of our chemistry because George was really into the studio. Even when I was jokin', he paid attention. He would let me go way out as far as I could go and then he'd tie into it and make it better. l don't care how spaced out or high he was, he was there. He was in there like l was. We were on the same level. It was great.

It was this camaraderie that eventually led Bootsy back to the bandstand. Aher convincing Collins that the time was ripe for a solo project, George quickly got him a deal with Warner Bros. Late in 1975 while the funk mob was putting the finishing touches on Parliament's Mothership Connection, they began cutting tracks for Bootsy's own album. All that remained was to put together a band.

Initially known as Bootsy's Early Sunn, some of the casting was obvious -brother "Catfish" on guitar, Frankie Waddy on drums, Mudbone and Leslyn Bailey on vocals. When Clinton had wanted horns for the first time, Bootsy had reached out to Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker. Now it was only logical to ask them to contribute to their former protege's first album. To round out the group, Cooper suggested keyboard player Fredrick Allen and singer Robert Johnson from his old band in Baltimore.

At first it was just Bone, myself and Leslyn. She was a writer from Cincinnati who was kinda wild and freaky -I liked her style. She did the record and the first few gigs but I didn't know how to handle a girl on the road. As for Fred and Maceo, l got high just looking up on stage and seeing them with me. Those were my heroes and for them to come out with a new band was unheard of. Next thing l knew they found Rick Gardner and were all staying at my house, this dump in Walnut Hills. Fred and Maceo stayed on the third floor, the other guys on the second floor, and we rehearsed in the basement.

If assembling the band seemed effortless, so did making the record. "Psychoticbumpschool" evolved from an unreleased House Guests track called "Be Right Back". "I'd Rather Be With You" and "Vanish In Our Sleep" were written while "trippin' on a first dose of thinkin' I was in love" during the period with James Brown that Bootsy refers to as his "acid days."

The album's first and most successful single was actually an afterthought. Still searching for a marketing concept on which to hang his new act, Clinton was about to turn in the record when he convinced Bootsy that they lacked the one song that could effectively introduce the band to radio programmers. George said "We need a commercial hit in this LP" but l wasn't even thinking like that. l had no idea what a hit was but l respected his opinion so we went back into the studio with Gary Shider and Michael Hampton and cut a track with a drum machine. Before l overdubbed real drums, I forced myself to think of the beats I had heard when I was in Africa with James. Those drummers were so deep.

We didn't have a name for the song at that point It was one of those things where I happened to say, "Man, we're stretchin' out on that one." And George yelled "That's it! Stretchin' out -in a Rubber Band!" So that's how we got the song and the name of the band. Once the album came out, I wasn't thinking about it much. I was never trained to think about a record I didn't know if that record was gonna make It -I just knew that I had to have one.

I came from the school of depending on the stage to show people who I was, so my real concept was about getting them to come out and see me. I started taking gigs opening up for P-Funk for $500 a night when my name wasn't even on the marquee. But none of that mattered because l knew if people could see usówe'd make it. The band was my ace in the hole. l never even got a sense of when the record started hitting except for the fact that after a while people began knowing who l was. But it took time.

The band spent most of 1976 making it apparent to P-Funk's audiences that as intriguing as their album was, it fell short of preparing anyone for Bootsy's Rubber Band on stage. Despite their newness to the record buying public, these were savvy professionals and they cleverly compressed everything they knew into a ferocious 45-minute set.

This collection's concert version of "Psychoticbumpschool" (in glorious mono and free of any studio cleansing, no less) is as unbridled an example of raw funk as existed anywhere even on Clinton's Mothership. What made the difference was Bootsy's thunderous, custom-made Space Bass and the precision of what became known as the Horny Horns. Conservatively mixed on their records (to the dismay of traditionalists accustomed to in-your-face horn riffs), on the road Fred Wesley's quintessential arrangements whipped through the music with lethal intensity. There wasn't another band that even remotely sounded like them.

At first it was just Bone, myself and Leslyn. She was a writer from Cincinnati who was kinda wild and freaky -I liked her style. She did the record and the first few gigs but I didn't know how to handle a girl on the road. As for Fred and Maceo, l got high just looking up on stage and seeing them with me. Those were my heroes and for them to come out with a new band was unheard of. Next thing l knew they found Rick Gardner and were all staying at my house, this dump in Walnut Hills. Fred and Maceo stayed on the third floor, the other guys on the second floor, and we rehearsed in the basement.

If assembling the band seemed effortless, so did making the record. "Psychoticbumpschool" evolved from an unreleased House Guests track called "Be Right Back". "I'd Rather Be With You" and "Vanish In Our Sleep" were written while "trippin' on a first dose of thinkin' I was in love" during the period with James Brown that Bootsy refers to as his "acid days."

The album's first and most successful single was actually an afterthought. Still searching for a marketing concept on which to hang his new act, Clinton was about to turn in the record when he convinced Bootsy that they lacked the one song that could effectively introduce the band to radio programmers.

George said "We need a commercial hit in this LP" but l wasn't even thinking like that. l had no idea what a hit was but l respected his opinion so we went back into the studio with Gary Shider and Michael Hampton and cut a track with a drum machine. Before l overdubbed real drums, I forced myself to think of the beats I had heard when I was in Africa with James. Those drummers were so deep.

We didn't have a name for the song at that point It was one of those things where I happened to say, "Man, we're stretchin' out on that one." And George yelled "That's it! Stretchin'out -in a Rubber Band!" So that's how we got the song and the name of the band. Once the album came out, I wasn't thinking about it much. I was never trained to think about a record I didn't know if that record was gonna make It -I just knew that I had to have one.

I came from the school of depending on the stage to show people who I was, so my real concept was about getting them to come out and see me. I started taking gigs opening up for P-Funk for $500 a night when my name wasn't even on the marquee. But none of that mattered because l knew if people could see usówe'd make it. The band was my ace in the hole. l never even got a sense of when the record started hitting except for the fact that after a while people began knowing who l was. But it took time.

The band spent most of 1976 making it apparent to P-Funk's audiences that as intriguing as their album was, it fell short of preparing anyone for Bootsy's Rubber Band on stage. Despite their newness to the record buying public, these were savvy professionals and they cleverly compressed everything they knew into a ferocious 45-minute set.

This collection's concert version of "Psychoticbumpschool" (in glorious mono and free of any studio cleansing, no less) is as unbridled an example of raw funk as existed anywhere even on Clinton's mothership. What made the difference was Bootsy's thunderous, custom-made Space Bass and the precision of what became known as the Horny Horns. Conservatively mixed on their records (to the dismay of traditionalists accustomed to in-your-face horn riffs), on the road Fred Wesley's quintessential arrangements whipped through the music with lethal intensity. There wasn't another band that even remotely sounded like them.

Just as Bootsy had predicted, the constant touring was building a foundation. A second album was called for, and, in January 1977, "Ahh. . . The Name Is Bootsy Baby" was released at the same time the standing P-Funk/Rubber Band Earth Tour was breaking box office records.

We had been developing new grooves as we toured and our intro, "Ahh. . . The name. . ., " came out of the show. "The Pinocchio Theory" also came from the stage. lt was built around a rhythm that Joel had been playing on clavinet that he and I turned into a track. George came up with the Iyrics and the whole concept of your nose growin' if you fake the funk.

Full of unexpected twists and turns, "The Pinocchio Theory" turned into a bonafide, if somewhat eccentric, hit single.

By the spring of 1977, it was only natural for Bootsy's Rubber Band to break away from the nest and headline for the first time. Working the road at a pace even their leader had underestimated, they spent the remainder of the year alternating between their own theatre tour and arena dates with P-Funk.

Bootsy's popularity was soaring and Warner Bros. rushed out a third album. Its first single, "Bootzilla" was the biography of "the world's only rhinestone rock-star doll". When the tongue-twister bulleted to No. 1 it was as if Bootsy had planted a flag atop the R&B world.

The follow-up single, "Hollywood Squares" was a change of pace musically - Bootsy choosing to surround this sinewy bass fines with a full orchestra of brass and woodwinds. But once again he was singing of a star's life "funnin' in the sunshine at Hollywood and Vine." In March 1978, Bootsy's Rubber Band embarked on a hugely successful tour as full-fledged arena headliners. But to those closest to their leader it was beginning to seem that some of this recent Iyrics were getting too close for comfort. The more the fans screamed "Bootsy," the more William Collins got lost in the shuffle. He seldom saw the band away from their gigs and this dressing room door was always closed and secured by bodyguards. As a thinly disguised George Clinton had asked in "Ahh. . . The Name Is Bootsy, Baby," "Hey Bootsy, you're a superstar right?"

That ain't me. By that tour I had stopped knowing what I was out there for In the first place. Once management taught me that I was supposed to run from my fans, it reversed what had been in my head since I started out. I had gone out there to be a people person. I got off on signing autographs and meeting fans at record stores. But I got changed.

What changed me was being responsible for so many things I never thought I'd be responsible for. Management decisions. Trucks, buses. . . How many of this. . . How much of that. How much is this person gonna get paid. Who gets a raise. Who gets laid off. I had never dreamed of that kind of pressure. So I ended up going for just about every suggestion that kept me safe. The managers were telling me that's the way I was supposed to be, and I didn't know anything different. Of course, they were also dealing with George Clinton and he had his own confusion going on. Management was telling me one thing and George was telling me another. When I ended up going against all of them, that didn't feel right either. So I started making a transition to a separate accountant a separate lawyer and a separate road manager. Then people began looking at me like, "Why are you doing that?" I didn't know the correct way to do it. I just knew that it wasn't right the way it was.

Soon after the tour ended, there were rumors of drug abuse and power struggles within the band. With sessions for a hungrily awaited fourth album right around the corner, Billboard magazine suddenly reported Bootsy mysteriously hospitalized in Cincinnati. Contrary to legend, it wasn't drugs that drove him from the road.

Drug abuse had played a role when we first got into George's thing. I got pretty deep into cocaine but I bailed out when the Rubber Band started to happen. There were so many things I needed to pay attention to and I couldn't lock in if I was loaded. It was everything else that drove me away.

When I came off the road I finally got a chance to start thinking about things. I tried explaining myself to George and the band but they didn't understand.

I had been telling them all along that I was gonna stop and chill out for a year but Mudbone was the only one who listened to me. Everybody else felt I wouldn't stop because of the bucks. But they were wrong. The money didn't mean anything anymore. When I started turning down outdoor festivals that were paying $700,000 a night George finally realized that I was serious.

My mother had always told me that if I ever got to a certain point where I didn't know what to do, "just stop."

I tried to figure out who I was. I started dealing with real people again instead of those who wanted me to wear the Bootsy glasses. When I'd come home my mama used to say, "You're in the house now, you can take those glasses off " That was like a smack in the face, and it helped me.

Warner Bros. was totally freaked out so l decided to go ahead and do the record. But I was still too caught up in everything to really care how it turned out. l had a destruction thing going on in my head because I was trying not to be that person anymore. I didn't do anything to help the record. It wasn't that I tried to make it sound bad but in the back of my mind I guess I didn't want it to happen because I didn't wanna have to go back on the road I just wasn't all there.

Despite his claims of detachment, the LP's lone hit, "Jam Fan (Hot)" is a Bootsy tour-de-force. Creating an intoxicating groove, he plays all the instruments except for the horns and one guitar part.

The Rubber Band had, for all intents and purposes, broken up. Atlantic Records promoted a couple of hastily produced Horny Horns albums while Maceo became P-Funk's emcee/music director. He seldom played his sax. Worse yet, the rhythm section was relegated to anonymously backing the Brides of Funkenstein. By 1980, a disillusioned Phelps Collins was back in Cincinnati, spending most of his afternoons at the neighborhood fishing hole.

Nevertheless, once Bootsy caught his breath he didn't let any grass grow under his feet. Anxious to recapture a working relationship with his mentor, he surrounded himself in the studio with some fresh blood and simultaneously produced Ultra Wave, his fifth album for Warner Bros., and the tragically overlooked Sweat Band for Clinton's Uncle Jam label. "Mug Push" was Ultra Wave's biggest hit and we have also selected "Scenery," the obscure B-side that should have made the album if only for Bootsy's splendid vocalese on the vamp.

With "Mug Push," George and I started having a little fun again. I had moved back to Detroit and I began feeling comfortable about making decisions on my own. George finally accepted what I was trying to do, and I could see that there was still a possibility that we could make this work.

In reality, Bootsy had seldom resisted the opportunity to contribute to Clinton's archive. Even during the Rubber Band's busiest years, he continued writing and playing on both Parliament and Funkadelic albums. While his bass lines are familiar turf for P-Funk fans, many would be surprised to learn of his often uncredited drumming on such classics as "One Nation Under A Groove," "Knee Deep," "Funkentelechy," "FIashlight" and "Theme From The Black Hole."

By the end of 1980, independent management (and, just maybe, a rekindled taste for the P-Funk drug of choice) provided Bootsy the self-confidence to hit the road. In as grass roots a maneuver as the modern music industry has known, Clinton leased a bus and collected Bootsy, singer Philippe Wynne and Sweat Band's David Spradley and Maceo Parker for a city-by-city promotional junket.

Four months later, Clinton's Greatest Funk On Earth tour hit the road with Bootsy and Sweat Band on the marquee as supporting acts. Evading the "burden" of leading a band, Bootsy brought along Catfish, Joel Johnson, Frank Waddy and Mudbone to augment a restructured P-Funk that already included Maceo and Peanut. Bootsy's brief set consisted of three songs in the middle of George's performance (a format he would resurrect on subsequent Clinton tours).

Despite the tour exposure, Ultra Wave was a commercial disappointment. To be fair, Bootsy was hardly the only funkmeister struggling in the early 80's. Even Clinton's record sales slumped as slick pop-soul and mechanical dance music ousted them from club turntables and radio playlists.

Bootsy's final Warner Bros. album, The One Giveth, The Count Taketh Away, was quietly released in May, 1982, and faded quickly away. In a last ditch effort to salvage something from the project, someone at the label referred Bootsy to a Philadelphia dance music mixer in hopes of creating a buzz at the club level. The absurd irony that, on its own terms, funk was no longer considered dance music, rankled many. Regardless, Bootsy tried to adapt with "Body Slam."

No mere remix, "Body Slam" was a barely recognizable reconstruction of the album's "Countracula." The unpredictable disc became Bootsy's highest charting record since "Bootzilla." However, without an album to reap the benefits, the single died away and all but closed a major chapter in black music history.

There was no funeral, though. In fact, once again Bootsy's personal fortunes were the opposite of his career -this time for the better.

When things got deep in 1979, I started back on cocaine and this time it got me. But once again I had gotten confused so l just stopped I didn't know what was going to happen, but I knew I had to stop and find out.

It happened right as "Body Slam" was coming out. On the first day I threw a big rock, probably three inches around into the garbage can. I just knew if I was going to save my career l was going to have to clear my head. And I knew I wasn't through dealing with George and his people, so somebody was gonna have to be clear!

I haven't touched it since I threw that rock in the garbage. The more I was around it the stronger I got it was the turning point of my life.

Predictably, Bootsy's first appearances following his epiphany were as a featured guest on Clinton's Atomic Dog tour in 1983. That experience was another eye-opener for an artist who was shopping for a new record deal and thinking about reorganizing his band.

It all kicked in after I got back out there with George and started seeing the chaos that they were still going through. I had thought that some of it would have changed but everything there was the same. It's all so stupid after you've been away from it for a while. I didn't even know how to react to the same old crap. I immediately said to myself, "Uh, uh. I don't think so."

It took Bootsy another six years to prove to himself that leading a band and touring were possible without the superfluous headaches he desperately needed to avoid. Meanwhile, he calmly focused his career towards the recording studioólending his talents to an ongoing series of projects with cutting-edge producer Bill Laswell and a colorful palette of artists that included Herbie Hancock, Keith Richards, Afrika Bambaataa, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Deee-lite.

As of this writing, Bootsy's Rubber Band featuring Bernie Worrell and Mudbone Cooper tours frequently. Perhaps because his acme was relatively brief, Bootsy manages to lose himself in performance with a vitality and commitment that's unlike any other surviving 70's funk band.

His always was different.

I'm not scared anymore. I made it through that stuff and now I know what it is. And I know what I am when I come off of the stage.

It's like I'm running a race and the crowd's on the side cheering me on to make the finish llne. What they're giving me I'm trying to give back to them. The finish line is the joy of me being able to stand there with them after the show and slap five and thank them for cheering me on.

He always was different. ALAN LEEDS and WILLAM COLLINS

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