In discussion with Eric D. Clark on “Atmosphere” by Funkadelic (1975).
How were you initiated to the Funkadelic world?
That’s rather hard to say; I believe I first heard Funkadelic… early 70’s? Seems as though I remember hearing “Maggot Brain” as my introduction to their music? And it would most probably have been at a party; maybe a cousin’s house or on a military base at a function? Don’t really know. However I seem to remember that piece first: I certainly had no idea what or who it was? At the time I thought the label art was somehow the band’s responsibility, therefore I would buy records according to the artwork; if I was at a friend’s house and they had something I liked I would go to the record store, usually with my father, and look for the same artwork and buy the record (we’re talking 7″ singles here). Needless to say it was often not what I was looking for. However, rarely did I return anything! This is how I ended up finding out about Led Zeppelin at age 5 or 6. I was looking for Rare Earth. When I finally witnessed Funkadelic’s artwork first-hand it cemented my high regard for their overall “thang”!
Was it a part of your childhood and youth in California?
There was a very strong and rich musical culture in our house. Every morning before school we were allowed to listen to music (no TV, only on Saturday mornings) that we selected from an extensive record collection procurred over previous decades and life in Kansas, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Poplar Bluff Missouri, Osaka, and wherever else our parents had been on their journeys with the military. This included 78 rpm shellac discs and 7″ children’s records recorded at 16 rpm. Father always loved Jazz and has an extensive collection of Blue Note recordings from the label’s inception until around 1970 something. Errol Garner was a big favourite, Booker T. & the MG’s. I did not really get into Jazz though until much later, though I liked Errol Garner! The rest was boring to me then. “Shotgun” and “Green Onions” I liked a lot but until this day I can’t stand James Brown for example?! Only one song that I can’t remember the title of, from around 1958. Mother was into Gospel and female vocal performers such as Morgana King, Dinah Washington, Mahalia Jackson, Dakota Stanton, Aretha of course, also some guys like Major Lance and Joe Simon both of whom I still love today. This collection still exists, excerpts of which you can hear in a set I uploaded to soundcloud.com/eric-d-clark under the moniker “The OZ Effect”. When I’d go looking for what I liked and tried to share it with them it was not met well. They tried to form me with classical which I found to be very little of a challenge, especially as I could trick the teachers by learning pieces twice or even three times as fast by listening to them on vinyl (my component stereo system was right on top of the piano next to my father’s AKAI reel-to-reel, which he bought in Osaka three years before I was born and I adopted; when I am at our house in Sacramento I still use this machine!). Funkadelic were strictly off-limits (very enticing) but I kept the records anyway, even though they were considered to be devil music by Mom and Dad. I was still under ten? Read the rest of this entry »