One of our favorite things about SXSW —besides the abundance of Shiner Bock, natch— is that it’s the biggest musical melting pot in all of the United States. Over the course of a few days in Austin each and every March, acts from every conceivable genre of music come together for both performances and conversations, but more importantly, to bond with one another. Perhaps nowhere over the course of the weekend was that issue of “bonding” more relevant than at Saturday afternoon’s panel celebrating the upcoming release of the VH1 Rock Doc Finding The Funk, which saw former Parliament-Funkadelic members George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell putting aside rumors of alleged beef for one glorious hour of truly funky storytelling.
The afternoon’s discussion was, unlike a lot of SXSW panels, a loose and rollicking affair, one that veered from Bootsy’s early experiences playing alongside James Brown to the way that Bernie and Bootsy used to tease George for not exactly being smooth with the ladies.
Here are some of our favorite moments:
+ “I would love to do that, but we have different gigs. I wish that was very possible. I’m horny for that.”—George on a possible reunion with Bootsy and Bernie
+ “There was this chick that came to the dressing room. She said, ‘I’m gonna f*ck me a Funkadelic tonight.’ Then she looked at me and said, ‘Not you.’ That was when I had my head shaved with a d*ck on the side. I was sittin’ on the floor, tryin’ to play it off, trippin’ my ass off. From then on, Bootsy’s brother Catfish called me the President Of the No P***y Gettin’ Club. That went on for years … until I bought a spaceship.”—George Clinton on his lack of game back in the 70s
+ “His whole bag was us on stage, and him directing. He didn’t care what it sounded like out [in the audience], because whatever it sounded like up here [on stage], that’s what they were going to be feeling … It was all about the vibe.”—Bootsy Collins on how James Brown was more concerned with the groove than getting precious about things like sound mixing
+ “When I joined them, I didn’t even know who the Talking Heads were! But they kind of worked the same way we did —Parliament-Funkadelic did— in the studio.”—Bernie Worrell on his experiences working with the Talking Heads in the 80s
+ “Imma have the last word, but I wanted everyone’s opinion if I was being too psychedelic, cuz’ I go off that deep end EASY.”— George Clinton on needing feedback from his peers in the studio
+“Bernie could hear a car accident and he’ll remember every sound from it, and be able to recreate it. He’ll make ANYTHING musical.”— George Clinton on Bernie Worrell’s unlimited musical ability
+ “When they started making Anvil cases for turntables, that’s an instrument.”— George Clinton on his belief that DJs can be considered musicians.”
+ “Once it comes through, you gotta have somebody that can absorb all this, put it on the canvas and decipher it. That’s what this mutha here was GREAT at doin’ at. And he was great at puttin’ muthas together. Like, ‘Okay, if I put this combination here’ … he already knew what he was gonna get. We wasn’t thinkin’. None of us was thinkin’. Bernie was just playin’ what came through, I was just playin’ what came through. It was more about gettin’ it down, gettin’ it outta here. You know that saying ‘You full of shit?’ Well, we was all full of shit and had to get it out of us.”—Bootsy on George’s unrivaled skill as a producer
+ “There’s about 50 to 60 voices on that. The song is only about 4 minutes long on tape, but there was so much stuff on that 4 minutes, that I had to keep mixin’. I stretched the song until it was 15 minutes. It’s the same 4 minutes over and over again, but that taught me what they were doing in the hip-hop world with the sampling. ‘Knee Deep’ is my favorite song.”— George Clinton on his fave Parliament track
+ “Mr. Clinton had an enormous vocal range. I went to see him at a grammar school in Plainsville, NJ when I could sneak out the house, and the range… he had the pure, beautiful, clear falsetto.”—Bernie Worrell on George Clinton in the pre-Parliament days
+ “Each and every person has to find their own funk. Funk to me is making something out of nothing. We didn’t have nothing, so we did what we did with what we had.”—Bootsy on Finding The Funk
Here’s a trailer for Finding The Funk, which will premiere on VH1 in 2013.
[Photos: Getty Images]