This text is by Andrea Daniel in her capacity and does not, necessarily, reflect the views of different infinite mile contributors, infinite mile co-founders, the authors' employers and/or other affiliations.
|Gettin’ Funked Up*|
By the time I was 13, my brother had moved out, and Parliament released Mothership Connection, and I had to have that album for myself. It was the bass lines, the funky beats, the repetition of the words “Aw, we want the funk. Gotta have that funk,” and the total musicality of it all. Come 1976 they released Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, then Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome in ’77 and “Flashlight” was thee song. But, ohh, when Funkadelic released the track One Nation Under a Groove in 1978! My mind reeled. Who does lyrics like “One nation under a groove. Getting down just for the funk of it”? This was a song of freedom.
Fast forward, again to today. I’m working on creative communications with the non-profit arts organization O.N.E. Mile Project that is set on revitalizing a one mile stretch of Oakland Avenue in Detroit’s historic North End. Now, the North End, the story goes, is where P-Funk started out, performing at Phelps Lounge. O.N.E. Mile is a partnership between MODCaR and the Oakland Avenue Artists Coalition (OAAC), whose members – artistic visionaries, they are – came up with the grandiose idea to create their version of the Mothership, calling it the O.N.E. Mile Mothership… and it’s no light weight endeavor. We’re not talking papier-mâché and plastic here. We’re talking architectural design, welders, builders, steel and lights and hands on work from the community.
There’s a caveat. The organization has gathered an intergenerational group of P-Funk alumnus to give an hour-long Legacy of Funk Performance Saturday, October 11, at the reveal of… the O.N.E. Mile Mothership. With the performance, they aim to show how hip-hop is directly connected to P-Funk and Detroit. While George Clinton is not directly involved, the true flavor of his music is there. They’ve been in rehearsals all week, and I’ve been in the room a few times. Coordinating the band is Carl “Butch” Small, P-Funk percussionist who also played for Death Row records projects. The players are the TFO Horns – Mo Dean (sax), KG (trumpet), Lou (trombone) – T-Money Green (bass), Walter “Hazmat” Howard (keyboard), Gabe Gonzalez (drums), Duminie Deporres (guitar), Dames Brown – a powerful singing trio produced by Amp Fiddler – and DJ Los on turntables. The sound has been amazing.