TRAVERSE CITY — Dr. Funkenstein is officially a Doctor of Funk.
Funk icon George Clinton, also sometimes called Funkmaster or The Granddaddy of Funk, recently received an honorary doctorate of music degree from prestigious Berklee College of Music. As befitting the title, he's sporting a new, distinguished look.
"I'm a doctor so I have to dress like a doctor," said the raspy-voiced Clinton, who traded his trademark colorful dreadlocks and outrageous outfits for dapper suits and hats.
The onetime doo-wop singer and Motown songwriter and his Parliament-Funkadelic will be back in Traverse City on Saturday, May 12, for a show at Streeters' Ground Zero. The event is a sort of makeup for the band's 2008 appearance there, when a snowstorm kept many at home.
"This is his third time here," said Doug Streeter, owner of Streeters Entertainment Center. "The first time he sold out. The second we had about half the people because there was a blizzard that day. We even had to bring in some heaters. So we're looking forward to another good show to kind of make up for that."
Clinton and his collective of musicians — known variously as Parliament and Funkadelic — captured 40 hit R&B singles during the 1970s and created the danceable psychedelic-funk music genre called P-funk. Together and in various offshoots and solo projects they helped shape the style and sound of modern American music, from R&B and soul, to urban rap and hip-hop, and even rock.
Now 70, Clinton continues to play to wide and diverse crowds. Except for changing his diet, age hasn't mellowed him a bit, he said.
"It makes me mellow in comparison to the hip-hop stuff that's out. It's not mellow when we hit the stage," said the musician, known for his imaginative lyrics in songs like the No. 1 hits "Flashlight," "One Nation Under a Groove," "Aqua Boogie" and "(Not Just) Knee Deep."
In 1997, Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award at the NAACP Image Awards. In 2002, Spin voted them No. 6 of the 50 Greatest Bands of All Time.
But if any further validation were needed, it came in February with Clinton's recognition by Berklee for his enduring musical and cultural contributions.
"Since I've done that I've been getting a lot of calls for talk shows. Yeah, there's more pressure now but I like pressure. I work better under pressure," said the musician, who likes to unwind by fishing (his favorite spots "up north" include the Manistique River).
Besides touring and recording under his own label, The C Kunspyruhzy, Clinton works tirelessly to protect artists' work — including his own — from piracy and to battle for the rights to his old songs. He blogs about the issues on his website, FunkProbosci.com, and in 2009 teamed up with Michigan Congressman John Conyers Jr. to introduce a bill to protect against copyright and royalty theft.
"The record companies are fighting tooth and nail," he said, of the bill's progress. "All the rest of the world has these laws but China and North Korea. That's some bad company."
Recently he ended a successful campaign on the charity-hosting website Indiegogo to raise $50,000 for the restoration and preservation of original recordings, the release of new recordings, and the repair and renovation of the Parliament-Funkadelic family recording studio. Now he's trying to raise $100,000 for the band's legal defense fund.
"We've got a bunch of unreleased and new material and we're packaging it together for fans who donate to the fund," said Clinton, who has battled in court over everything from old contracts that don't apply to today's music business model to the "unauthorized" use of his music in remixes and films.
Saturday's show begins at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29 plus $3 handling at Ground Zero during regular business hours or the day of the show.
He'll perform Saturday at Streeters
TRAVERSE CITY — Dr. Funkenstein is officially a Doctor of Funk.
Historical Photo of the Week: 07/28/2014
Did you know that Traverse City’s own State Theater, the epicenter of the TC Film Festival, opened on July 4, 1916 as the Lyric Theater?Continued ...
Update on 07/21/2014 historical photo
Historical photo information, provided by readers, for the July 21 image:Continued ...
News From 100 Years Ago: 07/28/2014
Because of complaints lodged with the city commission in regards to the practice of residents in certain sections of the city allowing their chickens to run at large, the police department has been instructed to take steps at once to curb the nuisance.Continued ...
Northern Notes: Sheriff returns boat gone adrift
Bruce Bush, of Frederick, Md., wrote to express his gratitude to the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance in returning his sailboat that made an unscheduled trip during the night of July 17.Continued ...
Film Festival: 10 Seasons and Counting
The future of the Traverse City Film Festival was cemented the moment the curtain rose at the end of the first screening, at least that's how festival co-founder Michael Moore sees it.Continued ...
The cruise of a lifetime
Kathleen Ledezma spent nearly 30 years raising children, running a household, working and attending college while her husband spent up to 11 months at a time away at sea.Continued ...
Marta Hepler Drahos: When fireworks go from awesome to awful
Darkness falls like a curtain beyond our living room windows. The air is cool through the screens by the couch, where we sit holding our breath.Continued ...
Ed Hungness: Music strikes a familiar note
I had the pleasure of attending the Bonnie Raitt concert at Interlochen Center for the Arts. I’m a longtime fan of her music, but it was the first time I had the opportunity to see her perform last month. She didn’t disappoint anyone in a packed Kresge Auditorium.Continued ...
Books in Brief: 07/27/2014
Book signings; Book study group.Continued ...
Best Sellers: 07/27/2014
Best-selling books across northwest Michigan and the nation:Continued ...
- Friday, July 25, 2014
Education Newsmakers: 07/26/2014
Jared Ornelas, of Lake Leelanau, was named to the Dean’s List at Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, for spring semester 2014. (Plus more)Continued ...
New street magazine helps homeless
Randy Parcher has lived in a van with his girlfriend for three years. He helps support the couple by day selling his art work, which he creates at public spaces like the library or coffee house. He burrows down in a pile of blankets at night and relies on body heat to stay warm.Continued ...
Body & Soul in Brief: 07/26/2014
Arcadia Daze luncheon; Grief workshops; Church histories. (Plus more)Continued ...
Blood Drive Calendar: 07/26/2014
Area Blood Drives: American Red Cross - Gaylord, 10 a.m.-3:45 p.m., July 30, F.O.E. Eagles Club, 515 S. Wisconsin Ave. (Plus more)Continued ...
Community in Brief: 07/25/2014
Christmas in July; Artist’s reception; Solar viewing party. (Plus more)Continued ...
- Thursday, July 24, 2014
Arts & Entertainment in Brief: 07/25/2014
Jacoby exhibit; Too Much Light; Leelanau artists' exhibit. (Plus more)Continued ...
Night Life Calendar: 07/25/2014
What's happening after dark:Continued ...
Movie Capsules: 07/25/2014
New this week — And So It Goes: A self-centered realtor enlists the help of his neighbor when he's suddenly left in charge of the granddaughter he never knew existed until his estranged son drops her off at his home. Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements. (GT9)Continued ...
They're going to Lovett
Six acres of horse park, horse-drawn hayrides and Lyle Lovett, it sounds like a country music match made in heaven.Continued ...
A new place for art
Visitors approaching the Dentolutions offices might mistake the sculpture outside for a giant red, avant garde toothbrush.Continued ...
TCFF's latest free venue is all 'The Buzz'
Harold “Buzz” Wilson was adamant that film should be enjoyed by all and not just those who can afford tickets.Continued ...
- Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Community in Brief: 07/24/2014
40 Years a Ranger; German Club meeting; Grief workshops. (Plus more)Continued ...
From the Farm: Nothing beats summer beets
Someday I will achieve full kitchen domination. There will always be a sweet and a savory compound butter in the freezer (just in case a friend drops in and craves a crepe), always a balanced three course meal partially prepared and ready to be whipped up.Continued ...
Rowe Inn's wine list tops in region
The Rowe Inn was ranked “Best of Award of Excellence” in Wine Spectator’s 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards — the only restaurant in northern Michigan to earn the award.Continued ...
Chef/caterer feeds masses at equine festival
Matt Friess doesn’t know much about the horse show world. But he knows that the way to many an equestrian’s heart is through a sweet-and-tangy cherry chicken wrap.Continued ...
- Historical Photo of the Week: 07/28/2014