Brothas Be, Yo Like George: Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?


Carlon & George Clinton

Carlon & George Clinton

Brothas Be, Yo Like George: Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?


Nothing like music to bring out the character you were in your coming-of-age.  The most poised, professional and cool can lose all that at the sound of their song from back in the day. Want to see me revert to type, put on some P-Funk and I’ll dance my way “out of my constriction.”

So, you can imagine how crazy it was for me to take a meeting with the one, George Clinton a couple and years ago, about the idea of a memoir that is now on the market  (and on-sale in the store), Brothas Be, Yo Like George: Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You? By George Clinton with Ben Greenman.

Our first meeting was in the office of his literary agent, David Vigliano, in midtown. Gone was George’s rainbow hair extension. His do was short and topped by a stingy brim. He wore a herringbone sports jacket with suede patches. Other than his clothes, he was the same grand master of funk.

Memory loss was the one small concern I had about signing him up for a book, but that worry was dissolved as he told story after story about how he got from a New Jersey barbershop to music stardom. He was serious and committed to having his say and letting fans in to know what’s behind the magic of the bands Parliament Funkadelic. He was also smart in his choice of writer/collaborator Ben Greenman. Ben was the hired pen for Questlove’s book Mo Metta Blues, but I was more familiar with his work for The New Yorker and for interviewing Common (another artist whose memoir I edited) at The New Yorker literary festival. A good writer isn’t always a good collaborator, but Ben is both.

A factor in George Clinton’s genius is his understanding of the role community can play in the creation of amazing music. The funk that was Parliament Funkadelic stands the test of time because the glue in the relationships that make the music is strong, which made my work as a publisher possible.

The cover design came from George’s people, not our corporate art department. Overton Lloyd, who made the portrait of George, is one of two artist—the other is Pedro Bell–responsible for the cover art that made the band a brand. The amazing photos came not just from the Author but family and friends. We have George doing hair “Like riding a bike: one you learn how, you never forget.” George in the studio with Sly Stone, in the Smithsonian with the Mothership, receiving an honorary degree from Berklee College of Music—and more: it’s all there in the book.

George dedicates the book to his wife Carlon Thompson who was everything to me making sure the work for the book stayed on track and the quality of the work kept to a standard. She was most valuable player –besides the author–in what is now a fantastic book documenting one of the greatest leaders and creative forces in music ever.

There’s an icon of the front cover of the book you can “blipp…for access to five new songs from George Clinton” –a bonus and the perfect soundtrack when you’re curled up reading the book. — Malaika Adero

George Clinton Cover

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