Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Staying On The One: Bootsy Collins’ Favourite LPs

Bootsy Collins helped define the sound of funk, working with Parliament and James Brown, who taught him the mysterious concept of The One. In this Bakers Dozen, he talks to Julian Marszalek about those times & why he couldn't leave home without dropping acid and listening to Hendrix

Bootsy Collin’s colossal talent is matched only by his modesty. Having helped alter the course of music with his ground-breaking bass playing not once but twice – first with James Brown’s move into harder, tougher and altogether grittier funk territories with bona fide classic tracks like ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being A (Sex Machine)’ and ‘Super Bad’, and then with George Clinton’s acid-fried psychedelic funk circus that included Parliament, Funkadelic and his own Bootsy’s Rubber Band – you’d be well within your rights to expect to find a man only too glad to revel in his own achievements. Especially as you could argue that he’s steered musical history a third time given the sheer volume of samples that have been taken from his work.

But no; not a bit of it. The Bootsy Collins who talks to tQ down the line from Cincinnati is unfailingly polite, funny and in genuine awe of the music that he’s been part of. His position as a fan of James Brown, George Clinton, Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker and so many others is palpable and frequently touching. And while he’s aware of his own considerable talents, he’s not slow to pay tribute to those who nurtured and developed them. It was James Brown who taught the young bassist the concept of The One – the source of all funkiness and the first beat in a measure – and then George Clinton who got Collins to stretch that idea out into something genuinely fresh and new. But all credit to Bootsy Collins for delivering the goods and setting the template for what bass guitarists coild achieve when setting their sights below the neck.

In short, Bootsy Collins is a genuine original and innovator.

And now he’s back with World Wide Funk, his first new album in six years. An absolute riot of infectious and irresistible funk that deserves to be heard through a bloody massive soundsystem with the volume turned to the max, the album finds Bootsy Collins working with a number of high profile rappers including Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh and Chuck D as well as musicians such as former Guns N’Roses shredder Buckethead and singer Iggy Pop. But in a move that recalls his own youth, Bootsy has also been joined a host of young and upcoming talent that includes singers Tyshawn Colquitt and Kali Uchis, as well as bassist co-producer Alissia Benveniste among many others.

Having recovered from a tumour on his ear, Bootsy Collins is talking to tQ from his office in Cincinnati through his favourite 13 albums and the impact that they’ve made on both his life and music. Though we can’t see him, it’s difficult not imagine him to be sat on a chair with stack-heeled boots resting on his desk, a massive hat resting on his head and star-shaped sunglasses sat on his face. And it’s impossible not to smile out loud when Bootsy advises your correspondent to “stay on The One, man!”

Click the photo of Bootsy Collins to being reading the Baker’s Dozen

First Record

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