July 06, 2015

Can U Paradigm? When I Met George Clinton

What do you know about Paradigm? That was the question that led to a wonderful conversation with Dr. Funkenstein himself, George Clinton. It was back in 2002 or 2003 and the P-Funk All-Stars were playing at the university where I work in Tennessee.  There is a tunnel that leads from outside, where the buses were parked, to the backstage area. I was standing there talking to a couple of students when George walked up.  The students thanked him for coming, asked for autographs and then quickly left. I jokingly asked George if he could slip a little Maggot Brain into the set list and he laughed.  "How do you know Maggot Brain?" I told him, "I may live here but I'm from Michigan and grew up with the funk coming out of the "D" (referring to Detroit)." He just nodded and let out a little "huh!"

I thought that would be the end of our interaction and as he started to walk away, I took a chance.  I asked if I could bother him with one more question and he turned around.  I asked, "When are you gonna drop Paradigm?" He just looked at me with this blank look and then asked, "What did you just say?" I repeated my question again, "When are you gonna drop Paradigm?" That's when he asked me, "What do you know about Paradigm?" I went on to explain how I grew up listening to funk and how I was a huge Prince fan since back in 1981.  He laughed, nodded and said, "Ok, but what do you know about Paradigm?" I replied, "I know it's too funky to sit in a vault and needed to be released." He just stood there for a minute and then, as if an epiphany had occurred, he said, "How do you know how funky it is if I haven't released it?" Now it was my turn to laugh as I told him, "I was listening to it on my way here." Startled, he blurted out "How the hell..." but I cut him off with "you don't need to know that."  He just busted out laughing and shaking his head.  He asked if I really thought it was funky and I said "hell, yeah." One of the band members, I don't remember who, walked by and George yelled at him to come over. When he got to us, George pointed at me and said, "White boy here in Nashville, Tennessee wants to know about Paradigm.  What the hell?" The band member asked the same question George asked, "What do you know about Paradigm?" So I explained it all to him just as I had George.  He just shook his head and walked away laughing as George repeated, "Damn white boy in Nashville, Tennessee asking about Paradigm!"

We spent the next few minutes talking about my favorite P-Funk songs with him giving me his perspective on my choices. I told him I loved We Can Funk with him and Prince.  He told me the finished version was a lot different than how it started out and I told him I knew that.  When I told him I had heard four or five versions of the song he just nodded and said, "I don't wanna know" and burst out laughing again.  I asked him what it was like to work with Prince and he got real contemplative.  I didn't think he was gonna answer when he finally looked me in the eyes and said, "He's a genius." That was it.  Three words. That's all he had to say.  He told me to enjoy the show, shook my hand and left to go to his green room.

I stood just off stage during the show and, even though I couldn't party like everyone else due to being at work, I was dancing my ass off on the inside.  George frequently left the stage to cool off, grab some water and relax.  Each time, he would ask, "how we doing?" I would just smile and nod my head in approval.

After the final encore, when George left the stage for the final time, he walked up and asked, "Well, what did you think?" I told him it was amazing and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I reached out to shake his hand but he gave me a hug instead, telling me to "promise to keep the funk!" I escorted him out to the Mothership, he turned on the Flashlight and he flew away.  Okay...okay....I escorted him out to the bus and then he was gone but the other way sounded more dramatic.

Fast forward to May 6, 2004 and Prince's Musicology Tour show has come to the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville.  Being a member of the NPG Music Club, I am on the front row for this show and having the time of my life (like you do at every Prince concert).  We are getting to the end of the show and who do I see walking up the aisle toward me but George Clinton.  He is being escorted by security to the stage so he can accompany Prince and the NPG for a few songs.  While he's waiting to go up on the stage, I yell at him, "George!!! George!!!" My date tells me to stop because he doesn't know me.  After I yell his name a third time, he looks at me and nods.  Then he looks again and I can see the recognition in his eyes.  He walks over and shakes my hand while smiling and saying, "Damn white boy!" He then whispers in my ear that "Paradigm will be released." With that, he is escorted up to the stage where he jams with Prince and the NPG on Life of the Party, Soul Man and Kiss.  I was astounded that he actually remembered me and our conversation. 

A year later in 2005, George released the double CD How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent? and the third track on the first CD was Paradigm.

Hey brother, can U paradigm?

July 05, 2015

From The Witcher to the Knight.....

I know it's has been a while since I have posted anything and I wish I could say that I have been extremely busy but, in truth, I haven't. Most of my time has been eaten up with playing PS4 and watching TV in my spare time.  In particular. I have been watching Game of Thrones (which has ended), Penny Dreadful and Halt and Catch Fire.  I've also been binge watching Marvel: Agents of Shield on Netflix (since I didn't watch it on regular TV).  In between all that, I've been playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Batman Arkham Knight.  I won't even start on the TV shows but I will talk briefly about the games though.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a single person role-playing game where you play Geralt of Rivia.  Geralt is a witcher, monster-hunting, ghost-fighting hunter for hire with some special powers.  Geralt travels the Northern Kingdoms (Velen, Nilfgaard, Novigrad and Skellige) looking for Ciri.  Along the way he is accompanied by various friends and acquaintances.  The game is open world, features a great landscape and plenty of memorable battles.  Below are a few screenshots of some wonderful scenery.

Batman Arkham Knight....well....it's Batman.  What more can I say?
 Well, time to go find Scarecrow!!!! Until next time......