015: Parliament - Mothership Connection (1975)
“It was funny, the others was trying to change Bernie [Worrell] to make him more funky and I'm saying, No! Leave him be! What he can bring from the Conservatory can help us compete with the Jethro Tulls and the King Crimsons.”
—George Clinton in 2006, forging a spiritual bond between funk and prog
You can’t have the funk unless you have the whole funk and nothing but the funk, so Discord & Rhyme is treating you to a second round of P-Funk. This time, Mike rounds out the story by discussing Parliament, who are tighter and much more orderly than the looser, rougher Funkadelic, and feature a truly excellent horn section. Their 1975 masterpiece Mothership Connection officially declared Parliament-Funkadelic as a cohesive, galactic entity, and its space-age soundscapes have massively influenced music since, even spawning the “G-Funk” subgenre of hip-hop most famously associated with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Even more relevant to this podcast’s very particular tastes — it’s kind of proggy! And if you don’t believe us, read the epigraph above and then join us as soon as you are groovy.
The teaser is adapted from Orson Welles’ “The War of the Worlds,” which we’ve linked to below.
Ray Davis and Ray Davies are still not the same person.
And Red Hot Chili Peppers, we’re still not sorry.
If any of you actually write a Ph.D. dissertation on Mothership Connection, please let us know.
These are the wind turbines in Ontario that are definitely beaming messages to the mothership.
For those of you who are not Trekkies, Uhura was a character on the original series who happened to be a black woman. This was so groundbreaking that Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played her, nearly quit the show over the racism she had to face. Fortunately for all of us, she stayed with it.
We discussed Keith Emerson stabbing the Moog back in the ELP episode, but here’s a recap: Emerson discovered that he could get really weird sounds out of the Moog by wedging a knife blade between the keys, and that evolved into a major part of his stage performances.
George Clinton’s appearance on How I Met Your Mother doesn’t seem to be on YouTube, so if you haven’t seen it, you’ll just have to take our word for it that it was funny.
Discord & Rhyme roll call
Mike DeFabio (host)
Amanda Rodgers (moderator)
John McFerrin (special appearance)
Mothership Connection tracklist
P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)
Mothership Connection (Star Child)
Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)
Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples
Other clips used
Parliament - Ride On
Parliament - I Call My Baby Pussycat
Parliament - Up for the Down Stroke
Parliament - Rumpofsteelskin
Funkadelic - (Not Just) Knee Deep
Parliament - Flash Light
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1
Ween - Pink Eye (On My Leg)
Yes - On the Silent Wings of Freedom
Redman - Da Funk
Tone Loc - Don’t Get Close
Del the Funky Homosapien - Sunny Meadowz
Paris - Outta My Life
Ice Cube - Dirty Mack
Lower Level Organization - Here Comes the Dope Ride
Terminator X - High Priest of Turbulence
Chunk - What Waz I to Do?
Ice Cube - Say Hi to the Bad Guy
Dr. Dre - The Roach (The Chronic Outro)
Dr. Dre - Let Me Ride
Warren G & Nate Dogg - Regulate
Kool & the Gang - Ladies’ Night
Digable Planets - Escapism (Gettin’ Free)
Digital Underground - Tales of the Funky
Michael McDonald - I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)
Gentle Giant - Free Hand
MC Hammer - Turn This Mutha Out
Schoolly D - Godfather of Funk
Method Man & Redman - Tear it Off
Jungle Brothers - What U Waitin’ 4?
Ice-T & Ice Cube - Trespass
Snoop Doggy Dogg - Who Am I (What’s My Name)?
The Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin
Songs we mentioned but didn’t clip
Parliament - Nothing Before Me but Thang
Funkadelic - No Head, No Backstage Pass
Funkadelic - Can You Get to That
Funkadelic - Dipety Dipety Doo Stop the Violence
David Bowie - Fame
The Doobie Brothers - Long Train Runnin’
Deee-Lite - Groove Is in the Heart
Elvis Presley - Swing Down, Sweet Chariot
AC/DC - For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
The Beatles - I Want to Tell You
De La Soul - Me Myself and I
Procul Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale
Lead vocals - George Clinton (Lead in "P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)", "Mothership Connection (Star Child)"), Calvin Simon, Fuzzy Haskins, Ray Davis, Grady Thomas, Gary Shider (lead in "Handcuffs"), Glen Goins (lead in "Unfunky UFO", "Handcuffs"), Bootsy Collins
Horns - Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Boom, Joe Farrell
Bass guitar - Bootsy Collins, Cordell Mosson
Guitars - Garry Shider, Michael Hampton, Glen Goins, Bootsy Collins
Drums and percussion - Tiki Fulwood, Jerome Brailey, Bootsy Collins, Gary Cooper
Keyboards and synthesizers - Bernie Worrell (Minimoog, Wurlitzer electric piano, ARP Pro Soloist and String Ensemble, RMI Electra Piano, Hammond organ, grand piano, Fender Rhodes, clavinet D6)
Backing vocals and handclaps - Gary Cooper, Debbie Edwards, Taka Kahn, Archie Ivy, Bryna Chimenti, Rasputin Boutte, Pam Vincent, Debra Wright, Sidney Barnes
*to the best of anyone’s knowledge
“Discord & Rhyme (theme),” composed by the Other Leading Brand, contains elements of:
Amon Düül II - Dehypnotized Toothpaste
The Dukes of Stratosphear - What in the World?? ...
Faith No More - Midlife Crisis
Herbie Hancock - Hornets
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
Talking Heads - Seen and Not Seen
Parliament - Unfunky UFO (this episode only)
You can buy or stream Mothership Connection and other albums by Parliament — and, let’s be honest, Funkadelic — at your local Sam Goody, as well as the usual suspects such as Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon. Follow Discord & Rhyme on Twitter @DiscordPod for news and updates, follow Rich @zonetrope, follow Amanda @MagneticInk67, and follow Ben @BenjaminM1019. Check out Ben’s book, All the Days of His Life: Listening to David Bowie, Song by Song on Amazon, and listen to his awesome podcast, Detours, wherever podcasts are available. Special thanks to our own Mike DeFabio, the Other Leading Brand, for production duties. See you next album, and be ever wonderful.