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Cityfest Puts George Clinton Back In The Hood

Of the Oakland Press

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George Clinton says the best thing about playing Detroit’s Cityfest this weekend is “we get a chance to go right back in the neighborhood.”

“We usually play around, like, Royal Oak and places like that, and that’s cool,” says the funk legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, a North Carolina native who moved to Detroit in the ’60s to be a Motown staff songwriter and subsequently launched his Parliament-Funkadelic collective. “To be able to go to the hood is gonna be really nice.”

Clinton is 66 these days and lives in the retirement capitol of Florida (Tallahassee, to be specific), but he’s

hardly nearing the end of his days piloting the P-Funk mothership. In fact, he’s busier than ever and has the music to show for it.

On Sept. 16, Clinton will release “George Clinton and Some Gangsters of Love,” a set of doo-wop and R&B covers

that features guest appearances by the Red Hot Chili Peppers — whose 1985 album “Freaky Styley” he produced in Detroit — Carlos Santana, Sly Stone, RZA, System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian, El DeBarge and gospel singer Kim Burrell. “It started out with me doing some doo-wop songs,” Clinton explains, “but as we got going, people started coming through to be on it.

“It still is a concept album, but it’s taken a little bit of a different turn.”

Clinton recorded much of “Gangsters” in Ferndale with longtime Eminem collaborator Mark Bass. The two have also been working on another album of rock-styled Motown covers by P-Funk that Clinton hopes to have out later this year, with one of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s speeches sampled on “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today”). Meanwhile, P-Funk plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a party and performance on July 22 in Los Angeles, and Clinton says he plans to release an album of new P-Funk material in early 2009.

“I’ve been busy, man,” Clinton says with a laugh. “That keeps you out of trouble, y’know?”

George Clinton & Parliament/ Funkadelic perform a free concert at 5:30 p.m. Sunday July 6) on the Motor City Casino stage at Comerica CityFest 2008 in Detroit’s New Center Area. For full festival details visit www.comericacityfest.com.

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