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Feb
22

Eddie Hazel by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Facts, Music  //  1 Comment


Eddie Hazel

Eddie Hazel

What can said be about Eddie Hazel that hasn’t been already said before? This man was a living legend, a man to carry the torch that Jimi Hendrix lit, pioneer of the Funk-Metal fusion sound that laid the ground that many were influenced by and not even realized it. Many Funkateers and guitar players who know the real deal, know about Eddie Hazel, but, there are a good amount who should know. Like Spacey T said in the black rock documentary “Electric Purgatory: The Fate of the Black Rocker”, “Nobody talks about my man Eddie Hazel.“ For those who are familiar but not aware of the genius of Eddie Hazel this is the article for you.

Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1950 as Edward Earl Hazel, Eddie grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey because his mother, Grace Cook, didn’t want her son growing up in an environment without the drugs and crime that she felt was prominent in New York City. Hazel was given a guitar as a Christmas gift by his older brother. At 12, Eddie became friends with the person to be known as Billy “Bass” Nelson. Both Eddie and Billy sung and played guitar and soon added drummer Harvey McGee to the mix.

In 1967, The Parliaments, a Plainfield-based doo wop group headed by George Clinton, had a hit record with “(I Wanna) Testify.” On this tour, Clinton recruited a backing band, hiring Billy “Bass” Nelson on bass. Billy recommended Hazel for the guitar position. But, due to Hazel working with George Blackwell in Newark, New Jersey. After Nelson returned from touring, he tried to recruit Hazel. Naturally, Eddie Hazel’s mother vetoed the idea of Eddie playing since Hazel was only seventeen at the time. But, Clinton and Nelson changed her mind and let Eddie join the band.

In late ‘67, The Parliaments went on tour with both Nelson and Hazel. In Philadelphia, Pa, Hazel met and befriended Tiki Fullwood, who replaced the Parliaments drummer. With this, Nelson, Hazel and Fullwood evolved from the backing band of the Parliaments to the backbone of Funkadelic. The familiar Doo-Wop sound of the Parliaments quickly began developing into the soul-inflicted hard rock of Funkadelic, Funkadelic was influenced as much by Frankie Lymon as much as Jimi Hendrix. With the addition of Tawl Ross on rhythm guitar and Bernie Worrell on keys, Funkadelic was born.

Now that you’re aware of the basic origins of Eddie Hazel and Funkadelic, I’m going to start off with the first three Funkadelic albums. Remember, this isn’t the definitive Eddie Hazel discography by any means whatsoever. But with these three albums, this should give you a glimpse on the underrated guitar genius of Eddie Hazel.

Funkadelic self-titled Debut

“Funkadelic”

A phenomenal album recorded in Detroit with contributions from the Motown house band “The Funk Bros.” This album needs a review of all of it’s own. but, in this case we’re going to focus on Eddie Hazel‘s best moments on this phenomenal album.

“I Bet You”

This track asserts itself as a soulful jam that begins with a drum break from Tiki Fulwood and a funky opening riff by Eddie. But as the songs develops, some keyboards and spacey synthesizer action and at 2:07 Eddie’s guitar solo “hits the scene” and brings it on home. The tracks breaks down into a juxtaposition of a science fiction soundtrack, Eddie’s fuzzed out guitar but anchored by the earthy sounds.

Guitar Solo

“Music For My Mother”

“Music For My Mother” gives you a down home southern feel that they refer to as “way back yonder funk.” A track that builds into a call and response with driving drums by Brad Innis and some tasteful licks from Eddie. In this case, Music For My Mother has a grounded feel in the midst of the afro-science fiction funk that’s common throughout the album.

“Good Old Music”

Good Old Music lives up to it‘s name. Eddie Hazel is playing a fuzzed out guitar solo that throughout the song, sews the rhythm section together. In the grand scheme of things, Eddie’s sharp fuzzed out tone is reminiscent of audio embroidery. With Eddie’s soloing he created an audio equivalent of needlepoint that sewed together an already great rhythm section.

“Qualify and Satisfy”

“Qualify and Satisfy” is a down and dirty blues number with suggestive lyrics sung by Calvin Simon. What first starts off as a “gut bucket” blues number develops into a spacey funk jam. Eddie Hazel’s greasy blues licks that develops from a satisfying greasy blues guitar solo into an echoed, fuzzed out call to the cosmos.

Guitar solo

Thanks to the contributions of Dennis Coffey, Earl Van Dyke and other members of the Motown records house band The Funk Bros., this self titled debut was a juxtaposition of screeching Post-Hendrix, Proto-Heavy Metal guitar licks and the “Motown” sound.

Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow
“Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow”

The way this album was mixed, the output of the album has this primal crunchy distorted sound that gives you the feeling of pandemonium but still controlled. There have been various legends of George Clinton’s intention regarding this album. One legend is, George Clinton wanted to see if you can record an album on acid and the other legend is that George Clinton wanted to emulate the feeling of an acid trip on a record.

“Free Your Mind…”

The title song kicks off with a mix of fuzzed out guitars, weird chants, synthesizer madness that urges you to elevate your mind from the shackles of yourself to a higher conscious. In this song, Eddie rips a heavy fuzzed out guitar solo that just weaves through out the song like the intricate needlework on a “coat of arms“.

“Friday Night”

A loud, kick to the face to an all around crunchy track with drums by Tiki Fulwood, bass by Billy Nelson, organ by Bernie Worrell and rhythm guitar by Tawl Ross and lead work by Eddie Hazel. Like Good Old Music, Friday Night is a loud jam with proto-metal lead work by Eddie Hazel that sounds like a contemporary to Black Sabbath guitarist, Tony Iommi. Amidst the chaos of this free for all, the song ends on a jazzy outro.

Guitar Solo

“Funky Dollar Bill”

With the band getting across the message of the potential evil that money can buy. A shining moment for not just Eddie Hazel but the band as an entity.

“I Wanna know if it’s Good To You”

“I Wanna Know…“ is a great example of controlled chaos, this is a psychedelic gut bucket R&B tune, the best way to describe it is, soul food fried in LSD. Although as humans, the band are separate entities but, it sounds as if they’re fused together sharing one spiritual entity playing as one. The complimentary licks of Eddie Hazel’s guitar amidst the band sound like racing thoughts that make you break out in a sweat. This song is taken home by a mammoth solo by Eddie Hazel that gives you the feeling of going through time and space.

Maggot Brain

Maggot Brain

This album is full of amazing guitar work by Eddie, but, I’m going to focus on the title track and “Super Stupid” due to there cultural significance.

“Maggot Brain”

What can you say about this 10 minute epic that hasn’t been said before? I remember, getting into a disagreement with a friend of mine once because they felt this song was a rip off of “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd. Trouble is “The Wall” was released in 1979, meanwhile Maggot Brain was released in 1971. So unless, Eddie traveled in time to get that “Pink Floyd’s The Wall” vibe, I think it’s safe to say after listening to “Maggot Brain“, time travel is possible.

“Super Stupid”

If anyone tells you that black people don’t play rock, get that guy and crank this jam to the highest volume until there hair stands on end like an anime character and there eyes pop out like a cartoon! Eddie rips this track like cheese to a grater! With a quick guitar sketching that is merely a call to the gates, the song breaks into the no nonsense opening riff that’s the audio equivalent to a punch to the face! Words can’t describe this classic head banger, do yourself a favor and listen for yourself.

Guitar Solo

To reiterate, these three albums are just phenomenal examples of an underrated guitar genius and troubled soul but also the bricks on the road me know as modern rock. If you’re looking to get into the origins of “Funk-Rock”, “Groove Metal“, “Nu-Metal” “Rap-Metal” etc. Funkadelic is one of those definitive bands along with Mother’s Finest, Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys and countless others to pioneer the sound. Remember this, you can’t known where you’ve been if you don’t know how far you’ve gone.

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Feb
19

Mark Dean

By GPR84  //  Facts  //  No Comments
Mark Dean

Mark Dean

Mark Dean and his co-inventor Dennis Moeller created a microcomputer system with bus control means for computer peripheral devices. This invention paved the way for the potential growth in the information technology industry. If it wasn’t for this creation, peripherals like disk drivers, video capture cards, speakers, keyboards, basically anything with a SCSI or USB wouldn’t exist or be useless without this.


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Feb
17

Michael Andre Lewis

By GPR84  //  Facts  //  No Comments

andre_lewis

Being a Zappa fan, of course I had to mention Andre Lewis…

Michael Andre Lewis grew up in Omaha,NE and later formed a group with to-be Grammy award winner Lester Abrams. Lewis has also toured and recorded with: Grant Green, The Who, LaBelle, Buddy Miles Band, Maxayn, Rufus, White Chocolate, Earth Wind and Fire, toured and recorded with Frank Zappa. Produced at Motown and also played with Huey Lewis, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Carl Carlton, Angela Boffil, Stacey Latisaw, Edwin Starr, Charles Wilson and the Gap Band, Sly Stone, Bobby Womack, Jonas Hellborg, Ginger Baker, Freda Payne, and was band leader for Johnny Guitar Watson.

Michael Andre Lewis was one of the first musicians using multiple signal processors on keyboards. He was a pioneer in the use of synthesizers on records and worked with Roger Lynn on developing the first digital drum machines (he was a testor for Roland products). Lewis was hired by FZ to replace George Duke. Andre got to audition via Marty Perillis, who got his name and number from a music store in LA (though his professional relationship with Johnny “Guitar” Watson might have helped him ‘win’ the audition). His first gig with FZ was the Royce Hall concert. Andre Lewis provided organ/keyboards, and/or vocal for Zoot Allures, Studio Tan, Sheik Yerbouti, Orchestral Favorites, Tinsel Town Rebellion, Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar, You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3, You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 6, Läther, Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa, FZ:OZ, and Quaudiophiliac

Facts

Andre Lewis was one of the first musicians using multiple signal processors on keyboards; later he was a pioneer in the use of synthesizers on records and worked with the now famous Roger Lynn on developing the first digital drum machines.

Andre Lewis: There have been two musically emotional highs in my life; one was when Miles Davis wanted to form a rock band, and he said to me he wanted to have some guys like me in the band, who could play. The other was feeling the vibe playing with my old friends, whom I was raised up with, live and being able to make this record.


Source cited wikipedia.com, Zappawiki.com

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Feb
16

Bad Brains

By GPR84  //  Facts  //  No Comments

bad-brains

Until recently with the splotlight on bands like Philadelphia’s Pure Hell and legendary Proto-Punk Detroit band “Death” (not to be confused with the seminal Death Metal band of the same name) Bad Brains was considered the first all black punk/hardcore band. Although it can’t be said that Bad Brains was the first black punk band, but you can say that they’re the first black punk band to put the D.C. Hardcore scene on the map.

Originally, the band was first founded as a jazz-fusion ensemble called Mind Power in 1975, with the line up as singer Sid McCray, Gary Miller and brothers Earl and Paul “H.R.” Hudson, in the mold of bands such as Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. In 1977, McCray introduced the rest of the band, who were already interested in bands such as Black Sabbath, Budgie and Led Zeppelin to punk rock. including the Dickies, the Dead Boys, and the Sex Pistols. Mind Power became obsessed with punk rock and changed their name to “Bad Brains”, after the Ramones song “Bad Brain” but in this case the word “bad” was used in the sense of meaning “powerful.” Despite their burgeoning punk sound, the early Bad Brains also delved deep into reggae music. McCray left in the early days of the group’s hardcore-punk era, and guitarist H.R. became the band’s singer.

The band developed an early reputation in Washington D.C., due in part to the relative novelty of an entirely African-American band playing punk rock, but also due to their high-energy performances and undeniable talent.

The band’s considerable musical technique, due in part to their jazz and progressive rock roots, set them apart from other Washington punk groups, who were typically earnest but often amateurish performers. Bad Brains’ emphasis on extreme speed, especially in their early records and performances, are often regarded as establishing hardcore punk.

Their music still contained hints of their prog-rock past and even some reggae, with quick time changes and H.R.’s fluctuating vocal dynamics. H.R. was a muscular and unpredictable stage performer with a very wide vocal range, who would often leap into the audience or onto amplifiers equating him to a cross between James Brown and Iggy Pop.

In 1979, Bad Brains found themselves the subject of an unofficial ban among many Washington D.C. area clubs and performance venues (later addressed in their song, “Banned in D.C.”). The band subsequently relocated to New York City where they performed at CBGB’s.

Their self-titled debut album was released on New York’s ROIR Records on “cassette only” in January 1982, followed in 1983 by Rock for Light, produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars. These two albums, containing hardcore punk and mellow reggae, were landmarks, influencing an entire generation of musicians, including Beastie Boys, Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, 311, Living Colour and more.

With any brotherhood, there was in-fighting, the band fought constantly with volatile singer H.R., who was very expressive and allegedly schizophrenic. H.R. seemed to reflect Bad Brains’ music: one minute calm and espousing peace and love, and the next minute an aggressive, sometimes violent man. In 1984, Bad Brains broke up; it was the first of many splits. H.R. began a solo career devoted to all genres of music, calling music “Transcendental” and saying “acceptance of all music is what I feel will be the unification of all nations under one” releasing many albums from 1984, 86′, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, and 2000.

Change of style (1986–1992)

In 1986, Bad Brains reunited and SST Records released I Against I. As the title track demonstrated, Bad Brains could still play extremely fast, but there was also a new variety; there was much more melody and slower grooves. Dr. Know sounded a bit like a punked-out Eddie Van Halen, there was an outright love song in “She’s Calling You,” and H.R. famously provided vocals for “Sacred Love” over the phone from the Lorton Reformatory while doing a bid for a cannabis charge. Also critically praised was H.R.’s performance: “he digs deep into his bag of voices and pulls them all out, one by one: the frightening nasal falsetto that was his signature in the band’s hardcore days, an almost bel canto baritone, and a declamatory speed-rap chatter that spews lyrics with the mechanical precision of a machine gun.” The title track’s video was shown on MTV’s then-new 120 Minutes program, for which the band appeared in promotional footage. Despite the success of I Against I, Bad Brains broke up again after spending most of 1987 on the road.

The group signed with Caroline Records in the late 1980s to release Quickness in 1989. The album continued where I Against I had left off, yet with a heavier sound and featuring the return of reggae with “The Prophet’s Eye”.

Bad Brains were plagued by internal tensions nearly from their beginning. Aside from the problems with H.R., who sometimes refused to perform at scheduled concerts, he and his younger brother, drummer Earl Hudson, also wanted to devote the band strictly to reggae, while Dr. Know and Darryl Jenifer were increasingly interested in heavy metal music. H.R. was replaced by Taj Singleton for the Quickness tour. H.R. had financial problems after an unsuccessful European tour with the group Human Rights, and meanwhile touring replacement singer Taj Singleton did not fit well with Bad Brains. H.R. and Earl both returned to the band, and H.R. was given a week to spit out some lyrics and get the vocal tracks down for Quickness. After the Quickness tour, H.R. and Earl left once again and H.R. was replaced by former Faith No More vocalist Chuck Mosley. Soon afterward, Bad Brains broke up yet again.

In 1990, Bad Brains backed longtime friend, fan, and protege Henry Rollins on a cover version of The MC5’s “Kick out the Jams”. The recording appears on the soundtrack to the film Pump Up the Volume.

Lineup change and reunions (1993–2000)

As bands influenced by Bad Brains (such as Living Colour and Fishbone) enjoyed commercial success, Dr. Know was approached by Epic Records in 1993, offering the band a major-label record deal. However, H.R. and Earl weren’t interested, as they were concentrating strictly on reggae. Dr. Know and Darryl Jenifer replaced them with former Cro-Mags drummer Mackie Jayson (who had played as a session musician on Quickness), and vocalist Israel Joseph I. Rise was released in 1993 to some confusion as original vocalist H.R. had been billed as “Joseph I” on the Rock for Light album back in 1983. Mixing jazz, punk, reggae, pop, funk, and rock, Rise was by far the most diverse album the group had released. In addition to a mix of reggae and hardcore, the album also featured heavy metal overtones. However, sales were unimpressive, reviews were mixed, and Israel and Jayson were fired to make room for the return of H.R. and Earl Hudson.
With the original band back together for the first time in five years, Bad Brains signed to the Maverick Records label for the 1995 release God of Love.

At a show at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas in 1995, H.R., (according to some accounts, while high on psychedelic mushrooms), bashed a microphone stand against the skull of an audience member, notably, a skinhead that heckled the band with racist taunts, severely injuring him. After this incident, the band called it quits yet again. Earlier that year, while on tour with Beastie Boys, the band was arrested with drug paraphernalia while crossing into Canada. Later in Montreal, Canada, H.R. attacked Bad Brains’ manager Anthony Countey, breaking his nose, and also assaulted his brother Earl before their scheduled appearance with Beastie Boys. This incident also caused them to miss the next show planned for Madison Square Garden in New York City. Maverick dropped the Brains soon afterward.

Two years later, the band worked together to remaster some very early studio recordings which were then released as the EP The Omega Sessions by Victory Records. In 1999, the original lineup toured under the name “Soul Brains” due to H.R.’s desire to not be associated with anything “Bad”. A live album, A Bad Brains Reunion Live from Maritime Hall was released in 2000.

New millennium (2001-present)

H.R. appears on the track “Without Jah, Nothin’ “, on P.O.D.’s triple platinum 2001 recording Satellite.

In 2002, Bad Brains released I & I Survived, an album devoted entirely to dub and reggae; many fans had been pushing for such an album for years.

In 2004, hypeman/producer/DJ Lil’ Jon, another longtime fan of the band, recruited Dr. Know, Jenifer and Earl Hudson to back him on a version of his song “Real Nigga Roll Call,” which interpolated the music of I Against I ’s “Re-Ignition.” The recording appears on the limited-edition release of Lil’ Jon’s album Crunk Juice. The accompanying DVD features footage of the session.

H.R. Performed the song “Who’s Got the Herb?” with the band 311 on June 22, 2004, in Long Beach, California.

In 2005, Darryl Jenifer told Billboard magazine that the band was in the studio recording their first proper studio album in ten years, to be released later in the year. Beastie Boy Adam Yauch also gave interviews indicating that he was producing the sessions, for which basic tracks featuring the original lineup had been recorded. H.R. was said to be on board for the new album, slated to emphasize a return to their early hardcore sound.

In late 2005, it was announced that Bad Brains would headline a two-date show at New York City’s legendary CBGB’s, which was scheduled for February 24–25, 2006. Tickets for both dates quickly sold out. After sets from a handful of other hardcore punk acts, Bad Brains came to the stage, as billed in print, “with John Joseph” of The Cro-Mags filling in for H.R. and former Bad Brains drummer Mackie Jayson filling in for Earl Hudson. Meanwhile, H.R. and Dubb Agents played gigs under the Global Rock Showcase event brand in California.

May 28, 2005, to Sept. 8, 2006, H.R. & Dubb Agents headlined a series of Global Rock Showcase dates across the United States. Dates include Little Steven Van Zandt’s “Save CBGB Rally” concert in Washington Square Park, New York City, August 31, 2005. H.R. has a long time association with Global Rock Showcase organizers D.I.A. Records, and released an album through them titled Out Of Bounds.

On hiatus from Global Rock Showcases, in the fall of 2006, H.R. reunited with Bad Brains for two dates at CBGB’s on October 9 & 10, as part of the continuing celebration of the venue’s legacy and imminent closing. Due to tickets selling out within mere minutes, unsurprising due to the band’s devoted following, a third show was added for Wednesday, October 11. During the course of the three day bill, H.R. announced that the new Bad Brains album was “forthcoming.” He also stated that the band’s next set of tour dates would be called The Re-Ignition Tour. However, the tour eventually was not billed as such.

While H.R. & Dubb Agents geared up to tour Global Rock Showcases ‘07 dates, in early January 2007, Bad Brains revealed the title of the new album. Build a Nation was released on June 26, 2007. The album debuted at #100 on the Billboard 200, and also garnished overwhelmingly positive reception from fans and critics alike. Scheduled between Global Rock Showcase dates, Bad Brains played five dates including Sasquatch Fest, June 27, 2007, George, Washington, and Virgin Fest, Aug. 5, 2007, Baltimore, Maryland. Bad Brains’ California dates were Sept. 22 to 28, 2007, followed by a European tour in October, 2007. Upon return to the U.S. the band took stage in Chicago for the multi-billed Riotfest rock concert. Bad Brains, as of 2006-07, appear to be a more stable unit, and are enjoying successes that did not come to fruition previously. The internet has also contributed to the band’s resurgence as it is now possible to view old and new concert footage via Youtube, or read archived interviews.

The video for the song “Give Thanks and Praises” can be seen online on the band’s MySpace page as of August 2007. Director Shavo Odadjian makes an appearance at the end of the concert video with frontman H.R.. The two are seen charismatically walking stage side, passing and smoking a marijuana joint.
Before the release of the new album, Dr. Know stated he was eager for the band to record more albums. As of 2007, Dr. Know, Darryl Jenifer, and H.R. all have solo albums in the works. H.R. will continue to tour solo with DIA Records Global Rock Showcase through the remainder of 2007, with his instrumental section Dub Agents. The title of bassist Darryl Jenifer’s upcoming solo effort is Blackvova Universal Sound.

In January 2008, the band announced they are working on a box set of 7″ vinyl records.

Bad Brains toured South America during April 2008 with former singer Israel Joseph I (who was in the Bad Brains from 1992–1994 and appeared on the album Rise), temporarily filling in for H.R. The band performed at the Smoke Out festival in San Bernardino, CA on October 24, 2009.

Two documentaries of the band are currently in production as well as a documentary film focusing on H.R..

According to their official website, Bad Brains plan to tour in the spring of 2010.



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Feb
15

Mother’s Finest

By GPR84  //  Facts  //  No Comments

Mother's Finest

Mother’s Finest are notable partly because they are an “interracial” rock group from the US South. Their music was a blend of funky rhythm, heavy guitars and expressive R&B singing. Their debut album Mother’s Finest from 1976 today is a rare collector’s piece and contained with the ironic song “Nigizz Can’t Sing Rock’n Roll” (although they were criticized for it by an important religious leader and dropped it from their live concerts). In the summer of 1977, they opened for The Who in their laser lit tour through Canada. An unusual choice of opening acts, they impressed with their performance and choreographed stage show. In 1978 they were guests in German broadcast Rockpalast and with one concert they gathered a cult status in Europe which lasts until today (this concert appears on the DVD Mother’s Finest – At Rockpalast).

In the late seventies they produced more soul-oriented albums and at the beginning of the eighties some heavy rock as on Iron Age. In the nineties they were back with Black radio Won’t Play This Record, a funk metal album, and their most recent CD is Meta-funk’n-physical from 2004 which is more hip hop- and electronic beats-oriented.

They are led by R&B singer Joyce Kennedy.

Mother’s Finest was well respected within the southern rock musical community. Their fellow Epic Records label-mates The Stranger (band) would play “Another Mother Further” as their introductory music.

Most recently, Joyce Kennedy was seen on the international Daughters Of Soul tour along with Sandra St. Victor, Nona Hendryx, Lalah Hathaway (daughter of Donny Hathaway), Indira Khan (daughter of Chaka Khan), and Simone (daughter of Nina Simone).[1]

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Feb
12

Jerry Lawson

By GPR84  //  Facts  //  No Comments

Jerry Lawson on left at VCF 9.0/Photo by Peter Fueller

Jerry Lawson on left at VCF 9.0/Photo by Peter Fueller


Jerry Lawson was the director of engineering and marketing for Fairchild Semiconductor’s Video Game division. Fairchild Semiconductor drafted him for the highly classified project to bring a game from an Intel 8080 processor over to the Fairchild’s F8-the CPU of the Channel F. Jerry Lawson designed the Channel F. The Fairchild Channel F was the first programmable ROM cartridge-based video game console.

A year later, Atari released their console, With this, Jerry Lawson is considered, if not, the father of “Cartridge Based” gaming. If it wasn’t for him, all of your memories of staying up late trying to “save the princess” wouldn’t exist.


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Feb
11

George Clinton

By GPR84  //  Facts  //  No Comments

George CLinton

George Clinton (born July 22, 1941) is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and music producer and the principal architect of P-Funk. He was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s and early 1980s, and began his work as a solo artist in 1981. He has been called one of the most prominent innovators of funk music, along with James Brown and Sly Stone. Clinton became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, after being inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

Early life

Clinton was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, and resides in Tallahassee, Florida. During his teen years, Clinton formed a doo wop group, inspired by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, called The Parliaments, while straightening hair at a barber salon in Plainfield.[1] For a period in the 1960s, Clinton was a staff songwriter for Motown. Despite initial commercial failures (and one major hit single, “(I Wanna) Testify”, in 1967), The Parliaments eventually found success under the names Parliament and Funkadelic in the seventies (see also P-Funk). These two bands combined elements of bands/musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, Cream and James Brown while exploring different sounds, technology, and lyricism. Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic dominated black music during the 1970s with over 40 R&B hit singles (including three number ones) and three platinum albums.[1] Clinton’s efforts as a solo artist began in 1981. He is also a notable music producer working on almost all of the albums he performs on, as well as producing albums for Bootsy Collins and Red Hot Chili Peppers amongst others.
1980s

Beginning in the early 1980s, Clinton recorded several nominal “solo” albums, although all of these records featured contributions from P-Funk’s core musicians. The primary reason for recording under his own name was legal difficulties, due to the complex copyright and trademark issues surrounding the name “Parliament” (primarily) and Polygram’s purchase of his former label (as part of Parliament), Casablanca Records.

In 1982, Clinton signed to Capitol Records as a solo artist and as the P-Funk All-Stars, releasing Computer Games that same year.[2] “Loopzilla” hit the Top 20 R&B charts, followed by “Atomic Dog”, which reached #1 R&B, but peaked at #101 on the pop chart.[2] In the next four years, Clinton released three more studio albums (You Shouldn’t-Nuf Bit Fish, Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends and R&B Skeletons in the Closet) as well as a live album, Mothership Connection (Live from the Summit, Houston, Texas) and charting three singles in the R&B Top 30, “Nubian Nut”, “Last Dance”, and “Do Fries Go with That Shake?”. This period of Clinton’s career was marred by multiple legal problems (resulting in financial difficulties) due to complex royalty and copyright issues.

In 1985, he was recruited by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to produce their album Freaky Styley, because the band members were huge fans of George Clinton and funk in general. Clinton, in fact, wrote the vocals and lyrics to the title track which was originally intended by the band to be left an instrumental piece. The album was not a commercial success at the time, but has since sold 500,000 copies after the Chili Peppers became popular years later.

Though Clinton’s popularity had waned by the mid 1980s, he experienced something of resurgence in the early 1990s, as many rappers cited him as an influence and began sampling his songs. Alongside James Brown, George Clinton is considered to be one of the most sampled musicians ever.

In 1989, Clinton released The Cinderella Theory on Paisley Park, Prince’s record label. This was followed by Hey Man, Smell My Finger. Clinton then signed with Sony 550 and released T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. (The Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Mothership) in 1996, having reunited with several old members of Parliament and Funkadelic.

In 1995 Clinton sang “Mind Games” on the John Lennon tribute “Working Class Hero”. In the 1990s, Clinton appeared in films such as Graffiti Bridge (1990), House Party (1990), PCU (1994), Good Burger (1997) and The Breaks (1999). In 1997 he appeared in Space Ghost. Most recently he appeared as the voice of The Funktipus, the DJ of the Funk radio station Bounce FM in the 2004 video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in which his song “Loopzilla” also appeared. Rapper Dr. Dre sampled most of his beats to create his G-Funk music era. He’s also worked with Tupac Shakur on the song “Can’t C Me” from the album All Eyez on Me; Outkast on the song “Synthesizer” from the album Aquemini; Redman on the song “J.U.M.P.” from the album Malpractice; Souls of Mischief on “Mama Knows Best” from the album Trilogy: Conflict, Climax, Resolution; Killah Priest on “Come With me” from the album Priesthood and the Wu Tang Clan on “Tar pit” from the album “8 Diagrams”. In 1994 he collaborated with British band Primal Scream on “Funky Jam” from their LP “Give Out But Don’t Give Up”.

On December 6, 2003, Clinton was charged with one felony count of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia in Tallahassee, Florida.[3] Just two weeks later, he made his first public appearance since the arrest, jamming onstage with the jam band Phish in Miami. On August 11, 2004, he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor drug-paraphernalia charges, while the felony charge was dropped.

Clinton founded a record label called The C Kunspyruhzy in 2005.
He had a cameo appearance in the season-two premiere of the CBS television sitcom How I Met Your Mother, on September 18, 2006.

“You’re Thinking Right”, the theme song for The Tracey Ullman Show, was written by Clinton. He appeared on the intro to Snoop Dogg’s Tha Blue Carpet Treatment album, released in 2007. He also appeared in the film PCU (Jeremy Piven, David Spade) and played a concert for the big party.

Clinton was also a judge for the 5th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists’ careers.[4]

Clinton allows audience members to tape his live performances for private, non-commercial use only.[5]

On September 16, 2008, Clinton released his next solo album George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love on Shanachie Records. Largely a covers album, Gangsters features guest appearances from Sly Stone, El DeBarge, Red Hot Chili Peppers, RZA, Carlos Santana, gospel singer Kim Burrell and more. [6]

On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2008, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic headlined the show at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, CA.

On May 9 George performed at Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

On September 10, 2009, George Clinton was awarded the Urban Icon Award from Broadcast Music Incorporated, the collecting society for composers’ copyrights. The ceremony featured former P-Funk associate Bootsy Collins, as well contemporary performers such as Big Boi from Outkast and Cee-Lo Green from Gnarls Barkley.

George stated during a Grammy 2010 interview that he is finishing up work on a new album with Sly Stone. He said it should be released around May 2010.

Fun Facts

Funkadelic did shows on the same bill with Iggy and the Stooges.

George Clinton got the idea for Funkadelic from an LSD trip.

One of the largest P-Funk fanbases is in Washington, D.C.

One of the originators of the Metal Horns



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Feb
10

Basquiat, No Introduction Needed

By GPR84  //  Facts  //  No Comments

Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York. His mother, Matilde, was Puerto Rican and his father, Gerard Basquiat, is an accountant of Haitian origin. Because of his parents’ nationalities, Basquiat was fluent in French, Spanish, and English from an early age. He read in these languages, including Symbolist poetry, mythology, and history.[2] At an early age, Basquiat displayed an aptitude for art and was encouraged by his mother to draw, paint and to participate in other art-related activities. In 1977, when he was 17, Basquiat and his friend Al Diaz started spray-painting graffiti art on buildings in lower Manhattan, adding the infamous signature of “SAMO” (i.e., “same old shit”) see: SAMO© Graffiti entry. The graphics were pithy messages such as “Plush safe he think.. SAMO” and “SAMO as an escape clause”. In December 1978, the Village Voice published an article about the writings.[3] The SAMO project ended with the epitaph “SAMO IS DEAD” written on the walls of SoHo buildings. Unlike the average graffiti artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat came to personify the art scene of the 80’s, with its merging of youth culture, money, hype, excess, and self-destruction. And then there was the work, which the public image tended to overshadow: paintings and drawings that conjured up marginal urban black culture and black history, as well as the artist’s own conflicted sense of identity. Basquiat’s ploy was to write anti-materialism messages in plain view of some of the worst materialists around. This was not only a key to his rise to fame, but a stunning reflection of the tendency of the bourgeoisie to co-opt cultural opposition.

Basquiat attended Edward R. Murrow High School and City as a School in New York. In 1978, Basquiat dropped out of high school and left home, a year before graduating. He moved into the city and lived with friends, surviving by selling T-shirts and postcards on the street, and working in the Unique Clothing Warehouse on Broadway. By 1979, however, Basquiat had gained a certain celebrity status amidst the thriving art scene of Manhattan’s East Village through his regular appearances on Glenn O’Brien’s live public-access cable show, TV Party. In the late 1970s, Basquiat formed a band called Gray (the name being a reference to the book Gray’s Anatomy), with Shannon Dawson, Michael Holman, Nick Taylor & Wayne Clifford. Gray played at clubs such as Max’s Kansas City, CBGB, Hurrahs, and the Mudd Club. Basquiat worked in a film Downtown 81 (a.k.a New York Beat) which featured some of Gray’s rare recordings on its soundtrack.[4] He also appeared in Blondie’s video “Rapture” as a replacement for DJ Grandmaster Flash when he was a no-show.
Basquiat first started to gain recognition as an artist in June 1980, when he participated in The Times Square Show, a multi-artist exhibition, sponsored by Collaborative Projects Incorporated (Colab) and Fashion Moda. In 1981, poet, art critic and cultural provocateur Rene Ricard published “The Radiant Child” in Artforum magazine[5], helping to launch Basquiat’s career to an international stage. During the next few years, he continued exhibiting his works around New York as well as internationally (alongside other street artists) now in the galleries such as Now Gallery, later promoted by Bruno Bischofberger and other gallery owners and dealers. He later showed at the galleries of Larry Gagosian and Mary Boone.

By 1982, Basquiat was showing regularly, and alongside Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Francesco Clemente and Enzo Cucchi, became part of what was called the Neo-expressionist movement. He started dating an aspiring performer, then-unknown Madonna in the fall of 1982. That same year, Basquiat met Andy Warhol, with whom he collaborated extensively in 1984-1986, forging a close, if strained, friendship. He was also briefly involved with artist David Bowes. Since he had an enormous appetite for drugs, expensive clothing, fancy restaurants and first-class travel, this meant that he was tempted to work around the clock. Stoked by cocaine and marijuana, he’d often paint 18 hours in a row and then use heroin to get to sleep. When he awoke, he’d start off where he left off. As a modern-day equivalent of the Nibelungen, Basquiat labored away in the windowless basement of an upscale gallery run by an Italian woman named Annina Nosei who saw herself as an “ex-hippie”. Basquiat worked on his paintings in Armani suits and often appeared in public in these same paint-splattered $1000 suits–a testament to his affinity for both mammon and bohemia.[6][7]
By 1984, many of Basquiat’s friends were concerned about his excessive drug use and increasingly erratic behavior, including signs of paranoia. Basquiat had developed a very serious cocaine and heroin habit by this point, which started from his early years living among the junkies and street artists in New York’s underground. Basquiat’s paranoia was also fueled by the very real threat of people stealing work from his apartment and of art dealers taking unfinished work from his studio. Basquiat, as artist and icon, was eagerly embraced by the “postal” academic establishment who saw his graffiti as a form of Derridean ‘ecriture’. His work was often grouped with Barbara Kruger, whose trademarked neon works including slogans like “I shop therefore I am” often appeared on the walls of the same upscale residences as Basquiat’s. On February 10, 1985, Basquiat appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in a feature entitled “New Art, New Money: The Marketing of an American Artist”.[8] As Basquiat’s international success heightened, his works were shown in solo exhibitions across Europe and the USA.
Andy Warhol’s death in 1987 was very distressing for Basquiat, and it is speculated by Phoebe Hoban, in her 1998 biography about the artist, that Warhol’s death was a turning point for Basquiat, and that afterward his drug addiction and depression began to spiral.[6]
Basquiat died accidentally of mixed-drug toxicity (he had been combining cocaine and heroin, often using cocaine to stay up all night painting and then using heroin in the morning to fall asleep) at his 57 Great Jones Street loft/studio in 1988, several days before what would have been Basquiat’s second trip to the Côte d’Ivoire. He was 27 years old.



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Feb
9

Monique Dupree: The First Black Scream Queen and Tromette

By GPR84  //  Facts  //  No Comments

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Dupree’s film career began at age of 14 in the 1989 Morgan Freeman film Lean on Me. It was then that she realized that she wanted to pursue acting as a career. By the age of 18, she had honed her acting chops by doing numerous stage productions, including the play Cry of the People by Robert Banks. Dupree’s career saw success when she appeared on Fangoria Radio for a “Scream Queen” contest. At this contest, she met Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment, and landed a part in the movie Pot Zombies.

Since then, she’s been in over 30 films including American Gangster, Life Support, The Replacements and Bikini Bloodbath 3. She also appeared in extensive makeup as the vampire Emerald in the film Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned. In 2006, Dupree was named Silver Bullet Pictures’ “Scream Queen of the Year.”

Dupree has also worked as a model. In working with Troma Entertainment, she was recognized as the first African American “tromette”, and the first to be a tromette twice. She’s also appeared in numerous magazines across the world, including The Autograph Collector Magazine, Primera Linea.
Dupree, also known in the music world as “The Original Gata” is also lead singer for the band called Negro Childe.

Monique Dupree appears at horror and comic book conventions across the United States, including Fangorias Weekend of Horrors, Dark X mas, Big Apple Convention, and Fear Fest 2.


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Feb
8

Before There was Bruce W. Smith, there was Elmer S. Campbell

By GPR84  //  Facts  //  No Comments

ESCampbell1Elmer S. Campbell

Elmer Simms Campbell was born January 2, 1906 in St. Louis Missouri. He became the first African American cartoonist to have his worked regularly published in magazines that were general circulation. In high school, Elmer won a national contest for cartooning. To hone his skills, Campbell later studied at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. To support himself, he worked as a railroad dining car waiter and amused himself by drawing caricatures of the passengers. One of the passengers was so impressed with his drawings, they gave Campbell a job in a commercial-art studio in St. Louis.

Later, Elmer moved to New York City and worked for an advertising agency. Gradually, he infused himself as a regular contributor to many types of humor magazines. In 1933, the magazine Esquire was founded, and Campbell became its main cartoonist with as many as dozen drawings in an issue. His work was also featured in The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan and Playboy magazine.
One of Elmer’s trademarks was his representations of voluptuous women that were frequently featured in a harem setting.

Elmer S. Campbell passed on Jan. 27, 1971 in White Plains, New York.

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