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Scifi Funkiness: Triple Threat Guitar From Funkadelic

Steven Rosen, Guitar Player, December 1977

ALMOST 20 YEARS AGO, a group of singers organized themselves from a rather large barbershop group into a pop/soul conglomeration called Parliament. They moved from record company to record company (ABC to Tamla-Motown to Revilot) before real-izing a hit single in 1966. '(I Just Wanna) Testify' was their long-awaited score, but misfortune came soon after—the Revilot company folded, and as a result of legal complications, the band lost the right to use its own name.

The original vocalists of Parliament wandered off on their own, and the musicians who had backed them regrouped, dubbed themselves 'Funkadelic,' and changed their stylistic format from doo-wop to acid-rock and funk.

Recording on Westbound Records until 1975, Funkadelic then signed with Warner Brothers, released Hardcore Jollies, and in 1976 rejoined Parliament (who had been on several small labels) to do The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein, which was billed as Parliament’s offering. Tour-ing with a $275,000 set, a 75-member road crew, three buses, one Winnebago camper, and four semitrucks, the combined Par-liament! Funkadelic entourage has become the largest road production ever assembled by a black group. And though the two bands are continually associated with one another, Funkadelic, nonetheless, remains autonomous.

The heart of Funkadelic consists of three guitarists—20-year-old Mike Hampton and 25-year-old Gary Shider share the lead role, while 24-year-old Glen Goins handles rhythm. These three strive to go beyond the idiomatic sound usually associated with black funk bands and to blend their trio of guitars into Funkadelic’s unique brand of "lunar funk".

Total word count of piece: 2932

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