Friday, November 28, 2014

the last book I ever read (Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You? excerpt nine)

from Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You? by George Clinton with Ben Greenman:

What did it mean to taste the maggots in the mind of the universe? Well, it meant all of it: the lack of self-knowledge outlined in “Free Your Mind,” the consumerism and short-sightedness in “Eulogy and Light.” It was writing that moved away from prose and even poetry into a kind of sloganeering. That made it compact, mysterious, and memorable. But the song’s immortality came from Eddie Hazel’s guitar solo, which occupied most of the rest of the ten-minute track. I remember recording the solo, of course. It’s possible I’ll never forget. Eddie and I were in the studio, tripping like crazy but also trying to focus our emotions. There was a band jam going, a slow groove I knew he could get into, and we were trying to launch his solo. Before he started, I told him to play like his mother had died, to picture that day, what he would feel, how he would make sense of his life, how he would take a measure of everything that was inside him and let it out through his guitar. Eddie was the kind of player who rose to a challenge. If you gave him instructions or a prompt, he’d come around to it. And when he started playing, I knew immediately that he understood what I meant. I could see the guitar notes stretching out like a silver web. When we played the solo back, I knew that it was good beyond good, not only a virtuoso display of musicianship but also an almost unprecedented moment of emotion in pop music. That was the missing ingredient that arrived in time for that song; it was maybe the first time that our emotional ability as artists matched our technical ability as players.

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