At just 18 years old, bassist Bootsy Collins got his start backing up James Brown as a member of the original J.B.’s.
More than forty years later, funk music may be closer to him than it’s ever been.
“Funk wasn’t something I studied or went to school for,” Collins said. ”[Funk] was in my head. It was my motivation. I never wanted to know the end result because the fun and excitement for me was getting there.”
Collins, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, released his latest album this week, Tha Funk Capital of the World.
It features collaborations with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Rev. Al Sharpton.
“It’s in my heart,” Collins said of the ‘location’ implied in his album title. “It’s a personal thing and I kinda did it that way so everybody can take it personal within themselves. Whatever [people] desire to go after, you have to develop that within yourself. That’s what my funk capital is.”
Collins said he is particularly proud of his new album because he felt like he had full creative control from beginning to end.
Funk is second nature to Collins now, but when he first made his mark in the music industry in the 1970s, the genre was just taking shape.
“George Clinton and myself, we kind of made it cool to be funky,” Collins said of his fellow Parliament-Funkadelic star. “It’s just like saying…at one time, it wasn’t cool to be black. James Brown made [that] cool — and I think we did the same thing with funk.”
Collins and Clinton combined to produce such hits as “Mothership Connection (Star Child)” and “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof of the Sucker)”. Collins also went on to have a successful solo career, which he doesn’t see stopping anytime soon.
“It’s too late,” Collins laughs. “Funk is with me forever now.”