Bootsy Collins is one of the more colorful personalities in the history of funk. Collins is known for his star-shaped sunglasses (and bass) and glittery stage outfits, in addition to playing in bands like Parliament-Funkadelic and alongside George Clinton. Some fans, however, may not know that Bootsy and his brother, Phelps “Catfish” Collins, were once hired by James Brown to be his new backing back beginning in 1970. The professional relationship lasted for less than a year, although part of Collins’ departure was more about the wonders of psychedelic drugs than the actual music itself.
In a 2017 interview with British publication The Guardian, Collins explained that LSD, the same driving force behind some of the early evolution of the Grateful Dead, caused some friction between the funk bassist and the “Godfather of Soul.”
“LSD was a big part of why I left James Brown’s band,” Collins admits. “I promised myself I’d never do it during a show, but we had a father-son relationship, and he pestered me so much not to do it that one day I just did. My bass turned into a snake and I can’t even remember playing. After, he called me in the back room, as he always did, and was explaining how terrible I was – even when I wasn’t taking LSD. I laughed so hard I was on the floor. To him, that was very disrespectful. He had his bodyguard throw me out.”
Collins also went on to share some of the wild stories from his years in Parliament-Funkadelic, adding, “My time in Funkadelic was about creativity. I was 21 and there were no rules. The best time was when we crossed the border to Canada in cars filled with smoke – George [Clinton] had rented a big place on a lake and there were about 20 of us and we recorded ‘America Eats Its Young.'”
Speaking of George Clinton, the famous funk bandleader recently announced his final tour with Parliament-Funkadelic, which is scheduled to begin on March 10th in Northampton, MA. Collins also announced his own retirement from touring earlier this year in hopes of focusing more of his time on working in the studio and mentoring young musicians.
[H/T – The Guardian]