Legendary P-funk singer and composer Garry "Starrchild" Shider joins forces w/ the next generation of funkateers w/ Funkscribe. Features Parliament Funkadelic members Bernie Worrell on keyboards & Michael Hampton on guitars also.
Garry Shider practically spent his entire career slinging some of the nastiest, tastiest, forward-looking funk music from his guitar at the right hand of George Clinton night in, night out, for nearly forty years. But, he sang too with an unforgettable wail from the heart.
Actually, Garry was a triple threat. As a guitarist, he was a key architect of P-Funk’s deep, layered, sophisticated, groove propelled by crafty rhythm lines that sounded primordially driven from Mother Africa. Yet, P-Funk’s rhythm guitars simultaneously felt as if they were beamed down from some undiscovered corner of the universe. And, his lead guitar work was often cunning in how understated it could be, yet cutting in its emotional punch.
As a vocalist, Garry had a range that sounded as if several different singers took turns inhabiting his spirit. He could deliver a silky smooth falsetto that hinted at a more than a bit of devilishness lurking just below his sweetness. Think “Cosmic Slop,” “Let’s Make it Last,” and “Sexy Ways.” He would then belt you with, what would at first sound like, a standard r&b tenor, but would quickly morph into northern soul, then southern blues filtered through hard rock, all delivered through an inflection of black gospel. Think, “Bop Gun,” and “Oh I.”
All of which leads me to the work you’re now holding in your hands. This is Garry’s last statement, though no one, including himself, knew it at the time it was recorded.
Seattle keyboardist Anthony Warner, also known to the groove universe as Funkscribe, is no stranger to the ways of the Funk and the mystic power of P-Funk, as well its mythos. Anthony has been in battle with the P-Funk Army, throwing down with George and the boys –and girls, for that matter.
As it’s said often enough, past is prologue, this album started out as comprehensive statement on the future of the Funk, drawing mightily on what made the genre so damn relevant to the human experience in the first place.
But, almost right after Garry laid down some of the most earnest, and soulful, vocal tracks of the latter part of his career, he was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive stain of cancer. The disease attacked his lungs and his brain and spread quickly.
The playful funkster who seemed eternally young and kinky in the eccentric sense, given his penchant for sporting adult-sized diapers on stage, was no longer here on this earth.
It happened within weeks of the recording sessions. We can only hope Garry’s up there jamming with his old P-Funk partners who preceded him in the great beyond, like Eddie Hazel and Tiki Fulwood. Maybe they’re all throwin’ down with Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Buddy Miles for good measure, too.
Garry’s sudden death hit Anthony Warner-Funkscribe pretty hard. But, it imbued him with a new dedication to indeed keep “The Funk Alive,” this time according to the “Book of Shider.” And, Funkscribe’s got the help of P-Funk elder statesmen: pioneering keyboardist Bernie Worrell, funk-metal axe-slinger Michael Hampton, as well as cohort Lige Curry on his cosmic 6-string bass.
“I had to do it for Garry, man,” Funkscribe soberly reflected. “I mean the man was a genius, and hardly anyone outside the world of P-Funk really knew how deep and talented he was. Hopefully, this album is going to shed more light on just how much he meant to the funk, and how much of a genius he was-period.”
The result is much less an elegy, but simply a supernatural odyssey on the good ship free funk. Taking in this tight, nasty, collection of cutting-edge, future-past-forward, funk is like funkin’ with a Ouija Board in your ear hole. Especially, hearing and experiencing it all through Gary’s haunting wail… “We gotta keep the funk alive!”
Long live Garry Shider. When you listen to this, it’s easy to see him floating up there with the Bop Gun, like in the old days at the now legendary Parliament Funkadelic Mothership Connection concerts. But, this time he’s got a new pair of slivery wings he’s flapping while wearing that equally-legendary diaper.