Tomorrow, October 23rd, Bootsy Collins is releasing his new album, The Power of the One, and to celebrate he's hosting a live stream party with some of his legendary friends. George Benson, Victor Wooten, Christian McBride, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Brian Culbertson, Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Verdine and Shelly White, FLEA, Bill Laswell, Béla Fleck, Ron Carter, Steve Bailey, Paul Shaffer, Sheila E. and many others will be joining to party for his album release.
We chatted with the funk legend himself about the big release.
How does it feel to finally release this music to the world?
It feels funkin' amazing to have went through the process of recording in so many different ways to communicate with my fellow musicians and artists. Glory be to the One we all had so much funkin' fun! If you listen to this album really good, each song in it is played to that one person or millions of people, depending on their acceptance. All because numbers can't count, people do, and the music doesn't really care. It's just there to serve whomever wants to eat.
What can bass players expect from your playing on this new material?
I think the consistancy of the One & every note that is played will be felt. I also think that it will remind them of my signature sound that is always there, done on purpose with purpose. Although bass has become a serious instrument, you can still have fun with it. I think bass is evolving into a whole world of its own, and for me to be part of that starting point is the gift that keeps on givin'!
You have a lot of surprise guests playing on this album. What was it like having so many legendary friends contribute to this music?
While touring in the past, I would always run into these guys/gals and say 'one day we should hook up and do some recording.’ Well, being on the road for your life didn't allow so much downtime when you are working to survive. When the pandemic hit, it gave all of us time to reset, think, create and try new ideas.
It was like magic, asking people like George Benson, Branford Marsalis, Bernard Purdie, Christian McBride, just to name some of the vets, but then to ask the new skool, people like Brian Culbertson, Chew Fu, Uche, Kingfish, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, EmiSunshine and Emmaline to be on your record was like a hundred Christmases wrapped into one! Each musician/artist brings their own special signature to the table. It didn’t feel like work, but rather joy and fun to finally be able to love the time and the moments we spent together as well as making new music that has never been done before.
What overall message are you conveying through this inspiring music?
That no matter what background you come from, be it young, old, race, religion, in music the only thing that matters is what you bring to the table. These unselfish musicians automatically know that everyone needs to eat and enjoy themselves. So we don't think about that, we just bring the best we can for the best people on the planet, and those that live in this parallel universe around us. Music has no category, people do.
What, ideally, would you want someone to say after listening to this album for the first time?
What a wonderful world we live in making beautiful music together just by doing what we do best, and not being criticized for playing a clarinet because it's not a cool instrument. Lol Just play your notes, just be who you are. That is enough to make P-Utiful music and everything else Together as One! True essence of the funk is the Power of the One!
“Music is always a soother, a healer, and that’s how I want to use this record,” says Bootsy Collins about his latest album, The Power of the One (Oct 23, Bootzilla Records / Sweetwater Studios). The album will be available on CD and all streaming services on October 23 and on vinyl in December. Order the album here.
Get on up for the super-galactic ride on Bootsy’s Funkship Area-51 in his new video for “The Power of the One,” featuring George Benson. True essence of funk is the Power of the One, and it all began when James Brown and his musicians dominated the first count of each measure.
For Bootsy, it’s also a philosophy: “The Power of the One is what pulls us through,” he says. “Everyone has “The One” inside of them. You never know who is using you for guidance, so always be pure and never fake the funk. Everybody’s got a light. Everybody needs to shine. It’s there, we just have to trust and use the guidance that is within us, and know that The One knows your program. It was written inside your heart before you made that mad dash racing to be the first one to the egg! You are perfect in the eyes of The One."
Produced, co-written and arranged by Collins, The Power of the One began before the pandemic at Sweetwater Studios and was completed during lockdown at his own Boot-Cave Studios in Cincinnati. “In these tragedies and in these storms is when the most beautiful messages can come out,” says Bootsy. “Funk is making something out of nothing. As a team, it’s easier to pursue your dreams. It’s official: Family Approved, One Nation under a Groove!”
And with that, Bootsy called on a few of his humble musician friends to join him and let the real party begin. Now for the pure funk track we call the “Funkship Area-51,” Collins channeled his P-Funk days, with fellow James Brown bandmember, Christian McBride. Snoop Dogg takes the lead on “Jam On” along with Brandon “Taz” Niederauer on lead guitar, and the song “Creepin’” features blues guitarist Christone “Kingfish” Ingram.
A longtime mentor to musicians, Bootsy enlisted Cincinnati singer Emmaline for the Latin song “Lips Turn Blue.” Dr. Cornel West, Victor Wooten, Béla Fleck, Steve Jordan, EmiSunshine, Rod Castro, The Williams Singers and Az Yet join Bootsy on “Stargate” (an update on “Stars,” the MusiCares benefit single released in June). For their first collaboration, Branford Marsalis appears on two songs, “Club Funkateers” (with Victor Wooten), and Collins’ arrangement of Sly and the Family Stone’s “WantMe2Stay,” with the great Larry Graham on bass and American Idol singer, Uché.
Tickets Here: https://www.thebootcave.com/tickets
Calling all Funkateers! Please join Bootsy on Friday, October 23 at 6:00pm PT / 9:00pm ET for the livestream broadcast event, ‘Bootsy Collins Album Release Galactic Birthday Bash.’ The lineup will be announced shortly, and tickets are available at bootsycollins.com. Ahead of his birthday, Bootsy reflects, “I don’t ever want to grow up and lose that kid inside of me. That’s the guy who really keeps me going. I’m always experiencing and learning new things.”
About Bootsy Collins
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legend Bootsy Collins is a musician, songwriter and producer. He has lent his talents to James Brown, Parliament/Funkadelic, Bootsy's Rubber Band and Deee-Lite, to name a few. The best living bassist on Rolling Stone’s Best Bassists of All Time list, Bootsy, “redefined soul and funk bass playing in the Seventies, and, by proxy, rap and pop in the Eighties and Nineties,” writes the magazine. "You can hear his influence in practically every bass player to come since…” Bootsy’s influence on popular culture is inescapable. His image and sound are stitched into the fabric of modern music, be it R&B, funk, rock, electronic or hiphop (Prince, Dr. Dre, Thundercat, Janelle Monae). He’s transcended generations through mentoring and collaborations, including Childish Gambino’s “Red Bone,” a loving homage to Collins’ 70s smash, “I’d Rather Be with You.”