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the story behind the book | kate tuttle

George Clinton recalls funky trips to Boston

david wilson for the boston globe

Starting out in a doo-wop band in the mid-1950s, George Clinton became famous as the architect of funk in the psychedelic ’60s. The legendary Dr. Funkenstein may be half a century into his musical career, but he isn’t hanging it up just yet. “I don’t feel myself being finished,” he said in a telephone interview. “I’m gonna have a lot more fun.”

Part of the fun kicks off this weekend when Clinton visits Cambridge to read from his just-published memoir, “Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?” The book shares its title with the first single off his forthcoming new album. The memoir chronicles “one of the longest most consistently interesting and productive careers in American pop music,” said Ben Greenman, novelist and Clinton’s co-author.


Reading here brings back great memories, Clinton said. “Boston was where we got turned out!” he laughed. “At a place called the Sugar Shack, in 1967, ’68, ’69, and into ’70. My fondest memories of my life are from that era. That’s the first place we took acid. We tripped every night for three years there. All of those theories and things I used to formulate Parliament and Funkadelic were found running through Beacon Street at four o’clock in the morning!”

“He has a great memory,” Greenman added, “but he’s not necessarily nostalgic. Legacy is important to him. But creatively he wants to keep pushing forward.”

How does Clinton, whose work remains enormously influential in everything from hip-hop to dance music, feel about today’s pop landscape? “All of it has funk in it,” he said.

Clinton will read 2 p.m. Saturday at First Parish Church, 1446 Mass. Ave., Cambridge ($5 ticket at www.portersquarebooks.com).

Kate Tuttle, a writer and editor, can be reached at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.