George Clinton on Trying to Join ‘Celebrity Rehab’ and the Copyright Fight

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George Clinton is looking quite dapper these days. He’s cut off the long, neon locks and lost the intergalactic muumuu and replaced them with a pressed suit and fedora reminiscent of his earliest days in the Parliaments. On top of that, he’s back in healthy shape and is off the drugs. The reason? He’s in fightin’ form so that he can go toe-to-toe with labels and publishers claiming ownership over his copyrights. Clinton has started Flashlight2013, an organization dedicated to reclaiming his works as well as letting artists know about their own creative rights. Hive spoke to Clinton about his campaign, drugs, and Celebrity Rehab because, well, we want the funk, we gotta have the funk.

Forty-two years ago, you urged people to “Free your mind and your ass will follow.” Have people freed their minds in the past forty-two years?

Oh, I would think so. It’s still a work in progress. People are a lot freer in their minds these days. But, we are still waaaaay behind. And, asses are still behind them. Asses are a little behind.

How does someone free his or her mind and therefore free his or her ass?

It’s a state of mind. Just think and get all that heavy thought into your brain and out of your brain. Then, the ass will down its own work. Think and clean out our brains. I don’t know how to do that completely, but there is prayer, meditation, and just thinking. Shit, we have got to keep thinking. You know, I have another song called “Think (It ain’t illegal yet).”

Indeed! Do you think that the government and society are trying to encroach on individual thought?

Always. They try to make it coordinated and a pattern that they can control. You do have to do that in a democracy. In that same way, people have to try to be free. So, it’s a balance. It gives order to the world. That’s our job, to think for ourselves, but never-the-less, we have to make sure that they don’t suppress us.

You recently released a Funkadelic single with Sly Stone called “The Naz.” Of course, you have a long history of working with Sly Stone.

I work with him all the time. We’ve known each other for years and years and we’ve been doing music for the last 52 years. It never gets into the news. You know, we tried to join Celebrity Rehab. We tried to get on the show together. Sly and me both.

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