LIKE PARLIAMENT ON A BAD DAY'
- the making of 'The Funky Gibbon'
You won't believe the musical pretensions that went on in my head.
I listened to a lot of jazz and a lot of funk, and that period
of the '70s for me was fantastic - it was really the era when
fusion started. The people I liked were Sly Stone and early Parliament,
and I listened to what was happening in jazz at the time, when
Miles Davis was coming up with some very interesting hybrid music.
With 'Funky Gibbon', I started off - it's almost unbelievable
considering how stupid the song is - trying to get the feel of
a Miles Davis track, I can't remember which, probably just after
Bitches Brew and that sort of era: some really choppy Miles
Davis-type rhythm, again with a Sly Stone influence.
We had marvellous musicians on those sessions, but they couldn't
get it. They knew what I was sort of trying to do, but I probably
listened to that sort of thing more than they did, and it was
driving us nuts, so we sent the drummer and the bass-player and
the guitarist home. And I had a keyboard player called Dave Macrae,
who'd played with Matching Mole and Robert Wyatt and people like
that - governor player - and he started playing some clavinet,
very Stevie Wonder-type feel to it, and I said, 'That's fine;
could you do a synth-bass on it?'
And then I literally started whacking the top of the grand piano.
So the actual rhythm-track of 'The Funky Gibbon' has only got
me and Dave on it - he plays clavinet and synth-bass and we miked
up the top of the piano. Then we got the horn section of Gonzales
playing a Memphis Horns-type thing. It was lovely for me to be
able to use musicians I liked and try to reproduce sounds which
I also listened to. And then put the stupid song over the top
of it. The idea that all that effort went into 'The Funky Gibbon'!
It sounds like Parliament on a bad day, or something like that
[laughs], that kind of thing. I think subconsciously people
feel it - this was always my theory about it, I thought: I want
the music to sound good or authentic, whatever style it happens
to be in.
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