Thursday, October 14, 2010

Electric Relaxation: Funkadelic "Maggot Brain" and "Super Stupid"

Like most people, I only knew Funkadelic as part of Parliament and George Clinton's funk empire during the 70's that laid the backbone for hip-hop. I had no clue that it was Clinton's foray into classic rock and early metal.  For my money, Funkadelic is one of the most underrated Black bands in history and for them doing straight rock when most Black acts merely incorporated some elements, it was unheard of.

This song was my introduction. All I knew was it made the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos. Eddie Hazel was told to play like he found out his mother died and then discover it wasn't true. What happens over the next 10 minutes is just...ahhhh just listen to this masterpiece of guitar heaven.

It's so powerful that the band shut up and listened. It's so emotional you feel elevated when Hazel goes off around the 3:30-4:50 mark as if someone is carrying you to heaven with tears and disbelief. Then you rejoice near the end knowing they're still here. ALL IN ONE TAKE!

THIS right here is one of the greatest guitar solos ever. Eruption by Van Halen? Eric Clapton/Duane Allman killing "Layla"? Jimi Hendrix on "Machine Gun"? Jimmy Page taking us on a "Stairway to Heaven"? This song deserves to be up there with any song ever written by a guitarist. It's beauty, pain, power and soul all in 10 minutes.

Pure genius from one of rock's forgotten guitarists. He's the most underrated guitarist in Black music - Eddie Hazel is a tragedy in that despite writing this at only 21, he was no longer a permanent member of Funkadelic by 24 despite contributing to the group until his death in 1992. He played heavy, he played furious and he would've given most of his peers a run for their money.

After Hazel left, Michael Hampton (Kidd Funkadelic) did his own version which was recorded for the classic One Nation Under a Groove album. I didn't want to hear it because Hazel's version was too classic for me but when I finally did this year, WOW. Hampton built on what Eddie started. Story goes that he played a note-for-note cover at 19 for his audition!

An amazing song and one of the best guitar solos you will ever hear. The Maggot Brain album is pretty dope too if you can find it. Redman later paid homage to the album cover with Dare Iz A Darkside. As a bonus, here's Eddie Hazel doing "Super Stupid" - his great voice, his guitar wizardry, his incredible talent all in one. Sounds like a heavier Hendrix don't you think?


  1. Amen my man.
    Gotta have that funk. That rock funk. That stank funk. That bass funk. That uncut funk. That slow funk. That mama funk. Gotta have all that funk.

  2. Live for the funk. Die for the Funk (c) Lords of the Underground. If you bathe in the cosmic slop, you'll end up with a maggot brain at some point.