The concentration of genius that poured through George Clinton's P-Funk army is extraordinary. From Bernie Worrell to the Brecker Brothers to Bootsy Collins, from Eddie Hazel to Gary Shider to Maceo Parker, all musicians whose influence on jazz, rock, metal, and hip-hop (not to mention anything that's ever been called funk) is staggering.
Out of all these heavyweights, though, it was Bootsy who's come closest to contesting big George's undisputed crown - as the king of all that is, and will ever be, Funky.
Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way - Bootsy Collins is a legend. One of the greatest bass players ever, he's one of those few musicians without whose influence the future of pop music might have been very different. From recording Sex Machine with James Brown whilst no older than an Arctic Monkey, he joined Clinton and co. in defining the Parliament/Funkadelic sound before taking centre-stage with the New Rubber Band. With his trademark star-shaped bass, matching sunglasses and wacky outfits, Bootsy is one of the greatest showmen and musicians that the seventies ever produced.
So given all that, it seemed about time that Bootsy got his own DVD, and here it is. On the disc, you get a 1998 show by the New Rubber Band at the North Sea Jazz festival and about an hour of utterly misguided extras. The gig is, unsurprisingly, fantastic and the quality of the recording itself is easily good enough to make you lose yourself in the Funk for a couple of hours. There's plenty of P-Funk credentials on stage - Bernie Worrell's in the band, and half-way through the show Gary Shider turns up in a giant nappy, ready to sing One Nation Under A Groove. The rest of the musical army on stage are partying away like there's no tomorrow, and it's clear the crowd is too - check out the 82nd minute for the one of best 'audience member suddenly realising they're on camera' moments of the year...
On top of the listed tracks, covering a range of Parliament, Funkadelic and Rubber Band material, most tracks end up in a medley of other classics. You can catch just about all of Mothership Connection in here if you listen carefully, and there's a lot of fun to had listening out for you favourite P-Funk refrains amongst the onstage madness.
So the gig's great - and there's an audio CD of most of it thrown in, which is nice, much appreciated touch. But how about those extras? Unconventional as Bootsy has always been, this is a DVD and there are certain rules to follow, one being that, for better or worse, you gotta have some extras. Raid the bin, grab scraps from the cutting room floor, heck, film someone grabbing the scraps on the cutting room floor and do an extra on making the extras - anything to avoid putting out a DVD with nothing but a gig.
Knowing what the hell to make of Personal Stash Volume One - Behind the Scenes is beyond me, however. What we have is about an hour of Bootsy's old home videos. They may have been edited together by someone who likes playing with cheesy psychedelic colour effects, but there's no getting away from it - these aren't the semi-pro home videos filmed by amateur documentary makers, these are real home videos, and as such make no sense whatsoever.
We get a thirty second chapter of Bootsy's mum walking around a car; we get a minute of former Guns N Roses guitarist Buckethead pretending to take his KFC bucket off while the camera swings all over the place; we get a camera waved randomly at a tourist attraction while we can hear Bootsy (behind the camera) being told what to point it at. You wait patiently for a bit of revelation, a bit of insight into the Bootsy behnd the glasses, but it's not here - especially as he spends most of the time behind, not in front of the camera.
So in short, if you want a Bootsy gig in your living room, this is it - stick it on, move the coffee table, get on your feet and boogie. If you're expecting an in-depth insight into the world of P-Funk from that extra hour, however, you'll end up even more confused than when you started - which, in a weird kinda way, is what P-Funk was (and is) all about. The point, after all, is to deliver the Funk, and that 'Funktion' is exectuted to perfection.