Another Summit at Jimmy Fallon: Chuck D, The Roots, and Madison’s Own Clyde Stubblefield Rock The Classic, “Fight The Power!”
H/T to NeoGriot. Yeah, Clyde is definitely grooving despite his health issues. This Funkmaster still rules, and so does Chuck D. Check it out:Vodpod videos no longer available.
There are some references to Copyright Criminals, which is the name of a documentary film (and a new DVD/CD) about the recurring controversy about sampling in hip-hop. The documentary debuted on PBS’ Independent Lens show last year; if you didn’t see it, check it out here. And the group–consisting of Chuck D, Black Thought, Stubblefield, Eclectic Method–call themselves The Copyright Criminals All-Star Band. Stubblefield, who appeared and was interviewed in this flick, may be the most widely sampled musician ever, since he delivered the funk for James Brown on many of his hits. Especially now, because he has end stage renal disease, Stubblefield is trying to recoup royalties from his drumming that appeared without credit on not a few hip-hop hits although James Brown, as the songwriter of these soul-funk classics, still gets the credit and the royalties to his estate.Vodpod videos no longer available.
“All my life I’ve been wondering about my money,” Mr. Stubblefield, now 67 and still drumming, says with a chuckle.
A new project tries to capture at least some royalties for him. Mr. Stubblefield was interviewed for “Copyright Criminals,” a documentary by Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod about the gray areas of music copyright law, and for a special “Funky Drummer Edition” DVD of the film released on Tuesday, Mr. Stubblefield recorded a set of ready-to-sample beats. By filling out a basic licensing form, anyone willing to pay royalties of 15 percent on any commercial sales — and give credit — can borrow the sound of one of the architects of modern percussion.
“There have been faster, and there have been stronger, but Clyde Stubblefield has a marksman’s left hand unlike any drummer in the 20th century,” said Ahmir Thompson, a k a Questlove of the Roots, who was to play “Fight the Power” with him and Public Enemy’s Chuck D. on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” on Tuesday. “It is he who defined funk music.”
Born in Chattanooga, Tenn., Mr. Stubblefield was first inspired by the industrial rhythms of the factories and trains around him, and he got his start playing with regional bands. One day in 1965 Brown saw him at a club in Macon, Ga., and hired him on the spot. Through 1971 Mr. Stubblefield was one of Brown’s principal drummers, and on songs like “Cold Sweat” and “Mother Popcorn” he perfected a light-touch style filled with the off-kilter syncopations sometimes called ghost notes.
“His softest notes defined a generation,” Mr. Thompson added.
This is Clyde Stubblefield in Canada, explaining his drum technique:
I love it that The Roots and Chuck D are acknowledging the debt that they owe to Clyde Stubblefield for their hits, especially “Fight the Power!” This is not the first time Chuck D has appeared with Stubblefield (and remixers Eclectic Method); they headlined when the documentary premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009. They’ve simply come full circle. According to the AltSounds article, Stubblefield is the source, Chuck D (and Public Enemy) helped make sampling an art form, and Eclectic Method brings it into the future for new generations.
I find it amazing that The Roots and Chuck D are now considered Old School just like Stubblefield for what they did in the Eighties. Are people kidding? Hardly. The funk is always fresh, alive, and would make any old bones new one more time.
Clyde Stubblefield plays with Samba Novistas on “Funky Mondays” at The Frequency, April 4. The show starts at 9:30 p.m., and it’s free.
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