catfish Parliament Guitarist Phelps Catfish Collins Dies at 66

No band sent us into a cosmic ride into the magical funk-es-phere as much as [lastfm]Parliament Funkadelic[/lastfm] or as we all lovingly moniker them, “P-Funk.” Whether you get down “in secret” while washing the dishes or you’ve donned an outfit that would put [lastfm]Bootsy Collins[/lastfm] to shame.  With P-Funk in undeniable that “there’s a whole lot of rhythm going round” even if some of the members have taken off to the mothership such as the recent news of the passing of [lastfm]Parliament[/lastfm]’s funkified guitarist (and [lastfm]Bootsy Collins[/lastfm]’ brother), [lastfm]Phelps “Catfish” Collins[/lastfm] on Friday.

[lastfm]Bootsy Collins[/lastfm] may have been the more infamous [lastfm] Parliament Funkadelic [/lastfm] Collins brother, but his brother [lastfm]Phelps “Catfish” Collins[/lastfm] was his mentor; at a young age, Catfish inspired Bootsy’s signature funk sound by inspiring him to put old bass strings on a guitar body, by introducing him to Indiana Blues guitarist [lastfm]Lonnie Mack[/lastfm].  The twosome started a band in the late 1960s called [lastfm]The Pacemakers[/lastfm]. The familial ties were strong and Catfish was an integral part of Bootsy’s life; after his battle with cancer, his death on Friday signified a sense of release for his brother Bootsy, no matter the sadness he felt:

My world will never be the same without him. Be happy for him, he certainly is now and always has been the happiest young fellow I ever met on this planet.

The two shared their musical journey with each other, right until [lastfm]Catfish Collins [/lastfm] left [lastfm]Parliament Funkadelic[/lastfm] in 1983. While in [lastfm]The Pacemakers[/lastfm], James Brown invited them to join the original J.B.’s and “turn this mutha out.” When [lastfm]the J.B.’s[/lastfm] split up they continued to work  in [lastfm]P-Funk[/lastfm], including 1972’s classic America Eats Its Young.

Bootsy balanced a solo career with [lastfm]Bootsy’s Rubber Band[/lastfm] and Catfish was there every step of the way, helping Bootsy recite “naughty nothings that will wet your ear drums.”

While Catfish may not have been in the public eye as much as James, Bootsy, or [lastfm]George Clinton[/lastfm], he was on the cleanest, brightest funk guitarists in the game.

Not even a UFO and 8-inch platform heels could overshadow his raw talent.

RIP Catfish. May the funk be with you.

[Source: Rolling Stone]


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