My name is Gobe. I am a fan of records and the Japanese wrestling classics. I introduce special artists through my personal stories and the autographed records I have collected over years of going to live shows.
This post is about a super big artist!
Yes, I’m talking Funkadelic! P-Funk! It’s George Clinton! I have only been to two P-Funk (related) concerts, unfortunately.
The first time was 1994. Ice Cube was performing at a club called Jungle Bass that used to be in Roppongi (Tokyo), and Bootsy Collins made a guest appearance. On my way to the venue, I ran into Ice Cube and his crew at the Roppongi crosswalk. Bootsy Collins was—without fail—in his gaudy costume. Yes indeed, he was walking around town in that outfit! [Laughter.]
If that were now, I would have stepped right up and asked for autographs, but back then, I wasn’t collecting autographs as passionately as I am now, so I didn’t even think to walk around with (the artist’s) records. If only I had my Ice Cube and Bootsy records on me that night….
Hollywood Squares by BOOTSY'S RUBBER BAND (7")
One day in 2015:
I was mindlessly browsing through Tower Records’ online event schedule, and came across George Clinton’s name. According to the listing, he was holding an autograph session at the Shibuya store! Surprised, I checked the date and it was on a Monday at 1:30pm. “Who the hell can make it on a Monday at that time?” But luckily, that was the day I was scheduled to only work a half day—I had my osteopathic clinic appointment for my chronic neck problem.
April 13, 2015:
I finished my work for the morning and left work. I had some time before my appointment so I bolted to Tower Records. I bought the related merchandise and secured my number for the line.
The much anticipated event begins. I am blown away by the size of the crowd that showed up for the event at 1:30pm on a workday—there was hardly any room to breathe in the event space on the 1st floor. (I believe plenty of people work nights, or have Mondays off, but I am sure a lot of them were playing hooky!)
After the talk with QB Maruya of “bmr,” George Clinton went to the back and then reappeared in a Tower Records employee apron. The autograph session begins!
At first, I was set on getting Maggot Brain, their historic masterpiece, autographed, but I reluctantly changed my mind to go with a record cover that will show the black marker better. Note: silver markers are pretty risky and black markers are a sure bet. I can not have the markers fail—this is probably the first and last chance to meet and get an autograph from George Clinton.
As a reference, I will display the Maggot Brain LP cover here. It is quite clear that autographing it with a black marker is not a good choice, wouldn’t you say?
Maggot Brain, Funkadelic (LP)
So instead, I choose the album: Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow. This one is also a masterpiece, so no questions there. (Except for the fact that I prefer the Maggot Brain album cover way more.)
Suddenly I notice that there are two young female backup singers—that weren’t part of the talk—also sitting there autographing with maestro Clinton. I have a bad feeling about this….
To understand the situation better, I observe the fans in the front interacting with them, and I see that the two singers—obviously not part of the ‘70s and ‘80s albums—were gliding their pens over the covers as if it made no difference to them. What an abomination! The album I am holding: Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow was released in 1970, so there is no way that they took part in it. I need to figure something out!
While contemplating what to do—my turn comes around. Fortunately, maestro Clinton autographs it first, so I quickly snag the record away and meet the backup singers with a smile and handshakes—avoiding the worst possible scenario!
Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow by Funkadelic
(LP autographed by George Clinton @ Tower Records Shibuya on April 13, 2015)
After the event, I get my neck worked on at the clinic and I return to Roppongi and I thoroughly enjoy George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic at Billboard Live Tokyo. Needless to say, it was a day deeply steeped in P-Funk.
Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker) by Parliament (7")
Stay tuned for more autographed records, adventures, and artist stories.
Gobe is a lover of vinyl and Japanese wrestling classics, and is a being that finds joy in going to concerts and clubs and collecting autographs on records. His very first autograph was from the famed Japanese wrestler Giant Baba. ( His favorite wrestlers are: Brody, Fujinami, etc.)
Translation by Mika Anami