I just stopped touring with George for this year. He is going to start back up in January of 2020 – that’s what I’m hearing.
In the meantime there are some other things that I’ll be doing. They are not so much side-projects anymore.
George is retiring. It makes the other projects come closer. Ligedelic is my project. It’s based on funk. I am doing some things with it in November, stuff taking place in Europe. We will get the interest going. I have friends in Europe who have wanted to work with me for years. I have been so busy with George. Starr Cullars will get a CD released this year finally. We will get more things going there. I play guitar with her band. That’s full speed ahead.
When George Clinton wants to retire he has to play everywhere. They love him so much, they are begging him. We have to play Japan and Europe, and everywhere. Maybe he will stop in 2020.
George’s catalogue is so vast. He has been writing music since the 50s.
Parliament Funkadelic was such an underground thing in the beginning, but that stuff is still revelant today. George Clinton has such wit.
Party for George Clinton's Lifetime Achievement Grammy
We are so proud of the Grammy. A lot of people got together for it. And we got together for those who aren’t here anymore too.
There are only a few of us from the 70s left.
I look forward to coming home, to the me time. It's so much with we and us and our on the road. You have to give up your time. You have to smile. It’s a job.
At times you have to take out the crazyness in your life. Traveling on a regular basis is a job. The rest is part of a life of touring. You have to get that rest. George is never completely done when he’s done. After a tour when everybody has come home there are these one offs that we have to go play. You eat great at home. There is a lot of crap food on the road.
I live in San Diego. I get calls from LA. Driving up there takes a couple of hours. I’m in a relationship with Starr Cullars and we have been a couple for over twenty years.
I don’t sugarcoat things. My parents were straight. When you get out into this world, and especially into this business, that helps.
A lot of the music that’s out today says nothing to me.
I went from singing in the church choir to producing.
I’m happy if I make other people happy.
As iconic as basslines get: Tony T. Money Green's work on "Gin & Juice" with Snoop Dogg
SOME THINGS ON THE YEARS WITH THE DRAMATICS
(Editor’s note: If you are new to The Dramatics you may want to check out some Dramatics’ basics to get the most out of this segment… and we strongly recommend that you check out some Dramatics’ basics and familiarize yourself, if so…because you have been missing out if you are new to The Dramatics. We get straight into things, mostly into things in the 1970s, in this text, which is a treat for those who know their Dramatics!)
L.J. Reynolds, Tony Green, Ron Banks
What it smelled like inside United Sound? OMG. Behind George it smelled of funk. They took the funk seriously and didn’t wash. And cocaine. It smelled of booty and cocaine. Around us it smelled of weed.
It looked a little like a spaceship. There was a studio to the side when you came in through the door and then eight steps down there was the main studio. It was huge. The big old board lit up. It felt like you made it when you stepped in there, just being there. Sometimes when the sessions ran late I took a snooze under those steps.
They want to move that building to the parking lot. Once they start moving things they move other things too.
It happened that we recorded in other places.
United Sound, Detroit
I came to the studio making deliveries… I was 17 and it turned out that I had a band. Surprise! So they came to see a show, and thought that we were good – and that was the start of my journey with The Dramatics. It was Ron who got me in the band.
I didn’t work with Tony Hester but I saw him work, and he really really couldn’t sing. He would say ‘’Here Ron – can you do this part?’’ and then there would be some type of noise coming out of him.
He really was the best writer for The Dramatics, and people got jealous of him for his talent. There was so much talent going down the drain with the loss of him, and The Dramatics were lost for what to do.
Tony Hester & the original Dramatics in the studio
LJ and Ron lead the band rehearsals. Ron could say things like ‘’Go to the round! Go to the round...’’. So I told the band to go to the change. That was what he meant in Ron Banks’ language.
Ron was the charismatic one. So many times when we were in places people would call out ‘’ – Hey Ron Banks’’, ‘’ – What’s up, Ron Banks?’’.
LJ would really rehearse. He can play four-five instruments, and at times I practiced with LJ every day – every day. LJ liked that and we could translate that to the band and know that we would have a hell of a show.
LJ and Ron were often arguing wanting different things. But our rehearsals were very serious rehearsals because we wanted to deliver good shows. The dance rehearsals were different rehearsals and the band got to see it at the end.
During the first years we traveled in a Trailways bus. It was a 50-seater. The group would sit in the front. The band would sit in the back. Tony Anthony, our bus-driver, got us anywhere and could handle anything. It said The Dramatics on the side, so people looked at the bus.
We slept on that bus, and you either stretched your legs across the isle or slept cramped sitting up. This is why I have arthritis now.
Once the group flew to California and the band went on the bus – and didn’t make the show. The Dramatics are great but people didn’t really want to hear the acapella show. They realized that they needed the band, that we were as important for the show to happen as they were.
After “Be My Girl” everything changed. We got treated a lot better. The group started flying places and we got two buses with beds and living rooms.
Normally we would do shows from Thursdays through Saturdays. In California we would do shows every night of the week, and two shows a night.
Our manager Forest Hamilton did the show bookings.
The Dramatics live in Houston...
The Dramatics had two roadies who carried our luggage and one valet, Andre Barber.
Usually we did shows with other groups so there wasn’t much backline to set up, as it was already there. The roadies carried our instruments.
Sometimes LJ and Ron were at the soundchecks, sometimes the whole group was there.
LJ was always going to make sure that the show would be kicking ass. We knew that we would kick ass.
The set-lists changed a lot in the beginning. At the time of the Dramatics’ reunion we kept the same show for two years. That was when Wee Gee was back for a while. I do the same thing now. I have had the same show for four years, and you work on perfecting it.
New York was a hard place to tour at times. They didn’t like us there. We played something and after we did nobody clapped. We broke New York with “Be My Girl”. It changed there after that and they started to like us.
I was in this band for a long time, and others who were include Anthony Booker and Dewayne Lomax, though maybe no one was in the band for as long as I was.
The Dramatics "Welcome Back Home" co-written by Tony Green
I wrote songs with Ron and LJ.
I couldn’t write lyrics but you can always count on me for a bass-line to build on.
We wrote songs in the basement of Ron’s house. Ron could get a little worried at times. He wasn’t a great lyricist but he really could sing.
LJ could really write and produce songs. He’s very talented and plays drums, piano, did everything himself.
The other group members didn’t show an interest in writing songs, but Lenny would sometimes show up when songs were written because he wanted to make sure that he would be singing on them.
When we did Do What You Want To Do we were on the cutting edge of a new sound, going into synthesizers. We lucked out and people liked it. It was their first gold album. Many of their albums are of course gold by now…
A LITTLE ON T MONEY MAKING THE SWITCH TO CALI
Dr. Dre, Tony Green
I got The Dramatics in the studio with Dr. Dre, and after that other soul groups came running to me asking if I could do the same thing for them – but I really couldn’t. The Dramatics were streetwise enough to do a record with Snoop Dogg, it might not have worked with another group.
I got more people from Detroit in that studio though. George Clinton of course, but also Ricky Rouse and Butch Small. Working with Dr. Dre I got a band in. That was new, because they hadn’t had one before.
The day Dre hired me was a good day.
He never had a musician of caliber in before. I didn’t tell him. I didn’t want to seem old.
He gave me drumlines and I put basslines on top. My bass was the groundwork. That was a song.Everybody added things on top of that.
It’s hard to tell me what to play. I’ma give you what you want. Just give me a beat. I played the bass for 52 years now, I’ll give you what you want.
Tony Green, Snoop Dogg
Everybody loves Snoop Dogg for his twangy little voice. He had it when he was young and he has it now. People also love him because he’s a real nice guy. He carries himself like a superstar and he always did.
His work process was that Dre had the music laid out for him, then Snoop would take all day to write for it. He did not rush his writing. He came up with something good so you are glad that you did the waiting.
They did a lot of things that were new and innovative at the time, such as the singing-rapping.
It’s good that you hear that the bassline on “Gin & Juice” is slightly off! That means that you have a good ear…
What happened was that I had just gotten the bass out of the bass bag and I wanted to tune up. Dre said don’t. I said that ‘- I’m a professional and I have to tune up’. Dre said ‘- If you tune up you’re fired’.
That bassline proves that there is no right and wrong in music.
I play the bass upside down. My father (William Austin - a well known bassist, editor’s comment) told me to put it down. I thought that he was hating on me, but later he said that he sure was glad that I didn’t listen to him.
Now my daughter turns things upside-down.
A BIT ABOUT THE PRESENT
I just signed a distribution deal with Universal.
I have a massive vault with unreleased material. I have so much great stuff that just never came out. That includes artists that just never were heard and people who did things behind the curtain. And my own material, in some cases my material that other people just took and put their name on it.
There is going to be good stuff coming out.
T Money Green and Roadwork's G Funk Review live in Detroit
TONY T MONEY GREEN is a successful and DMA-decorated bassist, composer, producer, band leader and the CEO for his label Hyped International Records – based in Detroit. After he formed his band the Roadwork Crew, in the early 70s, Green has contributed his bass magic to some of the most iconic music made in the last few decades. He is currently busy getting new and previously unreleased music to people’s ear-drums through a new distribution deal with Universal.
When you are a kid you are trying to figure it out. I had relatives who thought that I should get into sports and others who thought I should be a doctor. But my auntie, one of my mother’s sisters, got me a toy guitar and she was right. I started playing with it like I did with the rest of my toys, but the guitar was more interesting. That was the first time that I was introduced to playing. Before then even there was church on Sundays. There is even before we start school. Experiencing music live touched me, to see a drum set, to see the piano player and the organ player. I remember when the Beatles came to America. I experienced the social changes through music. My parents were hard working people in an industrial type of situation.
Around the age of 16 I realized that music was going to be my career. I had played in bands since I was 14. The reason why I wanted to pursue music was that you would get girls interested instantly… The questions was ‘’do you feel cool enough’’?
I played the guitar. In middle school I had asked my mother if she could buy me an electric guitar. I was in bands with my cousin Michael Hampton. He played guitar and got an electric guitar a year before me. He took lessons unlike me, and he was getting good. Starting a band together he suggested that I should get a bass. He influenced me in a lot of ways. I fell in love with the bass. But I still play guitar too, for example with my girl’s band, Dark Colors.
Music is everything to me. My priorities are my health and my family, but music is my anchor. It keeps me rolling. It’s also a love/hate-thing. The love is the notes, the style, the art. The hate stems from the business side. It’s about how much you are worth.
I first met George Clinton in 1974. I was 15 years old and I was playing with a band on the other side of my hometown Cleveland. They used to come around in station wagons and stay over at people’s houses before they got successful. We idolized them. A black rock group. It was heavy.
I was in college but I went to see them play, and went to see my cousin Michael play with them. They asked me to stay. I helped with business as I was majoring in business. Later I auditioned for the band along with three or four guys from within the organization. That was in 1979. I was in the studio with the band before I got to tour with them as a musician. ‘’The Electric Spanking of War Babies’’ was the first album that I did with them. Now I’m one of the seniors in the band. Every night is a new experience. There are no samples. We try to keep it fun.
I also do other projects and my solo project, The Naked Funk Project. Our latest release is titled ‘’All Around The World For The Funk’’.
I’m involved in the Flashlight 2013 campaign. The albums that I have co-written music on with George Clinton are in litigation. The hip hop-acts that have sampled music off the albums have paid for it, but the publisher says that he owns this amount. We come together in numbers to fight this. We are trying to bring awareness, but I can’t speak for any other people in the campaign.
I want to say to young musicians that they need to educate themselves. These days you can google any question. This is no joke. Some business deals are good, some business deals are bad. When you don’t update yourself you will find yourself in hot water. But try to keep a positive attitude. A lot of people can’t handle it. You have to treat the business side in a way so that it doesn’t take you out.
Parliament Funkadelic at Paradiso in Amsterdam (July 2014)
Lige Curry is a bassist who has worked with George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic and the P-Funk Allstars since 1979. He has also been involved in many other Projects and done solo work. Find out more HERE.
I wanted to get a good, solid interview with the Father of Funk, George Clinton, last Monday (28 Aug) at the Astra (Berlin). After a real live explosion that ruined all doubt that the 73 year-old could still deliver the goods (with the bells and whirligigs), I was biting at the bit to raise questions about the recent loss of Gary (Starchild) Shider, the Music Director of the PFunk Allstars, Belita Woods and other funkateers who have transcended earthplane and how important it was for us to remember the names of our witnesses. It was gonna be deep! But, when I finally made it to the dressing room full of family (his grand daughters were singing backup), concept kinda changed and the discussion turned to those who had contributed to the immense catalog of tunes, from the various manifestations of the Funk Mob, including the Brides of Funkenstein, I eneded up with the drop below on the player. Flashlight 2013 is explained by GC himself.
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