George Clinton goes by many monikers: the Funkmaster, The Granddaddy of Funk, and Shira Lazar’s personal favorite, Dr. Funkenstein.
Whatever you choose to call him, Clinton is a true music legend and stopped by What's Trending live on Wednesday sporting a new look without his trademark hairdo.
Clinton, a recent recipient of an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, is trying to raise money via the charity-hosting website IndieGoGo.
“We’re raising money to redo a studio, to put out some of this music we got,” he said. “We have a lot of music that never came out. So we have to do a lot of refurbishing. IndieGoGo is helping us do that.”
Donating online on indiegogo.com/Georgeclinton earns those who donate some perks, like unreleased music. Clinton said he didn’t even know what the Internet was when he started making music, but he says it’s a great distribution platform.
However, he’s had some legal problems with people stealing his jams, as well as never ending disputes with labels from age old contracts that have no relevance to today's new business models. He mentioned how he doesn't make a cent from his music being sampled or used in blockbuster films like the Oscar-nominated Moneyball. His advice for aspiring musicians? Know everything you can about music copyright laws.
“When we meet the goal of this (fundraising campaign), we’re going to start our legal defense fund,” Clinton said. “With the downloads and everything like that, they don’t pay you for that.” He's also teamed up with Michigan congressman John Conyers Jr for a project called the P-Funk Initiative.
He shared his message to the music labels: “This is why you’re going out of business. The Internet is taking over. You’re not paying artists. You’re not paying people. This is your own fault that the record business is going out of business.”
Clinton, who regularly uses social media platforms, says he actually making more money online selling less than he would make selling more with a label. He likes being able to cut out a middle man.
"You got all these new ways of tracking down your money," he said. "You can emailing somebody, a fan, a brand new album, right from your own office, we're doing that."
You can follow George on Twitter @george_clinton. His website is Funkprobosci.org.
We were also lucky enough to have him deliver a spoken word performance of the song "US Custom Coastal Dope Dog!"