About Bootsy Collins
Nobody plays the bass quite like Bootsy Collins, and nobody looks like Bootsy Collins. The legendary funk bassist is perhaps the actual definition of 'funk icon'.
Rising to prominence as a bassist in James Brown's band, and later with George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, Bootsy has been incredibly prolific throughout his career. Besides playing the bass like a funky angel, he sings and writes songs as well, and he has put out more than 20 albums combined with his band Bootsy's Rubber Band and as a solo artist. Besides that, he has appeared on countless albums from other artists.
Among the greatest and most influential bass players in popular music, he has said, that he wanted to play bass like Jimi Hendrix played guitar. Hence, Bootsy started off playing guitar, like his idol and like his older brother Catfish Collins, but one day his brother's bassist couldn't make it to a gig, so Bootsy grabbed a bass, and filled in. It just felt right, and Bootsy hasn't looked back since.
Bootsy was starting out in music around the time James Brown came out with Papa's Got a Brand New Bag. As arguably the first distinct funk-song it made a deep impression on the young Bootsy Collins. So when he found himself playing with Brown a few years later, he was well aware how lucky he was.
When Bootsy started playing with James Brown, Brown was already an icon. A perfectionist, and famously hard taskmaster, James Brown would often tell the band 'you just ain't got it' after even very successful gigs, and would continually push them towards perfection. The thing Bootsy is most grateful to have learned from James Brown, is the importance of emphasising the 'one' beat. That focus is the deceptively simple engine for true funk.
Eventually Bootsy ended up leaving James Brown's band, the J.B.'s, with his brother, Catfish Collins. It wasn't long however, before they joined George Clinton's legendary Parliament-Funkadelic collective, where Bootsy was a central figure for many years.
Contrary to the perfectionist James Brown, Clinton encouraged experimentation, which gave Bootsy room to really shine. He started hooking up all kinds of different pedals to his rig, and really began experimenting with sound, and he has continued to do so to this very day. Among Bootsy's many effect pedals, you find the Flashback X4 Delay, which he really likes for the great sound, effortless flexibility, and quick access to presets.
Since 1975 Bootsy has been known for his outlandish star shaped sunglasses, shiny clothes, and the funky looking star shaped Space Bass, which makes him very easy to spot in any crowd, but Bootsy's amazing tone and unique playing style makes him equally easy to spot with your eyes closed. Bootsy Collins, has done as much as anyone to shape the sound of funk through his career with James Brown's band, Parliament-Funkadelic and as a solo artist, and this massive effort finally got rewarded in 1997 where he got inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with 15 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.
One of his current projects is to ensure that the world stays funky. To that end Bootsy has founded the online Funk University, where intermediate to advanced funk hopefuls can get funked up. At Funk U, Professor Collins delivers weekly lectures along with daily lectures and lessons from other top musicians in funk.