Sometimes you just want to hear something funky. You don’t want to think about anything important, you don’t want to deal with your problems or any stupid drama. The only thing that matters is the funk.
George Clinton is a prestigious, reliable, and masterful purveyor of said funk. When there’s a whole lot of rhythm going ‘round, you can bet your sweet ass that George is the reason!
“Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)” has been sampled a million times in the nearly forty years since its release. I’m not sure when I actually first heard it, but I think it first made an impression on me when I bought a cassette compilation called Funky Stuff: The Best of Funk Essentials. I am pretty sure I bought it because I was in the midst of my Pulp Fiction obsession, and I quickly subscribed to Quentin Tarantino’s fixation on Blaxploitation films and the music from that era. I used to watch Soul Train when I was a kid, but being a white kid in the suburbs of Cleveland in the early 80s, there was really very little I could do to further explore much of the music I heard on the show. My mother and uncle didn’t have any funk records, so I had little access to Parliament, Cameo, and Con Funk Shun.
This is another one of those songs that makes me wonder how different my life would have been had I known it when I was a kid. It definitely impacted me when I was in my 20s and playing it repeatedly in my car. How much more funky would my childhood have been if I was playing a 45 of this song on my pretend radio show in 3rd grade?
It’s been part of my life for twenty years, and I’ll never give up the funk now.