Parliament Funkadelic's Lige Curry: - A lot of people can't handle the business
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.