Celebrate ‘Friday Night, August 14′ With Funkadelic
While we'd argue that every day is a good day to listen to Funkadelic, today is even better than most.
As a quick look at your nearest calendar will tell you, it's Friday, Aug. 14 — which matters because, as Funkadelic fans know, "Friday Night, August 14" is the second track on the band's second album, 1970's Free Your Mind ... and Your Ass Will Follow. Why wait until the sun sets? We're cheating a little and listening to the whole record now.
As Clinton later explained to Blurt, the formation of Funkadelic was triggered by two things: a trademark dispute over his band's original name, the Parliaments, and a desire to evolve beyond their established sound by playing "the nasty music I listened to in school."
"We couldn’t record as Parliament so we started freakin’ out as Funkadelic, dropping acid," explained Clinton. "The first album, two days, really, just went in the studio and stayed in there for two whole days. We took all the vamps and things we did on the stage and just went from vamp to vamp, did everything we could think of."
By the time they got down to work on Free Your Mind, Funkadelic had really started to go, as Clinton put it in an interview with Complex, "from the Motown structures to psychedelic." In the liner notes to a Free Your Mind album reissue, he claimed the entire record was an experiment to see whether they could record a full LP while tripping on acid — although that flippant-sounding remark doesn't really do justice to the urgency Clinton felt.
"The concept would become ‘free your mind and your ass will follow,’ like the second album says," he told Blurt. "Because we were late in the psychedelic thing, we had to do it twice as much as anybody else had did it. We had to overdo it because we was late! Because, you know, Jimi Hendrix, when he was Jimmy James and the Flames, with King Curtis, the Isley Brothers – once we heard those things [with him], we said, ‘Aw s---. We’s late. Let’s catch up!’ When we played with the Vanilla Fudge one time, we heard the sound: ‘Okay, that’s what it is!’ Went out and bought a whole ton of amps and just turned ‘em up and played the blues, played funky grooves, and talked s---!"
Clinton may have felt like he was playing catch-up, but Free Your Mind was still a little ahead of its time — mainstream success wouldn't really catch up with Funkadelic until much later in the decade, when 1978's platinum-selling One Nation Under a Groove gave them their first real crossover hit. Whether you're a diehard fan or just feel like soaking in a hidden gem from the band's catalog, now's the perfect time for a little "Friday Night, August 14."
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