Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Tuesday Tuneage
Funkadelic - "March to the Witch's Castle"

In an episode of The White Shadow when a player from a visiting Soviet team says to Carver High's Curtis Jackson: "We very much like your Elton John in the Soviet Union," Jackson responds with: "I'm into Funkadelic myself." (Soviet player: "Funkawhat?") The Carver team, as I have previously written, may have invented the "oops upside your head" chant used by The Gap Band. So if a band is namechecked by a member of the Carver squad in the midst of the hysteria surrounding a Cold War showdown, it's as good as gold in my book.

The sounds of Funkadelic need to be offered up to every dopey, KQ-embracing white guy who proclaims that he prefers "white music." It was classic rock playlists that blinded me to Funkadelic in the first place, so instead of hearing their genius on FM radio over the years, I was instead whitewashed with the likes of Asia, Eagles, Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac, Styx, Whitesnake, Journey, Mike and the Mechanics, Foghat, etc. etc. Classic rock/AOR playlists specifically excluded black artists, those were the orders from the top. The suits had no use for the guitar-driven, acid-influenced hard rock of the likes of Funkadelic.* White misfits like Black Sabbath and Lynyrd Skynyrd proved to be huge acts on classic rock radio, too bad the equally masterful Funkadelic wasn't allowed to share airtime with them. Because how much more fun would the Dazed and Confused soundtrack have been with the sounds of a band that absorbed every weird, great noise that The Jimi Hendrix Experience had, added the out-there factor of Sly and the Family Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On, took it, and ran?

With "March to the Witch’s Castle" - a Vietnam vets returning home tune that is akin to Sabbath's "Hand of Doom" - they got even weirder by throwing in a Uriah Heep influence. It's a slight better than "Mississippi Queen", right?

*Footnote for a story I just love to recall: In its early days MTV was segregated until CBS Records threatened to withhold all its artists' videos unless MTV aired Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean".