Article by Nate Jackson, Dope Magazine
Decades after the Mothership landed on Earth, opening its shiny metallic hatch to reveal the smoky silhouette of the man nicknamed Dr. Funkenstein, George Clinton continues to be a man ahead of his time. The extraterrestrial groovemaster of Parliament Funkadelic drafted the musical blueprint for generations of musicians, rappers and producers that followed him. But not even Clinton himself could’ve imagined the everlasting glory of the house that funk built, or that he’d still be around to see it over 40 years later.
On a recent evening in West LA, the thick fingers of George Clinton’s left hand glinting with gold rings grasp the crystal stem of a wine glass. Wearing a sharp, caramel checkered suit, bug eyed glasses and a Panama hat poked with a pink feather, he swirls a splash of cabernet at the dinner table of his hotel room before taking a sip. A light haze of smoke clouds the air, remnants of a recent smoke session. Back when the psychedelic shaman sported a head full of his trademark rainbow dreads, George Clinton spent plenty of nights like these bathed in the toxic fumes of a crack pipe. A lifelong addict, there’s no drug he wouldn’t pay to get his hands on. It wasn’t until a bad batch of crack cut with baking soda sent him to the hospital in LA several years ago that he decided it was finally time to stop chasing an impossible high.
“Once that happened…I had an inside joke with myself, like I’m gonna change and nobody’s even gonna know I’m changing. I’m gonna be so far gone away from my old self before anybody even notices,” George Clinton says. “I told people around me that’s the mission.”
Today, the 75 year-old clean-cut funkmaster only basks in the aromatic cloud of fresh bud or his stylish cannabis vape pen. Having kicked all other substances to the curb, he says he’s able to see the future clearer than he ever has before. With the help of his wife and manager Stephanie, who also used cannabis to successfully wean herself off of medication for ADD, Clinton cut off his multi-colored locks, got sober and prepared to enter a brand new chapter of his career.
“Once I got off the drug itself, that was the easy part,” George Clinton says. “The thing was to get off of a habit. You still got a habit. I’ve smoked weed ever since I started, I had to start appreciating that again and it served the purpose of the habit.”George Clinton also says that it wasn’t until he switched primarily to cannabis that he really got high for the first time in years. “Cuz I wasn’t getting high on the drugs. It took up my time more than anything else. I’d be up all hours of the night chasing shit,” Clinton says. “Between what I need to do for the music, with some good weed and [my wife] taking care of me, I was able to get my health back together.”