"I'll just get my gear."

R.I.P. Garry Shider

tn_garryshiderI didn’t hear about this until last night, but apparently Garry Shider, guitarist, musical director and singer for Parliament and Funkadelic, died on the 16th. He had cancer of the brain and lungs and died at home in Maryland. He was only 56.

Garry was a great guitar player and he also sang lead vocals on some of P-Funk’s greatest anthems, including “One Nation Under a Groove” and “Standing On the Verge of Getting It On.” The song he played at virtually every show was the beautiful “Cosmic Slop.” Turns out he didn’t write it, but I always thought of it as his trademark song. Despite the psychedelic title it’s a heartwrenching story from the point-of-view of a kid whose mother resorts to prostitution to feed her kids, and every night he hears her praying for forgiveness.
Here’s an absolutely smokin rendition I found on youtube. Garry’s the, uh, guy with the gold wings and the diaper singing lead vocals:

Garry grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey and hung out at George Clinton’s barber shop, where the doo wop group The Parliaments was formed. Garry wasn’t a Parliament, but he moved to Canada and started the band United Soul when he was still a teenager. Clinton later produced them as “U.S. Music with Funkadelic.” Their songs “I Miss My Baby”…

and “Baby I Owe You Something Good”

…soon became Funkadelic tunes, and Garry and his bandmate Cordell “Boogie” Mosson joined the group too.

Oh yeah, Garry sang the lead on one of my all time favorite underrated Funkadelic tracks, “I’ll Stay.” Check this shit out:

I’ve seen the P-Funk All Stars a ridiculous number of times over the years, as recently as a couple of months ago. I wasn’t there from the beginning, but long enough to see their touring band transmutate and metamorphose. There were the days when they still had the great guitarist Eddie Hazel, but then he died. There was the time when Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley were still leading their horn section. When George’s son Trey Lewd would be there doing a song called “Yank My Doodle.” And when he decided to teach his limo driver “Babblin’ Louie Kababbie” how to rap to prove he could make anyone funky. Keyboard mad genius Bernie Worrell came back for a while, then went off on his own again. Blackbyrd McKnight (also a member of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters) and Andre “the guy in the wedding dress” Foxxe were there for many years, then went their separate ways. The younger generation of P-Funkers picked up in the early ’80s, like kung fu suit wearing bassist Lige Curry, became the veterans leading still younger members, like George’s granddaughter Sativa who George looks alternately proud and embarrassed of as she raps about marijuana and dicks. There was a period around 2004, doesn’t seem like long ago yet, when they picked up some new female singers, had a violinist named Lili Haydn playing the shit out of “Maggot Brain,” and were tighter and fresher than I’d seen them in years. At recent shows they’ve gotten messier, cut down the band, sometimes with no horns, at least once with near-disastrous results, but it was still kind of a religious experience to have their sounds wash over me.

And at every one of those shows Garry was there in his diaper with his big outie bellybutton on display, singing his Gospel lungs out. Don’t worry, he wasn’t one of those perverts who gets off on wearing diapers, he just didn’t give a fuck what anybody thought of him. And he must’ve thought it was funny. If you can sing a song that brings tears to people’s eyes even though they can see you standing there, a man in your 50s, wearing a diaper, then you know what the fuck you’re doing.

I’m not sure how they’ll do it without him. I’m sure they’ll figure out a way. But it’s not gonna be the same. I’ll miss him. Rest in peace Garry Shider.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 at 1:10 am and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

23 Responses to “R.I.P. Garry Shider”

  1. Oh man. R.I.P. Garry Shider indeed.

  2. Jareth Cutestory

    June 23rd, 2010 at 6:43 am

    He was so great on those Bootsy Collins solo albums.

  3. R.I.P.

    I got to see P-Funk when I was about 17 at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival on the main stage on a nice Saturday Afternoon. They weren’t one of the reasons I had came but I remember walking by the stage and hearing their music and getting sucked in. Easily one of the greatest live acts I’ve ever seen.

  4. R.I.P. Sir Garry.

    However, Eddie Hazel was the true guitar god of Funkadelic.

  5. As a massive funk fan, I’ve always been slightly ashamed that I didn’t like P-Funk more. I’ve tried, but their songs almost always wear out their welcome when they’ve still got three minutes left to go. I saw the All-Stars in ’98 or ’99, and it was a great show, but tiring. They managed to send my 20-year-old ass to bed long before they were finished. I don’t know how these old funk guys do it. They must have a reserve tank like a fucking camel.

    That said, I salute the inspiration, ingenuity, and influence of Garry Shider and the rest of the crew. That song “I’ll Stay” is the tits. Anybody else notice that De La Soul sampled it on “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa Claus”? No? Just me?

  6. Jareth Cutestory

    June 23rd, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Majestyk, even if you weren’t the biggest fan of the music, you at least have to appreciate the diaper. If only for its utility during those long jams.

  7. I have nothing but respect for the diaper. Not every guy can pull off that look.

  8. Mr. M- I was just going to comment about De La sampling “I’ll Stay” for their song. I got a compilation of soul/funk music that was used for hip-hop samples, and that was one of the tracks that got played over and over again.

    I never knew Shider by name but I recognize him from shows as the guy in the diaper! Rest in peace sir.

  9. Vern, how about some album reviews at some point and on a semi-regular basis? You clearly know what you’re talking about when it comes to the music you enjoy. For me, this funk stuff is a pretty big hole in my musical experience and I’d like to learn more about it.

  10. Start with James Brown. Here’s a pretty solid compilation called “Foundations of Funk” the provides just that: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000002G77/ref=dm_dp_cdp?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1277312061&sr=301-1

    The move on to the JB’s: http://www.amazon.com/Funky-Good-Time-Anthology-Jbs/dp/B000001EE8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1277312135&sr=1-1

    From there you can go anywhere, from the cinematic soul of Curtis Mayfield to the space jams of P-Funk.

  11. I don’t know, I don’t like writing about music the way I like writing about movies. It’s too hard to describe. But when it happens it happens. Maybe if Bruce makes The Return of The Return of Bruno.

  12. Jareth Cutestory

    June 23rd, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Bryan’s comment hints at a good title for such articles and reviews: FILLIN’ YOUR FUNK HOLE.

  13. Or ‘Bad-ass Funxtaposition’?

    Yeah, I can see album reviews being a totally different experience compared to reviewing a movie. I guess I’ll just check out the embedded youtubery and see what path that leads me down. I guess I can fill my own funk hole for now. (Thanks, JC.)

  14. 56 is pretty young. Damn.

  15. Damn tragic. “Cosmic Slop” is one of fave rock songs, period. It has such a soaring, optimistic sound for its despairing subject matter, which I guess explains Funkadelic’s philosophy toward a lot of things.

    Also, United Soul’s album is really good. It’s just way too short. “Rat Kiss the Cat on the Naval” could have been a concert mainstay were it released under the Funkadelic label.

  16. Other than Eddie Hazel’s tremendous GAMES, DAMES, AND GUITAR THANGS and some of Bootsy Collins’s stuff, I’ve never investigated many of the individual members’ projects, either pre-, mid-, or post-P-Funk. It just seemed too easy to get lost in a labyrinth of funk (admittedly, not a bad way to go). I didn’t actually know about United Soul until you mentioned it here, Vern…proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Looks like I’ll have to do some snoopin’.

    And, damn, does Garry hold his own with Michael Hampton in the “Cosmic Slop” clip! In no way an easy task. I was never sure if Hampton or Shider was the string-smith behind “Who Says A Funk Band Can’t Play Rock?!” It was a bit sad for me to learn Hampton had the writing credit, as I always felt a good alternate title was, “Who Says A Grown Man Can’t Wear Diapers (It Depends)!?” Yeah, Garry Shider will be missed.

    On a semi-related note, Majestyk’s mention of “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa” somehow reminded me that the Roots covered it for a decade-old Sire records comp called JUST SAY NOEL, which further reminded me to remind everyone that their brand-new album out this week, HOW I GOT OVER, is fucking excellent. Go buy. This is not an A&R guy speaking.

  17. That “Cosmic Slop” performance is outstanding, way better than Redman’s “Cosmic Slop,” though that’s also good song in its own right.

  18. i solidly support album reviews, i’ve inadvertently gotten into some great bands because of word of mouth around here. Funkadelic being one of them. i’m 25, i already know what shit i like from the past 15 yrs, i need some of you older guys to keep digging up classic shit for me.

  19. I just find about about his death today. 11 July 10. My heart just sank. I’ve been playing bass guitar since I was 12 and I cut my musical teeth by way of the Funk Mob. I’ve seen them a number of times at the Old Capital Center in Landover MD not to far from where Mr. Shider lived. Me and my ex wife were also married in Upper Malboro. My sympathy to the family. RIP Garry.

  20. Jareth Cutestory

    August 13th, 2010 at 6:15 am

    RIP Phelps “Catfish” Collins.


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