You know, those of us who know, know that when DJ Soul Sister says she has a surprise for us, we had better listen – especially when it involves a surprise at a P-Funk show. And last night was proof that those instincts are to be trusted – otherwise you will miss things like this: George Clinton was presented with the Key to the City of New Orleans by City Council member, Susan Guidry during the packed Parliament-Funkadelic concert at House of Blues on the final night of Jazz Fest 2013.
Not only was the Grandmaster of Funk given the Key to the City, but Guidry, on behalf of the City of New Orleans, declared May5 officially George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic Day in New Orleans from here on out. No, this is not a joke, not a hoax, not a mothership dis-connection. This actually happened. An yes, only in New Orleans are things like “Official P-Funk Day” actual holidays on the government books.
So what is the connection anyway? Many are asking, is Clinton from New Orleans? Did they cut some super special records here? Do they have some secret connection to The Meters or NOLA Funk we don’t know about? The answer to most of those questions is no. The connection, outside of the fact that New Orleans was the first city in which the P-Funk “mothership” actually “landed” (aka first tour date) in the mid-1970’s, is DJ Soul Sister. New Orleans’ beloved DJ Soul Sister was the brain behind this fun, funky and yes, surprising announcement last night.
Having traveled around the country for years following P-Funk, instrumental in the first online P-Funk chat room and bulletin board, and eventually developing a personal friendship with Clinton and several P-Funk members, Soul Sister is now often asked to participate in many official P-Funk events such as DJing George’s personal birthday parties and more. But beyond all of that, Soul Sister says she just thought Clinton and the crew deserved their own day here in New Orleans, given the very special musical relationships they’ve created over several decades with numerous New Orleans musicians and engineers, not to mention longtime fans. And now we all have a P-Funk Day – every year, on May 5.
That was the other question that rose: why May 5? The answer again there is simple: “Because that’s the day he would be here.” Ah, the New Orleans way. Why did anyone think we needed a “reason” to have an official P-Funk Day anyway? Now we get to celebrate Cinco de Mayo AND P-Funk Day at once! Sure is good to be a New Orleanian.