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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 4:16 am | Fog/Mist 53º

 
 
 
 

Jeff Moehlis: Kim Manning to Help George Clinton Funk It Up in Ventura

Vocalist also celebrating the release of her new album, Good People

Kim Manning is an electrifying, red-hot performer who has been singing vocals with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic/The P-Funk All Stars for 10 years. She will be along when the mothership lands at the Majestic Ventura Theater next Tuesday, March 20, giving our community a chance to free our minds, get up for the down stroke and become part of one nation under a groove.

The occasion also marks the release of Manning’s new album, Good People, which will be featured in her opening set.

She answered the following questions by email.

Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming George Clinton/Parliament Funkadelic concert in Ventura?

Kim Manning: If you’ve never seen George,then you should come, period. He’s a legend. You can only get this funk from one place, and it’s here. It’s almost church; you’ll change when the groove hits you. Now, if you are already a funkateer, you will be delighted in all the old Funkadelic material G has put into the set recently.

Kim Manning will be singing with George Clinton and the rest of Parliament/Funkadelic at the Majestic Ventura Theater on Tuesday.
Kim Manning will be singing with George Clinton and the rest of Parliament/Funkadelic at the Majestic Ventura Theater on Tuesday.

JM: I understand that you will also be the opening act for the show. What can we look forward to for that?

KM: Yep, it’s gonna be a funky good time. I’ll be doing it as my CD Release Party for my new album, Good People. I’m going to have my boys Groovesession back me up and the dance troupe Diatomaceous Love will be dancing and doing aerial. It’ll be a mini rock opera, an excerpt from the full musical that I wrote called The Recycled that the same cast will be performing in the summer.

JM: How did you get the gig touring with George Clinton?

KM: Nearly a decade ago, I met a girl who knew him. I went to the show in San Francisco at the Warfield and then down to L.A. for the House of Blues. George brought me on stage to dance and “baptized” me in a grand bow center stage. Later that day, Shock G, from the Digital Underground, had this jam session. I was too naïve to be intimidated, so I just went and sang my lil’ heart out. My mom called a few days later and said, “Kim, some guy named George Clinton called. I don’t know, but he seems really serious. He wants you to go to the studio,” and the rest is history.

JM: Could you describe the Clinton that you know?

KM: G, as we call him, is amazing. I’ve never seen him mad, he’s always good with his word. In 10 years I have never had a single problem with him. He is good people! I feel like as long as you are always acting in the higher self then everything is gravy with him. Being in a 36-person band is weird, but I always knew G had my back and wanted me there — so there I have stayed.

JM: I saw you perform with Clinton in 2008, and things seemed a bit chaotic onstage, but somehow it all worked. What is it like performing with such a big band?

KM: George loves chaos. He says that when things are moving smoothly, he will do something to purposely mess it up, keep it interesting. It keeps you in the flow. You can’t go into cruise control. You never really know what song he’s doing next. He might start a new song on top of another song. You better hope it’s one of the 300-plus songs of his that you know and better be ready to find the harmonies in whatever key he’s singing it in, then you got to look around and see what other singers are on stage and make sure that you cover all the parts for those that are missing. It’s a vibe, a groove; it’s real music, real time!

JM: At the show that I saw, Garry Shider was still alive. What did he bring to the band, and how has it been adjusting to his absence?

KM: Wow, Uncle Garry, we miss him so much. Garry was the vocal director, George’s best friend; he was like the heart of the band. He’s a father to me. He and G fathered in the funk for me. How do you replace that? You can’t. We all sing his parts, but you can’t replace him — ever.

It helps to have Garrett, his son, out playing with us. It’s funny because ever since Garry passed I hear him in my head, saying his famous “Garry’isms,” still bossing me around, so in spirit he lives on through us — the next generation of funk. Did you know that aboriginal nation in Australia sent a letter for Garry’s funeral? They said the world had lost a bright star!

Click here for the full interview with Manning, including her reflections on being on reality TV and singing with Sly Stone.

Noozhawk contributing writer Jeff Moehlis is a professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his Web site, music-illuminati.com.

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