Bootsy Collins’ newly-established Funk University, the first ever online guitar school for bassists, will make you into a funk legend — or at least teach you the basics through video lectures and daily lessons from guest professors such as Les Claypool and John B. Williams. We emailed Professor Bootsy — who along with 15 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 1997 — and University Director Cory Danziger to learn more about the upcoming semester at FU and determine once and for all the meaning of “the funk.” After the jump, check out our interview with the funk gurus and learn how you can get your own degree in Funkology 101.
Flavorpill: Why did you found Funk University?
Bootsy Collins: I had been wanting to do this for quite some time, but I was trying to do it the hard way, with the actual building and everything right there for you to come and be baptized in the funk. But then I was presented with an idea from Cory Danziger that made much more sense nowadays with the economy — to do a virtual campus. That’s when I started really thinking seriously about doing this, and that was probably about a year ago when we really started getting down to fine tuning and tweaking the idea. The idea was born because funk was present. And remember that funk is what you do when you are breathing in, and that millisecond that you are breathing out is when funk occurs.
FP: What will having a degree from your school do for students upon graduating?
Cory Danziger: Great question. There aren’t degrees at Funk University ’cause that would require the staff to judge people and shape them in a “certain” way. That’s not our trip here. We’re about freedom and letting the musicians that are involved find their own way. They take from the lessons and discussions what they want and make them their own.
BC: Funk is the reward, so there are no symbols or biscuits to pass out. It will only improve your Inner-Planetary Funksmanship. Your degree is the act of giving up some funk to receive some funk and the giver nearly always gets the most in return. So that is what we encourage to give up the funk without looking for an award, the rewards are being in the presence of past, present, and future funkaholics. Maybe the most important element is: Being thankful for getting funked up in a safe environment is all you’ll ever need to get in without your funk card.
FP: In your mission statement you talk a lot about “the funk.” What does funk mean to you? Does it go beyond just music?
BC: In the beginning was that word called Funk, that word called Funk was a Bad word, so the One decided to dress up the Bad word in Flesh so now Funk became Flesh. This Flesh went all around the world for the Funk, and now with emphasis on the One, the One is calling all Funkateers to Unite under “Funk Nation Under a Groovement” through FU. This is how we funk with you.
Funk to me means everything. As Popeye the Sailor states it: “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.” That, for me, describes Funk in its pure essence, life itself is what Funk is to life. Everything operates from a funky funked up appearance according to man’s take on it, but to the creator of all creation, Funk is “I am what I am,” and that is what it do. Everything and Nothing = F.U.N.K.