Throwback Thursday: Bootsy Collins @ SOBs – Sep 26 & 27, 1990

 

bootsy

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein tells us about Bootsy Collins’ fall 1990 shows at SOBs.

We started the Groove Academy shows in June of 1990 with Leon Thomas and The JBs. The JBs featured Maceo Parker, Pee wee Ellis, and Fred Wesley. And after meeting those guys, I was able to meet Bobby Byrd – also a James Brown alumni.

By continuing to put on shows with these artists and building their trust, we came to a place where we were able to ask Bobby’s wife Vicky Anderson if she could give us Bootsy Collins’ number. Bootsy was also an alumni of James Brown plus a member of Funkadelic.

We wanted to bring Bootsy to New York for a show – he hadn’t played New York in 5 years. I didn’t realize that Bootsy was living at home with his mother at the time. So when I called, his mother answered and I said, “Excuse me, is Bootsy there, please?” And she said, “Hold on a second.” She shouted up the stairs, “William! There’s some guy with a strange accent on the phone.”

Bootsy came to the phone and in the trademark Bootsy voice started talking to me. I explained who I was, that Vicky Anderson and Bobby Byrd had given me his number, and that I wanted to know if he’d be interested to coming to New York and doing some shows for us. He said, “Yeah, I need to you speak to my brother, he takes care of all the arrangements.” Bootsy’s brother was Catfish Collins, another James Brown alumni.

Read the rest after the jump

Catfish Collins RIP

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We were sad to hear about the death of Phelps “Catfish” Collins, guitarist and brother of “Bootsy.” I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Catfish in the very early days of Giant Step / Groove Academy back in 1990. I managed to track down Bootsy at his mother’s house in Cincinnati, my goal was to persuade him to come to NY and do a rare show. After speaking to Bootsy on the phone (or William as his mother called him) I was forwarded to Catfish to make all the arrangements. He was a true gentlemen and we quickly got down to the logistics of bringing “Rubber Band” to NY literally. They drove down with full sound system and Horny Horns too! It should also be remembered that Catfish was an integral part of one of James Brown’s funkiest bands responsible for “Sex Machine” and “Soul Power”. The young band that included a teenage Bootsy on bass was drafted in when the old band went on strike on the eve of a major tour. James Brown (not one to negotiate) called the bands bluff and had Bobby Byrd go to Cincinnati rehearse the young funkateers and have then ready in 48 hours! The rest is history and funk and soul music is a better place thanks to Phelps “Catfish” Collins.
- Maurice Bernstein, Co-Founder / CEO & President of Giant Step