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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