A desire to memorialize his heroes -- including James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist Garry Shider and jazz legends such as Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis -- drove Bootsy Collins to make "Tha Funk Capitol of the World," his first new album in five years.
"In 2008 we went out and did a tribute to James Brown tour with...as many of the JBs together as I could," the iconic bassist and bandleader, who's worked with Brown as well as Parliament-Funkadelic and his own Rubber Band, tells Billboard.com. "That really got me thinking about all these great cats who are no longer around and how people are just forgetting about them, and the music is becoming so watered down now. We're forgetting the ones that really opened the door. Since I'm still here, I really wanted to connect those dots...so young people can see that what they think is so new isn't so new."
The 16 tracks on "Tha Funk Capitol of the World" -- due out April 26 on Mascot Records -- were written and recorded during the past two and a half years, according to Collins. They feature a stellar guest list that includes P-Funk mate George Clinton and Shider's widow, Linda, on "Garry Shider Tribute;" the rap trio of Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and Public Enemy's Chuck D, on "Hip Hop @ Funk U;" Musiq Soulchild and Tom Joyner, on "Yummy, I Got the Munchies;" Bobby Womack and Collins' brother, the late guitarist Catfish Collins, on "Don't Take My Funk;" actor Samuel L. Jackson ("After These Messages"); Dr. Cornel West ("Freedumb") and Rev. Al Sharpton on the Brown tribute, "JB -- Still the Man."
The speaking voice of Jimi Hendrix, meanwhile, shows up on "Mirrors Tell Lies." "We've got him speaking about certain things that went on in his career and how he saw things," says Collins, who narrated the "Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child" documentary for "West Coast Seattle Boy" box set released in November. "He's speaking through it in different spots. It's pretty cool, a different approach to a song, I think."
Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten and Dennis Chambers, meanwhile, play on a "country meets funk, folk kind of thing" called "If Looks Could Kill," while Collins is putting the finishing touches on a tribute track called "The Jazz Greats," which will include guest performances by George Duke and possibly Herbie Hancock.
"I wanted to kind of expand and not just have an album of only funk," Collins explains. "I wanted to add a little rock, a little jazz, a little gospel in there, just come up with this thing where I can break out into a whole new kind of area. You still get a whole lot of funk, but at the same time we took a few different approaches."
Collins is planning appearances at the NAMM convention Jan. 12-16 in Anaheim and on Feb. 28 at the private Hard Rock Funk Legends show in New York City, but he also hopes to tour behind "Tha Funk Capitol of the World" this year.
"The next project is to try to work that out," he says. "(The show) would have to be based around this album, not based around what I've done in the past...All these (guests) are up for it, so it's a matter of scheduling...maybe get one or two people to show up at certain gigs. That would be amazing. I'm into challenge. I'm into change and doing things differently. This would be something different for me."
The full track listing for "The Funk Capitol of the World" includes:
2. "Hip Hop @ Funk U" (ft. Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, & Chuck D)
3. "Mirrors Tell Lies (ft. Jimi Hendrix)
4. "JB-Still the Man" (ft. Rev. Al Sharpton)
5. "Freedumb" (ft. Dr. Cornel West)
6. "After These Messages" (ft. Samuel L. Jackson)
7. "Kool Whip" (ft. Phil Ade & iCandice)
8. "The Real Deal" (ft. Sheila E. & iCandice)
9. "Don't Take My Funk" (ft. Catfish Collins & Bobby Womack)
10. "If Looks Could Kill" (ft. Bela Fleck, Zionplanet-10, & Dennis Chambers)
11. "Minds Under Construction" (ft. Buckethead & (Z-Class))
12. "Siento Bombo" (ft. Olvido Ruiz & Ouiwey)
13. "Garry Shider Tribute" (ft. George Clinton & Linda Shider)
14. "Stars Have No Names (They Just Shine)" (ft. Nick Arnold & Chrissy Dunn)
15. "Chocolate Caramel Angel" (ft. Faith Daniels, Ronnie Racket, & Casper)
16. "Yummy, I Got the Munchies" (ft. Musiq Soulchild, Razzberry Hershey & Tom Joyner)