Taken from Live for Live Music (May 24, 2016)
Bernie Worrell Claims That George Clinton Cheated Him Out Of P-Funk Royalties
Posted by L4LM-Admin
2016 has not been an easy year for funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. The Parliament Funkadelic and Talking Heads player announced a diagnosis of stage four lung cancer at the beginning of the year, and has since been raising money to both pay off medical bills and finance a solo album release. You can donate here.
Naturally, people have questioned why Worrell, a successful musician who has recorded and performed with nationally acclaimed groups, would need to raise money in the first place. According to a new post written by Worrell and his wife, Judith Worrell, they claim that George Clinton stole all of the money from P-Funk's esteemed members.
You can read the testimonial from the Worrells below.
While on tour in Bermuda with Maxine Brown, Bernie received a phone call from George saying he wanted Bernie to join Parliament-Funkadelic. Bernie asked me to go meet with George and negotiate his “deal” – which I did. It was the first of many contracts/agreements that George would go on to break.
Within a month or two of Bernie’s joining, the group was stranded in Detroit where they’d driven from NJ to do a gig — when George told everyone he didn’t have money to get everyone back and, instead, they would gig in the Midwest and go in the studio. To make this palatable to the group, everyone was a member of Thang, Inc. The deal was that in response to everyone getting little to no money, the understanding was that they were all invested in Thang and royalties, etc. would be forthcoming to all.
This pertained ONLY to original Parliament and Funkadelic members at that time: Parliament: Ray Davis, Calvin Simon, Clarence Haskins, Grady Thomas. Funkadelic were: Bernie Worrell, Billy “Bass” Nelson, Eddie Hazel, Tal Ross and Tiki Fulwood.
Approximately 19??, George told everyone that he’d arranged cars for everyone. This was his idea of a royalty payment as he told the group that he’d gotten a special deal for everyone. While there was some grumbling (“I can buy what I want with my OWN money” – nobody refused. I can’t speak to what was going on in everyone else’s heads but for Bernie, we would buy a car anyway so we accepted and got a Volvo – which was repossessed (along with everyone else’s) a few months later when George neglected to make the payments.
This is one example where payment of royalties under the Thang, Inc. agreement was carried out and the precedent for paying royalties (as agreed) was set.
Considering this very unfortunate situation, be sure to check out Worrell's YouCaring page and give what you can.
Related article: Bernie Worrell's Health Condition Has Worsened, According To New Update...