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Bootsy Collins, funk bassist, retires from performing live

January 3, 2019

William “Bootsy” Collins, an influential bass guitarist who found fame backing funk legends James Brown and George Clinton, announced his retirement Wednesday from playing his instrument on stage.

“Time has come for me to tell all our Funkateers that I will not be playing bass in concerts anymore,” the musician said in a Facebook post. “Doc said [too] much pressure on my inner-ear right hand.”

“I know [you are] disappointed,” he wrote, “just think for a moment how I feel.”

Mr. Collins, 67, said he planned to become a coach for up-and-coming musicians and “will continue to funk from the studio.”

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Collins, first came to prominence after being recruited to join Brown’s backing band in 1970, lending his talents to some of the late Godfather of Soul’s best known songs, including “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “Super Bad,” among others.

Mr. Collins left Brown’s group, The J.B.’s, less than a year later, and in 1972 he linked up with Mr. Clinton, the bandleader and brains behind funk outfits Parliament and Funkadelic. His distinctive basslines subsequently laid the foundation for songs heard on several successful albums released by both groups throughout the decade, including notably Parliament’s “Mothership Connection” from 1975 one of only 500 recordings that has been deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress.

Mr. Clinton and Mr. Collins were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with more than a dozen other P-Funk bandmates in 1997, and both artists have performed on records released as recently as 2018.

Mr. Clinton, 77, announced last year that planned to retire from touring in 2019.

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