Meet the Funk Musician: A Spotlight on Bootsy Collins

Meet the Funk Musician: A Spotlight on Bootsy Collins


When it comes to funk music, Bootsy Collins is an icon. Playing bass guitar for various bands like Parliament-Funkadelic and his own Bootsy's Rubber Band, Bootsy's unique sound and style has influenced countless musicians over the years. Let's take a closer look at the life and career of the funk master himself.

Early Life and Career

William Earl Collins, better known as Bootsy Collins, was born on October 26, 1951 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up in a musical family and started playing guitar at a young age. His older brother Phelps "Catfish" Collins was a guitarist for James Brown and Bootsy often played with him in local bands.

In 1968, Bootsy and Catfish joined forces with drummer Frank "Kash" Waddy to form The Pacemakers, who later became known as The J.B.'s. This group served as James Brown's backing band and Bootsy played bass guitar for them.

Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy's Rubber Band

After leaving James Brown's band, Bootsy joined forces with George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic. Along with his brother Catfish, Bootsy helped solidify the iconic sound of the band through his funky bass lines and spacey, psychedelic sound effects.

Bootsy also formed his own group, Bootsy's Rubber Band, in 1976. The band had their first hit with "Stretchin' Out (In a Rubber Band)" and continued to release funk classics like "Ahh...The Name Is Bootsy, Baby!" and "Bootzilla."

Influence on Funk Music

One of the most distinct characteristics of Bootsy's playing is his use of the "slap" technique, where he slaps the strings with his thumb to create a funky, percussive sound. He also heavily uses effects like distortion and envelope filters to create his unique sound.

Bootsy's style has influenced countless musicians over the years, from funk legends like Larry Graham and Victor Wooten to rock bassists like Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Personal Life and Legacy

Bootsy is known for his colorful, flamboyant style on and off stage. He often wears platform boots, flashy costumes, and a signature star-shaped bass guitar.

Throughout his career, Bootsy has received numerous accolades and awards, including induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Parliament-Funkadelic in 1997 and the Bass Player Lifetime Achievement award in 2014.

Bootsy's impact on music can still be felt today, with many contemporary bands and artists citing him as an influence. His legacy as one of the greatest funk musicians of all time is secure.


Bootsy Collins may be known for his eccentric style and flashy costumes, but his influence on music is undeniable. With his funky bass lines and innovative use of effects, Bootsy helped define the sound of funk music and his legacy can still be felt today in the music of countless artists. He truly deserves his status as a funk icon.