For more than 40 years, William Earl "Bootsy" Collins has been center stage. He is one of the undisputed grandmasters of the genre of music he helped create-funk. "Funk is making somethin' out of nothin'. And I think a lot of Cincinnatians has done that."
The roots of funk can be traced to 1962 and the old Sears store at Lincoln and Reading. Here, Bootsy's mom convinced a salesman to sell her a guitar on credit. "It was $29. I don't know how she did it but the man let us walk out with a $29 guitar and I think she put down $2. And let us have it. I had to get a job. I worked at the Enquirer delivering papers for $2.50 a week. And I paid for the guitar."
Not a bad $29 investment. In a few years, Bootsy had moved on to the bass and was playing with the JB's...James Brown's band. "When I got with James Brown he was always tellin' me I wasn't any good. He told everybody else I was great. But to my face, 'nothing....ya need practice, boy. You ain't got the one. You ain't got it."
He practiced and he got it. From James Brown, Bootsy moved on to Parliament-Funkadelic....Bootsy's Rubber Band and more. All because he learned and re-learned how to count to one. "It's the start of everything. It's the start of that first beat...1...2...3....4....ONE..bumdiggadoo doop...BOMB.."
Bootsy Collins is a legendary musician. He's in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But he says making it big isn't what matters. Giving it away is. We caught up with him on a day he was shooting for a new video game....a game that will encourage kids to pick up an instrument and play.
There's a lot of flash and glitter in the stage version of Bootsy Collins. At the heart is the soft-spoken, midwestern humility of a successful man anxious to share the gift. "First of all, I know it's not mine and I know it was a gift. It was given to me. So if it was given to me, why can't I give it to somebody else?"