2014 / Music

HBO’s New James Brown Documentary Features Interview With Madison Drummer

Documentary Premieres On Monday Night

Famed drummer and longtime Madison resident Clyde Stubblefield is one of the featured interviewees in a new documentary about soul legend James Brown, which will air on HBO this week.

james brown

Photo: HBO

The film, titled “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown,” examines Brown’s chart-topping career and his powerful impact on pop music that was essential in the creation of soul, R&B, funk and subsequently, rap music.  Brown died in 2006.

The documentary was directed by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side”) and produced by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. This is the second Brown-related project that Jagger has been involved in. He co-produced last summer’s biopic on Brown, “Get on Up.”

“Mr. Dynamite” purportedly features rare film footage and photos, as well as interviews with Brown’s contemporaries, his musicians and many of his musical acolytes who claim him as an important influence.

Stubblefield was a longtime member of Brown’s backing band. Stubblefield’s inspired playing could be heard on many of Brown’s seminal singles, such as “Cold Sweat,” “I Got The Feelin’,” “Say It Loud — I’m Black And I’m Proud,” “Mother Popcorn,” and most famously, “Funky Drummer.” The latter song subsequently became one of hip-hop’s most sampled drum patterns. (Stubblefield is also a frequent musician on “Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know?” which is produced by Wisconsin Public Radio.)

Besides Stubblefield, the film includes interviews with other members of Brown’s band, including Maceo Parker, Bootsy Collins, Melvin Parker, Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, Martha High and Fred Wesley. The movie’s other talking heads include Jagger, the Roots’ Questlove, rapper Chuck D and current MSNBC host and (onetime Brown crony) the Rev. Al Sharpton.

The film airs on Friday, Oct. 27 on HBO at 9 p.m. (or 8 p.m. Central time).

For more information about the film, visit the website.

Note: David’s music column, Soundbytes, appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio’s website. This column was originally published there.

©Copyright 2014 by David Hyland. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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