Between Takes: How Amp Fiddler Met George Clinton

In Episode 003 of Between Takes, legendary Detroit musician, Amp Fiddler, discusses how his first major gigs lead to him joining Parliament Funkadelic.

Doug Coombe
Doug Coombe

Welcome to Between Takes; where artists and musicians tell stories about what happens behind the scenes.

WDET’s Sam Beaubien has been dedicated to making music in Detroit for 20 years, and this series connects you with the stories he has heard on gigs and at recording sessions.

Get a look into Stevie Wonders audition for Motown Records, sessions with funk master George Clinton, renowned hip-hop producer J Dilla’s first days with a drum machine, and many more stories about what shaped the legacy of this musical city. 

Episode 003

“We started working and [George Clinton] brought me to California and I stayed there for a year with him in the Park Sunset Hotel on Sunset and La Cienega for about a year.”

Doug Coombe
Doug Coombe

Amp Fiddler is one of the most important artists in modern Detroit music. He played keyboards with people like George Clinton and then went on to inspire a new generation of hip-hop and electronic producers.

When Amp graduated high school, he was invited to audition on keyboard for the R&B group, Enchantment. He got the job and went on to perform with the group. Later, he joined the ensemble R.J.’s Latest Arrival. The band had a few moderate hits in the 1980’s and was led by R.J. Rice, who went on to form the independent hip-hop label Barak Records in the year 2000. The labels most notable act was Slum Village, who coincidentally was mentored by Fiddler in the 1990’s.

A year after leaving R.J.s Latest Arrival, Fiddler was asked to tour with Was Not Was. The group brought Amp on his first European tour. After returning home from touring, Fiddler decided to start building a home recording studio to make his own music. His neighbors were related to Michael “Clip” Payne, who was a singer for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Payne introduced Fiddler to Clinton’s sons, who would come over to the house and record.

Clinton had many acts he produced and performed with: Parliament Funkadelic, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, The Brides of Funkenstein, The Horny Horns, and many others. One of these groups was called Parlet, an all-female vocal trio lead by Mallia Franklin.

Parlet gave Fiddler his first gig with the conglomerate and his introduction to Clinton. They became good friends and roommates and Fiddler has continued to perform with Parliament Funkadelic on-and-off ever since.

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  • Sam Beaubien
    Sam Beaubien is a musician, composer, producer, and educator in Detroit. He is also the founder and leader of the acclaimed ensemble, Will Sessions.