RELATED MUSIC LISTS
 Psychedelic Jamz II: Cosmic Boogalo
 Rec me funk
 Top 20 Albums of the 1970s
 Psychedelic Jamz II: Cosmic Boogalo
 Great Guitarists
 Prog Rock Rec Tourney
 Sweet succulent meat.
 We want the funk
 New Music Machine
 I Am Programmed To Take Care Of You
 Underrated Guitarists

» Edit Band Information
» Edit Albums

» Add a Review
» Add an Album
» Add News

Eddie Hazel

A mythical figure, original Funkadelic guitarist Eddie Hazel pioneered an innovative funk-metal sound in the early '70s, best exemplified on hismammoth classic instrumental jam "Maggot Brain." This mythological status arises from his brief, mysterious era of productivity, a shadowythree- album cycle capped by Maggot Brain that came to a close as Hazel's notorious drug problems began to haunt him, resulting in personaldisputes with George Clinton, a jail sentence, and ultimately his slow death to liver failure. Yet even though Hazel's notable accomplishments arefew -- reser ...read more

A mythical figure, original Funkadelic guitarist Eddie Hazel pioneered an innovative funk-metal sound in the early '70s, best exemplified on hismammoth classic instrumental jam "Maggot Brain." This mythological status arises from his brief, mysterious era of productivity, a shadowythree- album cycle capped by Maggot Brain that came to a close as Hazel's notorious drug problems began to haunt him, resulting in personaldisputes with George Clinton, a jail sentence, and ultimately his slow death to liver failure. Yet even though Hazel's notable accomplishments arefew -- reserved mostly to the first three Funkadelic albums, a 1977 solo album, and legendary live performances -- these accomplishments werehighly influential. At the time, Hazel seemed a clear successor to the deceased Jimi Hendrix, one of the few black guitar players merging an acidrock approach with an R&B aesthetic. Furthermore, Hazel took things a step further, integrating a heavy dose of funk into his fiery guitar work aswell, setting the precedent for successive Parliament/Funkadelic guitarists, as well as later generations of funk-metal guitarists.Though born in Brooklyn on April 10, 1950, Eddie Hazel grew up outside the city in Plainfield, NJ, since his mother, Grace Cook, didn't want herson growing up in a negative, drug-littered environment (though, ironically, Plainfield wasn't much better in regard to drugs). While his mothercommuted back and forth to Brooklyn to work as a silk presser, the young Eddie spent most of his time playing the guitar his brother had boughtfor him as a Christmas gift. In addition to his self-trained guitar playing, Eddie also sang in church and eventually met Billy "Bass" Nelson whenhe was only 12 -- the two instantly began playing together, teaching each other to sing and play guitar. Once they met up with yet another localyouth, drummer Harvey McGee, they began jamming together as a trio, trying to learn all the early-'60s Motown hits. In 1967, another much more established Plainfield group, the Parliaments, had suddenly found themselves experiencing a considerable level ofsuccess and wanted to mount a tour. They needed a backing band, though, and looked to Nelson for help. Unfortunately, Hazel was nowhere tobe found, supposedly in Newark, NJ, working with producer George Blackwell. When Nelson returned from a short summer tour in August, thefirst thing he did was hunt down Hazel in hopes of beefing up the Parliaments' rhythm section. There was one problem, though -- Eddie's mother.She wasn't crazy about the idea of letting her 17-year-old son head out on a tour with George Clinton's ensemble of wild musicians. Yet after alittle begging and some convincing on both Clinton's and Nelson's part, Ms. Cook agreed to let her son follow his ambitions. The Parliaments went back on tour in September 1967, with Nelson and Hazel anchoring the rhythm section. In Philadelphia during a show at theUptown Theater, Hazel met Tiki Fulwood, who was the Uptown's house drummer. The two instantly became close friends, going out partying afterthe show together. Furthermore, since both Nelson and Hazel were unhappy with their drummer at the time, they argued with Clinton aboutreplacing the Parliaments' inadequate drummer with Fulwood. By the time they left Philadelphia, the Nelson/Hazel/Fulwood rhythm section wasfinally in place, a tight squad that spawned Funkadelic. In essence, Funkadelic was just a continuation of the Parliaments. With group member Calvin Simon gone off to the war, and with Hazel andFulwood now in the group, the Parliaments abandoned their uniforms, donned extravagant costumes or street clothes, and began playingincreasingly rock- influenced music driven by Hazel's dirty fuzz tone and Hendrix-influenced acid rock approach. The change to Funkadelic thenbecame official with the introduction of Tawl Ross on rhythm guitar and Bernie Worrell on keyboards, resulting in a series of three landmarkalbums: the group's self-titled debut (1970), Free Your Mind...and Your Ass Will Follow (1970), and Maggot Brain (1971). Maggot Brain ended up being one of the group's more essential albums, thanks primarily to Hazel's guitar playing. In particular, the title trackhas become his legacy, an epic instrumental piece fashioned as an emotive eulogy that has become a perennial staple of the group's live showsover the decades. The song's origins are supposedly rooted in a recording session where Clinton told Hazel to envision the saddest thoughtpossible, his mother's death, and use that vision as inspiration. Other myths involve Hazel's voracious drug intake, a characteristic that led tothe nickname "Maggot Brain." Either way, the song made Hazel famous and secured his legacy for successive decades. Unfortunately, following Hazel's most promising moment and greatest accomplishment to date, his career began descending quickly. It's nosecret that the early Funkadelic lineup suffered through drug problems during this early-'70s era, as first Ross was ousted from the group for hisincreasing LSD- related unreliability. Soon after, Clinton became equally frustrated with Hazel's and Fulwood's growing drug abuse, often cuttingoff their pay so that they wouldn't go spend it on illicit substances. These problems most obviously came to light on the follow-up to MaggotBrain, 1972's America Eats Its Young, where Hazel's role was minimal. Furthermore, the guitarist began working with fellow Detroiters theTemptations instead, contributing guitar and songwriting to Zoom (1973) and Song for You (1975). Hazel's drug abuse problems finally caught up with him in 1974, with an indictment resulting from an airline incident that involved him assaultinga stewardess. In his absence, Clinton integrated the potent duo of Garry Shider and Ron Brylowski into Funkadelic, and later Michael Hampton (ayoung guitar prodigy who caught the band's attention by playing a note-for-note rendition of "Maggot Brain" at a party in Cleveland). Hazelreturned from exile for 1974's Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, with strong guitar contributions and co-writing credits with George Clintonon several songs, but by the next album (Let's Take It to the Stage), Hazel was taking a secondary role to the new roster ofParliament/Funkadelic guitarists. While Hazel's role in Parliament/Funkadelic had diminished by the late '70s, Clinton did grant him the opportunity to record a solo album forWarner Brothers, 1977's Games, Dames and Guitar Things. The album featured covers of "California Dreamin'" and "I Want You (She's SoHeavy)," along with a few songs written by Clinton and Bootsy Collins. The nine songs all prominently feature Hazel's lead guitar work, along witha considerable amount of backing vocals courtesy of the Brides of Funkenstein. Incredibly rare and highly collectable for years as a vinyl-onlyrelease, the album remains one of the better P-Funk albums of the late '70s, highlighted by its guitar-heavy sound. Following this album, Hazel continued to play with Clinton in successive years, but his contributions were never major, and he slowly descendedfurther into oblivion, eventually suffering from chronic stomach problems and ultimately dying on December 23, 1992, from internal bleeding andliver failure. In the wake of his death, two posthumous collections of unreleased material were released. Jams From the Heart surfaced first in1994, a brief four-song EP that eventually was eclipsed by a second import release, 2000's Rest in P. This latter collection compiled the materialfrom Jams From the Heart along with a few other leftovers dug up from the vaults. In 2004 Rhino Homemade finally reissued Games, Dames andGuitar Things, appending the Jams From the Heart EP as an added bonus. « hide

Similar Bands: Black Merda, Funkadelic, Axiom Funk, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Demon Fuzz

LPs
Games, Dames and Guitar Thangs
1977

4.1
44 Votes
EPs
Jams From the Heart
1994

Compilations
Rest in P
1994

3
1 Votes

Contributors: PolyrhythmStew, rockandmetaljunkie, Britch2tiger, DikkoZinner, laughingman22, aa1, rockandmetaljunkie, Maniac!,

STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy