- Associated Press - Sunday, February 26, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Clyde Stubblefield, the legendary “Funky Drummer” in James Brown’s band, was remembered this weekend as one of the pillars of Madison’s music scene.

Hundreds of people packed a ballroom during a tribute for him Friday night in Madison. Stubblefield died Feb. 18 at age 73 after a long battle with kidney failure. The Wisconsin State Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2mjYkFa ) that the event was anything but somber as friends told stories about how Stubblefield wowed audiences around the world in six decades with his powerful style of drumming.

Stubblefield was ranked sixth on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the top 100 drummers of all time. He was best known for a short solo on Brown’s 1970 single, “Funky Drummer” that was sampled on over 1,000 songs and served as the backbeat for countless hip-hop tracks.

Clyde was outrageously gregarious, fantastically funny, politically serious and always thinking about the other person, especially his wife, Jody (Hannon), and the city of Madison,” said fellow drummer and close friend, Pauli Ryan.

Stubblefield grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and first visited Madison with James Brown’s band for a concert. He soon called Madison home, Ryan said.

The crowd included dozens of drummers whom Stubblefield mentored in Madison.

“Drummers usually have big egos, they are very competitive,” said Joey B. Banks, one of Stubblefield’s proteges. “But Clyde was very humble, very approachable. He didn’t have that rock-star mentality.”

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, who once played in a band called Honor Among Thieves, recalled answering an ad for a used drum set when he was a seventh-grader, not knowing that Stubblefield was the owner until he arrived at his house and he opened the door. Their friendship began from there, and Stubblefield played at a fundraiser for Parisi during his first run for county executive.

“He had no ego but you felt so small because of his talent,” Parisi said.


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsj

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