George Clinton Recalls Moon Landing: ‘We Was Up There, We Was Waiting on Them!’
Parliament-Funkadelic icon George Clinton recalled the 1969 first moon landing, telling an audience that when Apollo 11 touched down, he was there and waiting for the astronauts.
His light-hearted comments came in a Q&A session at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, before he led his band through a performance on the 50th anniversary of the space exploration achievement.
“We was glad to see them when they came, we was up there. We was waiting on them!” Clinton said. “They thought they was doing something; we said… we’re gonna let them have their fun. ‘One step for mankind’ – we said, ‘Bullshit!’”
More seriously, he continued that he remembered the moon landing moment well and that it had been “cool.” Asked if the space program had been an influence on his music, he replied: “Probably so, but I was so far into like Star Trek and stuff… and that whole concept of journeys into outer space in the ‘50s, when you first got television. All of that sci-fi stuff got me in the early ‘50s; I kind of felt akin to it. I felt like an alien, all alone. Yeah, landing on the moon kinda woke my genes up a bit, but it was already in me.”
On the subject of spacecraft, Clinton also recalled bringing the P-Funk mothership on tour for the first time. “It was like stepping on the moon, and all of that,” he enthused. “Landing the mothership here [Cleveland], Detroit, L.A., New York. That was worthy of something to remember too.” He noted that the stage prop was now in the Smithsonian museum, although it’s actually the second version because the first one had been sold for parts. “Yeah, it got carjacked,” Clinton observed.
His current tour runs until September 1.