Bootsy Collins Announces Retirement from Live Bass Playing

Bootsy Collins

Funk superstar William “Bootsy” Collins has been funking on stage for 50 years, but now his days of performing on bass seem to be over. The former Parliament-Funkadelic bassist posted on his Facebook page that he will no longer be playing the bass live due to health issues.

“Time has come for Me to tell all our Funkateers that I will Not be Playing Bass in Concerts anymore,” he wrote. “I have decided to become a Coach for up & coming Musicians. I know u r Disappointed just think for a moment how I feel. Doc said too much pressure on my Inner-Ear & Right Hand. Yeah, I had to make up my Mind so I did. 2019 Sheriff Ping Ping Ping will continue to Funk from the Studio but Not Live playing Bass on Stage. I know u got question & I don’t have answers, maybe one day u too will understand. Just remember; That This Year will be the Funkiest Year of them All. Watch for it. Bootsy baby!!!”

Collins formed The Pacemakers with his brother Catfish in 1968. The band was picked up to be James Brown’s backing group in 1970, and he subsequently played on the hits “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” “Super Bad” and “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing.” He moved on to work with George Clinton in Parliament and Funkadelic in 1972, eventually creating his own group, Bootsy’s Rubber Band. His latest album, World Wide Funk, was released in 2017 with a slew of guest artists.

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  1. Geri O

    It’s so sad to see these awesome and bar-setting musicians reach an age where they have to consider their health and slow down or retire, but it’s inevitable in this thing called Life. Bootsy’s been blessed with a long and notable career and he’s known for helping start a style of playing. He won’t be forgotten, plus he still has so much to offer. We should all be so Blessed (and I consider myself blessed to still be playing at 60 years old and a serious heart scare).

  2. Trey Smith

    it is interesting…he mentions his right hand…his technique is very right hand intense as you can see in the video, the ambient string noise is almost as loud as his amp…he plays so hard…I wonder if that is a reaction to standing between the drummers in James Brown’s band. If you look at the old videos you can see that. Behind and between two drummers! My ears would be shot too!

    • Mitch mestel

      Even though most of us don’t hang a bass on the right shoulder, it seems as though you can pinch a nerve in your neck that causes your right arm to sort of go dead. I have a number of friends who have this issue including one who needed neck surgery and they all are having problems with their right hand. They all also have played heavier instruments too. I found the lightest body I possibly could for my jazz bass and it has made a world of difference.

    • Delilah

      Good point! I never thought of that but I also play very hard on the right hand, which is weird since I also like very laid back dub bassists’ style, who play like it’s no thing…
      Think you might be right about the drummers, and also with an electric energy like they had on stage, it can make you push a bit I guess – and go deaf ;)

  3. Miles Beetledust Davis Johnson

    Bootsy gave it all to us ….

  4. Pennetta Pollard

    I understand the mere fact that you are still here with us is a blessing. We need you to take that new torch and send it blazing into a new road. I send you peace and blessings, stay true to yourself for you are forever LOVED!???????

  5. We need Bootsy. The world needs Bootsy. There are not many real parties like the funk party of Bootsy. I’ve seen him many times at the North Sea Jazz festival in Holland and it was always a party. We gonna miss you Bootsy. Gr from Holland. Keep it on the one. ;o)

  6. Billy

    This is the reason I care about my hearing and my posture…

  7. michael tomazou

    Bootsy has been an inspiration to many in his 50 (really???) year career…his light blazed bright for a long time. I, like many others, will miss his contribution to Music – I really need to go back and check out more of his back catalogue.

    Hope that the health doesn’t deteriorate too much.

    • Start with Parliament Get Up For The Down Stroke Album and Choclate City Album. Listen to every Funkadelic, Parliament Album and Bootsy Rubber Band you can find.

  8. Landry

    First George Clinton now Bootsy. Thanks for the funk and birthing the evolution of hip-hop.