Funk, Death, and Ohio

Washington, envy us!

You goddamn Washingtonians. You hear "Ohio" and you think "Iowa." I swear to God you don't know the difference. You think your state is urbane and sophisticated and Ohio is podunk. Well, you got it backward. Seattle is in the middle of NOWHERE and NOTHING, except mountains and water. You guys are a bunch of twee little birdwatchers and snowboarders. Ohio, on the other hand, has five gigantic metropolitan areas.

So why don't I go back there if I love it so much? Duh, because it's a shithole and the food is awful. My point, though, is it's a bustling, urban shithole.

And there's something Ohio has that Washington will never have: Funk. Ohio is the funkiest state in the union. Bootsy Collins. Zapp. Fucking DEVO, funky as hell. Among great Ohioans of funk, no one stood taller than Ohio Players frontman Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner, who died last month at 69.

Of the many classics you can check out on YouTube, listen to "Funky Worm," a two-and-a-half-minute 1973 track that contains Dr. Dre's entire musical vocabulary. As Bonner himself put it, "There is nothing but the old school and the new fools."

When news of Sugarfoot's death broke, Living Color guitarist Vernon Reid tweeted, "Sugarfoot's VOICE was the Clarion Call of a Thousand Thousand Parties to GET ON THE DANCE FLOOR! His GUITAR was FIRE. A flame AFTER Jimi's." The world is indeed a less funky place now. Except you, Washington. Your Canada-like level of unfunkiness remains unchanged.

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