One of the most flamboyant members of George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic crew, bassist William "Bootsy" Collins embodied that group's mix of outrageous showmanship and musical innovation. Earlier, on landmark recordings with James Brown, Collins helped cement the role of a tasty, upfront bassline in a funk groove. Both Cincinnati natives, Collins and his brother, guitarist Phelps "Catfish" Collins, were both plucked from the obscure funk band the Pacemakers by James Brown, who'd lost his previous band in a pay dispute. The new group was christened the J.B.'s and made its debut on the 1970 single, "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine," which along with its follow-up "Super Bad" were two of Brown's most influential singles, marking the transition from '60s R&B to heavier funk. Brown's bands were notoriously volatile and this lineup lasted only 11 months (Collins' admitted love for LSD probably didn't help), after which Collins moved to Detroit and turned down an invitation to join the Spinners. Instead he and his brother were both recruited by Clinton and became part of the anarchic traveling circus that was P-Funk. All of the band's most celebrated moments-"Flash Light," "One Nation Under a Groove," "Give Up the Funk"-feature Collins' basslines, often played through a wah-wah and usually jacked up in the mix. In addition he fronted a series of albums by Bootsy's Rubber Band, all featuring Clinton and the P-Funk crew. The second of those albums, Ahh.The Name is Bootsy, Baby! included "The Pinocchio Theory," a key piece of P-Funk mythology: If you fake the funk, your nose will grow. Onstage Collins was easy to spot in his wigs, top hats and star-shaped "space bass." 1982's album The One Giveth, the Count Taketh Away marked Collins' first album without Clinton (save for one track), and he took a few years' hiatus afterward before teaming with hot New York producer Bill Laswell (and a handful of P-Funkers, though not Clinton) on 1988's What's Bootsy Doin'?. Rediscovery was just around the corner, as a new generation of funk players-notably Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea-began citing him as an influence. He revived the Rubber Band and returned to regular recording, appearing of a number of notable projects: He played bass on Herbie Hancock's techno album Perfect Machine, toured and recorded with Dee-Lite in 1990, wrote a theme song for the Cincinnati Bengals and even made a Christmas album, 2006's Christmas is 4Ever. In 2010 he launched an online bass school, Bootsy Collins' Funk University, and remained active in music education programs. His eighth solo album, World Wide Funk, came out in 2017.