“When I first joined James Brown’s band,” recalls drum great Clyde Stubblefield, “there were five drumsets on stage. I was the sixth. But usually he only used three drummers at a time. After I joined, he got rid of three. Jabo [Starks] and I wanted to play more, so we had to find a way to get rid of that other guy! [laughs] It finally happened, and Jabo and I ended up being the only two drummers in the band.”
Clyde is grateful for his time with the recently deceased music legend. According to the drummer, “The most important things I learned from working with James were how to show respect, how to put songs together and produce the music, how to put a group together and run a band, and how to get along and work with other musicians. He taught me all of that, and it’s paid off over the years.”
Clyde currently plays on Whad’Ya Know?, a popular public radio show in Madison, Wisconsin hosted by Michael Feldman. He also plays in a Tex-Mex band called Cris Plata With Extra Hot. And, of course, Clyde and Jabo have their Funk Masters band and are currently working on their third CD. (Check out their Web site, www.JaboandClyde.com.)
All is not rosy with Stubblefield, though. At age sixty-three, one of the toughest “gigs” he’s had to work through in recent years has been dealing with bladder cancer. Clyde had successful surgery and is said to be cancer free. But now he faces another physical challenge: chronic kidney disease. These unforeseen physical misfortunes have left the master of funk with some hefty medical expenses. With no medical insurance, Clyde is dealing with mounting bills.
A fund has been established in Clyde’s name to help with these astronomic medical costs. Anyone interested in contributing, please send your donations to the address below, or visit www.JaboandClyde.com to make a donation online. For any drummer who has been inspired by Clyde’s innovative drumming or has grown up listening to and learning from this true legend, this is one way to give back to someone who has given the drumming community so much.
Send donations to:
c/o Clyde Stubblefield Medical Fund
4141 Nakoosa Trail
Madison, WI 53714
Make checks payable to: Clyde Stubblefield Medical Fund