March 12 ALERT: Thank you Bootsy Collins, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi, and everyone who has backed us or helped spread the word so far. We need to do more! And with a week to go, we've got an extra special surprise:
Two BRAND NEW synths, signed by Bernie Worrell, and practically a steal even at the $750 reward level! Many thanks to Dave Smith Instruments and Moog Music (both esteemed Bernie Worrell sponsors) for their generosity!
You know who he is...
Even if you've never heard of Bernie Worrell, the odds are better than good you've heard his music. As the virtuoso keyboardist and driving musical force behind Parliament-Funkadelic, Bernie is synonymous with the P-Funk legacy, from his fat Minimoog bass lines on “Flash Light” and “One Nation Under A Groove” to his percussive piano and synth runs on “Chocolate City” and “Give Up the Funk.” In 1997, Bernie and his P-Funk bandmates, including George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame―an honor that was long overdue.
These credits alone speak to Bernie’s rare talent as an artist, but they don’t stop there; his contributions to seminal albums outside the P-Funk canon―including Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense and Public Image Ltd's Album, to name just two monolithic examples—truly put him in a class by himself. Keith Richards, Yoko Ono, Bootsy Collins, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Mos Def, Sly & Robbie, Deee-Lite, Bill Laswell and many more have recruited him in the studio and on tour―all for his versatility, vision and feverish creativity whenever he gets his hands on a keyboard.
Going back to his classic 1978 debut All the Woo in the World, Bernie has also fronted an impressive array of solo projects and supergroups, from 1993’s Blacktronic Science to power-funk outfits like the WOO Warriors and SociaLybrium. His latest undertaking is probably his most ambitious yet—a nine-piece, high-energy live revue aptly named the Bernie Worrell Orchestra, built to retrofit and reinterpret some of Bernie’s vast repertoire, from the P-Funk hits to all-new original material that’s steeped in soul-jazz, hip-hop, psych-rock and more. (And he's a pretty badass singer, too!)
What we've been up to lately, and where we're headed...
In 2011, the BWO released the jazz-fueled collection Standards, and we took our show on the road. Toward the end of our fall mini-tour, in front of a packed house at Bleecker Street’s legendary Bitter End club in New York City, Bernie’s lifelong friend and partner-in-P-Funk Bootsy Collins made a surprise guest appearance, adding another exclamation point to the buzz surrounding the band. It wasn’t long before we amassed an unbroken string of high-profile east coast shows, prompting Bernie to consider the logical next step: a return to the recording studio.
And this time, he promises to pull out all the stops. Pre-production is already underway, with confirmed participation from a list of guests that reads like a who’s-who of funk, soul and rock history, including Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club), Paul Shaffer, Nona Hendryx and many more special guests. With more shows slated for spring 2013, the BWO is on the move with new music, new guests and a whole new sound.
We want to play in your town, but we need a new van to do it.
Bernie knows what it takes to go on tour, and overall we're a pretty resilient bunch, but with a band this size, we've got some serious logistics to consider when we hit the road. We used to try piling ten people into three cars with a big load of gear, which requires a substantial budget to pull off, especially with all the gas, tolls and inevitable repairs that we need to cover. Lately we've gone for renting a 15-passenger van―another expense that makes it really hard for us to break even after just a short tour.
We've had to turn down offers in many places where we haven't had the chance to build up a following yet, all because we don't have access to the mode of travel we need to get to these places. With a brand new van and a trailer hitch to haul our gear, we can eliminate the hassle, and make it much easier to travel beyond just the east coast and midwestern cities we've played so far. We know you want to see Bernie in person and to hear his music―he's a living legend, after all!―and this is the only way we know how to bring the Bernie Worrell Orchestra to you and to all his fans across the country.
Trust us: getting a van is about more than just convenience.
When we don't have the funds to rent a van, we're forced to go with our cars instead. If you've ever packed a drum kit and a bunch of amps into the back of a car, you know how much wear and tear that can inflict on your vehicle. Ford Escorts, Toyotas and Hondas weren't meant for this kind of abuse—and more importantly, this is about safety too. We're already pushing our luck on a rainy highway with three compact cars weighed down by gear and personnel, and then who knows what happens at the gig when we have to find a place to park? Does one of our cars end up getting towed, or worse, stolen? With a van, we can have one person focused on driving, and another person watching the gear and the vehicle during the down-time so nothing goes wrong.
Plus we can bring extra merch with us, and we can have a place to chill with our fans after a show. Who knows, maybe we can even tailgate and jam with our fans before a show! The main thing for us is we need to have a ride that's almost a home away from home. And let's be honest: after all the years of dedication and hard work that Bernie Worrell has poured into his music (not to mention everything he's done for The Funk ever since James Brown invented it), we think he deserves a safe and comfortable way to travel. We're sure you'll agree, and we look forward to seeing you out on the road!
Risks and challenges
We're already addressing the main challenge that a successful Kickstarter campaign will present to us: BOOKING GIGS. If Bernie's fans are willing to donate their hard-earned cash to get a van for the Bernie Worrell Orchestra, then naturally we owe his fans everywhere the opportunity to see the BWO live. We already have connections to venues and booking agents on the east coast, and the more shows we play, the more connections we make.
But more importantly, we'll also work to identify―through social media and through this campaign―Bernie's fans in cities where the BWO hasn't played yet. We want to interact directly with the people who love Bernie's music―directly with YOU―because you probably know better than anyone where the best place in town is for the BWO to play, and who we should approach to start a dialogue about booking shows. Through Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram, YouTube and more, the live experience of music is more socially interactive and connected than ever before, and we want to make sure you know everything there is to know, in real time, about where we are on the road, and where we're headed. We're constantly updating our web presence and our Facebook page, and we're live-tweeting gigs, events and happenings whenever we can. We feel music is the great uniter, and that's what we want to prove every time we get out there on the road.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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