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TV One’s hit series “UnSung” gets real funky this weekend. The show, which profiles some of the most influential – yet forgotten – artists of the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, covers the life of funkster Bootsy Collins. The episode premieres this Sunday, November 8 at 8pm.

“When you’re doing those things, to me, it feels like you’re on stage and you’re performing,” Collins said of the show’s interview process. “It’s not something you make up, but when someone asks you a certain question, you respond. I don’t think about it, it’s just comes out. That’s what we call funk on stage – it just comes out.”

(With total candidness the funk legend tells how he kicked his cocaine habit, here.)

Collins admitted tow getting funky and sharing several stories and emotions of his life as a funk star. Decked in signature star-shaped sunglasses and outrageous outfits, Collins became a funk staple starting with his days playing back-up for the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

“It’s like doing a concert,” he continued. “You have in your mind that it’s going to be great, sometimes things go down, the song doesn’t sound right, you didn’t play the right note. Sometimes it’s just like that in interviews. You don’t always know what you’re going to get.”

Collins told EUR’s Lee Bailey that he’d never venture into the depth that he did in interviews for the show. In particular, Collins was moved at having others talk about him and his career.

“I’ve never actually gotten that deep with it – about my career and all that; to get really deep and get other people involved and that kind of thing,” he said. “You don’t know what people really think about you. That’s what I thought was going to be real classic to me. You get to hear what people really thought.”

Collins said that the show’s producer and director were very accommodating and that the process was particularly therapeutic.

“We were just really ourselves. Everything was like family,” he said. “It was kind of like we know them and they knew us. We went back to where I grew up and there were just some deep situations that brought back a lot of memories. It was just so real. I never went back like that before.”

The “UnSung” episode reveals some unknown facts about the music star, but he revealed to EUR that his family played a huge part in making him the Hall of Fame Rock-n-Roller that he is. It was his brother who gave him the spark for music.

“He was the only father figure in the house,” Collins said. “It was my mom, my sister, me, and my brother. I never knew my dad. My brother was eight years older than I was and he was the cat. He was the one that I looked up to. He started playing music and I wanted to be like my brother and that’s what really got me hooked. He used to rehearse around the house all the time. His band used to come over. He played guitar. That really is what got me hooked. That was my first real hero.”

And it was his mom who gave him the name Bootsy.

“She said I looked like a Bootsy. I laughed and didn’t really know what that meant,” he said. “It gives me chills speaking about my mother. She was really the whole reason for me just going all out and wanting to be somebody. My mother would work hard and make $2 a week and that in itself, at a young age, kind of got to me. I was taking it all in. At the time we were going through it, we didn’t think anything was wrong. Mama made sure we were fed and had a roof over our head. We didn’t know we were poor. You didn’t even think about it.”

Collins was also influenced by some funk and soul legends.

“We had King Records here [in Cincinnati]. James Brown was recording here,” he recalled. “We hung out at King Records so we had the chance to run into a lot of different starts at that time: Hank Ballard, Arthur Prysock – and we also got to play on their records. This was at a very young age. I’m like, 15 years old playing at King Records with all these different artists. That was got me started and made me think, ‘This is what I really want to do.”

“But James Jameson was the number one musician for me – the bass player for Motown,” Collins said. “He’s the one that really locked me in to wanting to play bass. This cat could do no wrong with a bass. Every note he played was perfect. At that time, when bass playing was developing, he took it to the next level. Before him it was [basic rhythm]. You didn’t have no melody or bass lines. James Jameson is the one who came up with those groovy bass lines. I never got a chance to meet him before he died. He was my all-time hero.”

Collins added a few other famous names – Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, Little Richard, Howling Wolf, and Chuck Berry to his list of influential artist, and commented on how growing up with such names and at such a time, he learned to revel in the moments.

“You didn’t get to see these guys because we didn’t have TVs; TVs were just coming out and most of us didn’t have one, so it was difficult to get hands-on full-on information from watching these people. But when you saw them, you never took it for granted. You just grabbed that and held on to it and kept that vivid in your mind,” he said.

“We didn’t have tape recorders to tape melodies, so you had to remember this stuff,” he said. “You had to remember the melodies. We lost a lot of that creativity and intuitiveness. We’ve lost that because we gave it up for a remote and pushing a button. You had to remember those things until you either had the opportunity to go into a studio or you had the opportunity to rehearse with a band and put it down. You had to keep that in your mind.”

Bootsy Collins says he looks at things a completely different perspective that today’s artist.

“The fact that we didn’t have anything made us strong and made us more able to deal with the world as it is. We didn’t have nothing. We had to work with what we had,” he said.

“I have to remember to try not to get too comfortable with, ‘Oh, I can just push this button’ or ‘just jump to another track.’ I always try to think back to when you just had four tracks and it helps keep me balanced.”

Collins is also grounded, now, because of his days of being not so grounded, doing drugs.

“You don’t realize at the time that it’s getting heavy. You think you’re just having fun. You don’t look at it like you’re addicted. I looked at it as it’s helping me create and I feel good. I realized when I didn’t do ‘em, I felt depressed.”

“But in a way I’m glad it went down the way it did because I earned a real valuable lesson. I wouldn’t go back and change none of that. It’s got to me to where I’m out now. I’m totally straight, feeling good and able to go back to the community and shine for them.”

“UnSung” airs Sundays at 8pm & 11pm on TV One. For more on the series, check the website at For more on Bootsy Collins, go to his official website at

Watch a preview of Bootsy Collins’ UnSung, here.

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