I play the beat box flute and this story started by my looking on the LEAF website and seeing that Bootsy Collins was headlining in Asheville and holding a workshop there. I figured it would be a good idea to go and learn some stuff off of him and the Rubber Band at the workshop. I thought it would help along with the production of what I am trying to do on my album.
I went to the workshop and spent the days sitting in each one of the sessions. At the end Bootsy had a time when we could interview him and ask questions. I went up to him and told him that if he wanted any funky flute on his album I did something called the Beat Box Flute. This caught his attention so I gave him my business card when I gave him a handshake. He looked at it and didn’t really know what to think. When I told him about the Beat Box flute he was intrigued. After the questions, there was a time for taking pictures. Everyone was getting in line and I decided to put my flute together and get a good picture of me posing with Bootsy.
When I got up there I asked if I could pose with my flute and he said, “Absolutely” I also asked him if I could play and show him what I’ve got and he said, “Yes.” So, I laid down a funky beat and there was this guy taking pictures and the backup vocalist was going crazy for it and Bootsy Collins was blown away and called Patti, his wife, to come on over with a video camera. The next thing I know he asked me if I was coming to his show the next day. I told him, “Absolutely.” He asked me if I had his contact information and he gave me his card. He wanted to make sure I had it before I left.
The next day came along and I got right up in the front close to the stage and waited for the show to start. When Bootsy came on he recognized me as the flute man and asked me if I had brought my flute. I held up my back pack showing him that I had it. He said, “In a little bit we are going to have to get funky!”
Thirty minutes or so pass by and he begins to talk about how James Brown picked him up off the streets at a time when he needed it. The next thing I know he tells me to come up on stage. I hop the fence and get up on stage and start jamming out with the Rubber Band and Bootsy. There was about twenty thousand people in the crowd and it was a feeling like nothing else I had ever had. It is kind of hard to explain. First you have butterflies and then you realize you do it or you don’t and if you are going to do it you might as well do it right. The crowd seemed to like it a lot. It was unbelievable.
Debra Wuliger, figurative artist working with color, texture and pattern to celebrate life.
Image silhouetted with story. Ready for hanging.