Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins, who was part of the foundation of the Parliament Funkadelic musical movement, died March 17, the group has announced.
He was 81.
“We will miss u my friend, bandmate & Soul brother!,” said former P-Funk bassist Bootsy Collins on social media. “Thx u for ur guidance in my pup year's. Bootsy baby!!!”
“Damn !!! Standing On The Verge Of Getting To Heaven,” said DJ Premier, formerly of Gang Starr, referencing the P-Funk classic “Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On.”
Haskins was a founding member of the Parliaments of Plainfield, who transitioned from doo-wop and suits to the space age mélange of funk, R&B, gospel, rock and more of Parliament Funkadelic.
He had prominent vocals and creative input on landmark albums of the early '70s: “Funkadelic,” “Maggot Brain” and “America Eats Its Young.” His bodysuits and out-sized glasses added to the outlandish stage appeal of the group.
“It was mainly he and Clinton who took charge of things when the Parliaments morphed into what became Funkadelic,” states the group's GeorgeClinton.com website.
Haskins left P-Funk in 1976, returned a year later for the Live Earth Tour, only to depart again in 1977. He and original members Calvin Simon and Grady Thomas released the album “Connections and Disconnections” in 1980 under the name Funkadelic, which led to a court battle over the use of the name.
“By this time, he claimed he was through with singing all the ole dirty songs and began studying the Lord’s Word,” the Clinton P-Funk site notes.
In the '90s, Haskins, Simon, Thomas and Ray Davis performed as Original P.
“We got back together because it was time to put the fun back in funk,” said Haskins at the time.
Haskins joinned the Parliament Funkadelic crew in 1997 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was scheduled to be inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame later this year with the late Simon, who passed way in 2022.
Haskins moved with his family from West Virginia to Plainfield during the 1950s.
“Each of us had a distinctive style, sometimes in imitation of people who were famous then, sometime in anticipation of people who would be famous later,” said Clinton of the Parliaments in his 2014 memoir, “Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kind of Hard on You?” “Fuzzy, who was second lead, was a soulful tenor with all the bluesy inflections, like Wilson Pickett, real rough.
“What we lacked in musical sophistication, we made up for in showmanship and enthusiasm.”
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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Clarence 'Fuzzy' Haskins, original P-Funk member, has died