Maggot Brain in the Rain

I recently had a religious experience at the Funk Parade in Washington, D.C. The day of the parade I received news that Michael "Kidd Funkadelic" Hampton, guitarist for Funkadelic, would be playing the song "Maggot Brain" live. Throughout my teens, twenties and thirties, whenever Funkadelic was in town, I would catch their shows in a ritualistic act of appreciation and homage. I would appreciate the songs I loved so much, particularly Maggot Brain, and I would pay homage to the musicians and the songs because they brought out such appreciation in me. For me, hearing that Michael Hampton was in town playing Maggot Brain was like hearing a high representative of my religion was in town; I would be remiss not to seize the opportunity to see them. I arrived downtown just in time for the song. As the song began the drizzle turned into a downpour. The rain soaked me through and so did the song.

One of the musicians said, "What's a little rain? It's only mother nature."

The original version of Maggot Brain was composed spontaneously all in one take by the late guitar genius Eddie Hazel when Funkadelic front man George Clinton supposedly told Hazel to imagine he heard the news his mother had died then found out she was still alive. When Eddie Hazel passed away in 1992 Michael "Kidd Funkadelic" Hampton took the torch of playing Maggot Brain live.

For me Maggot Brain represents the perfect musical epitome of the pathos of life. It's not uncommon for people to say, when referring to a profound moment in their lives, "It was like a religious experience." Why does it have to be "like" a religious experience? If listening to a song, gardening, or putting together a toy train set carry a very personal significance to you, why can't those be experiences of spiritual connection. Profound and ineffable connection between yourself and the universe does not have to be geographically limited to places of worship. Or perhaps I should say places of worship do not have to be limited to temples, churches, and synagogues; and acts of worship do not need to be sanctified by an organized religion. If you feel genuine spiritual connection upon visiting your religiously sanctioned place of worship, then that is just as significant. But if you have a habit, hobby, pastime, etc. that lands you back in yourself in a way that feels "right," maybe the entire universe and everything in it has sanctified that act just for you.

Here is a video from Youtube of Michael "Kidd Funkadelic" Hampton playing Maggot Brain live:

Here is another version of Maggot Brain played by Lili Haydn, in case you want to see the joining of agony and ecstasy on the face of a musician: