Parliament Guitarist Dies a Month After Bandmate

"Catfish" Collins helped brother Bootsy craft signature funk sound

By Greg Wilson
|  Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010  |  Updated 9:15 AM EDT
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In Memoriam

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Legendary Parliament/Funkadelic guitarist Phelps "Catfish Collins died after a long battle with cancer, becoming the second alum of the landmark band to succumb to the disease in the last month.

Collins, who also played with James Brown, died Friday in Cincinnati at age 66, reported Rolling Stone.

"My world will never be the same without him," said his brother Bootsy Collins in a statement. "Be happy for him, he certainly is now and always has been the happiest young fellow I ever met on this planet."

As a kid, it was Catfish who persuaded Bootsy to use bass strings on a six-string guitar, helping to forge Bootsy Collins' signature funk sound. The brothers first played together in a band called the Pacemakers in 1968. One year later, James Brown recruited them to join the original lineup of the J.B.'s, Brown's touring band. Catfish's clean, funky strumming was integral to Brown classics like "Super Bad," "Get Up," "Soul Power," and "Give It Up."

"It was like playing a big school with James [as the teacher], like psychotic bump school, only deeper," Bootsy told Rolling Stone in 1978.

The Collins brothers joined George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic in 1971, playing on albums like 1972's classic America Eats Its Young. In 2007, Catfish Collins contributed guitar to the soundtrack for the hit movie "Superbad."

Collins' death came one month after fellow Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist Garry Shider died of cancer at 56.

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