*R&B/Funk guitarist Phelps “Catfish” Collins, a veteran of James Brown’s J.B.’s, Parliament-Funkadelic and his younger brother William “Bootsy” Collins’ Rubber Band, died of cancer last Friday at his home in Cincinnati, reports the AP. He as 66.
Bootsy Collins said in a statement that “my world will never be the same … Be happy for him, he certainly is now and always has been the happiest young fellow I ever met on this planet.”
Bootsy’s wife, Patti Collins, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that Catfish “was a father figure to my husband. He’s the reason why Bootsy is who he is.”
Catfish, eight years Bootsy’s senior, suggested his brother put bass strings on an old guitar. After being recruited by James Brown, they played on such classics as “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” “Give It Up or Turnit a Loose,” “Super Bad” and “Soul Power.”
By 1971 they had left Brown’s employ, going on to form the House Guests and then joining Funkadelic in 1972 for albums such as “America Eats Its Young” and “Cosmic Slop.” Catfish remained with the group — which also lost guitarist Garry Shider to cancer in June — until the mid-’80s.
“(Catfish) was a hell of a musician,” keyboardist Bernie Worrell, who played with the guitarist in Funkadelic, told the Enquirer. “People seem to forget that the rhythm guitar behind James Brown was Catfish’s creative genius, and that was the rhythm besides Bootsy’s bass.”
Below, Catfish with the JBs in Paris, 1971. Bootsy is on bass.