The Porcelain Throne: Sly and the Family Stone

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On this very non-metal version of the Porcelain Throne, we have none other than the artist formerly known as Janitor Jim here to talk about some straight-up funk.

Sly and the Family Stone were pivotal to the creation of funk, along with Parliament and Funkadelic. The band had a harder edge than Parliament and Funkadelic, and had a very diverse catalog of hits and albums. In this feature, only the first five will be covered. I discovered these guys watching the movie of Woodstock and watching them perform “I Want to Take You Higher”. I got more interested in these guys, and funk in general, after watching their epic performance.

A Whole New Thing (1967)

This is the debut album from the band, which was recorded live in the studio. The album was not as commercially successful as the later albums, but still had some good songs such as “Turn Me Loose” and “If This Room Could Talk”. At the time this came out, the Summer of Love was gaining traction and this would begin to influence the band’s later output from the 60’s. I consider this album very inconsistent compared to the other albums but the songs have a bit more crunch to them.


 

Dance to The Music (1968)

This album was not well liked by the band during its recording, but it was a hit. The first single on this album was “Higher”, which was re-recorded as “I Want to Take You Higher”. The album also had a re-recording of their only Loadstone Records single “I Ain’t Got Nobody” and their popular song “Dance to the Music”. The album began their pattern for their songs, which had singing from all of the members, prominent solos for all the instrumentalists, and a bit of scat singing. I love the song “Dance to The Music” and especially “I Ain’t Got Nobody” due to the way they influenced my love of Parliament and other more poppy funk groups.


 

Life (1968)

This album was not as commercially successful as its predecessor, but has been sampled heavily in the hip-hop and electronica communities. The album is driven heavily by the compositions written by Sly Stone, and covers a lot of topics such as unity and integration, and a lot of the tracks became popular concert staples. Fatboy Slim‘s song “Weapon of Choice” sampled the opening riff of “Into My Own Thing” on this album. By this point, a lot of soul artists were taking pages from them like The Temptations with “Cloud Nine”.


 

Stand! (1969)

This, in my opinion, is the greatest album Sly And The Family Stone ever recorded, and one of the best funk albums ever. The album covers topics of unity and integration almost exclusively, and had a lot of hit singles such as “Everyday People”, “Sing a Simple Song”, “Stand” and “I Want To Take You Higher”. The album is much stronger than the previous output, and had more energy on it than their past album. The band performed Woodstock around the time this album was released, and as of 2015, this album is in the Library of Congress. According to many of the critics who attended Woodstock, Sly and The Family Stone had one of the best performances in the festival, which I agree with. By this point, Sly was beginning to have a heavy drug problem and the band was experiencing tension.


 

There’s A Riot Going On (1971)

This album was much darker than their previous albums due to the crumbling of the hippie movement, which Sly was a big part of. The songs cover the decline of the Civil Rights Movement, the assassinations of MLK and Malcolm X, police brutality, and drug usage. By this point, Sly and the band had terrible addictions to drugs and it was driving a rift through the band. By the next album in 1973, their momentum had vanished and by the time their last album was released in 1975, they had trouble filling up small venues. They disbanded shortly after playing Radio City with only one eighth of the hall being filled.

As always, thank you Janitor Jim for this unexpected submission, and if you want your turn in the toilet, check out The Official Porcelain Throne Guidelines.

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  • Edward/Breegrodamus™

    Janitor Jim in the mother fuckin’ house! Nice job bud, this was a good read.

  • Tyree
    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Shoshanna?

      • MoshOff

        A-a-ah, attendez la crème!

      • Tyree

        Yes sir.

  • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

    I’m proud of this. If you think this isn’t metal you should have seen my other ideas!

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      needs more Glassjaw!

      • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

        Edward plz!

      • I’m not in on the joke but upvoting for Glassjaw.

        • Oli Fucking Sykes, Son.
        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          Me and the Janitor had a little tête-à-tête about misogyny in Glassjaw’s lyrics from a 365 Days of Horror post on this site. I’ve been giving him crap about it ever since, lol

          • I remember now, I was defending them.

    • Oli Fucking Sykes, Son.

      I am curious to see these ideas.
      Can’t be any worse than mine 😉

    • look it you going from BAN HAMMER to contributing editor.
      Stay gold ponyboy

    • JWG

      My own exploration of the funk genre kind of began and ended with Black Merda and Parliament.

      I did enjoy reading this for what it’s worth (I can practically sense your enthusiasm between the words), but it won’t cause me to run out and add more funk to my collection. Not even SATFS.

      PS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHSFsWZM1Gk

    • i love funk, maaan! have you jammed Jamiroquai? that’s my modern funk go-to

      • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

        yea buey…i crawl up in that shit bruh.

  • Excellent post. Though funk isn’t really my thing, it is a genre I respect and don’t hate. Someday I will get off my lazy ass and write a Porcelain Throne article. I can’t figure out what band to choose. I want to pick a band with a more or less perfect discography that has affected me in a good way. Every time I think I have found one, I find an album that they released that absolutely sucks dick.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Couldn’t you just include that in the post though?

      Flawless discography minus this piece of shit here.

      • I guess I could. It is still difficult for me to figure out who to write about. I’ve been thinking about writing about Novembers Doom. Amid Its Hallowed Mirth and The Pale Haunt Departure are two of my favorite albums to ever be released. The pieces of shit would Of Sculptured Ivy and Stone (which isn’t terrible, just not on the level of future releases) and The Knowing (which is just about a spoken word album with a collection of rather boring instrumentals). I’ll probably start laying out plans to write about them soon.

        • I would like to read about Novembers Doom!

          • I’ll see what I can come up with. I’ll have a lot more time after next Friday. This semester of college will be over.

        • CT-12

          What Link said, I’ve been interested to get into Novembers Doom but haven’t had the time, a proper guiding would help!

    • JWG

      If I were to do a non-metal one on a band with influence to both rock and (folk)metal it would be Horslips: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horslips

      I am undecided how to divide their 9-album output into a few eras so that I can fit the submission rules though. Wikipedia just considers it all one (given that it’s only a 7 year span in total)

      …plus a much later reunion-period album that I wouldn’t count, regardless of how I’d subdivide the other nine.

  • You’ll always be Janitor Jim to me Janitor Jim

    • Guacamole Jim

      Coal Roll spitting hard truth!

  • Mon*Star

    I’m surprised by the comment that Sly had a harder edge than Funkadelic. I’m a big fan of Funkadelic’s first several albums, but only a casual fan of Sly, so maybe I haven’t heard what I should to have a more informed opinion. I’ve actually seen Funkadelic’s album “Maggot Brain” called heavy metal in a few instances.

    • Dr. W.’s Tentacles

      I’m with you, honestly. Maggot Brain is a lot like prog metal in some spots.

      • That Maggot Brain song is very heavy! I get mindblowed by that song, need to check the entire record, still.

    • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

      I love Sly, but your assumption wasn’t far off. Funkadelic were much heavier and rock oriented (at least their first five albums were) and in my opinion much better.

  • The Beargod

    I’m always down for some S&TFS

  • Guacamole Jim

    Am dancing to the music. Thanks for the read, Janitor Jim!

  • Oli Fucking Sykes, Son.

    This just proves my theory on how awesomely diverse this site is. Well done Jim, top article mate.

  • Good work, mr. Janitor! Thanks for bringing this and contributing the Toilet diversity!

    “We are but a bunch of turds in the Toilet Sea” – Simón Bolívar (2005).

  • Sly went on to get married at Madison Square Garden in 1974. Then… things kinda went poorly.
    http://dangerousminds.net/comments/family_affair_sly_stone_gets_married_at_madison_square_garden_in_front_of_2

  • Nice job JJD. I don’t I ever listened to these guys but check it out to see what hop songs were sampled. Do you jam Curtis Mayfield?
    http://youtu.be/HJkjVfOcIxs

  • Never been an avid listener of funk, but I really enjoy it. Great read and great article, JJD!

  • Óðhinn
  • Óðhinn
  • KJM

    It’s amazing that Sly Stone is still alive.

    I’m also more of a Parliament/Funkadelic guy myself, but respect must be paid.

    • Dr. W.’s Tentacles

      P-funk >>>>>>>>

      • The Beargod

        Pee funk.

        • Sir Tapir the Based™

          If your pee is funky, you better go see a doctor.

          • The Beargod

            I did, she said: “Let the Pee do the dance”, and boogied.

          • Taylor Jong Un

            Peeing while dancing is how I pick up all the chicks at clubs. It’s like a urine soaked version of a lawn sprinkler.

  • Óðhinn
  • KJM

    Here’s a Funkadelic oriented project that may meet with some approval here.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJkdiOeCEjE

  • Maik Beninton

    I somehow have listened to Dance to the Music.
    How and when I don’t know.

    • Guacamole Jim

      I have a feeling it’s in more than a few movies…

  • KJM

    Hot bbq tendies, Agents Of SHIELD, and a packed bowl. That’s the stuff.

    • I’m eating quinoa at my desk right now. I’d punch a koala for a tendie.

      • Vladimir Poutine

        Koalas have chlamydia. Just sayin’.

        http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22207442

        • Can you get chlamydia from punching a koala? I asked google but it just told me that police were on their way to my apartment.

          • Vladimir Poutine

            Considering that chlamydia is sexually transmitted, the logician in me says that you’d have to be … doing something bad in order for punching a koala to yield the specified result.

          • Taylor Jong Un

            Maybe he’s donkeypunching the koala?

          • Lacertilian

            You probably can, due to your weak immune system but the rest of us are safe.
            Trust me, I’m a true blue Koala smashing cobber digger.

          • KJM

            Yeah, but you have to deal with the horror of DROP BEARS. (shudders)

      • KJM

        These came out perfect, best tendies I’ve had in months.

      • Taylor Jong Un

        I’d throw my mom off the Sears Tower for a Klondike Bar. And I don’t care about nuclear warfare as long as I get some french fries and tendies.

  • CT-12

    Fuck yeah man, stoked to see Sly in the toilet, equally surprised to see JJD finally get something on here! Great job dude, I love “There’s a Riot Going On”.

    • The Anus That Ate Abe Vigoda

      I misread that as “stoked to see Sly on the toilet”. GAH!!!!

  • J.R.

    I hate when people watch me type. Lady JR is making me type this to get over my dislike of it. She says hello.

    Also, to be on topic, I almost thought this was going to be an article about our very own Rho Stone and his many adventures. Pretty groovy stuff! Not really my thing, but the Toilet Spectrum is now that much more colorful!

  • I’ll be damned. Ya done it, JJD. Ya done it.

  • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

    Not bad, but you forgot two albums: Fresh and Small Talk. To be fair, Small Talk isn’t very good, but Fresh has a couple of really good tracks on them.

  • Monophonics – There’s a Riot Goin’ On
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-OB4iH2zSw

  • Coolstorybro

    The toilet’s keeping it on the one today, I see
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWWaMzQxwaM

  • Taylor Jong Un

    I loves me some Family Stone! Too bad Sly went off the rails with the coco/cocaine and ruined the whole thing. And judging by his return performance and his recent ramblings, the brain damage is apparent.