Funk rock  

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Funk rock (also typed as funk-rock) is a music genre that fuses funk and rock elements. Its earliest incarnation was heard in the late '60s through the mid-'70's by musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie, as well as Mother's Finest & '80's act Faith No More, and The Doors with Soul Kitchen, released on their self-titled debut album.



Funk rock is a fusion of funk and rock. Many instruments may be incorporated into the music, but the overall sound is defined by a definitive bass or drum beat and electric guitars. The bass and drum rhythms are influenced by funk music but with more intensity, while the guitar can be funk-or-rock-influenced, usually with distortion.

Genre history

Funk rock acts of 1970s

Jimi Hendrix was the first well-known recording artist to combine the rhythms and riffs of early funk to his rock sound. Perhaps the earliest example is his song "Little Miss Lover" (1967). His live album Band of Gypsys features funky riffs and rhythms throughout (especially the song "Power of Soul") and his unfinished album also included a couple of funk-rock songs such as "Freedom", "Izabella" and "Straight Ahead".

George Clinton has been considered the godfather of this genre since 1970. Clinton created the name "P-Funk" for the innovative new concepts of funk that he culled from former members of James Brown's band (such as Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins) and new young players like the guitar hero that rivaled Hendrix named Eddie Hazel. His groups, Funkadelic and Parliament, practically defined funk since the release of the influential funk rock Funkadelic classic, Maggot Brain (1971). Latter funk rock albums by the group include Cosmic Slop, Standing on the Verge of Getting It On and Let's Take It To The Stage. Latter albums such as One Nation Under A Groove and Electric Spanking of War Babies had a bit more radio-friendly sound but still preserved much of group's funk rock approach. These work served as the primary influence on an entire generation of funk and hip hop artists from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Snoop Dogg.

Other pioneers of funk-rock evolved in the 1970s in the music of the British rock-band Trapeze and American groups Mother's Finest and Black Nasty. Also singer-modell Betty Davis recorded important funk rock albums. The funk rock acts were not favoured by R&B recording companies. For example guitarists of Chic wanted initially to record funk rock but they eventually became a disco act after being turned down by recording companies. Despite of its considerable influence to latter popular music, funk rock was not very visible phenomenon during the 1970s. Only few funk rock acts could be seen on record charts.

Funk influences of major 1970s groups

In addition to few genuine funk rock groups that emerged, many seminal bands of the era flirted with funk rock sounds. These cases include The Rolling Stones ( Miss You & Hot Stuff ), Led Zeppelin (The Crunge) & singer David Bowie with his hit song "Fame"; The Mark III & IV lineups of Deep Purple (with Glenn Hughes of Trapeze, David Coverdale of Whitesnake and Tommy Bolin of The James Gang) featured mature elements of funk in such songs as "Sail Away (Tomorrow)" and "Coronarias Redig", enough of which was believed to prompt the exit of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore; American artists Frank Zappa ("My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama", "Dirty Love" and "I'm The Slime", like best examples), Steve Miller Band ("Fly Like an Eagle"), Edgar Winter Group ("Frankenstein") and Gary Wright (My Love is Alive, good example of early Synth-funk as well), along with bands like Graham Central Station, Rufus, & the Isley Brothers (The Heat Is On & 3 + 3 albums ) all experimented with the blending of Funk & Rock rhythms.


In the early 1980s Gang Of Four, Iggy Pop in his lp The Idiot (album), The Big Boys, Xavion (An Afro-American group whose Asylum/Mirage LP in '84 pre-dated Living Colour) & Rick James along with New Wave mainstays Blondie & the Talking Heads created their own sound mix of Punk Funk. One famous funk rock song of the period was Another One Bites the Dust by British Rock icons Queen.

The genre's representatives from the 1980s to present day include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, Fishbone, Primus, Living Colour, Spin Doctors, as well as Prince leading the way with spinoffs, The Time, and one hit wonders, Mazarati, who all have created, expanded and defined the Funk Rock style.


In the early 1990s, several bands combined funky rhythms with Heavy Metal guitar sounds, resulting in "Funk metal", where the emphasis is in using much Heavier distorted guitar sounds in the mix. Funk Rock employs more of a lighter (crunch) distorted Guitar sound, and the musical emphasis tends to be more Beat driven with prominent Bass lines, more rhythmic in the R&B sense.

Lenny Kravitz is one of the most prominent musicians today in the fusion of rock riffs and funk rhythms, as can be listened on tracks such as Tunnel Vision, Battlefield of Love, Always on the Run, Love Love Love, American Woman, Will You Marry Me, SuperSoulFighter, Live, and so on.



Funkcore is a fusion of punk and funk created in the 1980s. Hard, loud and fast guitars are featured, but unlike in most rock music, it does not overpower the bass, which is heavy and driving. Drums are often funk-influenced, but with intense punk-styled pounding. Synthesizers or horn sections sometimes make an appearance, although they are not integral. Examples of funkcore bands are Jungle Fever, Adequate Seven, and Big Boys. Funk Core Website.


Punk-funk (or funk-punk) is a mix of punk or post-punk songs with funk elements, very similar to dance-punk. Some times, the punk influence is replaced by an alternative rock influence. The first appearance of this subgenre was in 1979, when Gang Of Four released their debut album, Entertainment!. In the 1980s, bands such as Talking Heads and The Clash made punk-funk become more famous. The style was revitalized in the early 00s with a more electro-influenced sound at New York by such acts like The Rapture, Radio 4, !!!, Liars, Out Hud and LCD Soundsystem.

Funk metal

Funk metal (sometimes typeset differently such as funk-metal) is a fusion genre of music which emerged in the 1980s. It typically incorporates elements of funk and heavy metal. It features hard-driving heavy metal guitar riffs, the pounding bass rhythms characteristic of funk, and sometimes hip hop-style rhymes into an alternative rock approach to songwriting. Examples include Faith No More, Primus, Living Colour, Rage Against The Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Funk rock" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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