Garrett Shider: Hand Me Down Diapers (2017)

George Clinton’s P-Funk empire took a monumental hit when frontman Garry Shider (a.k.a Starchild, a.k.a. Diaperman) succumbed in 2010 at age 56 from cancer. From the early 1970s onward, the soulful lead singer and rhythm guitar player spent nearly four decades stalking the stage in his trademark diaper as a central figure with Parliament, Funkadelic and other Funk Mob acts. Famous for his vocal chops and playing on hits like “Cosmic Slop” and “One Nation Under a Groove,” his loss left a gaping hole, not just on record and stage but also in the hearts and souls of funkateers everywhere. Fortunately, Shider left behind not just the present of his priceless songs and performances, but also the gift of a progeny to carry forth the funk torch of his indelible legacy.

Born at the height of P-Funk popularity in 1978, son Garrett Shider has followed in his funky father’s footsteps as a fellow singer-guitarist who has spent the past several years touring and recording with Clinton & Co. He was conceived in a year that brought forth the seminal works of Parliament’s Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome and Bootsy’s Rubber Band’s Ahh … the Name Is Bootsy, Baby! Little Garrett then came into the world amid arguably P-Funk’s pinnacle of power, with The Motor Booty Affair (Parliament), One Nation Under a Groove (Funkadelic) and Bootsy? Player of the Year serving as the ultimate trifunkta. One can only imagine at the time seeing proud papa Diaperman posing with his own mini me.

While it would be unfair to expect the younger Shider to match the prowess of his pops vocally, as he was one of the best ever, or on the six-string for which he was nuanced and underrated, junior has held his own taking the lead in concert during such standards as “One Nation Under a Groove.” However, with the release of his new debut album, Hand Me Down Diapers, Garrett Shider has taken a bold leap forward and sprung out of his bloodline’s shadow with an artistic statement that by any name is a funk tour de force.

The eight-song collection embodies the Funkadelic ethos and sound, critically favoring authenticity and sonic quirkiness over mimicry and clichés. Shider’s vocal and musical nuances and lyrical musings add up to a fresh spin on the P-Funk template. Some of the cuts conjure the best aural elements of Funkadelic classics like “Biological Speculation,” “Adolescent Funk,” “If You Don’t Like the Effects, Don’t Produce the Cause” and “If You’ve Got Funk, You’ve Got Style,” to name but a few references. At times, Lonnie Marshall’s Weapon of Choice comes to mind as well.

The album starts off on fire with three of the best tracks right off the bat in the nasty grind groove of “Sugar Rush,” the synth-driven throwdown “Bop Gun ’17” (which honors Parliament’s 1977 classic “Bop Gun (Endangered Species)” with a completely new take) and the mindbending “Hard Pill” (which runs with Parliament’s “the bigger the headache the bigger the pill” concept). The balance includes an instrumental that soars like a blending of Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” with the instrumental B-side version of Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove” 12-inch single (“Jamnastics”); a horns-centric cut (“Nightcap”); a down and dirty Dr. Funkenstein guest spot (“Rawlife Theme”); a funkafied remake of the Stealers Wheel classic “Stuck in the Middle” with updated lyrics fused with a haunting refrain from Funkadelic’s “Smokey”; and the touching title song tribute to his father, with a harmonized intro reminiscent to that of the Ohio Players’ “Little Lady Maria.”

Given that Garry released only a handful of relatively inconsequential songs under his own name, Hand Me Down Diapers instantly becomes the best Shider album ever (nosing out 2006’s Funkin’ It Aloose by Garry’s younger brother and Garrett’s uncle Kevin Shider, who also sings and plays guitar). Further supporting the enterprise is a robust cast of standout P-Funk players including Lige Curry on bass and Danny Bedrosian on keys, along with contributions from Clinton’s son Treylewd and grandson Trazae. Shider also assumes bass duties for several tracks.

I could have done without the album artwork’s overly graphic dirty diaper imagery; it is amusing but a bit much. Plus it’s clear Shider knows where the potty’s at! What I can fully dig is Garrett’s adoption of the Starchild Jr. alter ego. Not only does he have the rarified lineage claim to it but the consistent and fiercely funky Hand Me Down Diapers now gives him the earned right as well.


Scott Goldfine

As a fervid lifelong music & film enthusiast / student, I grew up in and around the Los Angeles entertainment industry. I have worked and held many positions in various media realms, since 1998 serving as Editor-in-Chief and now Associate Publisher for Security Sales & Integration, a trade publication serving the electronic security industry. I love several genres of music & film. The former includes funk (Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince, Ohio Players, etc.); blues (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Eric Gales, etc.); rock (Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, etc.); hard rock (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc.); jazz (Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Crusaders, etc.); R&B (Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Gil Scott-Heron, etc.); and more. I was a club disc jockey and ran a mobile DJ company (Musical Moods) for more than 15 years, which is where the name Dr. GX originates (Doctor Good Times). Fave film genres include horror (Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.); science fiction (Aliens, Terminator, 2001, etc.); action (Warriors, Road Warrior, Die Hard); westerns (Outlaw Josey Wales, Showdown at OK Corral; Wild Bunch, etc.); suspense (Jaws, Inception, Silence of the Lambs, etc.); drama (Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, etc.); and comedies (Life of Brian, Superbad, Ruthless People, etc.). I have attended many hundreds of concerts and movies (in theaters or screenings). I may as well also throw in a few favorite TV shows to give an even broader taste of my sensibilities. A handful would be Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Lost, Justified, Fargo, Seinfeld, Sopranos, South Park, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Key & Peele, Monty Python, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Last Man on Earth, Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family and The Office. Fave authors are Stephen King, Clive Barker and Michael Crichton. I am also a big sports fan and lifelong supporter of the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB). Also enjoy my family of course, electronics/computers/AV gear, and animals, nature and outdoor activities. Graduate of Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica College and California State University Northridge (Radio-TV-Film, Psychology minor). Also studied at UCLA for kinesiology/psychology and earned post-grad Certificate in Accounting from Santa Monica College. Present main occupation is as Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Security Sales & Integration (SSI), which I joined in 1998. I am responsible for overseeing all editorial content in print. online, electronic, in-person and any other media or products for the electronic security industry's leading business-to-business trade publication. SSI is part of Framingham, Mass.-based Emerald Expositions.