TIR 26: George Porter Jr.’s Life as the Face Behind the Meters’ Bass


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on the One: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in this two-part series: Bassist, composer and singer George Porter Jr., one of the founders and original members of New Orleans’ legendary quartet the Meters. Although the band and its unique gumbo of rhythm and soul never crossed over with monster hits or sold millions of albums, their enduring influence as a touchstone of funk music’s foundation is undeniable. Starting out in the 1960s as Allen Toussaint’s house band, the Meters released eight studio albums from 1969-1977. They were chockful of predominantly instrumentals that were often extremely catchy and usually supremely funky. Some of the band’s better known songs were “Sophisticated Cissy,” “Cissy Strut,” “Look-Ka Py Py,” “Chicken Strut,” “The World Is a Bit Under the Weather,” “People Say,” “Hey Pocky A-Way,” “Africa,” “Fire on the Bayou” and “Funkify Your Life.”

The Meters were musicians’ musicians and as such backed many of contemporary music’s biggest names in the studio or shared time on stage. That list includes Robert Palmer, Dr. John, Patti LaBelle and in the mid-1970s they were invited guests as opening act for the Rolling Stones. Since breaking up in the late 1970s for the past several decades the band members have performed and recorded together in myriad combinations, as well as worked as ace session players with a who’s who of popular music stars.

Today, Porter continues to play with several different bands on a regular basis as well as doing one-offs and making guest appearances. Some of the other diverse artists he has worked with include Robbie Robertson, David Byrne, Harry Connick Jr., Warren Haynes and Tori Amos. Having persevered substance abuse and now celebrating 29 years of sobriety, Porter has remained a consummate pro and bass funk master. Here he offers all the details of his fascinating story.

Recorded October 2017


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