Clyde Stubblefield

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Clyde Stubblefield (born April 18, 1943 in Chattanooga, Tennessee) is a drummer best known for his work with James Brown.

Stubblefield's recordings with James Brown are considered to be some of the standard-bearers for funk drumming, including the singles "Cold Sweat", "There Was A Time", "I Got The Feelin'", "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud", "Ain't It Funky Now", "Mother Popcorn", and the album Sex Machine.

His rhythm pattern on James Brown's "Funky Drummer" is among the world's most sampled musical segments. Rediscovered by Hank Shocklee of The Bombsquad whilst they were creating mixes for Public Enemy in the early 1980s, it has since been used by hip-hop groups and rappers including Run-D.M.C., N.W.A., Raekwon, LL Cool J, The Beastie Boys and Boogie Down Productions. Stubblefield was featured in a PBS Independent Lens documentary, Copyright Criminals which aired January 19, 2010. In the mid- nineties Producer/Songwriter Richard Mazda wrote and produced a record, Revenge of The Funky Drummer, which was Clyde's first solo record.

Present status[edit]

Stubblefield currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Recently Clyde Retired from the Monday shows, leaving the band in the hands of his nephew Brett Stubblefield. His health prevented the funky drummer from continuing his over 20 years of playing music in downtown Madison near the capitol. He played every Monday night with his Madison band, The Clyde Stubblefield Band, featuring his long time friend and keyboard/organ player Steve "Doc" Scaggs, along with soulful vocalists Charlie Brooks, and Karri Daley, as well as a powerful five-piece horn section and supporting band. He also plays funk festivals with Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker, or Jabo.

In recent years Stubblefield has collaborated frequently with another former James Brown drummer, John "Jabo" Starks. As the Funkmasters, they released an album in 2001 called Find The Groove. and COME GET SUMMA THIS. Starks and Stubblefield also appear on a 1999 drumming instructional video titled "Soul of the Funky Drummers".

Stubblefield can be heard playing jazz on the nationally syndicated public radio show Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?

Stubblefield and Starks played on "Funk For Your Ass," a CD by fellow James Brown Orchestra alum Fred Wesley which was recorded and mixed by Bob Both. This album was released in 2008 by Columbia Entertainment Music, Inc. in Tokyo.

Jab'o and Clyde joined Bootsy Collins in Covington, KY/Madison Theater on 22 December 2007 for the first Tribute to James Brown.

In November 2008 Toontrack Music announced the release of an expansion to their EZdrummer drum sampler software, titled "Funkmasters", with samples and MIDI recorded by Stubblefield and Starks.

As of June 2009, Stubblefield is in need of a kidney transplant and undergoes dialysis treatments.[1] Bands throughout Madison are making a strong effort to organize and play fundraiser events, donating the event proceeds to go toward supplementing Stubblefield's dialysis treatment and subsequent medical bills.

On August 24, 2012, Stubblefield gave an autobiographical talk and played some of his favorite beats at the MadisonRuby software conference in Madison, WI. Earlier in the day, there was a talk by fellow historic drummer, Martin Atkins.

Stubblefield and longtime collaborator John "Jab'o" Starks received the Yamaha Legacy Award, October 25, 2013 in Madison, WI at the Wisconsin State Music Conference.


Self-proclaimed "Nerdcore" rapper MC Frontalot pays tribute to Stubblefield in his song "Good Old Clyde".

Black Thought of The Roots rhymes "I'm cooler than Clyde Stubblefield, drummer for James" in the song Stay Cool.


  1. ^ Alesia, T. (2009, July 28). A kidney would help Clyde Stubblefield back to the rhythm of life. Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved July 28, 2009.

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