Excerpt from And Party Every Day: The Inside Story of Casablanca Records:
Everyone at Casablanca thought George Clinton’s management team of Ron Strassner and Cholly Bassoline were hoods. They looked just like Damon Runyon characters, with their fedoras and long black coats, and their attitude was reminiscent of the Mob. But I liked them and their realistic way of looking at the business and the people they were representing. They were certainly not Mob-oriented. Rather like their client, George Clinton, they had their own Detroit Purple Gang kind of flair.
George and Archie Ivy—who was, more or less, George’s personal assistant—would visit me at Casablanca, and over copious piles of weed and blow (George once brought in some uncut and very potent coke, declaring that anyone who tried it would speak Spanish, as the stuff “hadn’t cleared customs yet”), they would pontificate for hours about how they were going to develop Parliament’s stage show into an otherworldly display of pageantry and pomp and how they needed half a zillion dollars to do it. Many times, I had no idea what they were talking about. My eyes would glaze over, and George would ramble on, giving voice to every thought that came into his head, stream-of-consciousness style, like William Faulkner gone jive. I would stare at him and wonder, “Man, do you come with subtitles?” I often had to ask Archie or one of the two Purple Gang look-alikes, Cholly and Ron, to translate George for me, but sometimes even they didn’t have a clue. But so what if we didn’t understand what they were trying to explain to us? We gave them the money anyway. These advances were always against future royalties, and Parliament sold enough product to make us comfortable with the arrangement. This eventually became a point of contention, as George would claim that he was owed royalties—he seemed to have forgotten about the tour advances.
To look at Parliament and their absurd stage show—which eventually came to include an enormous UFO called the Mothership (which would land onstage in a billowing cloud of dry-ice fog), and a giant skull with a glowing four-foot doobie dangling from its mouth—you would think there would be a never-ending series of strange Parliament tales to tell. But, to be truthful, the band was really fun to work with, and aside from a few battles of the kind that typically occur between artists and their record companies, everything went well between us. In fact, I believe that we were the only people who were able to understand and put up with some of their shenanigans—and they with ours.