Mothership Lands At The National Museum
Of African American History And Culture
by Marko Lee
Okay so I'm being melodramatic. The Mothership didn't actually land at the museum as the title states. It did however land in Atlanta, GA on New Years Eve 1976 in the Omni Coliseum and guess what....I missed it. Why, because I was a home body. My brother on the other hand was out-going and yes he was there. And when he returned home to Kings Ridge Apartments in SW Atlanta, he proceeded to tell me about the miraculous landing. DAMN, I missed it!!!
Keep in mind there wasn't an internet back then, no cell phones to take photos, so unless you knew someone in another city that had attended the concert, you didn't know what was about to unfold. Hell, it wasn't until 2010 when someone posted it on Youtube, that I saw it with my own eyes. I know this article is about the Mothership at the Smithsonian, but please allow me to digress.
The Mothership was the brain child of George Clinton and his group was Parliament-Funkadelic for our young readers. Maybe later we'll do a full feature on George, the story behind P-Funk, and the Mothership. For now I'll just briefly describe the landing. The band breaks it down and begins the spiritual chant, "swing down sweet chariot stop and let me ride." At this time young guitarist/vocalist Glen Goins commences to taking everyone to church with his singing. Two of his lines haunt me to this day, "when the Mothership comes you better be ready to ride", and "after the mothership comes there will be no second coming." We'll save the rest for the feature.
Back to present day, the Mothership is one of the most iconic stage props ever, and it has been generously donated to the Smithsonian by George Clinton. Although not the original, which was reported to be dismantled back in the 80's, this one is a rebuilt replica.
You're all invited to visit the Mothership in Washington DC at it's new home at the National Museum Of African American History And Culture in the Musical Crossroads Exhibition.