Clarence ‘Fuzzy’ Haskins, vocalist and original member of Parliament-Funkadelic, has died at the age of 81. His former bandmates revealed the news on social media, writing, “Resting on the verge of getting it on, Clarence Eugene “Fuzzy” Haskins (born June 8, 1941-March 17th, 2023) of Parliament-Funkadelic!” No cause of death has been disclosed.
Born in Elkins, West Virginia, in 1941, Haskins got his start singing in the ’50s and ’60s in New Jersey in the doo-wop vocal group the Parliaments, which was led by producer George Clinton and later became known as Parliament-Funkadelic. In addition to writing and co-writing early P-Funk classics like ‘I Got A Thing’ and ‘I Wanna Know If It’s Good to You’, “He was a good drummer as well, as he proved on ‘Can You Get To That,’ which he also co-wrote,” according to a biography on Clinton’s website. “Some of Fuzzy’s best vocals appeared on Funkadelic’s 1972 LP America Eats Its Young, most notably on ‘Ms Lucifers Love.’ But singing wasn’t the only thing that Fuzzy brought to P-Funk. He was known, during live P-Funk shows, to don skin-tight bodysuits and gyrate against the microphone pole as he whipped the crowd into a frenzy, especially when they performed ‘Standing on the Verge of Getting it On.’”
Haskins remained a full-time member of P-Funk through the 1976’s Hardcore Jollies and briefly rejoined the group on their Live Earth Tour the following year. “By this time, he claimed he was through with singing all the ole dirty songs and began studying the Lord’s Word,” Clinton’s site states. He issued his first solo album, A Whole Nother Thang, in 1976, followed by Radio Active in 1978. Later in life, Haskins became a preacher and focused on recording gospel music.
Haskins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with other core members of Parliament-Funkadelic in 1997. “Parliament-Funkadelic pushed boundaries further and further on classic albums like Mothership Connection and Maggot Brain, and set a futuristic pace for Black music,” Rock & Roll Hall of Fame spokesperson Dawn Wayt said in a statement. “But Clarence ‘Fuzzy’ Haskins kept things connected to their street corner harmony roots.” In 2019, Haskins received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy for his contribution to P-Funk.
“Fuzzy was not only a talented singer & musician, he was a leader & team player,” P-Funk member Bootsy Collins wrote in an email to NPR. “He was always a light at the party, the shows or wherever he would go. He commanded attention on stage & off. Not in a boastful way, but just being his natural Werewolf self. He could have played the Wolfman. That was an inside joke that got out there in the atmosphere. Fuzzy was so much fun to hang out with. But on stage is where he gave his full attention to entertaining the audience. He was dedicated to his family & friends but anybody that knew Fuzzy knows that he would give u the shirt off his back. He will be missed dearly. R.I.P. my friend.”