“I would never play a bass that has brand-new strings. My strings only leave the bass when they break”: How George Porter Jr. helped put funk on the musical map with The Meters

Flea and Geroge Porter Jr. George Porter of the Meters sits in with the Red Hot Chili Peppers during their performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2016 at Fair Grounds Race Course on April 24, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Formed in 1965 by keyboardist Art Neville, guitarist Leo Nocentelli, drummer Joseph ‘Zigaboo’ Modeliste, and bassist George Porter Jr., The Meters became the measure of funk to come when they put a decidedly New Orleans spin on R&B with their laid-back, loose-but-tight feel on instrumental funk anthems like Look-Ka Py Py and Cissy Strut. As Flea noted when he invited Porter Jr. onstage at the 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, “The Meters invented this shit! We are their students!” 

Asked what’s unique about New Orleans funk, Porter Jr. told BP. “I would say that bass players and drummers from New Orleans play more together than guys from anywhere else. In New Orleans they're more closely linked, playing in sync almost all the time. The bass might venture away from the kick drum to play more notes, but at some point – maybe two and four – we always meet.”

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.