EXPIRED: 06/16/10 – Garry Shider, 56, wore a diaper, played a guitar and got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The longtime musical director of Parliament-Funkadelic, or P-Funk, was known to millions of fans as “Diaperman” because of the diaper he often wore onstage. He had been diagnosed with brain and lung cancer in late March, but still went out on tour this Spring. He had to quit the tour though, for obvious reasons.
Hailing from New Jersey, Shider started out as a kid performing church gospel with his brother and father and playing backup for legends such as Shirley Caesar, The Five Blind Boys, The Mighty Clouds of Joy and other prominent gospel artists when they performed concerts in the area.
But then he met George Clinton.
George Clinton owned a barbershop in Plainfield, New Jersey. And it wasn’t an ordinary barbershop. Customers regularly heard Clinton, and other future members of the Parliments, singing doo-wop while Clinton cut hair. Shider was a regular.
As the story goes, Shider moved to Canada at age 16 to start a band called United Soul (U.S.), while Clinton was also in Toronto trying to get the Parliments, his singing group, some recognition.
Clinton heard that the kid from Plainfield was in this new local outfit and offered to produce some of their songs, eventually releasing them under the name U.S. Music with Funkadelic. Afterwards, he just stole Shider, and bassist Cordell Mosson, away to join P-Funk, a combination of Clinton’s two bands, Parliament and Funkadelic. He first played on Funkadelic’s 1971 album “Maggot Brain” and Parliament’s second album “Up for the Down Stroke.” Shider joined P-Funk as a permanent member in 1972.
Shider eventually became P-Funk’s musical director and co-wrote many of the group’s biggest hits, including “Atomic Dog,” “Cosmic Slop,” “Can You Get to That” and “One Nation Under the Groove.”
When Clinton dissolved both Parliament and Funkadelic in the early 1980s, Shider continued to work and tour regularly with Clinton’s P-Funk All-Stars. He also played with P-Funk spin-off acts including Bootsy Collins and Eddie Hazel.
Along with the rest of the 16 member P-Funk entourage, Shider was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. A series of concerts in the New York area have been set up to assist his family with paying his remaining medical bills.