Clutchy Hopkins: Man, Musician And Possibly A Myth

Introducing Clutchy Hopkins, a multi-instrumentalist, possibly mythical musician living in a cave in California....
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Introducing Clutchy Hopkins, a multi-instrumentalist, possibly mythical musician living in a cave in California....

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Many years ago, so legend has it, a large wooden case arrived at the door of Roald Dahl´s home. Upon close inspection and having read a letter contained within, it became apparent that the case contained the scandalous diaries of his Great Uncle Oswald, all twenty eight volumes, each in its own rich green morocco bounding.

Oswald Hendryks Cornelius (deceased) was an incredible man. The connoisseur, the bon vivant, the collector of spiders, scorpions and walking sticks, the lover of opera, the expert on Chinese porcelain, the seducer of women and without much doubt the greatest fornicator of all time. For Oswald, women always came first. Wherever he went, he left an endless trail of females in his wake, females ruffled and ravaged beyond words, but purring like cats. OHC was the Michelangelo of seduction, a man who made Casanova look like Winnie-the-Pooh.

Indeed, Casanova´s memoirs are likened to a Parish magazine by comparison to the dynamite contained on each of the 300 pages of every volume of the Cornelius Diaries. Fearful of the backlash from cuckold husbands should the diaries ever find their way into the public domain, Dahl took legal advice and eventually only three short extracts were ever published (almost) unabridged, two in the collection of short stories Switch Bitch and one as a full length novel- Uncle Oswald.

The published Oswald tales are fantastic. He never sleeps with the same woman twice as he packs as much sexual action as possible into every escapade he undertakes. Even daring to steal jizm samples from the leading brains of Europe as he patents the world´s first frozen sperm bank, Oswald´s audacity is never short of magnificent and his legendary galavanting results in some of the greatest tales Dahl ever told.

And so in 2005 another crate full of lost treasures comes to light. This time around it´s not books, but a collection of reel-to-reel tapes discovered within boxes of battered old musical instruments and electronics at a flea market outside Los Angeles. These are not any old tapes, but tapes containing wonderful, soulful, funk filled orgasm music to give a hip hop fan of a certain disposition the type of thrill previously only available through the ingestion of a portion of Oswald´s powdered Sudanese Blister Beetle.

On-line conjecture is rampant as to the true identity of Clutchy, just as speculation exists that Dahl never actually had an uncle called Oswald

Investigation trails led to a certain Kelly Hopkins, the daughter of this sweet music´s un-contactable creator; Clutchy Hopkins. Clutchy it seems, is to funky live instrumentalism what Oswald is to fornication- a much travelled master of his art. According to Kelly, Clutchy is presently resident in a cave in the Mojave Desert, having recently served time in the prison there for tax evasion. His backstory is a fascinating one.

Clutchy Hopkins is the son of a Motown recording engineer. As a young man, he travelled the globe exploring exotic music, rhythms, and mysticism. He worked at recording studios from Bombay to Cairo and studied musical techniques of the Cahuilla Indians, Rinzai Zen monks in Japan and tribal drummers in Ethiopia. Returning to the U.S. in the ’90s, Clutchy worked as a session musician on obscure funk and jazz records. He refused to be credited for his session gigs and only accepted cash payments for his work. There are practically no records of his existence.

Clutchy recorded most of the music he created throughout his journeys, but never attempted to release it. In fact the world would have remained completely unaware of his musical genius had this old batch of recordings (many of which are thought to be from his time in the Mojave prison) not have been ´stumbled across´ at that LA flea market and somehow passed on to Ubiquity Records.

From his first release in 2005 up to the most recent; 2010´s The Story Teller, Clutchy´s live instrumentalism has shown splendid variety. From MF DOOM meets CLUTCHY HOPKINS´ haunting hip hop to the Meters-esque rhythms of Walking Backwards or the Augustus Pablo influenced heavy dub of Music is my Medicine- Clutchy can´t stop blessing us with beats cooler than a deep frozen cucumber.
But who is this mysterious beat wizard? Why does he choose to live in exile in a Californian cave? And there we have the crucial question- does it matter? If we are led to believe that this beautiful music is being made by a bearded The Dude look-a-like- should we not just accept the blessings in the same way we accept eggs from the Easter Bunny?

On-line conjecture is rampant as to the true identity of Clutchy, just as speculation exists that Dahl never actually had an uncle called Oswald. Maybe he truly is Money Mark or DJ Shadow or Dan the Automator operating under deepest deep cover? Maybe it´s the later day equivalent Pete Waterman´s Pigbag? Or as suggested on one blog post, just two fat art students? Who the fuck cares???

Just like Uncle Oswald told great stories; so Clutchy Hopkins makes great music. I genuinely hope he is El Duderino living in a cave- just like I truly hope Oswald did steal George Bernard Shaw´s man milk from right under his nose. The important part of this article is not the facts, they always ruin a good story, the vital thing is that you read Uncle Oswald, that you pump up Clutchy Hopkins on your stereo and that you enjoy a good old chunk of funky assed mythology.

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