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George Porter, Jr.

Musicians / Band

Music Note
  • Funk
  • R&B
  • Rock
  • Bass
  • Vocal

George Porter, Jr. is truly one of the foundations of funk, and richly deserves his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He is best known as the bassist for the seminal group, The Meters, and for his five decades as an elite performer, bandleader, producer, and session player.
Born in 1947, Porter grew up in the same New Orleans neighborhood as fellow Meter Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste. He started playing guitar in his early teens, switched to bass, and began honing his distinctive, deep-in-the-bottom groove. He soon hooked up with Art Neville, Leo Nocentelli, and Modeliste for the group that eventually became known as The Meters.
Their early releases – the singles “Cissy Strut,” “Look-A-Py-Py,” and “Sophisticated Sissy,” as well as the albums “Cabbage Alley” and “Fire on the Bayou” – have become classics, and their funky grooves built a foundation for a large swath of today’s American popular music. Their reputation was cemented when The Rolling Stones offered them an opening spot on their 1975 world tour and Paul McCartney asked them to play for an album wrap party on the Queen Mary. Porter also played with McCartney on the song, “My Carnival.” The Meters disbanded in 1977 but members played in different configurations over the years, including The Funky Meters and The Metermen. (Art Neville passed away in 2019.)
Porter went on to create a storied career as top-shelf bassist and bandleader. He’s recorded and performed with a large swatch of contemporary musicians, including Sir Paul McCartney, Jimmy Buffett, David Byrne, Patti LaBelle, Allen Toussaint, Earl King, Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas, Robbie Robertson, Snooks Eaglin, and Taj Mahal. In the 1990s he added his funky grooves to the jam band movement, playing with Steve Kimock, Anders Osborne, Warren Haynes, John Scofield, Dead & Company, and in Billy Kreutzman’s Seven Walkers band. He’s also been a part of Tab Benoit’s “Voice of the Wetlands” project, calling attention to coastal erosion.
Porter is a relentless performer, in the studio or on the road at some of the world’s premier venues. In addition to performing with myriad other musicians, Porter has had a number of his own bands, including the early group Joyride and his long-running project, The Runnin’ Pardners, formed in 1990. Today the Runnin’ Pardners include Michael Lemmler on keyboards, Chris Adkins on guitar, and Terrence Houston on drums. He’s also played with guitarist Brian Stoltz and drummer Russell Batiste, Jr. as PBS. He has recorded a dozen studio albums under his own name and countless more with others.
Porter has garnered a trove of awards over his fifty-year career, both as an individual player and for his ensemble work. In acknowledgement of their seminal role in the genesis of today’s modern funk sound, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presented Porter and the rest of The Meters with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. The group has also been nominated four times for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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