An abbreviated and mildly belated obit on Rodger “Uncle Jam” Clayton is live at Pop & Hiss. Eulogies have been sadly scarce on the co-founder of one of LA’s original and greatest mobile disco crews. Predictably, Davey D has one of the best around. Everyone from Egyptian Lover, to Rodney O & Joe Cooley, to Alonzo Williams of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, got their start via Clayton, who may be the principal culprit as to why the bass is everlasting. Videos of the Army are rare and a cursory YouTube search yielded nothing. A 1983 LA Times article archived by the Teutonic titans West Coast Pioneers provides the primary source capturing Clayton’s crew at the pinnacle of their success.
Though they only recorded a handful of singles, “Dial-A-Freak,” remains a West Coast classic that earned heavy radio play until Power 106 decided to exclusively devote programming to songs strictly concerned with tooting it and/or booting it. Admittedly, Uncle Jamm’s tunes were as raunchy as Y.G. after reading The Game, but nowhere near as funky. Clayton died of a massive heart attack on Sunday; his final DJ gig was on Saturday night. The man lived by the funk and he died by the funk.–Weiss