Watching 'Jaws' Scared Bootsy Collins Into Sober Living

Legendary bassist Bootsy Collins says he partied 27 hours a day back in the 70s. Then he gave up hard drugs after getting scared straight by 'Jaws' — the last film Collins saw before boarding a plane that nearly crashed in the ocean.

"I was like, 'Oh, my God, Jaws, I'm coming to see you'," the former member of Parliament Funkadelic recalled in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. The incident happened back in 1979, when Bootsy was dying to ride in a supersonic plane. But he regretted getting onboard when they lost all of the engines right after breaking the sound barrier.

"I'm sitting by the window, 'cause I always sit by the window over the wing, and as soon as I heard the boom, I saw a big flash of fire come from one of the motors. We were going straight down," Collins said. "Now put that together. OK, I'm gonna crash. Then if I ain't dead, Jaws is gonna eat me."

So Bootsy called on a higher power to spare him from becoming shark food. "I made all these promises to God, like, 'If you get me out of this one, Lord, help me. I promise I won't take no more'."

And his prayers were soon answered. "And then one of the engines kicked back in and we were able to fly back to New York sideways. It was a crash landing, but we made it."

But it took a few more years for Bootsy to follow through on his promise. "I kept saying that for a while that it started like me crying wolf and then at some point I had to get serious. Whatever point that was, I throwed all my drugs away and I stopped taking them. That was in, like, '84 or '85. That's when it started to become clear what I needed to get back to, which was the music."

Since then, Bootsy has released over a dozen albums, he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame and wrote the unofficial anthem for his favorite NFL team: the Cincinnati Bengals.

banner: Adrian Mustredo (Flickr)

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