One of the unsung architects of funk, Phelps "Catfish" Collins was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1944. Collins began playing guitar when he was young, and he later taught his younger brother William "Bootsy" Collins to play bass, refitting an old guitar into Bootsy's first four-string. In 1968, the Collins Brothers formed an R&B combo called the Pacemakers, featuring lead singer Philippé Wynne, who would later join the Spinners. The Pacemakers developed a strong local following and did some work as a session band for Cincinnati-based King Records. Through King, the Pacemakers came to the attention of James Brown, and when Brown fired his band in 1969 (supposedly over a salary dispute), the Pacemakers were hired to become the new edition of The J.B.'s. The band's tight, energetic style meshed well with Brown's lean funk stylings, and Catfish contributed excellent rhythm guitar work to classic sides such as "Sex Machine," "Super Bad," "Give It Up And Turn It Loose" and "Soul Power." In 1971, Catfish and Bootsy parted ways with Brown, and they formed a funk band called The Houseguests with Pacemakers singer Wynne and drummer Frankie "Kash" Waddy. History soon repeated itself when George Clinton invited Catfish and Bootsy to leave their band and join Funkadelic, and Catfish made his debut with the group on their 1972 album America Eats Its Young. Through the 1970s, the Collins brothers were an integral part of the Parliament/Funkadelic axis, and Catfish played guitar with Bootsy's Rubber Band, Parlet, The Brides of Funkenstein and Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns as well as Clinton's flagship groups. Clinton's P-Funk empire faltered in the 1980s and Catfish left Parliament/Funkadelic in 1983; his recording career fell by the wayside for much of the decade, but he continued to collaborate with Bootsy and in the 1990s cut sessions with Deee-Lite, H-Bomb and Freekbass. In 2007, Catfish and Bootsy joined a handful of J.B.'s and Funkadelic alumni to record material for the soundtrack to the hit comedy Superbad. Catfish Collins died on August 6, 2010 after a bout with cancer; Bootsy released a statement saying "My world will never be the same without him," and added, "Be happy for him, he certainly is now and always has been the happiest young fellow I ever met on this planet."