George Porter Jr. & The Runnin Pardners
New Orleans music royalty and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
George Porter Jr. founded The Meters in 1965 alongside Art Neville, Leo Nocentelli and Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste. Known as one of the progenitors of funk with Sly & The Family Stone and Parliament Funkadelic, The Meters carved their own place in history with syncopated polyrhythms and grooves inherited from New Orleans’ deep African musical roots. Porter’s heavy pockets and fat notes created the rubbery bass lines behind anthems like “Cissy Strut” off the group’s self-titled 1969 debut — The Meters’ greatest commercial single that reached No. 4 on the R&B chart and No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Meters became the house band for Allen Toussaint’s recording label and studio in New Orleans, backing records for Dr. John, Paul McCartney, Lee Dorsey, Earl King, Robert Palmer and Patty Labelle’s No. 1 hit, “Lady Marmalade”. They toured with the Rolling Stones and influenced everyone from Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys. Porter’s rhythmic work with drummer Modeliste became the building block behind scores from hip-hop artists A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, N.W.A. and Queen Latifah, all of whom sampled The Meters.
The band broke up in 1977, after Toussaint claimed rights to the name, but reformed in the 1980s as the Funky Meters following an informal jam during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Porter went on to become a highly coveted session bassist. He notched studio sessions with David Byrne, Jimmy Buffet, Tori Amos and Taj Mahal; and live performances with John Scofield, Warren Haynes, members of the Grateful Dead and countless others.
Porter started his own long-term project, the Runnin’ Pardners, in 1990. The group’s studio releases include Funk This (2000) and Can’t Beat the Funk (2011), as well as live albums along the way. The current lineup features drummer Terrence “Groove Guardian” Houston, Michael Lemmler on keyboards and guitarist Chris Adkins.
In 2000, the original Meters lineup reunited for a one-night stand at the Warfield in San Francisco, and again in 2006 to headline Jazzfest in the wake of Katrina. The group sporadically performed as The Original Meters to elated crowds between 2012 and 2017. Art “Poppa Funk” Neville retired from performing in 2018 and passed away the following year. But the Meters’ music and their heritage of funk lives on in George Porter and his bandmates – past, present and future.
Born and raised in the Crescent City, Porter, now in his 70s, calls New Orleans home to this day.