Ron Bykowski RIP?

It was posted on the Eddie Hazel Facebook page yesterday that apparently Ron passed away … FIVE YEARS AGO?? How is it even possible that this guy was so under the radar and MIA that no one in the P-Funk universe knew about this or mentioned it and it happened in 2014? I’ve always found him to be a fascinating figure; he had great guitar sounds, was the only white guy in the blackest band on earth (until Rick Gardner came in), played on several seminal albums (Cosmic Slop, Standing on the Verge, Up For The Downstroke, Let’s Take it to the Stage) and left right before they became massively famous the next year. No interviews exist with him, no stories he has told about his contributions, no one seems to know what happened to him after he left and now he’s been dead for 4 years and no one knew? I find this totally tragic.

2 Likes

Yeah he’s great! The polyester soul-powered token white devil :slight_smile: . There’s so few photos of him, besides that Cosmic Slop video.

bykowski

There’s really not a lot of info about where this info came from. If I remember correctly, somebody saw a post from a family member that he was dead, but is it really the same Ron Bykowski? I don’t konw, but I hope it’s not. But if it is, it’s real sad.

@Mutron Welcome to the forum!

Man this is crazy I had a dream the other night where I met and interviewed Ron Bykowski. Mind boggling. In the dream he was saying he played the solos on stuff we thought was Eddie.
Another that seemed to evaporate after their association with The Funks was Ruth Copeland.

That’s a dope dream!

According to this article from 1971, Ron also toured with Ruth Copeland.

Miss Copeland, who is 22 years old, comes from Britain but now lives in Detroit. She plays harmonica, and is backed by a quartet: Don Hatcher, bass; Donell Hagen, drums; Dave Case, keyboards; and Ron Bykowski, guitar.

Maybe that’s how he came in contact with pfunk.

Could be. Somebody needs to try and find her and blow the cobwebs off the whole story. I recall Rolling Stone doing a nice piece on Ruth at about '76 or so. It had no mention of her past association with The Funks but talked a lot about her frustrations within the industry.

Yes it’s true, Ron passed away in April of 2014. Ronnie was my Great Uncle. As a kid I would always see him at Christmas at my grandmothers house. I was very young and never got to talk with him about music but I really wish I had. When Ron died I was there to help clean out his home. He had many guitars, so many that we decided to split the guitars throughout our family. From his house I got his Blue Gibson Les Paul and a Custom Martin Acoustic. Ron’s death and finding out about PFunk inspired me to learn to play the guitar already knowing how to play the piano at the time. I now have the honor of playing his guitars every day. image|330x330
The guitar in this image now belongs to my uncle and I play it whenever i’m over there.

5 Likes


Here are some pictures of the guitars of his that I own.
I know there’s a music video somewhere of him playing the Martin Acoustic but I’ve never been able to find it.

1 Like

Thanks for the info! That Les Paul is a real beauty.

And welcome to the forum!

Jeff thank you so much for filling us in on Ron’s story. I’m really happy that you are using his guitars to make music with, that is a great tribute! His playing on those handful of Funkadelic records was incredible and that Gibson SG that your uncle has is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame worthy if you ask me!
We would love to hear about any more stories that your family has about Ron, both his time in P-Funk as well as his life in general. I’m sorry for your family’s loss and I think it would be really great for the world to know more about this fascinating figure.

2 Likes

2 Likes

Thank you so much Jeff for your post. I’m very glad that your family got his guitars. I saw your uncle first at Constitution Hall Washington D.C. mid- 1973 Curtis Mayfield show, then at the Warner Theater Wash. D.C. Winter of 1973, but the most unbelievable show was Bowie State College Bowie, Maryland fall of 1974. Chocolate Rain out of Baltimore and 100 years Time from D.C. opened for Funadelic. I still meet people today that talk about that show. Ron and Eddie hypnotized the place on Maggot Brain. Ron started off first and the crowd just started to move until countless people were on the stage. You would think that the people had enough. The Ron turned it over to Eddie. That’s when I made my move front and center right in front of Eddie.
Did you know that Ron and Tikki the drummer would show up with their face painted. I thought that was amazing because KISS was not out yet. We here in the D.C. area always supported Funkadelic in the early years, so if you were lucky you got a chance to see Ron. I personally can verify that you could easily mistake Eddie Hazel for Ron if you were not looking.
All the piano players I know can tear the guitar up. You are very fortunate.
Thanks Tony Lewis

5 Likes

Ron in face painting got me thinking about this picture. Welcome to the forum @axisboldaslove!

4 Likes