Prince – A Remembrance by According2g.com

Posted by The G on April 21, 2017 under The G Spot | Comments are off for this article

Photo by G.

Prince (1958 - 2016)

Prince (1958 – 2016)

April 21, 2016 started off for me as any other day in the dreadful 2016 – 3 months later, I still couldn’t believe David Bowie departed the earth in January and like so many fans of the arts, I was finding it hard to go on.  But on this day, I pulled myself out of bed to go to the gym at the crack of dawn, not because I wanted to, but because I had recently obtained an unreleased alternate version of one of my favorite Prince songs and I couldn’t wait to hear it in my Beats by Dre headphones.  Little did I know, that was the last time I would ever hear a Prince song before the terrible news broke several hours later that he was found dead – and of a drug overdose!

As Prince had been a worldwide superstar for 30 + years, it was no surprise that tributes from rock royalty to the President of the United States poured in.  I’ve been a fan of his music since I was 4 years old and though my fandom had reached some tumultuous times in recent years, each day was brimming with the possibility for me that Prince was going to  renounce his preachy religion, announce a last minute concert or songs from his legendary vault of unreleased music would come out.  Those possibilities and the nervous systems of so many of his hard core fans came to a screeching halt on April 21 when the news broke that Prince was dead.  Across the world, so many Prince fans told the same story – “People from all aspects of my life – from elementary school to former co-workers, ex-lovers and friends – got in touch with me to make sure I was OK and to offer their condolences because when they think of Prince, they think of me.”  Yes, many of us did not know the man personally, but to a lot of us his words broke through to us in places deeper than “1999,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Kiss,” “When Doves Cry,”or “Purple Rain,” touched the masses.  One of the great things about Prince was that you could be a fan at any commitment level and I am about to talk about the different levels of Princefandom I’ve witnessed in my years of loving his music and I am breaking it down for those who are unaware of the full extent of his artistic greatness.

  1. The “Greatest Hits” Fans.   If you were alive in the 1980s, maybe you loved Prince and maybe you didn’t, but one thing is for sure, you were exposed to his music. He was a hit factory for close to 15 years, where nearly every single he released became a huge anthem.  Coupled with his unique style, his love of the color purple, his mystique, his ability to seamlessly fuse sex and spirituality in the same breath and the iconic imagery in his music videos, his hits had crossover appeal in the same way that Michael Jackson, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen did even if their style of music wasn’t “your thing.”  However, these types of fans never bothered to dig any deeper than what they heard on the radio or what MTV (a cable TV channel that used to play music videos) used to show.  Post 1991 (which was the release year of one of his final commercially successful albums), whenever you’d mention his name, people would ask if he is still making music, to which you’d resoundingly roll your eyes and shame people for not knowing some of the deep album cuts.
  2. The Die Hards.  Being a die hard fan of Prince is different than being a die hard of most artists because of the sheer amount of work that Prince created. The only modern artist that comes close in terms of the amount of recorded songs is Bob Dylan, but Dylan rarely changes genres, whereas Prince could never be nailed down to a certain category – often fusing many of them within the same song!  In addition to having a nearly 40 year career, Prince officially released approximately 50 albums of original material in his own name, as well as over 100 music videos and four theatrically released feature films.  An impressive feat by itself, but that’s just the surface of how much additional music Prince recorded. He wrote and produced full albums for his “proteges” including Sheila E., The Time, Jill Jones, Vanity 6, Apollonia 6, The Family, Madhouse, Bria Valente, Tamar, Judith Hill, Mayte, Carmen Electra, Ingrid Chavez, The New Power Generation (also full length albums by The Flesh, MC Flash and The Rebels have never seen the light of day officially), and he gave away tracks to the likes of The Bangles, Sheena Easton, Patti LaBelle, Madonna, Chaka Khan, No Doubt, Ani Di Franco, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Kate Bush, Martika, Mavis Staples, George Clinton, Andre Cymone and the list goes on.  Being conservative, that would add another 25-30 albums worth of songs, bringing the number of albums of songs he officially released to over 70. But it doesn’t just end there!  He had so much creative energy that he practically lived in the recording studio making hundreds and possibly thousands of songs (yes, thousands!) that have been locked away in his vault for potential future release.  But that’s not all!  He toured the world endlessly over those 39 years and he wasn’t satisfied merely playing to a stadium of people and then going home after the show.  He often spent the afternoon of a show day rehearsing new material and then played an after-show of completely different material at a small club after the main show (a cigarette after sex, if you will) and he did that for over 25 years!  Not only did he pull out rare songs to perform, but he often tested out new material, performed covers of his favorite songs, performed a song one time (and never went back to it ever again) and drastically changed the arrangements of the songs you already knew, so every time you saw Prince in concert (even if it was 2 nights in a row or twice in the same day), you got to see a dramatically different show each time.    Needless to say, people started bootlegging the concerts and nearly every show he performed over these four decades exists in some format, bringing the total number of hours of recorded Prince music to tens of thousands!  Because of the vast array of music that exists, the die-hards can be further broken down into these categories:
    1. The Collectors.  These are the people that simply must have every single thing he did from the officially released albums, the extremely shitty quality bootlegs (because the stuff was not officially released, sometimes the master source is a copy of a copy of a copy of a tape or in the case of live recordings, sometimes it sounds like someone was in the parking lot recording the show – but many perfect or damn near perfect quality recordings exist) the protege stuff (which most of it is criminally out of print), to the promotional items released at the time (which often sell for a hefty price tag on sites like E-bay), to the rare fan club only singles, to the merchandise,  to the people that scour the internet saving every photo that exists (because he did a ton of photo shoots too, and he was very controlling of his image, so he never looked like anything less than a rock star from another world in each shot).  There are other fans who don’t collect all these items, but instead travel the world to see Prince.  That can put a huge dent in your wallet (or your nervous system as Prince is notorious for announcing shows with less than 24 hours notice).  These fans line up all day to be in the front and they are rewarded as Prince makes love to his electric guitar on stage and sets the place on fire with his one of a kind performances.  Despite personally going to approximately 50 shows/appearances, I just want as much music as I can get my hands on.  To me (and to so many other fans), it’s a drug.  It’s the juiciest steak you’ve ever eaten. It’s your friend.  It’s your lover.  The fast and funky songs make you want to get up and shake your ass in the middle of a business meeting. The ballads seduce you and make you want to take your clothes off in public – no matter who is watching!  Most of all, if you are all alone in the world, Prince’s music will always have a lyric, a funky riff or a guitar lick that will rock your world and give you a reason to go on.  Whether you are hearing the songs for the first time or the 200th, they sound fresh as ever and with every listen, they hit you in that place that Prince excelled in hitting every time.  Also, just when you think you “know” Prince, an unreleased song leaks out somehow and the lyrics reveal another side of Prince you never knew existed, thus making him even more amazing and enigmatic that you already thought was possible!
    2. The Bootleg Collectors.  Within the realm of the collectors are the bootleg collectors.  As I mentioned above, there are thousands of unreleased songs known to exist and hundreds of them, as of this writing, (enough for SEVERAL full length careers) have leaked out of the vault.  The cause of these leaks is unknown but some of the popular theories are:  he was careless with his stuff, he was a jerk to the people in the studio – either treating them terribly or not paying them and songs leaked in retaliation to his treatment of them; he leaked the songs himself knowing that the world is not capable of digesting all the music he felt compelled to create and he wanted to give the people who were willing to listen a chance to hear these tracks. Whatever the cause of the leaks are, the songs are traded freely among fans, although there are also shady but enterprising fans who have started their own bootleg record labels and sell the tracks to fans who aren’t internet savvy or have no connections.  Needless to say, there are levels of rarities out there in the unreleased music realm and despite the limited number of people who are this serious about the music, there are those fans who have access to stuff that “normal diehards” do not have access to and hoard it for reasons unknown.  One such track being hoarded is “Wally,” a 1986 track that is reportedly the most personal song Prince ever wrote.  The fabled backstory says that Prince destroyed the tape after it was recorded because it was too personal.  Without going into too much detail, it exists and the upper echelon of Prince die-hards have it, so rest assured that you will probably hear it one day!
  3. The Purple Kool Aid Drinkers.  In his passing, Prince’s countless acts of kindness were finally revealed to the public.  In his lifetime, he usually wanted to remain anonymous about his generosity.  He donated money to help teach music to children and was also a silent activist in the fight for human equality.  However, to those in the inner circle, he was not always regarded as such a nice guy.  This is a similar story you will hear from other artists who were insanely creative.  As I can only speak from stories I’ve heard, I will not air out these grievances because they are not mine to address, but suffice it to say if these countless stories from numerous associates, former lovers, employees and fans are true, where he excelled in artistic prowess, he often lacked in humanity.  Many of these stories are well documented in the community, but this is where the Purple Kool Aid Drinkers come in.  They find it impossible that Prince could be anything other than perfect to everyone at all times.  After all, most of his songs were about love, peace and tolerance and he seamlessly fused spirituality and sexuality in a way that made it accessible even to those who believe in nothing.  If you say anything disparaging about Prince in public or online, get ready because these people will come for you and will show no mercy (despite their acknowledgement of the fact that Prince primarily sings about love and togetherness)!  It is impossible for these people to admit that the man did not always practice what he preached (from ruining his mainstream career by protesting his treatment by his record label by writing the word “slave” on his face, despite willingly signing the largest record deal in history at the time to fighting so hard for his artistic freedom to protect his musical legacy but upon his death he left no will, thus not caring at all about the music he spent his lifetime protecting.  Also, he was a strong advocate of being anti-drug and in the end, he died of a drug overdose – even if it was as reported “accidental.”).  There are also levels of Purple Kool Aid Drinkers whereby to non-fans, they will correct any error they hear about Prince not because you want to, but because you have to clear his name and let everyone know just how brilliant he was.  They feel (and I agree with this) that it’s damned shame that too much of the world only knows the hits when there are hundreds of great songs to rock your world, so the sooner the world catches on, the happier of a place it will be but at the end of the day, I am glad that the music brings me joy, so if you don’t feel the same, that’s for you to decide.  If you’re a die-hard Purple Kool Aid drinker, chances are you regale the purple community (or worse, your social media accounts) with your knowledge because you know someone who knows someone in the inner circle, or hell – maybe it is you that was in the inner circle, so you “know for a fact” that [insert Prince myth here] happened.  Pix or it didn’t happen!  The upside to the Purple Kool Aid Drinkers is that if you can just focus on the music, the fans will become some of your best and most loyal friends because for the reasons listed above, his music touches fans in the same way (regardless of race, sexuality or religion).
  4. The love/haters – It is totally possible to dip your toe into many of these categories (and at the same time!) and I know that I hovered in this category in the years leading up to his death.  Because of the reasons above – the amount of music that touched my soul, his strong work ethic, his rejection of failure and his words serving as guidance counselors and teachers, he was my favorite, but in the last decades of his life, he became a Jehovah’s Witness and his lifestyle became contrary to the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place.  What turned me on (even as a 4 year old) was the fact that I felt like a misfit on this planet and his lyrics reassured me that I am doing nothing wrong and in fact, my differences are something to celebrate and never back away from.  For that unapologetic way of thinking, he probably saved more lives than he was even aware of.  However, when he became ultra-religious, his formerly open minded way of thinking was replaced by a narrow view of the world that called people out if they didn’t believe what he believed.  On my first trip to Paisley Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2001, within moments of entering Prince’s version of Graceland, I wandered into a private room and ran smack dab into the man! Before I could fan girl out, his first words to me were “did you know there is only one God?”  This was a subject I am pretty well researched in (because thanks to his music as well as other sources, I had been curious enough to investigate and form my own opinion on the subject) but instead of listening to what I had to say, we got into a shouting match!  It was certainly not my intention to argue with one of my idols, but I was not about to be a doormat!  I yelled, “you’re not even listening to me, Prince!” and he shouted back that I was “wrong” and when I tried talking to him like a rational human being, he just kept repeating over and over that there is only one god (and I remember tripping out that this conversation even existed and in Paisley Park, of all places!), but it did and I lost a ton of respect for him that day.  He clearly wanted to be surrounded by “yes men,” and I refused to be that, even to someone who was basically my own personal version of a god.  Because his music literally saved my life at times where all else was black, I agreed to disagree with him but although I could forgive, I had a hard time forgetting.  It was extremely disappointing to me considering how much time, blood, sweat, tears (and money!) I’d invested in Prince for the greater part of my life.  It was not helped by the fact that at numerous times in the later years, he sued die-hard fans, put the kibosh on loving artistic tributes to him and was very stubborn about letting new generations discover his art on streaming music services.  His magnetic energy is the reason all of us came back even though we felt like scorned ex-lovers and I know that secretly we all hoped that eventually, he would go back to being the open-minded person we all fell in love with in the first place.  He didn’t need to sing “Sexy MF” or hump the stage anymore, but for the love of Jehovah, we just wanted him to stop using “duck” when we all know what he really wanted to say.  Sadly, he did not, but if even one song recorded post 2001 that has the F-word exists in his vault, that will help soften the blow.
  5. The Post-Death Fans.  A whole new generation discovered his music on April 21, 2016 that had previously not been exposed to his work and to those people – WELCOME!  Have a look around and sort yourself into one of these categories.  If you never get past the hits, you have dozens of tracks that defy genre identification.  If you choose to dig beneath the surface, you will find an impressive body of work, one more vast than almost any other recording artist of any era!  Hopefully you’ll discover some songs that will become your best friends for the rest of your life.

As a life long fan, who has lived and loved with the music and as someone who has witnessed the ups and downs of his career from afar and from the front row and now that we can look back on the entire story, here are a few observations that I’ve made about the life and work of this remarkable man:

1. He was a bad ass.  His sound and fashion sense were unique (from matching his high heeled pumps to the one-of-a-kind outfits he wore to his unique facial hair) and he surrounded himself with bad ass musicians and they had to be because they had to keep up with him.

2. His work ethic is unparalleled.  He worked harder than every other popular musician (it’s not an opinion – it’s a fact.  His punishing touring schedule, the number of shows he performed each day while on tour, the hours spent rehearsing and the amount of material that was recorded in the studio make him arguably the most prolific recording artist of the modern age).

3. He did not make mistakes.  Somehow, his voice always sounded great (and he regularly played a 2 hour stadium show and then several hours later did a completely different show at a small club), he never hit bad notes and he was not known for canceling shows (showing up extremely fucking late – yes, canceling – no!).  It makes me wonder about his drug use, because it has been suggested that he was not a stranger to drugs, but drugs often make people get sloppy, and you can say a lot of things about Prince, but you cannot accuse him of being sloppy (aside from the events of his final week on earth).

4. He never gave less than 100%, looked like a rock star from another world at all times and all the while making music that cast a spell over millions of fans across the globe.  He didn’t just perform, from the second he stepped onto the stage to the time he left it, he was electrifying!  He challenged his audiences to show up as their best selves and in return he gave his.  In an era where everyone dresses down, you always went to a Prince show dressed to the 9s and he rewarded you by wearing a sharp tailor made outfit that made the ladies swoon and the guys wishing they had that much charisma and swagger.

5. He chose to set the trend rather than follow it.  If he believed in something – no matter how ridiculous, he saw it through, even if it meant alienating fans or even the public at large (when he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol or suing fans, for example).   At times, this found his message being contradictory – but I guess it’s possible to change your belief system repeatedly as new epiphanies come in and/or, it was his Gemini nature to be the yin and yang depending on the day?   He wasn’t afraid to fail.  He took risks by discovering and promoting new talent repeatedly throughout his career and if he wrote songs that were not suitable to be released under his own name, he generously gave them away to other artists he felt could capture the sound he was trying to achieve.

6. He changed and grew constantly and could kick your ass musically whether the song – fast or slow – had vocals or was a jazz, rock or funk jam.  He never rested on the laurels of the past and was always looking forward and most importantly, he was always living in the moment.  This is evidenced by the fact that he recorded a ton of music, put it aside and never stopped making new material or performing (changing the arrangements of his old stuff) until the very end.  He didn’t worry about the minutiae about how this stuff world be released and in fact, he did not leave a will and to not think of the future is about as living in the moment as you can possibly be – despite it infuriating those he left behind to collectively shake our heads and wonder what the heck he was thinking!  His estate is currently in total shambles and in less than one year since his death, his music has already been licensed to streaming networks (something he was fiercely against in his life) and his sanctuary Paisley Park is hosting a “celebration” not on his birthday, but on the anniversary of his death date.  It’s my opinion that he would not want either of these things, but if you don’t write your wishes down, this is what happens.

7. It is really difficult to think of Prince in the past tense.  His music is so passionate and alive.  His performances have so much energy.  In his music he was able to achieve super human things, but at the end of the day, he was a mere mortal. Every time I go to a non-Prince show, I still feel that at any moment, he is going to come out from backstage and jam. At the time, dropping everything at a moment’s notice to see him perform could be extremely tiresome, but now we’d give anything just for one more show.   It’s a shame that the book is closed on that chapter of our lives.  But despite all the not so nice things I’ve said about him throughout this article (it’s all part of the duality that was and is Prince), I am eternally grateful for the music he made and for the people that I’ve met because of his music.  Like all geniuses, the man and the music are extremely complicated and it is my wish that even if people don’t get obsessed to the level of collecting all the bootlegs and ephemera, that they at least realize what an extremely talented and once-in-a-lifetime original soul was on this planet from 1958 – 2016.

What are some of my highlights of being a fan for over 35 years?

  1. Dancing on stage with Prince twice.  Once in Minneapolis during his 2001 Celebration at the arena near Paisley Park (and if you follow me on social media, you’ve surely seen the photo!) and once in Los Angeles at a secret show at the Hollywood Palladium.  I am told that Madonna and Lenny Kravitz were in the audience that night and they got to see my funky dance moves.
  2. Working on his double CD “Ultimate Prince.”  Myself and fellow uber fan Mathieu Bitton were selected to work on a double CD of Prince’s greatest hits, which saw the first release on CD of many of Prince’s beloved 12″ versions.  There was a lot of drama when the cd was first issued, and it was bittersweet that after his death, the CD reached the top 10 in many parts of the world.  It warms my heart to know that the love we put into that CD was the first introduction of his music to legions of fans that discovered him after his death.
  3. The fans!  I have met people from all over the world who are some of my great friends and I know for certain that we would not have bonded the way we did without his music.  I’ve met people of all races, genders, religious beliefs, etc. and it makes no difference when it comes to loving each other.  I think that is probably the most important thing about Prince’s music and in these troubled times, I hope that the love spreads.
  4. Singing “Play That Funky Music White Boy” with Prince.  I was at an after-show in New York at a tiny place called Butter and I was literally inches from Prince the entire night.  He covered Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” and the entire night I was groovin’ and singing along to every song.   When the chorus rolled around, he stuck the microphone in my face and made me sing the chorus.  While it was a huge honor, I don’t think singing is my strong point (based on a bootleg I’ve heard of the recording).
  5. Becoming friends/acquaintances with his a lot of his associates.  Though these people may not be household names to the masses, to me they are gods and goddesses!  I’ve worshiped these people alongside of Prince for decades and having some of them support my own artistic endeavors or recognize me when we run into each other is mind blowing and I don’t take it for granted either!
  6. The music.  As I’ve said before, the songs are like long lost friends that you can always turn to when no one else is around.  When an unreleased song surfaces, it’s like hitting the jackpot and when you listen to a rehearsal or live recording, you hear the feeling of what it’s like to create art.  I never cease to be blown away.

Prince, if you are out there, please know your fans miss you so much and you have left a void that can never be replaced by anyone.  Nothing Compares 2 U.  To quote another one of your songs, I speak for all of the fans when I say, “love is too weak to define, just what you mean [to us].”   THANK U!

 

Must Have Prince Bootleg: “Diamonds & Pearls: Beginnings”

Posted by The G on October 26, 2015 under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

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Will The World Finally Get To Know The “Real” Prince? – The G Commentary

Posted by The G on May 7, 2014 under The G Spot | Comments are off for this article

Photo and words by G.

Prince!

Prince!

A few weeks ago, Prince announced a surprise partnership with his former enemy – Warner Bros. Records.  Prince finally achieved all the things he so famously ruined his career for (by changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol in the mid-1990s) due to his unhappiness with having signed an alleged $100 million deal.  He will have ownership of master recordings going forward and as of press time, “new music” has been announced in addition to a “remastered with unreleased music” 30th Anniversary Edition of the “Purple Rain” soundtrack.   Prince fans far and wide are salivating at the prospect of what will be included in this new package, and before I speculate, let me tell you some things you probably don’t know about one of the most famous faces in rock and roll history.

In a 35+ year career in music, Prince has released over 30 studio albums (plus countless internet-only and one off songs) and has penned the lyrics & music or produced entire albums for dozens of artists and in the meanwhile has toured the world consistently, often playing multiple shows (with different set lists) in the same day.  These statistics alone make him one of the most prolific musicians of all time, but this is merely just the Prince that the mainstream world knows about (and many of these projects were not commercially successful so even a lot of these impressive career statistics are only known amongst his die-hard fans).  For every “Manic Monday,” that the world knows about, there are gems like Jill Jones’ 1987 self-titled debut, which only lives amongst die hard fans as a cult classic due to the record being criminally out of print for almost as long as it has existed.

What people also don’t know about Prince is that it’s rumored that he has recorded a song a day for the majority of his career which would equate to approximately 13,000 recorded songs in total (thinking this started when his first album was released in 1978).   13,000 songs!   Having every song the Beatles ever recorded on my iPod, I have 500 songs by them in my library.  The music of the 30 year plus career of Madonna’s music numbers around 325 songs and Pet Shop Boys (who’ve actually released almost twice as many B-sides as Prince has) have around 660 songs in my music library.  None of these numbers come close to 13,000 recorded songs.  (Note: I only have slightly over 2,000 songs by Prince on my iPod – this is not including live recordings). You can see that even with what I have, that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of recordings Prince has allegedly made.  He has literally careers of unreleased music and he’s still making new stuff!  It’s mind-blowing!

So what’s the story on these unreleased recordings?  Even if the number 13,000 is exaggerated, there are definitely thousands (which again is many times over the total number of songs your favorite prolific musician has recorded) that exist in the hands of die-hard fans and ex-associates.  How have the songs leaked out?  That’s been subject to rumour for decades, but some of the most popular theories include:

– Prince didn’t pay the studio technicians properly and in retaliation, they made copies of what was recorded and sold them to bootleggers.

– Prince made copies of the tapes for ex-associates of what they were working on and those tapes were either lost, stolen or passed around with the proviso that “you can’t share these with anyone!”

– Prince leaked the songs himself knowing that he is too prolific for record labels to keep up with his creativity.

Whatever the case may be, every time you think you “know” Prince, an unreleased song surfaces and you suddenly see a completely new side to our beloved Gemini.  He has songs that he wrote for females, (singing lines like “I even bought a new dress but when I put it on, I could still feel your touch” with great conviction), epic and utterly bizarre tracks such as “Crystal Ball” that is 10 minutes of  meandering funk (that has since been released officially, years after the fact, though in edited form), unreleased jazz and fusion jams such as a side project called The Flesh (where – as of press time – only one song is available in wide circulation – the jam “U Gotta Shake Something” which is over 14 minutes in length and bares no resemblance to the later released song “Shake” which he gave to The Time), tracks like “Witness 4 The Prosecution” that fuse funk and rock so seamlessly that the song could be recorded by James Brown or The Rolling Stones and have been a hit and rehearsal recordings of things such as an hour long track called “Soul Psychodelicide” (and no less than 5 completely different studio recordings exist in the hands of die-hards).  I could go on for days listing out some of the unreleased fan favorites because for every great song Prince has released, there are probably 10 great ones that never saw the light of day.

Prince, who notoriously does not like to look back (despite playing ‘greatest hits’ shows for the greater part of the last decade after swearing he was not going to play the hits anymore in several “final” tours) has revisited a handful of unreleased tracks over the years, most recently stripping the funk and soul out of beloved tracks to reflect his religious beliefs (Prince is a Jehovah’s Witness now) on songs such as “In a Large Room With No Light” and “Extra Lovable,” changing ‘dirty’ and ‘in your face’ lyrics like “….not as hard as what’s behind door… door number pants” to “ooh, I like it”  making fans wonder why he would commit such a sin.  But that comes with being a Prince fan.

For all the great music he’s given us over the years, it comes with a price – failed ‘membership only’ fan clubs that fail to come through on the promises they make, the announcement of last minute shows where anything can (and does) happen, making fans have to drop everything to make it to his concerts.  You could see him perform 5 nights in a row and each time see a completely different set list where he pulls songs he’s never played live before into the set list and/or scorching guitar solos where he takes you with him to another planet and you’ll be reliving the moment either in your mind (or on bootleg, should one surface) as one of the best nights of your existence for the rest of your life.  He announces projects that get fans salivating and they never get released (remember ‘Crystal Ball 2’ anyone?) and there’s the other douchey stuff like suing fans, shutting down fan sites, sending cease and desist letters to artists that are paying loving tribute to him in their works and going after YouTube for the removal of all content that he is featured in (does he not realize that like it or not, the way new fans discover music is via the internet?!).

His music was so influential to my life from literally the age of 4, when I felt “different” but couldn’t figure out what to do and Prince’s lyrics (and look) were completely unapologetic and always championed being unique at all costs, which helped my life (and obviously the lives of so many people worldwide) and then Prince’s current religious beliefs found him going against all that he used to stand for.  It makes me sick to see someone once so progressive and open minded literally become closed off and preachy about his beliefs.  I’m all for finding yourself and being happy about it, but just don’t shove it down my throat if I choose to believe differently.  For some of the public complaining I’ve done, if you didn’t know me, you’d think I was a hater.  On the contrary, I am a concerned fan who does not enjoy watching someone regress and you do not need to be a rocket scientist to see that this is the case.

Back to the music…

So when the vaults are finally opened, what is going to happen?  Though lots of sexual innuendo is implied in the lyrics of some of the Purple Rain songs (most famously, the lyric from “Darling Nikki” about meeting a girl “in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine”), there are no “curse words” per se, so will these recordings stay in tact as they were or will he try and rewrite his history with lyrics that reflect who he is today?  I picked out the songs on a greatest hits compilation called “Ultimate Prince” and after he forced the label to remove the 12″ version of “Erotic City,” every review of the album says “it could have been a great collection if only “Erotic City” were included).  Will he finally embrace his past when he looks back on this era and realizes that when he was 26 years old (in 1984 when Purple Rain was released) that his creativity knew no limits and he was literally changing the world? He’d just filmed his first feature film, had recorded an album with no bad moments on it (and a handful of equally killer b-sides), wrote, recorded and produced albums for The Time and Apollonia 6, was touring (and changing the set list nightly) and recorded countless songs that didn’t even make the cut because there is only so much music the world can handle in the span of a year.

The world can still not handle that much music (and if anything, the iPod generation has made our musical attention spans even shorter), so what will be included on the re-release?  Is he going to fill it with songs by Apollonia 6 and The Time that were in the movie, but never acknowledged on the soundtrack?  Live tracks such as the song “Electric Intercourse” which was taken out of the film in favor of “The Beautiful Ones”?  Speaking of “The Beautiful Ones,” in fan circulation, there is a version that has an extra verse and there is also a 14 minute version of “Computer Blue” which shreds the officially released version (and is 10 minutes shorter).  An extra verse of the song “Purple Rain” was also cut as were songs such as “Traffic Jam,” “Wonderful Ass,” “Possessed,” “Father’s Song” and the list goes on and on.  No less than 25 songs that never saw the light of day are known to exist from the era (and surely there are plenty more that nobody has ever heard) and even if those songs were rescued from the vault, that would more than fill all of the allotted room dedicated to extra material.

This is not even including B-sides (like “Erotic City” and “17 Days”), the 12″ versions (like the 10+ minute version of “I Would Die 4 U”),  the potential for a live concert release from the era, which again found Prince at 26 years old, out-performing legends who’d been around for decades longer.  Also never released was the legendary August 3, 1983 First Avenue concert, which found Prince debuting the classic lineup of The Revolution with Wendy Melvoin on guitar and vocals as well as the first live performance of “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Computer Blue,” “I Would Die 4 U” “Purple Rain,” and was the only time “Electric Intercourse” was ever played in front of an audience.  The Purple Rain score, for which Prince received an Academy Award was also never officially released, so there’s a chance that could finally come out in part or in full as well.

We live in a digital world now, so what that could mean for us is that the casual fans could buy a 2-disc physical set and be super content and for those who want to dig a little deeper, digital only releases of some of the above mentioned tracks and projects could make their way into the hands of the people that so desperately want it.  What’s the point of letting it rot away in a vault, never to be appreciated while the creator of it is alive?  Seems kind of silly.  It’s crazy to think of the possibilities that have kept fans like me, who are not into the current direction Prince has taken musically (or religiously), hanging around in hopes that one day, the person I know that still exists inside of him will finally come outside and play with us again.

I don’t care if he swears anymore or humps the stage like he used to, I just want him to return to acknowledging the reason we all fell in love with him in the first place – because he gave us an alternative to being “ordinary.”  He gave us a reason to celebrate our differences and most of all, he told us “it was ok to do our own thing and if the world didn’t like it, that’s THEIR PROBLEM, NOT OURS!”  He basically helped form my strong work ethic and he made me seek out people that try and set the trend rather than follow them and for all of those things (and I have told him so in person), THANK YOU, PRINCE!!!!!  If nothing, I hope the world who can barely see past “1999” and this album, come to realize, appreciate and celebrate, while he is still alive, that Prince was and is one of the most prolific musicians to ever walk among us and we should cherish it while we still can.

Prince, this is your big chance to convince the non-believers and to reward those of us who have stuck by your side through name changes and religious epiphanies.  You’ve always been at the forefront of setting the trend, forcing everyone to follow in your footsteps, so you are being presented with a golden opportunity that could change the way other artists release their own vault material.   PLEASE DON’T FUCK THIS UP!

I would be more than happy to assist, Prince.  Give me a call!

 

1977 Prince Photos by Robert Whitman at Mr Musichead in Hollywood

Posted by The G on February 27, 2014 under Artsy Fartsy | Read the First Comment

Photos of Robert Whitman’s photos by G.

Prince by Robert Whitman

Prince by Robert Whitman

Los Angeles!  If you are a fan of Prince, you must head over to Mr Musichead in Hollywood to check out a photo exhibit of the singer (circa 1977) by Robert Whitman.  A year before Prince’s debut album “For You” was released, photographer Robert Whitman conducted a series of photo shoots with the soon to be iconic singer in Minnesota for inclusion in Prince’s press kit as he searched for a record deal.  Only 15 press kits were ever assembled and they are one of the most sought after items amongst fans.

Partial gallery view

Partial gallery view

The photographs in this collection are stunning as it’s nearly unfathomable to imagine a time where Prince was merely a 19 year old unknown singer with some songs and a dream.

Close-up of a proof sheet of Prince by Robert Whitman

Close-up of a proof sheet of Prince by Robert Whitman

Prince by Robert Whitman

Prince by Robert Whitman

Many of the photos from these shoots have never been seen before, so you will not want to miss your chance to see these iconic photographs in person.

Prince by Robert Whitman

Prince by Robert Whitman

Mr Musichead is located at 7511 West Sunset Blvd.

Prince by Robert Whitman

Prince by Robert Whitman

Prince by Robert Whitman will be on display through March 7, 2014.

Video: “Yellow Gold” Live and Acoustic by Andy Allo

Posted by The G on January 28, 2014 under Encounters with G, G Reviews, G Videos | Comments are off for this article

HD Video by G.

On January 27, 2014, Cameroonian-born singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist, model, and actress Andy Allo performed her first ever solo show in New York at Mercury Lounge in the Lower East Side.  Fans braved the freezing temperatures only to have our hearts melted by Andy Allo’s smooth and very beautiful voice.  She performed songs from her debut album “Unfresh,” a cover of Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain,” as well as tracks from her latest offering, “Superconductor,” a record that featured some help from the Voldemort of funk – Prince.  Typically when Prince produces an artist, he brings out their best, but I can honestly say after seeing Andy Allo live, she is WAY better off without a little help from her friends.  Her voice is incredible and her songs work better stripped down acoustically than they do featuring purple production.  Like the Harry Potter universe did with Voldemort, Allo did not need to speak his name throughout her show and as a result, we were all able to fall in love with Andy Allo for her gift of song and not for her famous friends.

Check out an acoustic performance of her standout track “Yellow Gold” by clicking PLAY.

There’s no word if the Purple Police will come after me for posting this video, but if they do, I will comply and then write an article which will hopefully go viral about what a horrible person and business man Prince is… and boy, do I have stories I could tell.  Not a threat, just a fact.  He may be a control freak over his intellectual property, but he’s got nothing over mine.  He may dress like a Jehovah’s Witness, but the similarities end there, I assure you!   🙂

Thanks for a great night Andy!

Andy Allo and Geoffrey Dicker

Andy Allo and Geoffrey Dicker

Andy Allo Setlist at Mercury Lounge.  Now property of the G Archives.

Andy Allo Setlist at Mercury Lounge. Now property of the G Archives.

 

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