Friday, April 22, 2016

Undeniable Music Business Revolutionary

Everyone's gotta say something, they should say something.

He was a revolutionary in so many ways working within and without the major record business, his output was prolific in both style and hits. Undeniable.

"Albums. Remember those? Albums still matter.
Like books and black lives, albums still matter."

- Prince, 2015 Grammys

Back in the early 80s during hardcore punks golden age, an ex-girlfriend asked me if I'd accompany her to see Prince and the Revolution at the Forum in Los Angeles on the "Purple Rain" tour. One would hope that a punk would have an open mind to other music, but at the time when it was all still kinda new, we all were pretty loyal to our "punk thing" and didn't listen to much else for a period of a few years there. Honestly. But by this time I had re-instated AC/DC and Zeppelin back into my car stereo on occasion and was listening to some of the early Hip Hop tapes that floated to me from Brooklyn. At this point Prince was some pop shit, could I even allow myself to go? To be seen at a Prince concert in a huge venue? Well I was being a nice guy at least and accompanied my friend, so what the fuck, might as well. To my surprise it turned out to quite an impressive event, and not only was I not embarrassed, I wore it like a badge of honor: I went into the belly of the pop beast and was able to be blown away and respect it! It was pretty incredible.

Some years later living back in New York City, we heard that Prince was gonna do a little after party thing at NELL's, the "velvet rope" hot spot of the mid 80s in NYC, Hip Hop was blowing up, Def Jam was ruling, so of course my friends and I had entrée to all the best spots, so we were there all the time, closing the place down half the nights of the week. We were "locals" and we were sitting in the "restaurant area" where they would sometimes have a small jazz type band play, no raised stage, just an area by the wall in the middle of the tabled area. This one night we happened to get a small table near the front, just hanging out eating french fries, not even sure if the shit was gonna go down, then all of a sudden the band walked in the front door and went directly to the instruments, a very modest "night club lounge" set-up is how I'd describe it... with Prince himself sitting at a small electric piano so close I remember he could have reached over and plucked some fries from my plate, in fact he may have, but you can't hold me to that and I'm not gonna say for sure that I remember if he did or not, but something made me remember all these years later that he for sure could have... needless to say he and his band killed it! And this was after playing Madison Square Garden just a few hours earlier. That motherfucker was real. Much Respect.

Later on in the club I saw Prince cruising around with his bodyguards in tow, dwarfing the man with six inch heels and canary-colored jumpsuit. I stepped to him and thanked him for the incredible performance and he batted his eyelashes and nodded thanks back.

Another huge creative loss.

Not the typical favorite of most, but one of mine.

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