Siting here waiting for the results of my blood work, and heard the news.
So, here are 10 things I loved about prince:
1: There was for sure, something in the water: NO one could scream like him. The wild animal howl, at 2:35 in the middle of “something in the water” sounded like every pent up sexual frustration in the entire world, a shrieking fox in heat, and for me, that particular second woke me up, to who Prince really was, and why I liked him. It was a call to the whole world, and it worked.
2: Let’s work: In the late 70’s and early 80’s a lot pf people were still on the repressive sexual program of their parents, (meaning the 1950’s) When you went to someone’s house (for me, a girl’s house) and saw a prince poster on the wall, it was like a coded message, “I am sex positive”. And if a girl invited you to her house and she had one there, you knew it was ONNN.
3: Sexuality: Prince (Until the J-witnesses got him) was on a tireless war against binary gender oppression, and seriously made everyone, at least once, question the entire way we had been taught to think about gender in the first place, and would fearlessly sing as a woman on tracks, and had zero problem genderfucking your mind.
4: Magic hands: Anytime he touched a guitar, and I mean any. time. he. touched. a. guitar. magic happened. He was one of the greatest rock and soul guitarists of all time, hands down, end of story.
5: The Spartacus effect: All the mixed, sexually progressive, freaky, beautiful nerdy, people, who never felt like they fit in? Yeah. He handled that shit. Not only did they (we) fit in, but they (we) found they (we) were in the majority.
6: Musical Proliferation. I first heard Prince’s music via “Cool” by Morris day and the time, on a bus in east (East bound 57) Oakland at 1:00 AM, and thought it was the fucking second coming of Christ. Later I would hear his music, in “Don’t wanna fall in love”, by Toni Child, “Manic Monday” by the Bangles, “Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks, “I feel for you” by Chaka khan, and countless others, he was more than a single artist, he was a musical movement. And he was, and is, everywhere. When you breathe the air, you are breathing Prince.
7: Generational shift: “When Doves Cry” was a shot over the bow of then-popular music, culture, and values. The story of fighting parents, sexual frustration, and hyper sensitivity, and one of the first major pop songs in history to deliberately leave out a bass part, and all said one thing:
“What you once knew, is now over. This is where we change direction. follow me”
8: Leader of the rebel force: He was among the first people to see the danger of what is now the wholesale streaming musical robbery of artists, by major companies, and warned us all about it, and was willing to CHANGE HIS NAME, possibly one of the most recognizable names in music history, to fight for control of his music freedom, and expression. “Mega million world promotional long term contract? fuck you! I’ll do it myself” Lol.
No one pulled that guy’s chain. Wanna complain about the way the internet and Spotify and others are stealing your music and money? Don’t say he didn’t war you, like, over a decade ago.
9: Oakland and the East bay. Prince Loved Oakland and the east bay, players from here, Music from here, and recruited heavily from here, with people like Boni Boyer, Rosie Gaines, (From P-burg actually but worked out of Oakland) Sheila E, (The woman who saved my life when I was homeless), Levi Seacer Jr. (Richmond) and many others from the bay. He knew where some funk was.
10: Special dedication: It was 1984, and I was in love, and the one I loved was with me, and we were under a tree at Anza, and the warm summer wind was blowing, and we were sipping Bartle’s and James wine coolers and smoking clove cigarettes, and my boom box has playing “Take me with you” and everything was perfect, perfect, perfect, and some people go a lifetime never having experienced something like that, but we did, and he was the soundtrack for our youthful expression, freedom, and love lives, and rebellion, and even then we all knew it wouldn’t last forever, because he knew that too, and sang about the impermanence, and being in the moment, and in doing so, became our Rock and Soul Buddha, teaching us to love and let go.
Thank you Prince. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
You will be forever missed.
Photo caption: “Were headed THAT way”
©Piero Amadeo Infante, for the Tao Of Gigging, 2016
All rights reserved.