Say it isn’t so

There are reports that Prince has died.


It’s true, he’s dead. Now I’m going to have to put Raspberry Beret on repeat on the iPod.

It’s a shame that his life was poisoned by bad religion, but man, he had so much talent that it all came shining through anyway. Watch this video to the end; there’s a bunch of nobodies making some noodling noises for a while, but then Prince steps in with a guitar solo and humbles the universe.


  1. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    trailing after Bowie. … *sob*
    2016 is turning into an awful year for any fan of any star. Rickman left us also, etc, etc. *sob*

  2. themadtapper says

    Music alone has lost David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Keith Emerson, and now Prince. Definitely been an awful year already.

  3. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Can people stop dying, please? I’ve heard about deaths coming in threes before, but they seem to be coming in dozens at the moment. This year keeps on sucking.
    Victoria Wood died this week too… I don’t know if she was known outside of the UK, but she was also awesome.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Prince lived in Chanhassen, Minnesota, southwest of the Twin Cities. PZ may have crossed paths with him in the airport.

  5. says

    themadtapper (#9) –

    Definitely been an awful year already.

    Two years, really. A number of legends died in 2015 as well.

    Death and retirements of groups are inevitabilities, that’s not what bothers me. What does bother me is the lack of new memorable generations to replace them.

  6. =8)-DX says

    new memorable generations to replace them.

    I don’t think I’ll forget Justin Beiber or Miley Cyrus in a hurry (or, seriously, Adele, Lilly Allen and many others). Me, I’m going to be crying when it comes time for Madonna or the Pet Shop Boys…

  7. janiceintoronto says

    He was a Jehovas Witness and a homophobe. I, for one, won’t be missing him. He was a jerk.
    Great musician, but a horrible person.

  8. says

    Janiceintoronto @ 19:

    He was a Jehovas Witness and a homophobe. I, for one, won’t be missing him. He was a jerk.
    Great musician, but a horrible person.

    That’s right sweet of you. Ever thought you’re a bit of a horrible person yourself?

  9. says

    Just read about it on our news. This sucks. Another memorable musician of my youth dead. And I am not even old yet!

    I did not like some of his music, but loved some all the more and I remember how I listened to “Purple rain” alone, in the dark, on my first casette player.

    Nevertheles I have to say that this

    lack of new memorable generations to replace them

    is patent nonsense along the lines “the sky was bluer when I was young”. There is plenty of good musicians around and about who definitively have the potential to shine through next years and today’s young people will mourn the death of their belowed music stars when the reach our age just as you do now.

  10. says

    Decades ago, in Minneapolis, MN, Prince played a part in bringing musicians of color to main stages that normally featured white musicians.

    The link above covers most of the music scene in Minneapolis, and not just Prince. An excellent article that provides details about the ways in which non-white musicians struggled, and/or were restricted. Prince is not often celebrated as a force for civil rights, but he played a big part.

    Once upon a time, long, long ago, a video poem I had created was premiered at the First Avenue club in Minneapolis. That’s also where I saw Prince perform live. At the time, his performance was so unique that it was kind of shocking, like a shot of adrenaline. I posted some flyers from that once-upon-a-time on my Facebook page.

    If a Prince song came on the radio when I was driving, I would pull over and dance. Good times. RIP, Prince.

  11. voyager says

    I have always been attracted to big tall, husky guys who wear plaid shirts and can paddle a canoe. But I always thought Prince was sexy. I could never really figure it out either, but the man had something. I was also still young during Prince’s reign so his music connects me to those heady days of angst and desire.

  12. says

    I always thought Prince was sexy

    Yeah, me too.

    Bowie and Prince had the same thing going on: tremendous talent combined with grace in movement, a slightly androgynous look and a “go to hell” attitude. That was the thing about both of them – they clearly cared profoundly about their music and their performance (and their turn-out) but, eh, somehow they managed to project this self-confidence that made them simultaneously vulnerable and invulnerable. In Purple Rain, Prince was unafraid of being himself, to such a degree that it awed me as a teen-ager, and made me want to be a bit like that. Prince and Bowie were both complicated and wore their complexity openly; they knew it was what being special was about. And they were.

  13. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I just noticed, at another memorial to Prince, that his birth year was the same as mine. ack.
    While I didn’t like his music, I liked his attitude. Even the cryptic name abandonment made a little sense (the only objection was his choice of new name being a cryptic symbol). Odd how in memorial, he seems very similar to Bowie. Playing with and objecting to fame, deliberately presenting as ambiguous to illustrate the internal conflict. He just seemed a little too obsessed with Purple. …more power to him.

  14. says

    Prince featured and promoted female musicians. His female protégés include:
    Susanna Hoffs
    Anna Fantastic
    Mayte Garcia
    Susannah Melvoin
    Bria Valente
    Sheila E.
    Vanity 6
    Apollonia 6
    Carmen Electra

    All female band in 2014:
    Rolling Stone link

    Being able to improvise is a prerequisite for playing in a band with Prince. The music icon never performs the same show twice, and is even known to deviate from his rehearsed set list. So his backing musicians have to be prepared for the unexpected.

    Guitarist Donna Grantis, drummer Hannah Ford Welton and bassist Ida Nielsen, who form Prince’s new female band, 3RDEYEGIRL, have learned to read his cues.

    “A big part of playing with Prince is to know all his material,” Grantis tells Yahoo Music during a telephone interview with the band. “He likes to switch it up. He might go apart from the set list we have. We have to pay attention. If he wants to stop, he might start something else. He’s a great arranger, master of arranging songs on the spot.”

  15. says

    Quietly participating in social justice issues:

    […] “He would call me to get money quietly to families of victims,” including Trayvon Martin, Sharpton tweeted.

    Prince also expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Just ahead of a show in Baltimore last year, he released a song named after the city in honor of Freddie Gray, whose death in police custody led to protests throughout the city. […]

  16. martin50 says

    The person playing acoustic guitar and standing on Tom Petty’s left in the video, appears to be Dhani Harrison, George Harrison’s son. Quite a striking resemblance.

  17. janiceintoronto says

    #21 – Caine

    No, actually I’m a very nice person who isn’t afraid to call out homophobia and extreme christian lunacy.
    Speak well of the dead? Only if they deserve it.

    After all, I even threw him a bone when I said he was a great musician. That doesn’t make him a nice person.

    Don’t get all butthurt over the truth.

  18. janiceintoronto says

    Caine #21.

    I am actually a very nice person. I’m just not afraid to point out a horrible, homophobic, christian lunatic when he’s being lionized by people who are ignorant of the dark things he did and believed.

    I even threw him a bone, just because I’m a nice person, and complimented him on his musical ability.

    Why would you take offense at the truth? Don’t speak badly of the dead, OK, if they weren’t bad people.
    A dead asshole is still an asshole.

  19. says

    Ya know, I was watching that (updated) video of Princes HOF walk-on, and I was thinking it was really pretty amazingly wise of them to have those guys – I mean those guys backing for Prince. Because, yeah, he really was that good. The motherfucker was made of compressed style.

    Did he ever play with Stevie Ray Vaughn? If there were a heaven, You’d have Prince and Stevie Ray doing backups for oh, ah, I probably shouldn’t play that game because there are too many great ones. :(

  20. says

    He was a bizzarre luddite living in a fantasy world

    You mean he didn’t like copyright pirates? Well, he can join a lot of us. How it’s (variously) represented is another question.

    His issue with iTunes and Youtube and whatnot was that they were downsampling music quality. For someone like myself with sub-par ears, I am not qualified to comment. Perhaps Prince was. I believe that, at the time, the question was whether an artist could control whether their audio was being re-streamed with embedded sub-coding (marketing!) fingerprinting or lowered quality to reduce its value to pirates. Why on earth would a world-caliber musician who cares passionately about his sound care about having his base-line adjusted by some algorithm written by someone else?

  21. jacksprocket says

    Caine@21: ever thought of attacking the message, rather than the messenger?

    (1) Was he a Jehovah’s Witness- during his creative period? During his acquisitive period?
    (2) Knowing this (sic et non) does this make any difference to his art?
    (3) Outside his art, did he aver say things that were… problematic?

  22. Ichthyic says

    PS – Prince did not drop the mic. HE THREW THE GUITAR. Watch it.


    I think the guitar was raptured.

  23. auraboy says

    Yes he was a Jehovah’s Witness, he openly stated women were owned by men and that Christianity ensured men could take women hostage and non Christian men could not prevent this without God’s power behind them. But then he also had a team of hundreds to buy his clothes and fetch him Camels when he decided he needed one – essentially like many of the mega rich, mega celebrities – his views on reality were likely warped beyond recognition.

    Watch Kevin Smith’s answer about the adventure in making a documentary for Prince. You get the impression of a very sweet, very brilliant man who has become detached from anything like the everyday experiences 99.9% of people take for granted.

  24. jester700 says

    A excellent player. And writer, arranger, producer, singer. Respect – even though I never connected with much of his music (and as wide as his talents were, on guitar he was no SRV). If folks can stem the lionization of the dead by pointing out the failings of everyone from Hitchens to Teresa of Calcutta, IMO it’s not beyond the pale to do so to Prince.

    Having said that, Jam in Peace, Purple dude.

  25. MassMomentumEnergy says

    We broke the story … Prince’s private jet made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois last Friday, hours after he performed in Atlanta. At the time his reps said he was battling the flu … something we questioned because his plane was only 48 minutes from home before the unscheduled landing.

    Multiple sources in Moline tell us, Prince was rushed to a hospital and doctors gave him a “save shot” … typically administered to counteract the effects of an opiate.

    Due to a career of prancing around in heels, Prince needed a double hip replacement and was thus likely in constant pain, prescribed opiates, and became addicted.

    Because he was a Jehovah’s Witness, Prince was banned from getting a hip replacement because he refused blood transfusions.

    Religion poisons everything.

  26. Artor says

    Marcus, that gig is not playing in Club Heaven. You’ll need to go downstairs and around the back to find the good music. Prince is on stage with Bowie, Mercury, Vaugn, and a whole hell of a lot of fine musicians!

  27. says

    I was discussing NDEs with a christian once and rather enthusiastically said “OMG I KNOW what you are TALKING ABOUT! I was shrooming on nitrous and went down the tunnel with the lights and Rammstein was on stage and Sissel Kjerkeboje was up there with Til and it was awesome!!!”

    Prince and Stevie Ray would blow that to dust, of course.

  28. says

    Not to sidetrack from our collective grief but it -is- legit to imagine these things. I used to listen to Dire Straits and hear hints of Nashville in Knopfler’s arrangements, and wonder. And then I heard a whole album of Knopfler playing with Chet Atkins and it all came clear
    (well worth a listen:
    ) I’m sure the purple one and Stevie Ray would have say down for about 20 seconds and done something absolutely amazingly eye-smokingly unheard of.

    I’ve been listening to Prince stuff on youtube all night. Great artists – by definition – are able to jam with others (I think) It’s part of the creative process to be able to embrace and synthesize with other artists at a similar level (actually, I am pretty sure a great artist could make a relative mediocrity sound like a peer) Listen to Prince’s version of “American Woman” with Lenny Kravitz.. Anyway, Jimi, Stevie, Prince, Muddy, and Django – they could all jam with anyone.

    My band in hell:
    Janis Joplin and Ian Curtis on vocals
    Prince and Jimi Hendrix on Guitars
    John Bonham on drums
    Lemmy on bass

    Uh. I’ll be in my bunk.

  29. knut7777 says

    After a lifetime of dealing with artists in all kind of situations, I have learned to appreciate the art, and if the maker is an ok human, all the better. But I keep my expectations for honor low among the creative types.

    Whatever else he was Prince was a generous supporter of local and regional artists. Costumers, videographers, prop and set people, photographers, graphic designers, engineers, et al found work with him at one time or another. Even I got to make some props for a tour a long time ago. He didn’t have to use local talent, and others in his situation haven’t, but he did.

  30. madtom1999 says

    Liked his music a lot. Always wondered if he wasn’t a suppressed gay man hiding behind religion.

  31. Ragutis says

    If Jimi Hendrix and James Brown had a child…

    Foibles, eccentricities, and blemishes aside, he was a tremendous talent and did do a lot of good. And he gave Tipper Gore fits, so +1.

    Also he was probably one of a very few people so prolifically creative. His unreleased archives rival, might even exceed Frank Zappa’s. I hope it’s curated responsibly.

  32. warflagon says

    “nobodies” ???? are you serious? Most of those folks are old enough for even a grumpy adult to know……Damn…

  33. Derek Vandivere says

    It really isn’t necessary to shit on the other musicians to recognize how good Prince was. Look at how they were communicating with each other – he pretty clearly didn’t consider them a bunch of nobodies.