The Book of Prince
September 3, 2019 1:33 PM   Subscribe

“Now, let me stop you right there,” Prince said. “Why did you write that?” It occurred to me that he might have flown me in from New York just to tell me that I knew nothing of his work. “The music I make isn’t breaking the law, to me,” he said. “I write in harmony. I’ve always lived in harmony—like this.”
The Beautiful One is an essay by Dan Piepenbring about his collaboration with Prince on a memoir, which had barely started when Prince passed away.
posted by Kattullus (13 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoyed that.

I was never an enormous Prince fan, but I always thought of him as a special person and his passing bothered me. This piece made him sound even more attractive that I knew he was. I would really love to read the book described in this article. The fact it can never be written is tragic
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 2:22 PM on September 3, 2019 [7 favorites]

"Mystery’ is a word for a reason,” he’d said. “It has a purpose.” The right book would add new layers to his mystery even as it stripped others away."

Like...'The 4.50 From Paddington'

So biggest book... suppose HRH was thinking depth not something like the size of a Lada.

"White critics bandied about terms that demonstrated a lack of awareness of who he was. “Alchemy” was one."

For an example. "I am advising all to eschew the evil and darkness that enter the forcefield of the four lower bodies when the attention is placed on the jangle of modern jazz. I would advise all who would truly be alchemist s of the spirit to seek out the classical music..."

-Saint Germain on Alchemy recorded by Mark L Prophet.

Fuck that, Prophet. I'm willing to bet Germain woulda loved Prince.

"Lisa, stay away from that Jazzman"
-Marge Simpson.

"Funk is the opposite of magic,” he said. “Funk is about rules.”
Good note to end on.
posted by clavdivs at 2:39 PM on September 3, 2019 [5 favorites]

This was amazing. Especially Kung Fu Panda... 3.
posted by k8t at 4:43 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

This interview with Donna Grantis, partly about her time in Prince's band, was quite good. (Sorry, these mp3s only exist for three months.)
posted by sneebler at 5:32 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Every sentence of this makes me miss Prince a little more than I already have been, but especially:

Peter Bravestrong—Prince’s preferred pseudonym for travelling

I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with his dying so young. It still makes me feel like I took a wrong turn somehow. I mean:

Prince’s d.j., Pam Warren, known as Purple Pam, joined us, and he gave her a few words of advice. First, it was always a good idea to close a set with “September,” by Earth, Wind & Fire. Second, no profanity.

posted by sallybrown at 5:36 PM on September 3, 2019 [10 favorites]

we were to submit personal statements to Prince about our relationship to his music and why we thought we could do the job. I submitted mine at eight-thirty that same night. To call it heavy on flattery would be an understatement, and I regretted it almost immediately. But the response from Prince’s camp came at two-twenty-three the next morning, and within a day I was on a plane to Minneapolis.

Oh come now. This is called knowing your audience.
posted by hippybear at 6:18 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

Look, I keep reflecting on this article, and the whole Bowie, Prince, George Michael thing... really felt like the Universe had a grudge against me, nearly personally. Yes, that's a poetic statement, but goddamn, seriously?

Bowie's exit was pure performance art. I don't know if he actually did that on purpose or if it just timed out that way because he was connected to the core of the Universe in a way that could make that happen but... wow, yeah, and continued wow. Things trickle out, I'm happy when I find them.

Prince... like, um... that totally wasn't dope. No, wait, it was dope, but it was dope that wasn't dope. I don't know why I'm talking like this, I'm white. But fuck, so angry, so angry... He got some shit he didn't know quite what it was, and it took him. So fuck the dealers of shit.

George Michael was just unhealthy. I can't speculate about why he had the conditions that took him, but he really had a life that demanded a lot from him. I wish he'd been around to show more of his artistry -- I thought that Patience was a brilliant album (15 years old OMG!) and he'd been hinting at more, and but... I love what he's left me.
posted by hippybear at 8:36 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

“The bass & drums on this record would make Stephen Hawking dance,” Prince had written in the pages he showed me. “No disrespect—it’s just that funky.”

I love Prince.
posted by chavenet at 12:41 AM on September 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

What I especially loved about this article is how it emphasizes Prince's racial consciousness, which often gets overlooked in articles and essays about him, strangely enough, considering how open he was about it.

This essay made me miss him just a little bit more, which I didn't think possible. Absolutely once-in-a-generation genius. ♡
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:36 AM on September 4, 2019 [5 favorites]

It's always interesting to me to see the ways that Prince clearly went through some of the personality-warp that seems to inevitably strike anybody who hits a certain level of wealth and privilege, but in his case it mostly expresses itself in harmlessly eccentric ways. Like wasting money on rooms in a hotel that you just could have bought.
posted by COBRA! at 10:46 AM on September 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

Prince’s d.j., Pam Warren, known as Purple Pam, joined us, and he gave her a few words of advice. First, it was always a good idea to close a set with “September,” by Earth, Wind & Fire. Second, no profanity.

Tragically, Pam Warren died in December 2017 at age 51.
posted by larrybob at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2019 [5 favorites]

So, "Piano and a Microphone" was recently released, apparently a 1983 practice session... This article mentions some other piano sets, obviously much more recently. Anyone know if they can be heard anywhere?
posted by kaibutsu at 6:00 PM on September 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Here's a bootleg of a show from the Piano And A Microphone tour, if you want. [Soundcloud]
posted by hippybear at 6:15 PM on September 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

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