Music

The Prescription Pad: Purple Ponderings

Dan Rys 01/25/2013 3 Comments

Hold up, ’cause we need to talk about Prince for a second, because everybody else has been taking that liberty in the wake of Billboard’s (excellent) recent cover story, which reminded everyone just how incredibly weird the Purple One is. Recently, the Minneapolis volcano has started spewing out a few rivulets of its purple magma, resulting in a new song (the lovably major-keyed “Screwdriver”), album rumors (effectively debunked by the man himself), a mysteriously in-the-know Twitter account (@3rdEyeGirl), and this long feature, picked apart by literally everyone with two hands and an Internet connection (OMG he doesn’t allow people to record his voice OMG!).

But since we can’t leave the man alone in his mystical Paisley Park fortress in which he’s attempted to freeze himself within a perfect purple bubble from 1987, I’ve decided to pick out three elements of Billboard‘s story — as well as from four other randomly selected interviews with him from the past decade — and offer semi-coherent, nearly-logical explanations for Prince’s peculiar ways.

1. Billboard‘s cover story

– “His afro is covered by an incongruous hat in the shape of a lion.” Hang on. I know Prince is famous for getting freaky with his getup, but where the HELL do you get a hat in the shape of a lion, and more to the point, where do you get one that passes the stringent fashion codex that Prince has installed? The next sentence continues talking about his wardrobe — he’s also wearing “wedged silver shoes adorned with periodically flashing red lights.” This is clearly a self-defense move; in the wilds of Minnesota, it’s best to protect yourself in case any hunters with big ideas think they’d like to take down a lion. Flashing red shoes? Consider yourself warned.

– Prince has a floor-to-ceiling cage full of white doves in his house. This is a thing, you guys. If we all work hard enough, and channel our collective genius, this could be us. We could all have a floor-to-ceiling cage full of white doves. Think of how peaceful that would be. Think of all the harmonious vibes that baby gives off. Try not to think about the sharp beaks and horrific ripping talons attached to the foot of every bird that roams this planet, whether an international sign of peace or not. Try not to think of how vulnerable your eyeballs could be in their grasp. Think of peace. Think of Prince. Don’t make the doves cry.

– “I don’t talk to old people.” Thank you, Prince, for voicing what so many of us could not. Despite the fact that you’re a (young) 53, though, I’d talk to you, Prince. You are a purple fountain of youth and funk. Youth and funk, coincidentally, are the two things which I hold dear. I’m on board.

2. The Guardian

– “If you look in the Bible, there’s no birthdays.” First of all, woah. He was talking about why he doesn’t celebrate his own birthday, and now it all makes sense. This actually prompted me to do a little research, cause I was like no way that’s crazy, and what I found was even stranger than that. While it’s true that none of the prophets or major figures in the Bible ever have a confirmed day of birth (not even Jesus!), according to randomly-Googled web authorities, there are only three mentions of birthdays throughout the entire Bible, and in each reference something terrible happens. My own birthday this past year was a strange one, too! This might prompt some serious self-evaluation. After all, as he continues, “Time is a mind construct… It’s not real.” Woah.

– “I didn’t come out of my house raggedy after that.” Prince tells a story of helping a friend move in 1979 (aw what a good friend) just after he got famous, and two girls recognizing him, then dismissing him as not really Prince for wearing shitty moving clothes, resulting in him vowing to never look like that in public again. Now, imagine if he was wearing an incongruous lion hat? Would that help or hinder you in recognizing Prince? Tough question.

– Prince doesn’t have a phone. Yet another reason I admire the man — if only I were brave enough to go out during the day without a phone on me. How would I awkwardly pass time in the presence of strangers? I guess Prince a) is never awkward or b) never has to kill time. Or he just stares at people mysteriously. That one actually might be the most accurate.

3. MTV Interview with Sway

– Oh yeah — Sway asks about that Chapelle’s Show skit. Playing basketball in blouses and high heels? Not true. The whupping? True. Sway then asks him about his basketball skills, which gives Prince the chance to deliver a classic Prince-like quote about how things were different back in his day — “We didn’t call it a crossover back then… [we called it] just speed.” While I have no doubts that Prince could school me on a basketball court, even with his bad hips, imagining him running laps around everyone else while wearing a purple velvet suit is just the best visual.

– “Otherwise we’ll just be a computer in the future. All of us.” It’s Computer Blue, not Purple. Prince’s longstanding feud with the Internet comes from his deep desire and dedication to the live funk experience. In the Paisley World of Prince, everyone plays the electric guitar, and Larry Graham wanders the Earth endlessly slapping groove-tastic basslines on the high-flying jams of the masses. No DJ’s allowed.

– Q: “Is it the funk that gives you the energy?” A: “Absolutely.” No further comment necessary.

4. ESPN News

– I’m not sure how many people ever saw this news story, but there’s only one real takeaway here: Prince rented Carlos Boozer’s Beverly Hills mansion, then turned the master bedroom into a hair salon. Where does he sleep? DOES he sleep? Does he merely meditate to the soft hum of his hairdryer? Does he have a full-time stylist waiting on him at all times? These are questions I need the answers to. Also important: What is the hierarchy in terms of his personal assistants? Something tells me his hair stylist is either his most trusted or second-most trusted employee. Just a hunch. Bonus points to this story for the fact that Carlos Boozer was going to “beat this little man down” before Prince gave him “a little check for about a million” to make repairs. Swag.

5. The Mirror

– “I’m cconvinced all that electricity racing through my body made me keep my hair.” More hair talk, this one a little wilder. I didn’t realize there was such a correlation between playing electric guitar for forty years and keeping your hair, but those with family histories of baldness take note: the Purple One has spoken on the matter. I bet there is exactly zero scientific evidence for this, but I nonetheless believe it to be 100 percent accurate.

– He forced the writer to play drums in an impromptu jam sessions, then Donald Trump’d his ass. Prince dropped an Apprentice reference, which either means that he watches prime time television (inconceivable) or he pays attention to pop culture in some manner (it’s a stretch, but I’ll believe it). I don’t know what type of credentials this writer had, but the drums are not the easiest thing to just sit down and play, especially if you’re gonna funk out with Prince. To cause your host such intolerable anguish while playing his own drumset is pretty messed up, dude. Get it right next time, or your ass will be fired again.

– Can I get a full layout of Paisley Park?! In this story, the writer mentions first being led into a room “like a 50s diner,” references what is called a “Knowledge Room,” performs (poorly) in Prince’s private concert hall, and hangs out in Prince’s private nightclub, where Prince, his girlfriend Bria, and three backup singers dance to Marvin Gaye and Barry White while Bria and Prince drink banana smoothies. Wait, banana smoothies? Banana smoothies. WHAT IS THE KNOWLEDGE ROOM? Banana smoothies. I need to go there. I need to be there all the time. Banana smoothies.

Really, go check out each of those stories in full, because they are very worth it. And in the meantime — may the funk be with you.

The Prescription Pad #1: TDE Meets R&B

The Prescription Pad #2: The Funk Manifesto