Thursday, May 21, 2009

Prince and His 'Evolution'

Prince has morphed into a compelling public figure as of recent, showing growth in areas that should be construed as groundbreaking, while still some other areas might need work.


Tavis: Who's qualified to critique your stuff these days? You mentioned Miles Davis. Who's qualified to critique you?

Prince: Oh, anybody.
Tavis: Music critics? Fans? Other artists?Prince: Yeah, I don't mind - anybody, if they do it with a sense of love, if they're trying to show me something about the work that they really feel is important for me to know. And I don't see a lot of that in journalism today..


(Transcript from Tavis Smiley/Prince Part I)


An Evolved Approach


After watching the recent late-April interview with Prince on Tavis Smiley here in L.A., I felt this was a grand opportunity to offer props to an individual whose impact on me musically went well beyond that of the iconoclastic worship of adolescence. Prince is the very reason I am a musician in the first place. His passionate, driven, multi-genre vision and approach ran parallel with my sense of all-inclusiveness in composing and writing, more so than my ‘Heroes On High’, the monolithic and legendary Pink Floyd.

Prince ‘resurfaced’ in 2004, as Musicology marked his return to dominance in the popular music realm. A year solidified with induction into the Rock and Roll hall-of-fame accompanied with his most successful tour to date. This was also marked by a more refined and complete media image as Prince made his rounds through the popular talk show glitterati. But previous outings to these programs had produced little weight or baring for him as an artist, and did not really endear himself to the public the way this particular sit-in with Leno did.
The promotional visit saw a more engaged Prince: Open, relaxed, even funny; imploring fans to bring their children to his current concert. His mannerism suggested a confidence devoid of overt self-awareness, offering seamless allowance to even give Mel Gibson a little shit with his ‘ Hey, Mel..what’s shakin’ baby!.. Whatchu doin’ after the show…Wanna see a movie..?’ an indirect slight to his directorial release of ‘The Passion of The Christ’ which was in a full-blown theological controversy among devout Jews and other various religious cults. Nobody in the studio audience really caught the vapors. (To me it was glaring.)

It was the beginning of new pattern in his approach to the mainstream media: Being less the aloof Rock/Sex God, and being more approachable, personable. More…human.

It worked.


This pattern continued on Ellen DeGeneres that year, where Ellen, a notorious and unabashed fan of his, had the unmitigated gall (and unbelievable nuts) gifting Prince some boxer underwear with her name emblazoned all about the waist band in his dressing room before his appearance.



Evolution: Stunted
In The Days Of Rain and Cameras

Contrast this with his well-known (and incredibly botched)coup from 1985, in which MTV had to scramble to get the once-in-a-lifetime interview while he was filming ‘Under the Cherry Moon’ in Paris. He seemed withheld, shy, and lacking good verbosity and clarity to the rather prerequisite and inane questions being posed. I watched this interview when it first aired, and was remarkably disappointed with his seeming reluctance. To a fifteen-year-old, I wanted more animation; more validation in this interview to solidify my fandom of him. And in my adolescent mind, he failed.




What I failed to realize was how much restrained contempt he exhibited. Having viewed this with a more adult mindframe for the first time in 24 years, there was one attribute that lingered through this entire faux interview that I didn’t catch as a freshman in High School that has made itself much clearer now.

Prince was
pissed.

To this day, many so-called critics, journalists and bloggers still believe Prince snubbed the ‘We Are The World’ recording due to his self-aggrandizement. The very root of this massive assailment to his public personae could be easily placed at a moment when Prince was Lord of Whom All He Surveyed.

January 28th 1985….

I tried 2 tell them that I didn't want 2 sing
But I'd gladly write a song instead
They said okay and everything was cool
'Til a camera tried 2 get in my bed


-
from ‘Hello’, the b-side from the single ‘Pop Life’/ 1985 Paisley Park (P. R. Nelson)- Controversy Music(ASCAP)


After winning three awards at the AMAs, the 26 year old wanted to cap off the evening by going for a ride and get a little ‘grub on’ with a few friends and a sizable collection of security personnel. Although being previously committed to record with Quincy Jones, Prince had phoned him instead, mid-session, offering to do a guitar riff for his hastily-assembled celebrity encrusted charity magnum opus. Quincy declined, feeling that a guitar performance would not be in context with the composition and performance of the piece, but asked that Prince offer a whole track to the full-length album. Though a line in the track had been designated for him to sing, Prince would later indicate his ‘discomfort’ singing and performing around people he didn’t know. Quincy, by all accounts, was good to just receive a full song from him instead.“4 The Tears In Your Eyes” became the contribution. All would’ve gone well as planned except for one unforeseen problem: while hanging out with his ‘beautiful friend’ Jill Jones at Carlos & Charlie’s on Sunset Boulevard, Prince was getting surreptitiously handled by the paparazzi, and having his limo invaded by one particular light-tight box lens-carrying goon job whom legend has it, told Prince “That’s right asshole! Smile, you’re a star!” All this, while firmly issuing a quick chubby fingered shutter-release of his Nikon, as Prince’s security entourage snatched the draconian plank and bogarted the film.

When the dust settled, and about 6 hours into January 29th Prince went from absorbingly admired and praised for his brilliance to lambasted as the world’s most talented self-enamored prick. The honeymoon was not only over, but the groom was thrown under the proverbial tabloid media-driven bus for all to ostensibly crucify over every cheesy half-cocked gossip show. The fallout became highly concentrated and immediate
.



The FallOut, The DropOff

Prince deemed it appropriate to try staving off any further damage by agreeing to a rather abstract (and mostly cryptic) interview with Rolling Stone as ‘Around the World in A Day’ was making its way to the music chains. By the time the ‘Prince Speaks’ issue hit the stands; Billy Crystal had already punched the exclamation point to the sordid malaise with SNL’s ‘I Am Also The World’ opening skit on March 30th that year, with Mr. T and Hulk Hogan as two pugilistic and obsequious security staffers set to run off even the likes of Bruce Springsteen if they dare to approach the mic to sing with his Purple Piousness.

Crystal, clad in purple hood and muffin-caked eyeliner with the prerequisite butterfly-collared pirate shirt, gave a bruising, over gesticulate, gyrating performance theatre a le femme; punctuating each lyric with subdued sexual tongue-wagging , bambi-eyed exuberance reducing Prince’s performance personae to a carnivalesque caricature worthy of a Ralph Steadman/ Gerald Scarfe cartoon rendering. So hideous, it was not only hilarious, but to many of Prince’s detractors, a spot-on incarnation of the evil they felt succumbed to due to his seemingly isolated, aloof and controlling nature.

All this stemmed from Prince trying to celebrate his newfound glory and acknowledgment of his talent with someone who he whom he had known and trusted since 1981. Acknowledgment having being sparse from his own personal life, beginning with his father and transcending into his schooling years. As he admits , music became the key to stopping the brutal haranguing and curmudgeon beatings he took from peers as a boy, as he was be given leeway in the ‘hood for showing ‘chops’ his diminutive frame was unable to do in other avenues.
Genius is an oft touted word that thrown about to enliven, even embellish any subject matter it is intertwined with. With Prince this application of the adjective belies a far greater disability that was the trade-off for his absorption into music. John L. Nelson, also a prolific songwriter was often exceedingly critical of his son’s musical performance, so music both became a hybrid mix of needing a connection to his alpha male role model, and filling the deep crevices of loneliness that the perpetual pre-adolescent bullying gave. The one area in his life that had become the bridge to his identity away from the vox populi of the quasi-caste system of public school and fractured home life, replete with having to move in with best friend Andre Cymone after being unceremoniously thrown out of his family’s home, was the very same catalyst leading to his social and emotional underdevelopment. The more he grew in exponential talent, the more his deficiency in dealing with interpersonal and social collective interaction suffered. Prince had become an island unto himself.


We'll do what we can
If y'all try and understand
A flower that has water will grow
And the child misunderstood will go

Hello


-from
‘Hello’, the b-side from the single ‘Pop Life’/ 1985 Paisley Park (P. R. Nelson)- Controversy Music(ASCAP)



This trade-off is something I could’ve found myself committing, having very similar ramparts in my own childhood. An absentee father, a broken family, and a sense of self-insignificance which was perpetuated exponentially in 1980’s Salt Lake City Mormon anti-cultural pluralism, quite comparable to Prince’s 60’s/70’s Minneapolis melting pot of social derision in many respects. I, too, was undersized for the majority of my preteen years and was bullied extensively from age 12 to high school graduation. The difference is that when Prince chose to withdraw into his own universe, he remained there: operating inside a cocoon of his own creative structure. I withdrew into my own universe similarly, but chose to ‘step out’ at times by fighting back, letting myself take social chances and remain participatory in dealing with my peers , even in the presence of bruising hostility and rejection; I went outward to push it back feeling that I was already ‘better’ for just being me as a whole. Finally growing to 6’ 1” certainly didn’t hurt either…

The outcome: I am socially adjusted and media savvy, and have been so for most of my adult life. I am not remisced about collaborating with others I don’t know personally, so long as the creative energy takes on a life of its own. I also trust my intuition to guide me through the creases and complexities of dealing with other people I am not familiar with, hence why I am not particularly shy in engaging them.

Prince is only
just coming to terms with this it seems, at least on a public front; hence his demeanor has softened in this regard. He is still, however intensely shy, and is often accused of being rather aloof. The two do not necessarily inhabit the same space. Being
aloof comes from a form of cavalier narcissism that you are above reproach and elite. Being shy means you lack the essential tools to socialize and communicate with others on the most basic of levels. Relationships are complex, thus made more preponderantly so by this social disability; it can impede progression in human intimacy on the deepest of levels. You can never ‘relax’ within yourself when surrounded by unknown company. It gets very ‘quiet’ on the exterior, even if the ‘noise’ intensifies internally.

By the time MTV caught up with him to exact their horrid interview of him in ’85, the damage was done: His follow-up album tanked after a fast start, the print interview with
Rolling Stone was by and large, a non-interview and did absolutely to assuage public opinion. Celebrities were dissing him on comedy shows, and even Boy George was calling him ‘boring.’ The MTV interview was a final nail in the coffin for Prince’s public image, and though the performance of the interview hopefully got some execs of the ‘former’ music channel shit-canned, the blame in this instance for the further fall from popularity is Prince himself.

His inept handling of the entire situation did more to expose him to deeper and broader scrutiny. Contemporaries whom he called friends in the past came out to mall him: Jesse Johnson, with his famous
‘Prince Is An Asshole’ interview for Rock and Soul Magazine in ’86, ‘Big Chick’, his former bodyguard, telling a tabloid rag that Prince was quintessentially a miserable lonely bastard, all in an effort to score some cash to maintain his cocaine fix.

Details being released about his confidentially agreements he made other band members and groups sign, including ex-girlfriends, revelations about a cruel and controlling persona. The success of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis throughout that decade becoming a constant reminder in the popular consciousness of what a seemingly derelict and hostile little tyrant he was. Their ensuing independent success was a direct result of having been 1 minute late to board the bus while on tour with Prince in the early 80’s, in which he grabbed the entryway handle, closing the door and leaving Jam and Lewis stranded and ‘fired.’

And whereas Michael Jackson got about a
five year pass on his animal and child fetishes and accompanying face mutilation, Prince barely got one…largely for being unable to undo the media scrutiny about the events of one single night. The paparazzi single-handedly nearly took Prince down. Though he continued to be successful, the remainder of the 80’s up to the mid- 90’s would see an inevitable decline in his overall appeal.

In 2009, Prince has come back again with a vengeance, scoring a #2 slot in the opening debut of his trifecta
“Lotus Flow3r” in mid-April. Tavis Smiley and Prince have been close friends for several years, so it made sense to have no one other than Tavis ask the more intricate questions about his persona. What sets this interview apart from many others that Prince has done in the past is that there is an absence of strange awkward silences in answering the more personal questions. Although a two-part interview, there are still limitations with doing television interviews, and one is the aspect of time. It is hard to get into deep and involved answers when you’re on the clock, and in a structured setting. Despite this obvious impedance, Prince delivered far more insight into his psyche than I have ever seen.



Evolution: Advanced
The Interview: Chemtrails , Eight Unidentified U.S. Presidents, All Along ‘The Watch Tower’


Tavis Smiley w/ Prince-Part II

Prince’s longstanding grudge against the media has subsided into a more functional and workable edge. In years past, while he was battling Warner Brothers and getting his image repeatedly raped by the mainstream media, Prince was quite subdued, almost pedestrian towards journalist and columnists and usually was in high disfavor to letting anyone cover his personal life on any level. His evolution from being a dysfunctional media recluse to a highly interesting, provocative and engaging talking head has been a long road, and in many ways this is the best Prince has ever been publicly.
This entire interview really did much to humanize Prince in many aspects, and the overall response by the media has been positive. Well..all except the examples of complete media misogyny as listed below. So much rancor has made its way to so many different publications and blogsites, many of whom have not done their homework. To the few that have, I do not address this to you specifically. To the many that haven’t, I would like to invite to read the contents below and review what you have written and see what punk-bitch, self-serving, solipsist asswipes you really are. And as Jim Rome would say on
The Jungle, You should learn to ‘Have a ‘Take’, and Don’t Suck.

“Most journalists are just lazy.”


Rolling Stone most recently proved his point here. One glaring attribute that has not changed over the evolution of digital media is the apathy of writers to not properly research the subject they cover enough to render anything resembling informative and entertaining simultaneously. Daniel Kreps, who wistfully masturbated this quick article about the interview itself in RS Rock & Roll Daily couldn’t even do Prince the service of referencing the conspiracy theories he relayed with any factual clarity. Instead, he blurbed several of them rather non-nonchalantly, seemingly playing along the old ‘Prince-is-still-fucking-weird-but-we-love-‘em’ theme stating:

“one of the strangest moments in the interview comes when Prince is talking about “Dreamer,” an ode to comedian Dick Gregory that features on LOtUSFLOW3R, and brings up “chemtrails,” the conspiracy theory that argues jets drop chemicals through their smoky exhaust.”

And on the Jezebel gossip blog. This half-cooked gem from some blogger only identifying herself as Tracie states:

As much as I love Prince, it seems like he's getting weirder, and not in the good exposed-butt-cheeks kind of way… his belief that our government should be based on prophecy and morals (as though it weren't already, but whatever) seems foolish for an artist to support, since morality is subjective.”

Context is no longer a trait in modern journalism-blogging. Instead, it is substituted for sarcastic wit purely for pontification, posturing and instant gratification, much like going for the one-night stand as opposed to pursuing a full-time commitment. It lacks attention, depth and neutrality. Although ‘Tracie’ enclosed a link to the Wikipedia article on Prince’s religion (more for composition rather than for insight), I’ll do one better, and link you to their belief systems instead, and briefly cover the main beliefs:

Jehovah’s Witness beliefs primarily hinge upon the aspect of Prophecy, and that no ‘man’ should ever be exalted to the level and control of ‘God’, as they believe many world governments are practicing this by design, and that they are the chosen ‘witnesses’ whom will be allowed to sit with God in heaven, after man has ultimately been eliminated upon Christ’s return to Earth. What Prince did say was
“Prophecy is what we all have to go by now.The ‘we’ was in direct reference to his being a Jehovah’s Witness, not what the present government should be based on. An assumed correlation in this statement changes the very intent and context. Prince says further:

“It's almost as though there's no need for god and no need for religion and justice in politics. So there's supposed to be a separation of church and state over here.

We can't have a separation of state and morality”


Yes, morality is subjective, but it is also a matter of personal interpretation and standard. I did not get the sense that Prince was ‘preaching’, but conveying thought on his belief. It was done with great clarity.

I state this as one who has an absolute disdain of
all religion as a whole, and that the secular and presumptions of righteous divinity as being selected and exalted by a higher God by virtue of association of worship with others absolutely disgusts me to my core. Who really knows who or what God is, and with whom he would play favorites, and why would such an entity place such favorites on certain groups doesn’t run concurrent with my own faith in God. That’s my angle, and yet I find many bloggers and writers so eager to pile on Prince whenever he even broaches the topic of his belief. One is entitled to one’s interpretation in faith, whether it may be deemed ridiculous to others or not.

For anyone remotely curious to explore further my own view on the world of religion and belief, check it
here. Otherwise, no more need be said.



“When I found out there were eight presidents before George Washington, I wanted to smack somebody”


I can NOT tell you how many blogs, articles and other quickly scrawled tripe I came across denouncing Prince as nothing more than just the product of his own self-absorption to the inth degree, an idiot savant who just needs to ‘shut-up’ and sing when he made this comment. Again, context, and research are not in play with these reactionary twits are looking put some wood to P-Rog for the sake of their own self indulgence. Truth is, Prince is actually correct on this assertion except for one thing..


There were actually 16, and each held the official title during their tenure as President of the United States in Congress Assembled". The ‘President’ (prior to the creation of the Executive Office in 1788, in which George Washington assumed that unrelated role as the official first U.S. President) was basically a presiding moderator for the Continental Congress while they were in session, and held no executive privilege or power by assuming this role.


Although Prince could’ve done better to thoroughly explain his inference, it’s a journalists’ job to research the comment before rendering an opinion, and determine the context. When that flew out of his mouth, I was admittingly skeptical, but rather than trash him for it, the first thing I did was research to see if he was alluding to something else entirely than what the statement suggested. 


He was.


And, technically, he’s right. He was also right for saying that this was never taught in schools. It wasn’t. What he was suggesting is the desire for full disclosure in his education of America’s history, not just selected components designed to potentially cause bias, sway judgment, or coerce. Teach the ‘real deal’, not selected areas, or propaganda.


“Dick Gregory really moved me… He said something that really hit home about this phenomena of chemtrails.. I used to see these trails in the sky all the time and I'd say, "Oh, that's cool - a jet just went over." And then you started to see a whole bunch of them and the next (thing) you know, everybody in your neighborhood was fighting”



Prince got cheese-balled for this reference, and I do like the fact he had the absolute brass balls to bring this up. As mentioned before, there is validity in raising the argument.

For the grossly under informed,
Dick Gregory was the first black male to run for President in 1968. A world renowned activist and conspiracy theorist, it was he who began to get the Federal Government’s attention to look into the assassination of both Martin Luther King, and JFK. He is also a well- respected comedian and one of the first real vegetarians to promote the dietary lifestyle as a means to combat obesity and extend life.

Mr. Gregory is a persistent agitator in regards to the existence of
chemtrails that said to contain aluminum, polymer fibers, thorium, or silicon carbide. These compounds are said to be used as experimentation for military purpose by the U.S. Air force over urban and rural populations for combat use and possible population control. This conspiracy would be easy to dismiss were it not for the U.S. Army’s well-documented use of weather manipulation during
Operation Popeye in 1966 over Laos, one that was termed an operational and strategic success, but was mysteriously discontinued in future endeavors.

The chemtrail phenomenon cannot be completely discounted, as much of the research into their existence has been performed by the U.S. military scientist with no alleged validation to the claims, which could suggest bias and tampering to keep the ‘truthers’ and the rest of the general public at bay.

Many independent scientists have been researching the physical attributes of the trails since 1996, and have consecutively noticed the ‘grid pattern’ phenomenon usually left by excessive military aircraft in a given region, claiming that an increase in electrical compounds rises significantly in rainfall after the trails have expanded and dispersed. The debate is not fully settled nor ‘a done deal’, as many unanswered question linger that even military scientists can’t fully explain or write-off . The fact the actual footage of Mr. Gregory discussing these points as referenced by Prince in the ‘State Of the Black Union’ can’t feasibly be located anywhere on Google further adds to the controversy.

The jury is still out…and this topic is not as entirely inane as journalists may contend.

Topics He Will Not Cover In Detail

As part of this evolutionary process that he has now cultivated and executing, there are topics he will not discuss, and if he does cover, none in great or varying detail. This nuance is greatly enhanced by his new openness, which in my opinion, is not forced nor a marketing tactic. This is him, albeit compressed as it maybe. I find it incredible for someone as private as he is, and so intensely ‘gun-shy’ when it comes to speaking in public forums to arrive at a place with his public personae to be so lucidly candid and transparent. The days of the strange eye-rolls, awkward silences and incoherent explanations to his ideas are long gone it seems. He actually appears intelligent, insightful, and in good possession of a sense of humor: even about himself.

Tavis Smiley deserves mad props for his delicate, but forward approach. Smiley exhibits quite strikingly why so many individuals of great prominence, prestige, and popularity line up to have a seat with him. His skill and adeptness is a sincere, fundamentally lost art.

Here are a couple of subjects, however you will most likely never here Prince speak of publicly:


Boy’ Gregory Nelson (b-d October 16th, 1996)
In the midst of being released from his contract with Warner Brothers, and toward the latter half of having his ‘Love #2’ symbol-name mercilessly butchered throughout the planet and diving sales of his music, the one area in his private life that was the most joyful was his domestic, complete with his marriage to Mayte Garcia. Prince went happily going public with the pending birth of their first child, almost seemingly indiscriminate, the track Sex in the Summer on his Emancipation release that year incorporated the unborn child’s heartbeat garnered from an ultrasound as the backing percussion.

When ‘Boy’ Gregory Nelson was born on October 16th 1996, it was discovered he had a debilitating genetic deformity known as
Pfeiffer Syndrome , type 2, and did not survive.

From my own memory, the media went ‘soft’ on him, meaning that they did not try to push the delicate subject and ask his input or details. Although
Harper’s Bazaar in May 1997 tried to make a game of it mid-interview with him in Manhattan; Prince simply declined, only stating that ‘Mayte’s having a hard time with it.’

This is the most intelligent move on Prince’s part, as it is no one’s business but his own. This was one of the few occasions where his reluctance paid off. Being a father to four children, I cannot fathom losing
any of them to anything whatsoever, or experiencing the complete realization that whatever fantastic vision you had for you and your child’s future now is irrevocably nullified. It is not a topic to be handled for attention-deficit feeding media consumption nor bandied about as if talking about a girlfriend you broke up with. It’s the loss of a child, and whatever ramifications that brings, should be handled in private.

Tyka Nelson

Sometimes siblings don’t stay connected through the road to adult independence, and in other instances they do, but do so under the radar, particularly if they’re in the public eye. The only reference that I have ever heard from Prince about Tyka Nelson was the Tavis interview itself, and only in this context:
“I would create my own universe. And my sister's like that, a lot of my friends are like that.”
This is not to suggest that they do not have a relationship, but what it does suggest is that the two are not necessarily ‘out in air’ as to the nature of open acknowledgement of one another publicly. One could assess many things from this. I have been actively following Tyka since she sent me a friend request to my Myspace a little over a year ago. I have spoken with her through my profile messaging, and the one curious thing I found about her, is the same that I have been on about with her brother in this lengthy article.

She’s opening up directly her to fanbase, presenting a less withdrawn, and more free-spirited communication and getting out there. Just like her older bro ‘skipper.’

Could it be that perhaps a musical collaboration might be in the running for these two? History suggests no, as does some recent activity. Before Prince’s release of
‘Lotus Flow3R” , Tyka put out her first independently released R&B gospel album called ‘A Brand New Me’ on CD Baby.com in late 2008, and is presently embarking on a full-blown U.S. tour ( currently slated for a local L.A. appearance at the Greek Theatre on June 6th). What also is further indication to her continued ‘separation’ from her older brother is these two interesting events:

In September last year, Tyke Nelson held a contest for fans to submit poetry to be used on the on a track for consideration of inclusion onto the album and her Myspace player. On October 9th
she held a pre-release party for her CD and awarded the lucky contestant an advanced copy of both the CD and a completed version of the song “Manna From Above”, autographed by Tyka herself.

In March of this year, Tyka self-published a compelling personal memoir chronicling her very difficult life called
‘Mama Never Taught Me How To Sing’, which retraces her abuses, addictions, and failures from early childhood through her present-day position in re-establishing her career, and through the eyes of her faith.

The only
similar activity in her current endeavors is that she is also going independent. No major label, no major distribution. and where she is in total control of all content. And unlike Prince, the real uphill battle she faces is the battle of obscurity, which is odd as she has been successful before with Royal Blue which did chart, even garnering a hit single “Marc Anthony’s Tune” in 1988. The other aspect in her unusual dilemma is…her brother’s PRINCE!!!


Not to suggest that Prince should be obligated to ‘help’ his sister and it is not to suggest that maybe he hasn’t
offered. In a 1988 interview Tyka did with People magazine she had indicated that she wanted to set her own path musically, apart from her brother hence why she elected originally to release her debut album through Chrysalis, and not Warner Brothers. Conversely, she did mention in that same interview that if it were not for the help of her brother, she would’ve never have gotten as far as she did.

One could assume from this ancient archive that she probably still wants to go full-on independent: Promoting, distributing and placing her brand as she sees fit, wanting no help from
Big P-Rog

Further evidence (at least to me) of this mindset is when Tyka had ask me about my label in June of last year, and I responded , letting her know what it was I was doing, and gave some advice about self-releasing her CD, performing at intimate venues in context with her genre, doing Radio/TV interviews.. general music-biz stuff. She responded:


What you do sounds great! I on the other hand really want to work with a major label and can't wait to walk into their offices again.
I'm gonna keep tryin it on my own until they take notice but THANK YOU …..for getting back to me and letting me know what your company is all about –“


Since then she’s done entirely the opposite of pursuing a major deal , realizing, like Prince has, it is more advantageous to be secular in your endeavors, as The Majors can do nothing in their impending demise. Taking my advice, maybe? Perhaps.


And while I am under the self-aggrandizement of believing I have had an impact on Tyka Nelson (delusionary as it might be), perhaps rather than wait for these two to speak of each other in public, maybe I can get ‘em on my show The De Frag and have them speak to each other in August, say, in a dual interview maybe?

Yes…I can dream

Evolution: None
Where I disagree with Prince

Prince made a very strong and durable argument about those who critique his personality punctuating it with “ It doesn’t help me”, he explained, going as far as stating that some of what has been circulated about his personality has been quite ‘hurtful’. My ‘beef’ with Prince is not one of personality, per se, but has to do with one area of his protocol

This protocol is his seeming over-obsessive/compulsion to wrangle every scrap of intellectual property (whether primary or secondary) of video and sound..even pictures of Tattoos that contain his
likeness, off the internet. In modern physics as it pertains to the distribution and exchange of on-line information, the capturing and detainment of said information will never succeed nor surpass the exponential space/time viral speed, velocity and density in which information goes forth in the vastness of the internet. In other words Prince does have the absolute right to wrest control over anything involving his intellectual property, however, it is absolutely impossible to reclaim all of it in that vast expanse. He cannot control the internet itself.

Prince needs to relax this a bit, and allow some of it to just ‘be’. It is not worth pissing off fans by taking down decades-old footage of performances, concerts, interviews, and images from fansites and other miscellaneous URLs just
merely because your image is associated, proxy or otherwise . By trying to assume so much control, one becomes consumed and takes for granted what allowing some of these things to merely pass can actually do in sustaining his popularity. Arguably, you could win the battle, but what price be glory, when you lose the war itself?

Some things are worthy of allowing to let stand, because they come back in such
far greater value. But only
if you set them free.


Hmmm..Haven’t seen ‘ol G-Rog getting after anyone spreading his Coachella performance around..

Roger Waters (who also performed at Coachella in 2008) has had a rather notorious history with branding/trademark claims. If one thinks back to 1985,and his acrimonious split from Pink Floyd, it was clear that eventually he had to let it go, as it was not possible to wrest the name of the band away from David, Richard, and Nick.


This sort of pedantic maneuvering didn’t bode well for Roger, and is currently undermining Prince’s new-found glory among fans of his, particularly, with potentially new fans whom are not entirely familiar with his new material.


T
hom Yorke from Radiohead was rightfully livid when Prince commandeered control of the Coachella footage which featured Prince performing ‘Creep’. The footage is still not available due to a claim lodged through Prince’s own label, NPG music. I happen to side with Thom with this one, when he stated ‘It’s our… song’, and not just in a linear cohesion to spite Prince.


I
agree also that it should be allowed full access, because Prince stood to reach an entire group of fans who might actually take to him. Prince could have also stood to get pointers on how to virally draw interest in his music the way Radiohead did with ‘In Rainbows’ in October 2007, by letting fans decide what price to pay for the whole download. The album debuted in the U.S. at #1 when released the following January.


H
e and the band could have swapped marketing ideas, and both could have seen immediate benefits in such a relationship, but Prince has got to back down and let that performance be seen virally, among many others. It is to his detriment in expansion in fan outreach and to his public persona to continue on the path that he’s on, as this could seriously undermine what he has worked hard to cultivate.


Prince has stated he is open to criticism so long as it is done with ‘love’, but this is not about 'personality' anymore. It has become a matter of a s
eemingly displaced priority of protocol. Love or hate hasn’t any applicability except in this context:


Radiohead has made a storied career out of staying away from the mainstream, and much of their fanbase contain many of those whom are disillusioned with popular music as a whole. To this group, Prince has become an easy target of ridicule, for he is now a living symbol of the kind of callus egocentrics that the likes of Thom Yorke and company have railed against for many years. Prince is now the perceived corporate villain: seemingly calculating, cold, solipsist and absorbed in his self-promotion; disrespectful to art that is not his own.

This assumed self-aggrandizement is furthered by his own ‘love’ of
Joni Mitchell: as it is
hard to imagine that he would have handled the situation the same with Ms. Mitchell on the other end, running the risk of potentially alienating her as he has done with Radiohead. And to get ‘love’, one most show ‘love’. From where I sit at as an Artist, this isn’t it, unfortunately.
This undermines his redux of the last five years. Where it took a bad incident in January ’85 to turn him into a living pariah in the midst of what was supposed to be his moment in the sun, actions like this have the same potential, and is still being played out to this day. This is the one area I feel that Prince is still underdeveloped as to find a more beneficial and balanced approach.


The creation of that ‘universe’ Prince alludes to is the source of this ongoing conundrum, and whether he really is concerned about it in a genuine way is still the intangible yet to be seen publicly. He could very well not be motivated enough to concern himself in such dynamics as to change coarse in his protocol. He is riding a high wave at the moment, and ‘Lotusflow3r’ exemplifies his progression in content and marketing, worthy of adoration.

However, to this deficiency of Prince’s, which has not evolved competently, I can only finish this way: …. “Hello?”



Evolution: Complete

The New Power Marketing Plan, and other Miscellany..

I wanted to finish this incessantly lengthy expose on Prince by stating his new strategy in marketing his latest release was a stroke of absolute brilliance. I have below embedded my May 5th broadcast where I talk about at length, and invite to scan through it. This broadcast I am proud of in particular as I finally had the chance to break down this portion of the interview and give analysis on it before I went on summer hiatus (until August), and it involved one of my true influences musically. I especially would like to draw your attention to the 59:00 mark and listen carefully and listen for about 2 minutes:



I am emphatic about those who have control over their destiny and owning their content, hence why I am extremely picky about whom I feature. They must have sole ownership of their masters and not be tied to any type of 360 deal, or in any situation contractually where this has been compromised in any way. Analogue radio is dead, and I will continue to lead the charge against monolithic corporations and their need to fill our craniums with disposable music. It is spectacular that Prince also is an independent; just like Tyka Nelson, Melba Moore, Jesse Johnson and myself.

It is certainly a pleasure to be among such great company.

At this particular moment in time, and as positive acknowledgment, I would like to give him an ‘Evolutionary Grade’ (out of a possible 10) of 7.5. Some might find it presumptuous, but I grade him as a contemporary, and as someone who had become accustomed to seeing him in a negative light. Prince’s vast improvement is made even more substantial by virtue of his intense shyness. 

And although there is room for improvement to be certain, at the extreme least he is not a gun-toting geezer; leaving actresses bloodied bodies lying around, and not being perennially accused of accosting and molesting children somewhere on a Santa Ynez compound/ amusement park/mansion (Peter Pan, be damned)….

Prince is not some washed-up dancer looking to revitalize his career on some terrible reality show while high on painkillers and self-pity. He doesn’t seem to have a proclivity with getting drunk and tooling around Hollywood looking to start a fight with the first person he assumes is having an affair with his girlfriend/wife/ex etc while TMZ is lurking about the corner.

I have never witnessed him at any Hollywood night club coked-up, angry, and naked looking to have three-way sex with a trio of equally tanked ne’er-do-well hanger-ons on Friday night under a table at 2 a.m..


No sex tapes, no rich parents to fund any mindless celebutaunt activity just to be seen and talked about.


If anything, Prince would probably make a great neighbor: I wouldn’t have to worry about gun shots ringing out 4 a.m from his property, or catching him, mid-deposit, defecating on my lawn after a weekend-bending heroine binge, or have to be 'concerned' if he shows some familial affection towards my 7 and 9-year-old children. About the only thing I would have to concern myself is the potential for loud music traveling through the neighborhood nighttime air at potentially all hours.


And in this town, that’s considered exemplary.


Hell, if that were the case, I’d grab my guitar and hustle my ass over to his crib for a little late-night jam-session. Maybe even drag the wife and kids over to act as a personal fan club while P-Rog and I made up some ridiculous songs about water balloons, music posters and Doritos.


(“did this bastard say ‘water balloons, music posters and Doritos?!’ After this lengthy-ass, quasi-idol-worshipping novella tripe of a blog..with corn chips ?! That’s how he’s gonna end this?! Are we certain he’s not the 7-or-9 year old ?!” )

Naw..I will end it with this: So many of our childhood heroes find themselves to be rather disappointing as we make our journey into adulthood. It’s cool to see that I still have good reason to have respect for a guy whose very talent did inspire my own. After watching the likes of Geoege Carlin and Richard Wright pass away this past year, I thought I would pay homage, as well as opinion, to Prince while he is still very much alive.


Safe to say, this is in the context of doing it with love’ as Prince intimated with Tavis Smiley: Honest, transparent, and respectful. And I would do so in the same context to the man’s face; I don’t ‘change’ in the company of others. Life is better overall when you connect with others on a true level that is unencumbered, unabridged, and without filters..and done in unpretentious respect of that individual.

Mission accomplished.


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