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Thread started 07/03/13 7:12am

serpan99

V MAGAZINE: EVERLASTING NOW... NEARLY 40 YEARS INTO HIS CAREER, PRINCE IS STILL CHURNING OUT MIND-BLOWING MUSIC

EVERLASTING NOW

PHOTOGRAPHY INEZ & VINOODH
FASHION MELANIE WARD
TEXT Vanessa Grigoriadis

Jacket and necklace: Prince’s own. Shirt: Jason Wu


NEARLY 40 YEARS INTO HIS CAREER, PRINCE IS STILL CHURNING OUT MIND-BLOWING MUSIC. CURRENTLY PLAYING TWO SHOWS A NIGHT WHILE ON TOUR WITH HIS NEW BAND, 3RDEYEGIRL, THE ICON TAKES A MOMENT (AT 2AM) TO SERMONIZE ON SEX, RELIGION, AND ROCK AND ROLL



It’s no sweat for Prince to play two sets a night, as he does this evening at the 1,700-seat City National Grove of Anaheim California. He tells me that if anything he’s more energized after the second show, not less. Both shows stretch to a delicious two hours, as the crowd, in blowouts and Vegas-style cocktail dresses (it’s worth dressing up for Prince, even in California), screams and sings along with glee. The only tense moment comes when we file into the theater and a security guard says, “No cameras, no cellphones—don’t even take them out of your pocket. Tonight, we’re not asking, we’re just escorting.” I ask her what that means. “If we see you with your phone out, we’re not going to ask what you’re doing—you’re just gone.”

This demand might seem extreme coming from the Purple One—a very young-looking 55, with a tight Afro instead of his usual loose curls, clad in a black bodysuit with white lines that makes him look like a spider—but in fact it’s not out of character.

You could argue that Prince was an early adopter of phone-text-speak (“I Would Die 4 U” and all that), but he’s eschewed the PR opportunities afforded by the latest tech almost completely, refusing to put his videos on YouTube and offering new music mostly for sale on his websites. And in part by making himself so unavailable, he’s remained as mysterious as ever. Prince has always refused any label the world wants to slap on him. A devout Jehovah’s Witness since 2001, he writes music that is explicit about both Jesus and sexual desire. He’s a black man with light skin who usually dresses in clothes that seem inspired by female icons, from Twiggy to Marie Antoinette. A heterosexual man who deeply worships sexually confident women, he nonetheless wants to dominate them. Prince keeps his private life private: he’s usually either on the road or at Paisley Park, his $10 million compound in the suburbs of his hometown of Minneapolis, with multiple recording studios, wardrobe rooms, a video-editing suite, a sound stage, production offices, rehearsal areas, and “the vault,” which includes his extensive library of unreleased recordings.

Tonight’s show is a lot less about pop, R&B, and funk than his music has been in the past—in fact, he’s playing rock, like his new song “Screwdriver,” and doing guitar-heavy, stripped down versions of his old hits, including “Raspberry Beret,” “When Doves Cry,” and “Computer Blue,” for which the stage is suffused in blue light. For this tour he’s backed by 3RDEYEGIRL, a new rock band that he assembled himself. It’s made up of Danish bassist Ida Nielsen, wearing pigtails, blonde Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University jazz performance major Hannah Ford-Welton, on drums, and Canadian Donna Grantis, with half her head shaved, playing a wild, shredding guitar. “I’m trying to get these women’s careers started, because they’re all so talented,” he tells me later. “It’s not even about me anymore.”

Playing with 3RDEYEGIRL, there’s lots of room for Prince, one of the world’s most celebrated guitarists, to show off his skills (though Ms. Grantis does keep up with him). The show feels like a gospel revival, with Prince as the groovy, feel-good pastor facilitating a release of energy for the crowd, which sings along and nods when he throws out lines about “compassion” or preaches “the only love we have is the love we make—we’ve got to take care of each other, everybody.” At the end of the show he says, “Thank each and every one of you for leaving your cell phones in your pocket. I can’t see your face when you’ve got technology in front of it.” At 1:30 am, as the lights go up after the second show, two MILFs chat by the stage. “He was gorgeous up there,” says one. Prince’s elegant manager, Julia Ramadan, appears quickly and whisks me through a clutch of roadies and onto Prince’s idling tour bus, where 3RDEYEGIRL is hanging out. I’ll do my interviews here, and per Prince’s usual demand of journalists, will conduct them without a tape recorder or notepad, though I am allowed to have a list of questions. When I ask him why he’s required this of journalists over the past decade, he says, “People have sold my interviews.”

First, I talk to 3RDEYEGIRL, who are still flushed with excitement from the shows, about their experience with Prince. Nielsen, who has played with Zap Mama, was the first one he recruited. Prince’s manager found Ford-Welton. Grantis appeared when Prince told Ford-Welton and her husband to discover “the best female musician out there” (they found her videos on YouTube). We talk about what life is like at Paisley Park. “We practice all the time,” says Ford-Welton—it’s something like 12-hour days, six days a week. All the musicians in 3RDEYEGIRL have a background in jazz improvisation, so they’re able to react quickly to Prince’s lead when he’s composing, but they’re still astounded at how fast he is at songwriting and arranging. Grantis calls him the “best band leader in the world.” Nilsson nods. “There’s a special chemistry between us,” she says. Later Prince will ask DJ Rashida to play a banging song for me that he wrote for Ford-Welton and her husband at the after-hours party. I ask Rashida what Prince songs he doesn’t like her to play at his parties, and she says, “Well, not the ones with curse words, because he doesn’t curse anymore.”

Soon the door to the tour bus opens: it’s the man himself. He’s changed into a new outft of flared pants with primary color stripes, a large ring with a blue evil eye at the center of his right hand (“nothing evil about it,” he tells me) and a rhinestone-encrusted pimp cane in the other. The cane is just for decoration; he is clearly in amazing shape. Prince points at me and then at Richard Sanders, an executive at his label, NPG Records. Richard takes out a sheaf of paperwork and puts it on the bus’s kitchen table. It’s the contract for the new 3RDEYEGIRL record, which has been awaiting a final signature. Prince affixes with a fourish.

“That’s it,” he says, turning to Grantis, Ford-Welton, and Nilsson. “You’ve got a record deal. Now we just have to make some songs.” Everyone laughs at this joke—with Prince’s prolifc output as a producer, they’ve been recording so much for the past few months that they already have most of the album done. The women take their cue and leave the bus, with Richard hot on their heels. “Thank you so much for coming,” Ramadan says to him, graciously. “Oh, please,” he replies. “This is the fun part.” With everyone gone, Prince and Ramadan take seats on a low-slung black leather couch. I sit opposite and throw out my frst question: “I was just talking to the women about your new band, about how they met you. But what drew you to creating the band in the frst place?”

Prince rests his thin, elegant hands on top of the cane and speaks quietly—he expended his voice during the shows, and now he’s saving it—but never averts his gaze. Framed by thick lashes, his extremely large, liquid eyes seem to occupy half his face.

He takes a breath and then begins a long monologue: “This organization is diferent than most, in the sense that we don’t take directions from the outside world. It’s like a galaxy. The sun is in the center giving of energy, and everything revolves around it.” He talks about what it would be like if instead of the sun giving of energy, energy was trying to exert its force on the sun. That wouldn’t make a lot of sense. It would be, he says, like “meteors hitting a planet!” What makes much more sense is “a sun pulling everything around on its own axis, with information. The sun is information. Nobody really talks to me. Nobody talks to me a lot.” He points at Ramadan. “I talk to her. She talks to you. She talks to Richard. And so on and so forth. If I trust her, then you can trust her.”

Prince likes this system. “I directed a couple flms and it was taxing in that people were asking me questions about their jobs.” He much prefers peace and calm. “I have to be quiet to make what I make, do what I do.” He takes a breath. “Another thing that’s diferent about this organization is that time here is slowed down, because we don’t take information from the outside world. We don’t know what day it is and we don’t care. There is no clock.”

Living in the now, he says, makes the tour go by very quickly. Indeed he couldn’t tell me how long he’s been on tour because he only counts the hours he’s actually onstage when he thinks about it. So in the last month, “I’ve only been on tour for two days,” he says. “That’s the work.”

He seems to have come to the end of this thought, so I look down at my questions, unsure if I should ask the frst one again. Better not. “Your shows are wonderful, obviously, but known to be very unpredictable,” I say. “How do you decide what you are going to play?”

“I decide in the moment,” he says. “I change the set list right then and there.” He also takes into account the state of his guitar. “To play solos the way I’m playing them, the guitar goes out of tune sometimes. It’s just a piece of wood.”

“What happened with The Roots’ guitarist’s guitar, the one that you threw after your performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon?” I ask.

“What?” he says.

“Didn’t you borrow a guitar from him and then throw it after your set? It was all over the news.”

“No,” he replies, straight-faced. “Another thing that’s diferent about this organization is that we don’t think about that,” he says, pointing at the TV.

He returns to speaking about guitars. Sometimes, he says, he makes sure to include a song he can play on piano so the guitar can go ofstage and get tuned. In fact, he explains, this is why he added Gratis to the band—he needed a second guitarist for these moments. “But that guitarist had to be great,” he says. “She couldn’t be a punk.” How does he think female and male guitarists are diferent? “I don’t think women and men are diferent in that regard. Donna can whup every man on guitar, bar none.”

What’s the diference between men and women generally?

“Well,” he says. “If we didn’t have to go to a party, we could talk about that.” I see him shifting around in his seat a little—he has planned an after-party in the venue’s VIP lounge—and I start to think he’s going to cut the interview short. So I ask my big question: “How do you, as a religious person, reconcile the religious impulse with what most of your songs are about, which is the sexual one?”

Prince bursts out laughing and points to Ramadan. “Ha!” he says. “Now we know what you’re going to write about. We were waiting for your thread.” He clears his throat. “First of all, do you see a diference in religions?” he asks. I say no, suggesting all religions are based on the same idea and then corrupted by their human leaders. “Then what are the wars about?” he asks, unhappy with my answer. “If one religion believes Christ is the king, and another doesn’t, then there’s a diference in religions.” He goes on for a bit, and adds, “we are sensual beings, the way God created us, when you take the shame and taboo away from it,” and continues that religion should be thought of like a force, an electro-magnetic one or like gravity, that puts things in motion. Then he says, “I don’t want to talk about this.”

I ask him if he believes in sin. “You have to look at the origin of the word,” he says. “Humans needed a language to describe a rule given from some group from…” He pauses, then says, and this is as I remember it: “Words are tricky. And plus these days I just talk to the folks in the outside world about music. If you were a student and I was teaching you something we could get into that. We can’t do this before a dance party.”

I begin madly crossing off my non-music questions and tell him I’m thinking of learning guitar so I can teach my daughter. “See,” he says, “if I discussed my past, your baby would never see you. And what a waste.”

We talk about how he seems to be operating on a business plan that requires him to do a lot of touring. “I love it,” he says. “What, this is so terrible? I’m sooo bored of it.” He gestures around his swank bus and laughs. We discuss which song in his vault he feels he should have released. “Which one of your children do you like the best?” he says. “Music comes from the same source. It’s all the same thing.”

What records does he listen to now? He mentions Lianne La Havas, KING (a female trio he’s worked with), Janelle Monáe, and Esperanza Spalding. “I listen to my friends’ records before they come out,” he says. “Feel me. A record nowadays comes out a year after it’s made. When we make music, we want it to come out right away. Because we’re going to have some new stuff right away.”

What does he feel about the return of vinyl? “It never left,” he says. “Think about a young person listening to Joni Mitchell for the frst time on vinyl. You know how fun that is? Whoa, we gonna be here a minute.”

I ask how tech-averse he really is; does he have an iPhone? “Are you serious?” he says. “Hell, no.” He mimics a high-voiced woman. “Where is my phone? Can you call my phone? Oh, I can’t fnd it.” He talks about people who come to his concerts all the time, akin to the Deadheads. “People come to see us fifty times. Well, that’s not just going to see a concert—that’s some other mess going on. This music changes you. These people are not being satisfed elsewhere by musicians, you feel what I’m saying? It’s no disrespect to anyone else, because we’re not checking for them. But we don’t lip synch. We ain’t got time for it. Ain’t no tape up there.”

He stands up, planting his cane on the foor. I ask how the music that he’s playing now, with 3RDEYEGIRL, has changed him. “I’m calmer now,” he says. “I’m rougher with men. I bring my tone down with women. If they make a mistake, I don’t look at them and go, ‘Seriously?!’” He talks about Ford-Welton missing a cue on one of their songs and how he simply gestured to her and told her just not to do it next time. “I explained that she had to pay attention. Stay in the moment.” Then he smiles. “Let’s go to the party.”

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Reply #1 posted 07/03/13 7:18am

serpan99

U can order the magazine with the FULL STORY now:

.

arrowhttp://shop.vmagazine.com/

.

[Edited 7/3/13 10:58am]

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Reply #2 posted 07/03/13 7:24am

ARock

avatar

Ordering now thanks Serpan u are always on top of things!

Edit: That 1st picture looks like a royal portrait its pretty cool

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Reply #3 posted 07/03/13 7:31am

Empress

These pictures are bloody awful.

ill

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Reply #4 posted 07/03/13 7:33am

SuperSoulFight
er

As usual with a Prince interview, he doesn't really say anything. (Maybe he's worried about making another burqa remark?!)
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind. I guess his religious thoughts make sense to him and I don't really need to know everything about what he believes or who he's dating to dig the music.
But yeah, thanx 4 posting!
Support your local record dealer! Buy more vinyl!
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Reply #5 posted 07/03/13 7:39am

Marco81

he looks more and more like hendrix, are they shooting a film about hendrix? maybe Prince is impersonating him...

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Reply #6 posted 07/03/13 7:49am

LadyZsaZsa

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So handsome, and my copy is on it's way! lips
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Reply #7 posted 07/03/13 7:53am

thedance

avatar

Wow. H-o-t...


even in the afro hair..: Nice pics, especially the 1st one.. eek

I don't wanna read the article, yeah I am lazy.. and as usual Prince ain't saying anything of interest.

Thanks for the thread, Serpan:

If it wasn't for you it would be rather quiet here. So thanks to you, cool

Let 2014 be purple:

I can't wait for the remaster! heart
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Reply #8 posted 07/03/13 7:56am

RosesRred

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confused This was all over the place , chop sticks and noodles thrown at a wall.

'He's a devout Jehovah witness.....A heterosexual man who deeply worships sexually confident women, he nonetheless wants to dominate them. "

eek

hrmph

evil eye

----------------------------------



*never give Up.♥
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Reply #9 posted 07/03/13 8:12am

RodeoSchro

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Empress said:

These pictures are bloody awful.

ill


I think they've been Photoshopped.

Nice article, though. I like the way she got into the vault, but I wish she'd followed up with something like, "If you want to get things out right away, does that mean a substantial part of your output from the past won't get out and if so, doesn't that mean the old stuff was just a waste of time?"

I'd like to see someone pin him down on that. If he recorded it, then it was meant to be heard. But if he doesn't release it, then he's not fulfilling the music's destiny.

Second Funkiest White Man in America

Rocket Frog
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Reply #10 posted 07/03/13 8:20am

LavenderPurple

He looks so gorgeous!!! love
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Reply #11 posted 07/03/13 8:40am

luvsexy4all

dominate them ....stalllin that freakin CD

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Reply #12 posted 07/03/13 8:51am

Graycap23

These pics make Prince look like Lil Richard.

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Reply #13 posted 07/03/13 8:56am

thedance

avatar

Prince's right hand on his heart.. isn't that the first time we are seeing him posing like that.. ?

The front / cover pic makes him look like Jimi Hendrix, imo.

Let 2014 be purple:

I can't wait for the remaster! heart
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Reply #14 posted 07/03/13 8:58am

imago

Possibly my favorite pictures of the man, ever.


I hope there's no interview there, cause I ain't

reading that nonsense.

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Reply #15 posted 07/03/13 9:00am

Nothinbutjoy

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faint

Photoshop kills natural beauty
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Reply #16 posted 07/03/13 9:00am

TheFreakerFant
astic

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Interesting interview...nice to hear about them signing a contract (hmm thought he didn't do these anymore wink)and a CD is coming out soon....

Love the magazine cover pic, he looks older but regal and faintly amused somehow....

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Reply #17 posted 07/03/13 9:00am

thebeautifulon
es777

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nice article loving the new pics alot thanks for sharing the news Serpan

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Reply #18 posted 07/03/13 9:02am

pray4rain

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Great pics, very nice facial expression.

Still a pity with the afro, kind of spoils it a bit.

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Reply #19 posted 07/03/13 9:11am

bashraka

Normally, I don't really care how Prince looks, but the makeup to me is the biggest offender to me. I wish Prince would drop the guyliner and go without it. And the Jimi Hendrix look is perplexing to me. For a cat, who hates comparisons, he sure invites them. I would shudder if Bruno Mars or Justin Timberlake dressed like Prince. Other than that, buying the magazine to check out the rest of the interview.

3121 #1 THIS YEAR
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Reply #20 posted 07/03/13 9:19am

Miles

avatar

Why does Prince even bother doing interviews these days, if he ain't gonna talk any sense lol ? Just the usual vague mystical talk, not even trying to answer most of the questions put to him.

He reminds me of Carlos Santana, he often talks like this in interviews, kinda vague, hippy talk, but at least Santana will talk properly about music in technical and artistic terms.

I'm sure Prince knows he is doing this in interviews, but other than 'keeping up an enigmatic front', why not just give more straight answers? confused

Give me three D vision
And the California blues
Me I funk but I don't care
I ain't no square with my corkscrew hair - Marc Bolan'
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Reply #21 posted 07/03/13 9:31am

BlackandRising

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“Didn’t you borrow a guitar from him and then throw it after your set? It was all over the news.”

“No,” he replies, straight-faced. “Another thing that’s diferent about this organization is that we don’t think about that,” he says, pointing at the TV.


Come on, P! You borrowed it, threw it, broke it. TV ain't got nothing to do with it.

This was, perhaps, the funniest Prince interview I've ever read. The inconsistencies are so consistent. Let's go to the party.

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Reply #22 posted 07/03/13 9:33am

BobGeorge909

avatar

I love prince....but he talks out his ass so much...its funny....
Damn. 750,000 people died fighting the civil war...4 years. With Today's population %age, it would b 7 million people. There r 3000 railroad ties per a mile of track. It would take 250 miles of track to represent 750k...to put it in a bit of perspec
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Reply #23 posted 07/03/13 9:35am

XxAxX

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nice. thank you for posting serpan99 rose

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Reply #24 posted 07/03/13 9:44am

govinda

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RodeoSchro said: Empress said: These pictures are bloody awful. ill I think they've been Photoshopped. U "think" they`ve been photoshoped? biggrin Of course... Nice article, though. I like the way she got into the vault, but I wish she'd followed up with something like, "If you want to get things out right away, does that mean a substantial part of your output from the past won't get out and if so, doesn't that mean the old stuff was just a waste of time?"I'd like to see someone pin him down on that. If he recorded it, then it was meant to be heard. But if he doesn't release it, then he's not fulfilling the music's destiny.

[Edited 7/3/13 9:45am]

[Edited 7/3/13 9:46am]

"Goodness will guide us if Love is inside us"
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Reply #25 posted 07/03/13 10:01am

skywalker

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bashraka said:

Normally, I don't really care how Prince looks, but the makeup to me is the biggest offender to me. I wish Prince would drop the guyliner and go without it. And the Jimi Hendrix look is perplexing to me. For a cat, who hates comparisons, he sure invites them.

Jimi was never this pretty.

"New Power slide...."
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Reply #26 posted 07/03/13 10:08am

TheDigitalGard
ener

Nothinbutjoy said:

faint

Your sig says it all.

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Reply #27 posted 07/03/13 10:28am

NaughtyKitty

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Interesting interview. Thanks for posting smile

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Reply #28 posted 07/03/13 10:28am

2elijah

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Wow, in that pic he really reminds me of Jimi Hendrix.

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Reply #29 posted 07/03/13 10:34am

Aristotle

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2elijah said:

Wow, in that pic he really reminds me of Jimi Hendrix.

yeahthat yeahthat yeahthat

Took the words right out of my mouth! lol

© prince
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Forums > Prince: Music and More > V MAGAZINE: EVERLASTING NOW... NEARLY 40 YEARS INTO HIS CAREER, PRINCE IS STILL CHURNING OUT MIND-BLOWING MUSIC