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Thread started 08/20/10 3:34am

Dreamer20ten

German Rolling Stone interview part 3 added

Okay guys, here is the translation of part 3 of the article, which I have been working on together with Gigi. She will post the rest of the article later on. I have put parts 1 and 2 together with this third part, so you'll have to scroll down ...

Hot-Sacred-And On A Higher Plane

How Prince the lonely King of Minneapolis wants to save the world with the power of music.

To answer a delicate question: Yes, even the stalls in the guest bathrooms of Paisley Park are purple! Purple like the 'Purple Rain" and the album cover of '1999;. Purple like the doman (coat) and the bull-fighter-style-pants the owner of PP used to wear, when he made love to his audience in the prime of his career.

Pruple like the stripes and logos he had painted on the front wall of one of his rented estates in West-Hollywood in the spring of 2006. Which resulted in a law-suit by the owner of the estate, basket ball player Carlos Boozer - who surely would have liked to be consulted when Prince chose the colors for the house paintings.

PP was built in 1987 in Chanhassen and functions as main office, sound studio, and 'pleasure seat' ('Lust Schloss'). In comparison to his colorful estate in California, PP looks plain; more like a 'Baumarkt' (German version of Home Depot or Lowes)

The front wall of the building is left blank, no letters, not even a banner of the symbol that functioned as Prince's name for a while. Not even a hint of the color purple - there is nothing secretive or mysterious about the place. Only 4 years ago the studios of PP could be rented by almost everyone. Phone numbers, technical data and a virtual tour can still be found on the internet, even though the phone numbers are no longer in service and haven't been in a long time.

Great exotic and estravagant parties used to be hosted here and everyone who had no plans for the night and lived in the area was invited. Until Prince decided to pack his purple suitcase in the spring of 2006 and moved to Los Angeles. He also took his fan club off the internet and opened a night club in Vegas. The next year he spent the sommer performing in London and experienced a few adventures far away from home.

It might come as a surprise to many music fans that the 52 year old Prince Rogers Nelson is still around - he just released the 20ten Album and is touring Europe.

Prince the eccentric, the little hell cat of funk/sex/pop is one of the greatest superstars. His style belongs somewhere between 'punk' and 'techno'. He is some kind of a 'Michael Jackson for really cool people' and he has sold more that 100 million records. The genius and cult that surrounds Prince seems aloof and absurd at times.

He stuck with this concept and harvests consistently the fuit of his labor as a result. Nobody is ever able to entirely grasp his concept. None of his ideas good or bad, are predictable.

Even after the 27th or 28th or 29th Prince album, fans still get excited about his latest creation.

Insiders know that Prnce has returned to his home town Minneapolis. He is back at PP wher the parking lot has been swept, the furniture has been dusted and the scented candles have been lit once again. 'Admission is easy, just say u believe', he sang the song in 1985 that gave the building its name. But to get admitted one needs to have at least an invitation.

Film maker Kevin Smith had a story to tell when he was asked by Prince to film a documentary and spent a week at PP. Smith allegedly didn't get to so much of Prince while filming there. He did however receive strict instructions by the master since Prince seemed to be able to listen in on every conversation with the help of hidden microphones that were placed strategically throughout PP. Some might shake their heads in disbelief but wouldn't we be disappointed if Prince the eccentric would all of a sudden act on cue, logically and predictable and decided to paint the bathroom stalls in PP black or white??

So far the Rolling Stone interview is to take place as scheduled. We had known the approximate day and time of the interview for weeks. Friday was out of the question, we were told - then last minute news from the Prince's camp on Thursday. The interview would take place Friday after all, regardless of what we have been told earlier.

After we arrive at St. Paul International Airport we receive more details from Prince's assistant. We would be picked up at the Holiday Inn in Chanhassen at the appointed time. As usual there are no cameras or any recording devices allowed at PP. To bring a note book seems to be ok, but even taking notes seems to give Prince a stomach-ache. He would rather see it if one would remember whatever is being discussed, he wants one to capture the vibe without the help of a note book.

What happens then can only be dexcribed as crazy and bizarre and can only be told - like Kevin Smith did in the 1st person. An adventerous essay with the title: 'The afternoon I spent with Prince"

It doesn't matter who you will meet in Minneapolis. Everyone has a Prince story and is eager to tell it when asked.

The girl in the coffe shop who was never really a Prince fan but was dragged by her sister to on of the PP parties, says: "We had to wait for hours in the parking lot when all of a sudden the gates opened. And I stood so close to him."

The Egyptian cab driver, who has been waiting for a customer at the airport hands me the phone number of his cousin Mohammed. "Ask him about Prince. Prince used to visit my cousin's restaurant often back in the day.Most of the time all he would order was coffe for 50 cents and hot water and more hot water. He would hang out there with his friends but Prince was everything but a paying customer. And 2 years later...I open the news paper and can't believe my eyes. Ther is that Prince guy!"

We take the Minnesota Highway # 5 from Minneapolis to Chanhassen a small town outside of the city where Prince owns 12 estates nestled between parks and lakes and sometimes Prince forgets to pay the taxes for those estates on time.

"In the 7o's when we moved here from Egypt, everything around here was farmland", says Mohammed on the phone. "And soon everyone around here seemed to love my Gyros - sandwiches. If you start with nothing and then you make it, you can be proud of yourself. Just like Prince...he used to be a nobody and then...boom!" Mohammed tells me to ask Prince to come and visit his restaurant again. "He ows me that!" Mohammed says.

"First of all: Everyone claims to be my cousin,"says Prince when I give him Mohammed's message in the atrium of PP. "And second: I don't even drink coffee!"

The 3 backgound singers Shelby J., Liv Warfield and Elisa Fiorillo start to laugh and giggle whenever Prince says something remotely funny and then they carry on their conversation.

Around the corner in Studio B sits a journalist from Belgium who is listening to the new Album. No one else is there! No staff in sight, no body guard, no personal assistant. PP seems big, empty, and quiet; even with the purple carpets the sun pattern, the seat-cushions that are shaped like lotus flowers, the tables with golden legs and the accessories that remind me of a girl's room from the 80s.

PP is bright and well lit but still seems somewhat creepy.

"Where are you from?" asks Prince. "From Berlin", I say. He replies:" I love to go to Berlin to buy clothes and furniture" "Soon you will be there for a concert", I mention. "Well...who knows..." Prince says with a grin on his face. I don't get it and tell him that many tickets have already been sold. All of a sudden he stares at me and the non-chalant tone in his voice is gone. "How fast did the tickets sell?" Look out! You're dealing with Prince the business man now, who doesn't seem to be purple behind his ears. Those who praise Prince usually focus on his extraordinary musical talent. But when you meet him in person you realize: Of course this man is so very successful because he is also very smart and unbelievably good looking! One might be distracted from those facts by his blazing guitar solos, the excellent Jazz-Funk- harmonies and the brilliant lyrics. Even though he is only about 5'3" he doesn't really seem short because he appears to be perfectly proportioned. He is wearing a turquiose shirt, a whitle sleeveless jacket, white pants, white linen shoes and a butterscotch face. He looks like he just stepped out of a fairy-tale where he was just lying down with his harem of oh so very young and beautiful latin girls.

He is drinking out of a plastic cup one of those 'strawberry-watchamacallits" of course without alcohol. And then he smoothly gestures that he is ready for the interview! And we all know that an interview with Prince doesn't happen very often.

Here we go: "Mr. Prince how are you doing this? Or better: How do you meet people with the wrong expectations?" "I have no idea, only very seldom do I allow strangers into my circle of friends."

"How does it feel when someone with your artistic perfection only seems to get praise from the critics if you sound like you sounded back in the day?" "Is that so?" he asks while raising his eyebrows in an almost lascivious way. "Doesn't matter. Other people's expectations are not relevant to me in any way! For the simple fact that I am not a part of the music industry anymore. My world doesn't work like this. I have different standards. Only recently a man from the music business asked me: 'Why don't you let someone else produce your album?' and I say:'Good idea! And who might this someone else possibly be?' I don't need things like that just for publicity."

"Maybe Andre 300 from Outkast," I suggest. Prince looks amused. "Nothing against Andre, he's a good rapper. But the question is: Is he also a musician?"

Prince gets up and walks us to a different room with garden-vies. There is a big picture of the 'Rainbow Children' cover on the wall, then there is a big black custom-made piano.

"Whenever I listen to todays music", he starts preaching after he sits himself in front of the piano (which by the way seems to be the only kind of chair that keeps him actually sitting down for longer than 5 minutes) "...all this popular 80's dance-stuff-revival...everything is so flat, so simple, so predictable. The same old synthexizers, the same old arrangements."

He starts to improvise, it sounds like afternoon/night club music. "You have to create your own harmonies! Wendy and Lisa taught me that." The 2 used to be the most citical and crucial center of his 80's band 'The Revolution'. Even though Prince is known as somewhat of a control freak, he allowed Wendy and Lisa to contribute to the band with their creativity.

"There are only a few musicians that are really open-minded. I work with musicians only by the way: Do you know how to play the congas? Do you know Esperanza Spalding. Write down her name, she is brilliant!"

He continues to play a medley of defferent songs while he talks. I'm trying to balance myself on a lotus flower shaped seat -cushion right next to the piano. I am watching Prince lose himself in his music.

"You see, this is sacred to me!" he shouts "Music is supposed to free the spirit and bring you to a higher level. Trying to get higher and staying there. If music starts to lose its drive, if its sound flat and prdictable" - he moves his hand in a downward gesture - "...then I lose interest immediately. Without music the world would be a stagnant place!"

To be continued...

Part 3

Right at that moment, as if on cue, the three muses enter the room. They carry files with sheets of music, resembling a rehearsal for the church choir. And then it starts: the old Single B-side „How come U don't call me anymore?“, „Lean on me“, „Que Sera Sera“, „Nothing Compares 2 U“, „Diamonds and Pearls“, and for fun in between he plays the title song of the „Addams Family“. The singers harmonize like black angels and the air trembles. Prince gives instructions, the next time sing it this or that way, and they make notes of everything. And then the slightly authoritarian tone changes quickly into enthusiasm again: „How can one hear this and not book a European tour immediately?“ he exclaims. „If you have money on you, please throw it now!“

Then he accepts requests, and in the excitement of the situation I can only think of „The Arms of Orion“ from the Batman soundtrack, instead of beautiful piano ballads like „Sometimes it snows in April“ or „When 2 R in Love“. „That is not from me“, says Prince, „the Joker wrote that! Did you know that the album was originally supposed to be a duett with Michael Jackson and myself? He as Batman and I as the Joker!“ He only vaguely remembers the song, plays the beginning, doesn't know the words. „Write it down“, he says to Liv as if to a secretary, „we have to practice this“.

The most complicated thing of all about Prince is his strange relation to the past and future, to time in general. He avoids answers to questions about activities from the past, and he won't specify about plans in the future. Both with the same reasoning: He lives strictly here and now, in the presence. He doesn't even want to say much about his current CD „20ten“, which by the way reminds one in a lovely way of the old synthesizer and cords of his Dirty-Funk-time. He has long since made new music, „a new system, which will be ready for the public earliest in winter“. His notes that lay on the mixing pult in Studio B, full of unknown songtitles, give some indication: „Star (Sweet Dreams)“, „Back in the Day“, „Waiting“.

Two events are probably responsible for what one might find strange and incomprehensible about Prince, however much one loves him. First of all his conversion to the Jehova Witnesses, under the influence of his friend bassist Larry Graham. There are witnesses who say he showed up at their doorstep with the „Watchtower“. He visits the service in the Kingdom Hall in St. Paul. And when he starts to talk about God and Planet Earth then it really gets, let's say, complex.

The second factor: the famous fight with the record company Warner Brothers, whose publication politics and PR work he felt to be a coercion.

His appearance with the word „Slave“ written on his face and the strange symbol name made him look like a weirdo for some time, but it did cover up the fact that Prince was the only one back then who saw the truly visionary picture: „As soon as the Internet functions fully, the music industry has a big problem“, he said already in 1995. Then he sold the „Crystall Ball“ box in 1997 on the Net, and had his own download shop from 2001 with „NPG Music Club“. The fans did have a lot of problems with various websites, the latest with the abo service „Lotusflow3r“, which deducted fees even after having been shut down. But that does not change the fact that Prince was totally correct. He also gives away his CDs for free sometimes. It does not matter to him that a lot of people, who still are stuck in the old system, are angry about that.

Later in the Paisley Park kitchen, Prince starts a monologue about his second favorite topic (aside from God): „To make a breakthrough – what does that mean nowadays anyway? No one is interested in hit singles any longer. Everyone's releasing music, everything's available for free. If at all, then one can stand out with personality. And by mastering the real vocabulary of music. Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Jill Scott, they were perfect from the beginning, they did not need any record company to build them up. Jimi Hendrix had London in the bag before he even released a single album. There is no reason for young artists to throw themselves at the feet of the so-called gatekeepers“.

And in order to choke off any doubt, Prince walks over to the flatscreen tv, on which a Bette Davis movie is running in silent mode, zaps through the hard disc recorder until he finds a recording of a Letterman show. Then he fast forwards to the excellent performance of Janelle Monáe which he plays at high volume. She is easily recognizable as a Prince favorite, and he says „Look at her, her eyes are wide open“.

The easy-going-friendliness might be quite a strenuous effort for him. His hyperactive hospitality could be an act for the media with which he covers up his bashfulness (the Daily Mirror interview took place suspiciously similar). But the high-spirited enthusiasm he displays while watching that video is for real. And I imagine Prince as he sits in his empty Paisley Park and watches music videos, invents chords and learns new music which is given to him by the Lord. Maybe that's exactly what the artist Prince does.

He is definitely not on the Internet. In answer to the question whether there will be a new online presence after all the terminated fanclub projects, he sounds irritated as he says „The Internet is over with. Do you remember the time when MTV suddenly was no longer cool, but rather old? That's what's happening with the Net. We have been there from the beginning, won a lot of awards – and now it is time for something new. I don't need to discuss my opinion with the entire world. I learn nothing by sitting in front of a computer screen – I only learn from real people. A few days ago I had some guests, we shared a meal and talked about the planet, about problems and how they can be solved. That's how I communicate with the world“.

Is it possible that there could come a day when he won't do any more records or go on tour, and will just put his stage up somewhere – like in London for 21 nights – and lets the people come to him, those who want to hear his music? „Look, in your head you already live in the year 2020“, Prince calms me down, in the trained Bariton of a wise Guru, „I live in the presence“.

To get a very good idea of what it is like to live in the past, one only needs to visit the Hard Rock Cafe in Minneapolis. Who wants to eat an apple pie there has to watch videos of Led Zeppelin, Poison or Foreigner. The Prince showcase is on the first floor. Behind glass: the colorful Paisley boots, the turquoise overall, leather gloves with lace, etc. A „Sign O' The Times“ guitar which was supposed to into production but was never sent out due to problems with the pickup. A letter which Prince wrote in June 1984 to his fan Annalisa TheGreat, congratulating her on her highschool graduation: „I was hopeless in school. I was 2 busy listening 2 the grass grow“.

Nothing in this museum is younger than the '80s. And even when one tends to rather put on the pure-joy album „Parade“ than the changeable 1999 release „Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic“, one can get really mad because of all the lazy Prince nostalgia. The man is alive, we have seen him!

The girl in the cafeteria explains that there once was a special pen with a purple cartridge, but that is sold out. She was also never interested in Prince. She just wanted to be an actress.

She is pretty much the only one in town with that lack of enthusiasm. In 2008, the Minnesota History Center in neighboring St. Paul put together an exhibition that featured the most important people in the history of the 150 years of the state Minnesota, and Prince – the oral sex and masturbation expert, who led Tipper Gore to found the control office for song lyrics in 1985 – got an overwhelming amount of nominations. A girl gave as a reason that she was always pitied for being a hick at her east coast college, until she told people that Minneapolis was the location for „Purple Rain“. Someone else commented on the nomination: „He made Americans notice that we even exist“.

As said before: everyone here has a Prince story. From the Egyptian fast food owner, to the bar owner, who saw him in highschool talent shows and later put the concrete on the driveway when Paisley Park was built. From Natalie, whose friend once was with Prince and who can be seen dancing in a certain video, to Lisa, whose uncle collects exotic animals and delivered a few birds for the night parties in Chanhassen.

The artist himself, born in 1958 to a jazzmusic couple in the north of the city who has always lived in the surrounding area, except for a short time in LA, cultivates a surprising local patriotism in his otherwise so glamorous and spiritual work. For the local football team, the Vikings (team color: purple!) he recently wrote a hymn. And in the untitled bonus track on his new CD „20ten“ he calls himself a son „from the heart of Minnesota“. He calls Minneapolis „Funkytown“.

Even the waiter at Bunker's, a redneck by appearance, is really happy when asked about the popstar. The place in the warehouse district smells like popcorn butter on Saturday afternoon, you can see Baseball instead of Lettermann. One can hardly imagine a more striking contrast to the vegan paradise Paisley Park. „Just last week he performed here again“, the guy raves. „When Dr. Mambo's Combo are here he sometimes joins them on stage as a guest. That is incredibly great every time!“

Some members of the Bunker's clubband used to play in Prince's group New Power Generation, that's where the connection comes from.

Then suddenly a phone is brought, the waiter had just called his friend J.D. Steele, who knows the artist since the 70s and has sung background vocals with him. „Prince is a man who is true to his convictions“, explains Steele, „and at the moment he sees more sense and purpose in his life than ever before. His heart and his mind have such an active exchange, as is hardly ever found with any other person“.

[Edited 8/20/10 3:39am]

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Reply #1 posted 08/20/10 4:33am

kevinpnb

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Thank you for posting this! biggrin
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Reply #2 posted 08/20/10 6:07am

TrueFunkSoldie
r2

thx for the translation

"The Internet is over with. Do you remember the time when MTV suddenly was no longer cool, but rather old? That's what's happening with the Net. We have been there from the beginning, won a lot of awards – and now it is time for something new. I don't need to discuss my opinion with the entire world. I learn nothing by sitting in front of a computer screen – I only learn from real people. A few days ago I had some guests, we shared a meal and talked about the planet, about problems and how they can be solved. That's how I communicate with the world“.

lol the other journalist wanted to shock people by using a simple quote. Now we have a better understanding of what he meant

[Edited 8/20/10 6:18am]

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Reply #3 posted 08/20/10 6:17am

TrueFunkSoldie
r2

"He has long since made new music, „a new system, which will be ready for the public earliest in winter“. His notes that lay on the mixing pult in Studio B, full of unknown songtitles, give some indication: „Star (Sweet Dreams)“, „Back in the Day“, „Waiting“.

interesting..

[Edited 8/20/10 6:17am]

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Reply #4 posted 08/20/10 6:23am

robinhood

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"I learn nothing by sitting in front of a computer screen – I only learn from real people.“

lol that's great Prince. i mean despite the fact that every word typed on the net comes from a person (except for bots).

maybe he just prefers his comfort zone - where he is 'prince' and in control.

this too shall pass
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Reply #5 posted 08/20/10 8:08am

jaybendy

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Thank you so much for translating the article for us.

Some interesting bits in there, especially about the new stuff come winter (totally gonna hold my breath for that one), I immediately saw the similarities between this and the Daily Mail interview.... instant mini concert, things already queued up on the TV, "the internet is dead" "I live in the here and now" bla bla bla. He's soooo... ugh. Dry sometimes. Like crackers. sad I wish he had a little more FIRE inside of him. Its like someone sprayed him with one of those foamy fire extinguishers.

Prince esta muerto...
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Reply #6 posted 08/20/10 8:16am

CNNBREAKINGNEW
S

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trying to balance myself on a lotus flower shaped seat -cushion right

LOL

boogie Bounce party y'all nutty
Like the wall of Berlin woot!
It's going down people -(5.7.2010) wall
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Reply #7 posted 08/20/10 1:25pm

poetcorner61

Thanks, Gigi & Dreamer, for taking the time and trouble to translate and post this for us monolingual types! wink

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Reply #8 posted 08/20/10 2:52pm

Dreamer20ten

You're welcome! It was a pleasure. smile

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Reply #9 posted 08/20/10 3:13pm

Timmy84

Thanks.

I don't know WHY but... he sounds like a bohemian hippie. lol

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Reply #10 posted 08/20/10 3:15pm

Timmy84

Of course Prince could never chat online, how you expect him to chat in real life UNLESS he knows you real well? lol

It's more of his desire not to go online. lol

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Reply #11 posted 08/20/10 3:39pm

kenkamken

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TruedFunkSoldier2 said:

"He has long since made new music, „a new system, which will be ready for the public earliest in winter“. His notes that lay on the mixing pult in Studio B, full of unknown songtitles, give some indication: „Star (Sweet Dreams)“, „Back in the Day“, „Waiting“.



interesting..

[Edited 8/20/10 6:17am]



Indeed, I'll most likely be there with my card at the ready smile
"So fierce U look 2night, the brightest star pales 2 Ur sex..."
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Reply #12 posted 08/25/10 8:10am

BellBeautyinsi
de

...

[Edited 2/15/11 11:29am]

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