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Thread started 11/06/21 4:15pm

Hamad

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Joni Mitchell - “ I don’t think Prince is an innovator. He’s a great hybrid”

I always go back to this interview of Joni from Rolling Stone, because she said some pretty interesting stuff (her interviews are always interesting & thought-provoking).

- Of the biggest artists around now, who would you consider innovators? Springsteen?

That’s folk carpentry. Bruce Springsteen is a very nice craftsperson.

- Prince?

No. An innovator must change what went before. Charlie Parker was an innovator. Jimi Hendrix was an innovator. Miles Davis was a sound innovator. I don’t think Prince is an innovator. He’s a great hybrid.


For the rest of the interview: https://www.rollingstone....72726/amp/

It makes me puzzled when people claim that Prince was not innovative, have they made up their mind based on few shallow conclusions, or have they listened and still came up with that conclusion?

She mentioned Jimi, Miles & Charlie Parker. All three started out as hybrids who became innovative later. It’s like what James Mtume said, you have to imitate at first then develop to emulate so it would lead you later to find your voice and innovate. I feel that Prince created his own unique musical lexicon/world, it’s hard for me to accept that people who genuinely listened to him don’t find him innovative, I understand if there was a disconnect, but to consider him a hybrid would be short changing his creative process & output.

What do you guys think?

Edit: Wrong forum, my mistake smile
[Edited 11/6/21 16:16pm]
Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future...

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Reply #1 posted 11/06/21 6:22pm

TrivialPursuit

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I believe Prince's biggest innovation came in production.

Bands were choregraphing, layering vocals, etc etc etc way before Prince. Prince's innovation came from production. Hooking straight into the soundboard, or putting a drum machine through a guitar pedal, etc. Those things made him stand out in innovative ways.

I mentioned recently how Gary Numan fed his keyboards through guitar pedals for The Pleasure Princicple album, and ashewed all guitars. That was an innovation in technique. That album came out a year before Controversy (the first year Prince used the Linn). So I have to believe Prince heard that and it influenced how he recorded music. 1999 and forward certainly supports that. It wasn't just straight to tape anymore. The beginning of the 80s saw a lot of new things, and a lot of people using it in even newer ways.

Prince was truly great at what he did. He mastered instruments, he mastered dancing w/ a band, he mastered songwriting overtime, he mastered storytelling. But he didn't necessarily innovate in those areas - make something new. He just did things in new ways. He took things up about 10 notches.

Even his solo at the RnRHOF, as amazing as it is, is full of guitar tricks everyone has used. Every section was something someone has done before. I think part of the reason why that solo stands out so much is because of the actual song - the chord progression and repeating chorus has a very particular mood to it. Put a guitar solo over that, and it comes across amazing. It was amazing! But was it innovative? No. It was just really fucking good. He was just fucking good at what he did.

So in some ways, Joni is right. He sorta took from everyone, and it blended with his own ambitions and ideas, and voila - we have the Prince we know. Dare I say, sometimes he even did it better. It's like your children. You want them to do better than you did. And James, Santana, Miles, whoever saw Prince and certainly cheered for him to do better than them.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #2 posted 11/06/21 7:30pm

kevinpnb

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First of all, I hold Joni’s remarks in the highest regard, but innovative “how?” It’s fair to say that Prince wasn’t an innovator, or perhaps better said an originator, in many technical elements of song craft, but as an artist given a broad influence on international musical and social culture, you can’t deny his influence as an innovator.
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Reply #3 posted 11/06/21 8:04pm

Graycap23

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Lol.......

FOOLS multiply when WISE Men & Women are silent.
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Reply #4 posted 11/06/21 8:21pm

WhisperingDand
elions

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TrivialPursuit said:

I believe Prince's biggest innovation came in production.

Bands were choregraphing, layering vocals, etc etc etc way before Prince. Prince's innovation came from production. Hooking straight into the soundboard, or putting a drum machine through a guitar pedal, etc. Those things made him stand out in innovative ways.

Yeah, the emphasis on drum machines / synth as primary means of production / delivery was definitely innovative.


The problem I think is it's not really innovative to the genres Joni Mitchell speaks to or she herself perhaps values. These innovations and influences were mostly felt in pop and R&B, which to this date are still primarily delivered with drum machines and synths. Pretty damn innovative, one could argue completely changed the trajectory of pop production from the 80s until this date. Maybe not the first to do it, but certainly the most mainstream and influential to do it. Kinda like how Howard Stern wasn't technically the first shock jock, but was certainly the most influential/mainstream-changing shock jock.

Likewise those with the Joni mentality likely don't really care for these innovations in the grand scheme of pop music. The org kinda doesn't either, they mostly hate 99% of the shit these innovations influenced. Joni mentality is more of an old school musicians mentality which overrates composition/construction with organic instruments and more or less derides drum machines/synth based composition as "plastic" or "fake" music.

The innovations he brought to the table are like Rodney Dangerfield, they get no respect.

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Reply #5 posted 11/06/21 8:24pm

Graycap23

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At this point, the ONLY opinion on Prince that I care about is mine.

FOOLS multiply when WISE Men & Women are silent.
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Reply #6 posted 11/08/21 9:28am

Vannormal

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I follow Joni for the most part.

Prince to me is 60 Hybrid, 40 innovative.

Go back and listen to James Brown,

listen to the funk of Parliament,

the mixed voices (falsetto and normal) of Earth Wind & Fire,

see Little Richard perform,

hear Hendrix play,

see the mixed band of Sly & The Family Stone,

think about the young Stevie Wonder alowing to Produce himself as a young black artist,

see the new wave and punk years,

and the New Romantics from the UK end 70's early 80's,

new wave and dance influences of the early 80's,

hear the sexiness in Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye,

the rock of Led zeppelin, The Stones,

the melodies and phychadelica of The Beatles, and others,

the love for Joni,

the love for Kate Bush's weird approach of pop,

the looks of Jimi and Little Richard,

think of what Miles said about Charlie Chaplin, in the meaning of ''there is nothing he couldn't do''...

etc

etc

-

That is Prince ( to me)

served with a thick shiny hot purple chili sauce, dipped in pure sex and religion.

and a pinch of (tyipcal) weird behaviour.

-

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves.
And wiser people so full of doubts"
(Bertrand Russsell 1872-1972)
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Reply #7 posted 11/11/21 10:19am

skywalker

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The hybrid IS the innovation.

-

Taking all of the styles/sounds that came before and distilling them into one package IS innovative in and of itself.

-

Prince took what James, Jimi, Sly, The Beatles, Little Richard, etc. did before and blended it into something new/different.

-

I love Joni Mitchell, but if she thinks (for example) "When Doves Cry" isn't innovative or new, then she simply wasn't paying close attention to the evolution of things.

-

Hell the technology aspect of Prince's sound alone was innovative. With the Linn drum and OBX, Prince changed/altered the sound of popular music...for ever.

"New Power slide...."
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Reply #8 posted 11/11/21 4:15pm

Hamad

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skywalker said:

The hybrid IS the innovation.


-


Taking all of the styles/sounds that came before and distilling them into one package IS innovative in and of itself.


-


Prince took what James, Jimi, Sly, The Beatles, Little Richard, etc. did before and blended it into something new/different.


-


I love Joni Mitchell, but if she thinks (for example) "When Doves Cry" isn't innovative or new, then she simply wasn't paying close attention to the evolution of things.


-


Hell the technology aspect of Prince's sound alone was innovative. With the Linn drum and OBX, Prince changed/altered the sound of popular music...for ever.



That’s how I feel about it too :nod:

There’s nothing new under the sun, any artist is the composite of the accumulated experiences of those who came before him/her, and through the ones in the past, the artist can find their voice. That’s why “study the greats” is a recurring advice for artists who want to find their own voice & form their musical identity.

Can’t Joni hear T-Bone Walker in Jimi, or the fact that Lester Young made a huge impact on Charlie Parker’s playing? You can clearly hear those musical ancestries, therefore they didn’t innovate anything new, but they found their voice & formed their identity with the help of those influences. Prince did too.

I love reading her interviews, because they force to sit & dissect certain things smile this is one of them.
Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future...

Twitter: https://twitter.com/QLH82
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Reply #9 posted 11/11/21 4:54pm

alphastreet

Kind of elitist of her to say that. I think someone like Lenny kravitz is more derivative and a hybrid
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Reply #10 posted 11/12/21 12:02am

Vannormal

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I don't think she acts like an elitist.

She's been through many era's,

and as a woman, she survived it all since the sixties.

And yeah she's very smart, and developed funded views.

Like you rightfully said, she dissects it in way it wakes you up.

One of the reasons whty I always liked Frank Zappa's interviews too.

To compare any of theyr interviews with just one of Prince's.

I dare to say that Prince barely ever had something to say.

But he could play and write songs like no one.

Bash me. wink

-

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves.
And wiser people so full of doubts"
(Bertrand Russsell 1872-1972)
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Reply #11 posted 11/12/21 12:19am

Hamad

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You can enjoy their wisdom all differently. Why even compare? Not being as talkative doesn’t equate you with non-intelligence or having nothing to say. By your logic, extroverts are somehow more intelligent than introverts. What a lazy statement.
Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future...

Twitter: https://twitter.com/QLH82
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Reply #12 posted 11/12/21 9:43pm

WhisperingDand
elions

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Vannormal said:

-

I don't think she acts like an elitist.

She's been through many era's,

and as a woman, she survived it all since the sixties.

And yeah she's very smart, and developed funded views.

Like you rightfully said, she dissects it in way it wakes you up.

One of the reasons whty I always liked Frank Zappa's interviews too.

To compare any of theyr interviews with just one of Prince's.

I dare to say that Prince barely ever had something to say.

But he could play and write songs like no one.

Bash me. wink

-

You really can't tell Prince was being intentionally cryptic/evasive/mysterious/aloof? He was an artist who wanted the music to do the talking for him and cultivated a persona that did just that, he wasn't a radio shock jock or stand-up comedian. What did you want him going on hyperfast extemporaneous Robin Williams-esque monologues?

[Edited 11/12/21 21:46pm]

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Reply #13 posted 11/12/21 9:49pm

WhisperingDand
elions

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Clicking around on YouTube,


Paul McCartney on Prince:

https://www.youtube.com/w...uAjoAxJAGw


Q: What do you like about him?

A: About Prince? He's an innovator.

[Edited 11/12/21 21:52pm]

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Reply #14 posted 11/13/21 11:44am

Doalwa

Well, you know what they say about opinions and assholes…
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Reply #15 posted 11/13/21 2:11pm

homesquid

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prince was not an innovator. He was a hybrid. James, Jimi, Sly, etc...all his influences into one package. That doesn't lessen him in the least. He did it better than hi sinfluences- yes even Jimi.

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Reply #16 posted 11/13/21 10:12pm

WhisperingDand
elions

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He's nothing like Jimi. Swear people pervade this because they have no other baseline reference for an aggressive, distortion-heavy black guitarist other than Jimi...

Look at his childhood influences, the era he came up in... Hendrix, really?

Went through a serious Hendrix phase mere months before P and the notion was even more absurd then.


Anyway the hybrid argument always contains x amount of names, zero.point.zero of which used Linn drum or heavy synthesizers in leiu of horns to the extent he did.

[Edited 11/13/21 22:15pm]

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Reply #17 posted 11/14/21 7:03am

MarshallStacks

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Prince was perhaps the greatest hybrid in popular music in the last 40 years.

He was an alchemist who created his own brands of funk, rock, synth pop, jazz, hip hop and avant purple, turning them into gold.

In comparison, Lenny Kravitz, for example, used many of the same influences and more or less only ever came up with lead ...

cool lol

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Reply #18 posted 11/14/21 9:57am

funkaholic1972

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MarshallStacks said:

Prince was perhaps the greatest hybrid in popular music in the last 40 years.

He was an alchemist who created his own brands of funk, rock, synth pop, jazz, hip hop and avant purple, turning them into gold.

In comparison, Lenny Kravitz, for example, used many of the same influences and more or less only ever came up with lead ...

cool lol

True what you say about Prince. But Prince had his fair amount of lead too. I would personally give Lenny a bit more credit than that. He had some great songs IMO, especially at the beginning of his career.

RIP Prince: thank U 4 a funky Time...
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Reply #19 posted 11/14/21 12:26pm

pennylover

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Graycap23 said:

At this point, the ONLY opinion on Prince that I care about is mine.

lol

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Reply #20 posted 11/15/21 1:24am

Vannormal

WhisperingDandelions said:

Vannormal said:

-

I don't think she acts like an elitist.

She's been through many era's,

and as a woman, she survived it all since the sixties.

And yeah she's very smart, and developed funded views.

Like you rightfully said, she dissects it in way it wakes you up.

One of the reasons whty I always liked Frank Zappa's interviews too.

To compare any of theyr interviews with just one of Prince's.

I dare to say that Prince barely ever had something to say.

But he could play and write songs like no one.

Bash me. wink

-

You really can't tell Prince was being intentionally cryptic/evasive/mysterious/aloof? He was an artist who wanted the music to do the talking for him and cultivated a persona that did just that, he wasn't a radio shock jock or stand-up comedian. What did you want him going on hyperfast extemporaneous Robin Williams-esque monologues?

[Edited 11/12/21 21:46pm]

-

Yes, Prince was often intentionally 100% cryptic, evasive, mysterious, and certainly aloof to some degree.

Sure he cultivated that persona, he loved every minute of it - but also as a sort of self protection too i believe. He distrusted everything and everyone from what we know.

And true he wanted the music to do the talking.

But one can't be mysterious, cryptic, evasive and mysterious all the time in his/her lyrics without answering some asked questions. He rightfully avoided interveiws at first, but then went all for it later on in his career.

Mind you, there was a time in the 90's where he could not shut up.

At some point he was in nearly every talkshow... but barely ever clear in whatever he had to say, except for the rightfully claims of his masters, and blaming the industry.

But the good thing about Prince's lyrics is, that they keep us going.

Most pop sing a long lyrics are to stupid to not understand. wink

Another contra exmample, Michael Stipe once said; ''I even don't understand what my lyrics mean'', that was at least honest.

I have to nuance what i stated earlier, Prince 'sometimes' had something to say.

But from the moment he became a big star, he gave up the street credibility etc.

The guy lived his whole life in a studio/on stage, seekd for answers in religion, didn't comunicate with the (close) people around him (that often), it all is known.

He put his hard work above all else, as if it was a flee from reality tbh.

He set his own rules of how to be approached, a bit like royalty from the 17th century.

He was praised an drespected, partly for that kind of behaviour, that is true.

Still, he was a little purple musical genius without a doubt.

wink

-

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves.
And wiser people so full of doubts"
(Bertrand Russsell 1872-1972)
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Reply #21 posted 11/16/21 6:41am

JoeyCococo

When I read this as a teen, I was mad. However, i didn't know sh&& at that time. Now with so much more experience, I totally agree. I mean, Joni Mitchell was working with some absolute greats and at the time Miles Davis was actually inventing unheard fusions....all these bands in the 70s were fusing jazz and rock. Some of my most favourite Prince music, I heard the seeds for in older 70s music...what he grew up listening to. I recall being stunned by when I heard Return to Forever's Romantic Warrior and finding that the opening was SO SIMILAR to Prince's Condition of the Heart. So, as Prince's own dad said in a tv interview, 'his ears are wide open'. Prince was a music lover.

TOday, i'm in agreement with Joni Mitchell. Prince had, what was unprecented and seemingly not repeatable, the skill, and work ethic to combine James Brown AND P FUnk with Joni Mitchell/Return to Forever/Steely Dan/Herbie and then put on some Led Zepplin, Stones and Beatles over all that...and then also throw out mainstream stuff like the Gamble/Huff, and all the greats from Motown. NO ONE else did it like him, and it sure looks like, NO ONE will soon come and do it again.


We saw a comet shoot across our skies people. We were lucky to have seen this.

As someone else said, I do believe he was an innnovator in the studio. Some of the sounds this guy got was him tinkering, looking at things in an unorthodoxed away....i only start realizing this as I heard more and more interviews of industry people all marveling on details in his music.

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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > Joni Mitchell - “ I don’t think Prince is an innovator. He’s a great hybrid”