Posts Tagged ‘Prince’

Music Is Not A Liar

March 28th, 2017

I’ve had relationships compromised. With food, with my family, with sex, love and romance. But not music. Music has always been there for me when I needed it. Even in the silence, music is in my mind and I can make it up in my head. I can make it go anywhere I want to go. I am a dreamer and a composer and it is the wish to bring the sounds in my head to a format where others can listen is a driving force in my life.

 

I will try to make a list of my favorite album for the first 29 years of my life. I don’t want to get into the best music of 2008-onward but I don’t listen to much of it.

 

1978: The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Rock Drill

1979: Sparks, No. 1 In Heaven

1980: Queen, The Game or Prince, Dirty Mind

1981: The Tubes, The Completion Backwards Principle

1982: Sparks, Angst In My Pants

1983: Tom Waits, Swordfishtrombones or Madonna, self-titled

1984: Run-DMC, self-titled

1985: The Tubes, Love Bomb

1986: Prince, Parade

1987: The Dukes Of Stratosphear, Chips From The Chocolate Fireball

1988: Public Enemy, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

1989: Pixies, Doolittle

1990: Public Enemy, Fear Of A Black Planet

1991: De La Soul, De La Soul Is Dead or Pixies, Trompe le Monde

1992: AC/DC, Live

1993: Nirvana, In Utero or Stereolab, Transient Random Noise Bursts With Announcements, or Frank Zappa, The Yellow Shark

1994: Soundgarden, Superunknown, or Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral

1995: Tricky, Maxinquaye or Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version

1996: Cibo Matto, Viva La Woman

1997: Björk, Homogenic

1998: OutKast, Aquemini

1999: Os Mutantes, Everything Is Possible: The Best Of Os Mutantes

2000: Radiohead, Kid A

2001: Daft Punk, Discovery or N.E.R.D, In Search Of…

2002: Sparks, Lil’ Beethoven

2003: Junior Senior, D-D-Don’t Stop The Beat

2004: Magma, K.A. (Köhntarkösz Anteria)

2005: LCD Soundsystem, self-titled

2006: Sparks, Hello Young Lovers

2007: Black Francis, Bluefinger

 

Inspiration From Some Old Dead Guys

December 1st, 2016

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Isn’t it a pity

Now isn’t it a shame

How we break each other’s hearts

And cause each other pain

How we take each other’s love

Without thinking anymore

Forgetting to give back

Isn’t it a pity

 

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Whoever we are, wherever we’re from

We shoulda noticed by now our behavior is dumb

And if our chances expect to improve

It’s gonna take a lot more than trying to remove

The other race or the other whatever from the face of the planet all together

 

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And we all shine on

Like the moon and the stars and the sun

Yeah, we all shine on

 

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I’m afraid of Americans

I’m afraid of the world

I’m afraid I can’t help it

 

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Hey you know something people

I’m not black but there’s whole lotsa times I wish I could say I’m not white

 

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Get up, stand up

Stand up for your right

Get up, stand up

Don’t give up the fight

 

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Because of their half-baked mistakes

We get ice cream, no cake

All lies, no truth

Is it fair to kill the youth?

 

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This is not America

 

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Curtis Mayfield Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Pardon me, brother, while you stand in your glory
I know you won’t mind if I tell the whole story
Pardon me, brother, I know we’ve come a long, long way
But let us not be so satisfied for tomorrow can be an
An even brighter day

Love In The End Times

September 23rd, 2016

Just listened to The Family version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” and started tearing up. Because I’m in love with somebody. I’m crazy about somebody. And that’s a road I’d rather not go down. Not right now.

 

Lady Gaga bought Frank Zappa’s house. I don’t know how I feel about that. I guess it could be worse. Tipper Gore could have bought it. Or Jared Leto. I hate Jared Leto so much and I don’t have any good reason but if the news reported tomorrow that Jared Leto was trampled to death during a race riot, I’d dance a happy jig.

 

The other night I was all set to gorge myself on about twelve hours of live Japanese wrestling. That didn’t last long as the city of Charlotte engulfed in protest over police shooting an unarmed black man. A protest that got out of hand, or a riot, depending on who you ask. It was a horrible scene. One dead, many injured. Everybody on Twitter an instant expert. It took me out of the mood to watch fake fighting.

 

We are a people who have not learned the lessons of the past. Twenty-five years ago, LAPD cops beat Rodney King so badly he needed to be hospitalized. If it had not been for the quick thinking of a neighbor who shot the incident with his video camera, the world would never have known how brutal police treated the man who went to hospital with a fractured facial bone, broken right ankle, and multiple lacerations and bruises.

 

Immediately, cop defenders (usually white people) would say that Rodney King should not have been driving drunk. That he should not evaded the police and led them on a high-speed chase. That he had already been convicted and served time for robbing a store in 1989. And all of this is fair and true. But BUT they really fucked him up. Come on. They didn’t rough him up. They beat him savagely. For a long time. And were videotaped doing it. And then were found not guilty on all charges.

 

So fuck it. The cops can be videotaped beating a black man with batons and not get in trouble for it. What do you do? No kidding there was a riot. As if before NWA’s “Fuck The Police” nobody ever thought that. As if calling cops “pig” was a new thing. As if cops didn’t have an intimidation factor that gives people, innocent or not, the shakes. But the blacks will be blamed by whites for destroying their own community and the whites will be blamed for not getting the fucking point.

 

There are so many fucking racist goddamn white people out there. Proud-to-be-racist stupid fuckers. And they act like it’s a numbers game. Because if the white people get outnumbered by the blacks and Latinos then they’ll start working out on the whites for a change. What a goddamn embarrassment. There are people who are actually afraid that the white race will be eradicated.

 

Here are some thoughts about that. First, I don’t care. Second, that’s such a dumbfuck thing to be afraid of. Goes to show you how embarassingly stupid the cowardly racist tends to be. Third, the entire human race is up for grabs for numerous reasons. If you believe that the Zika virus is a threat, and if you believe that we are running out of clean water, and if you believe that the gas supply is running out. Combine the melting ice caps and the possibility of President Trump who wonders why we can’t just fire nukes at countries that make us mad. We’re talking borrowed time, folks.

 

This is a horrible time to be in love.

 

 

 

I’m Not Ready To Let Go

May 11th, 2016

You really don’t know what you have until it is gone.

I just heard an audience recording of Prince playing a Shania Twain song in concert. “You’re Still The One” or “U’re Still The 1” as he would title it. Recorded by an audience member at a show in 1998. Not the best audio quality but good enough to make out Prince putting his stamp on one of Shania’s biggest hits.

 

He really did that. And he made it great. He didn’t do it better than Shania. What he did was what he did a million times, vanquish any trace of music snobbery. Two kinds of music, good and bad. That’s all there is to it. We weren’t ready for him. I wasn’t ready for him. We’re going to spend the rest of our lives catching up to him.

 

I would have been so mad at him had I heard this when he actually did it. “How dare he cover Shania Twain? How dare he try to make me like this! How dare he make me enjoy this, kinda. How dare he. . . who am I fooling with my bullshit?” Music snobbery is such a dumb thing and it’s one of many dumb boxes we put up around the good things in life and here’s a guy who busted the walls in like Kool-Aid guy long after the mainstream audience cared.

 

Does this mean I have to start learning Katy Perry songs? Will it get me a meeting with her? Perhaps if I upload a video of me singing “Firework”.

 

By the way, the Louisville Orchestra named their ten finalists for the Sing For The City competition. I was not one of them. Color me surprised. You don’t know what you’re missing, Louisville Orchestra. You blew it. Ya blew it. Blew it, kid. Totally fucked up. Fucked up brah. Fucked the fuck up. Oh shit you fucked up son. Shiiiiiiiii. . . damn.

 

I don’t do well in contests.

What You Think About Rock Bottom

May 4th, 2016

I can’t let Prince go. I still have to write about him. He left a lot behind. The music. The memories. And a lot of unanswered questions. Is it possible that Prince would have not made out a will in his fifty-seven years of life? A man worth at least 300 million dollars who had been married and divorced twice, accumulating an infamous vault of unreleased material that could be exploited in many infinite ways not have a will? A man who worked throughout his career to help local charities throughout the country without publicity not have a will? It doesn’t make sense.

 

I’ve been thinking about the sad last days of Prince. I’ve heard that last show in Atlanta. The second of two shows. A man and his piano lighting up the room, lighting up the world. A take on “Nothing Compares 2 U” that is so profound the man himself walks away from the piano and leaves the stage because it’s simply too much. He sounds alive, as alive as ever. He doesn’t sound frail or ill. He sounds like Prince, stronger than life. More valuable than gold or diamonds.

 

The man who graced Atlanta’s Fox Theater for two shows on April 14 did not sound like a man who would be dead within a week. He did not sound like a struggling opioid addict. He sounded like a master of his craft, a showman of the highest caliber.

 

Prince on painkillers got done more before lunch on than most of us will accomplish in a week stone sober. Isn’t that frightening in a way? Not because of what it says about the common person but because it speaks to what we think of when we think of “rock bottom”. We think of shameless, hopeless wretches who are alone, broken down, in the gutter of life. We think of people who end up on “Intervention.” We don’t think of people who function in some ways better than us.

 

Once upon a time, I had a roommate who was an alcoholic. I should have known because he drank warm, shitty beer. He bought the cheapest stuff and kept it in the box but wouldn’t put it in the fridge on purpose. But he held down a job, had a social life, kept his bills paid and seemed to be in a far better place than I was. Maybe I’m just too far gone and not representative of the average person. But he was definitely an alcoholic. He did better than me because he met a nice girl and moved to the Pacific Northwest, settled down and got married, and started a family. . . which came apart when his wife kicked him out of the house and divorced him. Because he was an alcoholic.

 

Thankfully his story ends with him getting himself off the booze and resuming a sober life so he can have time with his children. Maybe it’s me who can’t see it when people have hit rock bottom. Maybe I’m the myopic one here. Do I have a bad idea of rock bottom is?

 

Gang, I may be at rock bottom and not really know it. But I’m sober. Oh shit.

Best Titles Of Unreleased Prince Songs

April 29th, 2016

One day we may officially hear these songs now that the Purple Rainmaker has shuffled off this mortal coil. This list of songs is cribbed from PrinceVault.com and is far from the complete list of unreleased songs.

 

  • 3 Nigs Watchin’ A Kung Fu Movie
  • Cold Coffee And Cocaine
  • Electric Intercourse
  • Good Dick And A Job
  • High Calonic
  • I Met A Virgin Queen
  • Me Touch Myself
  • Most Strongest Whiskey
  • Neurotic Lover’s Baby Bedroom
  • She Pony
  • Small Grey Monkey
  • Work That Fat
  • Zebra With The Blonde Hair
  • Pizza

For some reason, “Pizza” is the most intriguing song title of all of these. Either that or “3 Nigs Watchin’ A Kung Fu Movie” because what can they possibly sound like? I wonder if Prince didn’t know the proper spelling of “colonic”. Somebody had to tell him. That had to be a misspelling on purpose. Some of these feel like a make-your-own-Prince-song adventure.

According to PrinceVault.com, “Pizza” features lyrics “about one girl attacking another until her face looks like a pizza.” Yeah, that doesn’t sound good. I was hoping it would be a “Cream”-esque funky song about how great pizza is.

I’ve Had All Weekend To Process This

April 24th, 2016

It didn’t hit me right away. Same thing with Michael Jackson. When MJ died, it wasn’t until I was on Youtube watching him do the “Dancing Machine” robot gimmick that I realized I missed him and that took me about a week. Somebody edited together all the MJ robot dances over the years and it was great and I was like “oh yeah this guy is great. . . or he was great. Damn.”

 

It didn’t as long for me to start missing Prince. Youtube has been festooned with Prince songs and videos (which I’m sure will not last, as Prince was against his music being on Youtube). I watched the “1999” video last night and that’s when I realized I would miss him. “1999” was the first thing I remember seeing from him. Maybe some of you were there for “Controversy” or “Dirty Mind” or “Soft & Wet” but I was five in 1983 so “1999” was my earliest memory.

 

I don’t just miss Prince. I miss Prince and the Revolution. I miss that weird guy on keyboards who wore the doctor’s scrubs. I miss the drummer who dressed like Prince even though he was a white guy and probably a foot taller than Prince. I miss the black guitarist with the feathered hair and the Japanese rising sun headband. I miss those two chicks stand-spooning singing into the same microphone, especially the blonde girl in the lingerie and the hat.

 

As a kid, I thought these people were the most fun group of people on earth. They all had their own thing, like the Scooby Doo gang. They had their own Batcave like Batman (I assumed the “1999” set was their Batcave/house). They played instruments. They were the Justice League, the Scooby Doo gang and the Partridge Family rolled into one except better and not suitable for child’s viewing. And when you’re five that makes total sense.

 

But then you can’t watch Partridge Family anymore because the songs aren’t as good and the band isn’t as cool. Scooby Doo has mysteries but doesn’t have any tunes. Batman had hot chicks around but again, no jams. So the only place to get everything in one shot was Prince and The Revolution. They might be one small reason why I’m a musician and not a teenage detective or a masked crimefighter. Just one small reason.

 

So I miss Prince, but I also miss Wendy and Lisa, and I miss Bobby Z, and Dr. Fink, and BrownMark, and Dez, and Jill Jones because if I had a time machine right now I’d go to the “1999” video and say what up. I want to go back. I want to live in all those Prince music videos up to “U Got The Look” because they seem like the most fun places on earth.

My Arm Hurts

April 22nd, 2016

My left bicep hurts. I hurt myself this morning when I was adjusting my mattress. I fell over and used my arm to keep from banging my head against the wall. I didn’t bang my hang but I pulled a muscle. What made me think I had the arms of Samson that would keep me from banging my head and also keep me from falling down? I have taken a pain reliever but that’s it. I hope this is a temporary situation.

 

My computer needed repair again. Do not buy a used computer. My used computer did not come with all the screws in it. It cost $50 to get repaired. The lack of screws caused the housing to come loose which caused the power jack to come loose and then the the zzzzz…… my god. The hinges and the screws and the power jack and used computer. Never buy a used computer.

 

Since I last checked in, Chyna and Prince died. I don’t know what to say. I enjoyed watching Chyna in the WWE. I liked a lot of Prince songs. Still do. I’ve heard more unreleased Prince songs than I’ve heard released Prince songs. I was really sad about Chyna being dead and then Prince dies and then Chyna becomes an afterthought after a few hours. I haven’t even thought about Prince yet.

 

I keep thinking about how hard it has to be when one is removed from reality and humanity. When you really need love and compassion and empathy but you can’t seem to get it at that moment. Prince was a superstar, a beloved musical legend. Chyna was a fallen star, a reality show reject who dabbled in pornography. And they both died, too young and alone. One from chosen isolation, one isolated by default.

 

I try to be kind to everybody now. I know what it’s like to need kindness and not be able to get it.

Review: Prince At The Palace

March 15th, 2015

If you were lucky enough to catch one of the performance on Prince’s two-night, four-show stand at the Louisville Palace, you got to see a phenomenal showing by one of the Old Masters who still performs like a sugar-buzzed kid in a candy store. Backed by his all-girl trio 3RDEYEGIRL, His Purpleness took the tri-state area down Alphabet Street back to 1999 in a Little Red Corvette full of Raspberry Beret(s). No Controversy about this master of Musicology, Prince made it Purple Rain until The Chocolate Invasion happened in this reviewer’s pants.

 

His Purple Majesty, Prince.

His Purple Majesty, Prince.

 

This reviewer saw the second show on Sunday,last in the four-show stand. Prince walked out (or was carried out Ariana Grande-style) by a bodyguard. Parked in his spot for the entirety of the show, Prince struggled to stay upright. The fifty-six legend complained of a hip problem. I checked Twitter and found that Prince had apparently fractured his hip the night before doing a split.

 

Prince, being a Jehovah’s Witness, refuses surgeries that require blood transfusions. Rather than accept doctor’s orders to have surgery and cancel the rest of his tour, Prince decided to treat his hip fracture with intermittent bedrest and rubbing vegan cuisine on the hip. He breathed heavily throughout the show and occasionally muttered “tired. . . want to go home” to rapturous Louisville cheers.

 

The first song of the set was a rousing “Endorphinmachine” from The Gold Experience. After the song, the crowd waited with bated breath as the Purple One looked down his pedals and. . . decided to play “Endorphinmachine” again, to the confusion of everyone including his band. After a second but no less stellar rendition of that song, he cranked up the riff to “Endorphinmachine” again until one of the 3RDEYEGIRL band members stepped over to Prince and mentioned something to him off mic. From there, the band cranked up “Take Me With U”. While the crowd applauded, Prince looked back and asked “how long have we been out here already?” and attemped to play “Endorphinmachine” a third time before the PA went dead and the lights went out.

 

The house lights came up as the stage stood dark and empty for nearly a half-hour. The audience grew quiet than began cheering, then grew quiet again, then began clapping, then booed lustily, then cheered. Some people left and went back to the ticket booth to get a refund only to find a sign on the window that said “SUCKERS” signed with an androgynous Prince symbol.

 

A roadie came out with a stool and a Crosley turntable. He placed the turntable on the stool then left. The house lights dimmed and the stage was illuminated as a second roadie entered stage left with a vinyl record. The roadie placed the record on the Crosley before putting the needle on it and pressing play. It was a 12-inch of “Batdance” and the crowd exploded in delight. The 12-inch “Batdance” played in its’ entirety as the roadies looked sternly at the show. Security confiscated a camera when someone in the front row tried to take a picture of the turntable.

 

When the record stopped, the roadies took it, the Crosley and stool and left the stage. An announcer said, “Thank you for coming to the concert tonight. Please leave in an orderly manner. Thank you for coming to the concert.”

 

On the way out, this reviewer was presented with a religious tract from a strange little man in a trenchcoat and barely-concealed afro.