Why we should mourn Prince
I’m not some crazy besotted fan, but he had an incredible body of work, and like any great artist he had creative ups and downs; I don’t have every album, and some albums had duff tunes on em, even the later stuff, like Diamonds and Pearls, or Come, which were from a period when his 80’s star had begun to wane but the actual songwriting and musicality had matured into just about the funkiest shit on the planet.
He never had any more mega–hits after that period, and the famous battles with Warner Bros consumed him and took him out of the glare of the global circus for a while, but he began to tour more, and this time it wasn’t theme-based like the previous album-promoting extravaganzas, just him and his back catalogue, and as I always say, you’ve either seen Prince …OR YOU HAVEN’T I’ve seen some great shit in my time from Led Zeppelin to James Brown, and some utter killer gigs in small rooms by people most of you have never heard of, but for sheer mastery of the art of performance, Prince stood alone.
I’ve spent some time on stage myself in the last 50 years, and therefore know a bit about the actual mechanics of stagecraft, so going to a Prince gig for me was a humbling yet joyous experience….like a housepainter watching Rembrandt at work. His shows were matchless: if you were there you could be pretty sure that nowhere else in the world had anything funkier goin down than what he was serving up; it was the centre of the artistic universe right there before you.
No-one could touch him for effortless brilliance and virtuosity, and btw, unlike Michael Jackson or Elvis, HE WROTE THAT SHIT AS WELL!! He also represented a golden thread back through the layers of ‘black’ music that has been obscured by the spread of the amateurish nihilism of gangsta music and culture, which is why he had the likes of Maceo Parker and Larry Graham as regular parts of his ensemble, and even they had to work hard to keep up with his band, because he hired THE BEST: he needed them to reproduce what he was capable of doing himself…make a guitar howl like Jimi?, sing Like Curtis? dance like James?
The muthafucka could do it all, and I can’t think of anyone left alive who could match that today or in the foreseeable future, the giants have all left us now, and the midi mimers and dancing wankers are comin out of the factory gates in their droves…it’s the end of a cultural era, be sad because a great artist has left before his bill was due, but be thankful you were there to know of it.