Prince on Arsenio [20+ years later]

A couple years after starting this blog for Prince, I learned a little something about self-control.
I’m better off not posting anything unless I legitimately have something to write about.

Back then, it was about not reviewing “Purple Rain” for the million time or going into the albums unless I had something new and/or thoughtful to add that I hadn’t already.

The other day, I almost forgot that valuable lesson.
Just making excuses to talk about the newest celebrity in my life.
I may one day do an entry about my fascination with certain celebrities and why I feel this desire to be acknowledged. Like, more so than I do with regular people in my everyday life. ๐Ÿ˜›

***

So anyway… last night…

I don’t know if I mentally checked out or the idea was stuck in my head because all the announcements online said “midnight”… but I missed the first 20 minutes of Arsenio last night because I thought it would be on at midnight instead of an hour earlier. It’s just a good thing that I was looking through the channels at the time to find out who would be on Jimmy Fallon.

But now that I’ve found the footage I missed, I can now comment on it. It’s not every day Prince shows up in the media, so considering how this blog began because of him, I have to address it.
Amazingly, the YouTube connects to Prince’s own personal channel. It seems like he’s repelling technology less and less all the time. Mind you, the man still doesn’t own a cell phone.

There were four performances throughout the night.
Easily, the one I cared for the least came from former NPG member Liv Warfield.
Seriously, when they said “former NPG member,” I was expecting Rosie Gaines to show up or even Tony Mosley because I didn’t know who else might show up. I never heard of her before and even after this performance, I’m leaving it at that :shrug: I come to something to see Prince, I want to see Prince. I felt the same way about the GMA appearance when they used up a musical number for Tamar, for an album that never got released. And I felt the same way during the SuperBowl when Shelby J. showed up.

Thinking back, I couldn’t be happier than the Twinz are gone. They were distracting.
But if I had my say on back-up dancers, the only person I got behind was Mayte. Cat Glover as well, but not to the same degree. I still think of Mayte as the component that completed the artwork of a given performance. Like the frame that supported and enhanced all of Prince’s movements.

Then there were three other songs.
The first time, which I missed, was to a brand new song called “FunknRoll.” Yet another good collaboration with 3rd Eye Girl that felt like all those lengthy funk anthems from the 80’s. D.M.S.R. specifically, although I think that was the performance that was almost giving me a “Housequake” type vibe.

The other two were re-productions.
“Mutiny” was introduced as a brand new song, but us hard-core fans (or rather, members of the Purple Army, apparently Prince finally okayed a nickname for his groupies :-P) know that it isn’t. He wrote it for his newly hashed-together satellite group, The Family, which contained former members of the time, Jerome Benton, Jellybean and Paul Peterson, Eric Leeds, Miko Weaver and Prince’s then girlfriend Susannah Melvoin.
Of course the arrangement was a little different, but some of it was restructured lyrically. Particularly the chorus, which omitted the first set of lyrics, and stuck with “Mutiny!/U gotta give up this ship/Mutiny!/Should have been a little more hip”
Prince’s presence on stage (love that look with the hat) reminded me of Morris Day. The way he carried himself and had the horn players backing him up. I enjoyed it overall, but at the same time, I have my own preferences.

“She’s always in my hair” wasn’t the first 80’s tune that Prince rewrote with his new band. Previously, he did an Undertaker-esque version of “Let’s go Crazy”… now, “Let’s go crazy” is so iconic that I had somewhat of a hard time adjusting to this renovation/overhaul of it.
With this other song, my favorite part of it was the use of keyboards. In this case, the backing melody was guitar driven. It was an apples and oranges type of performance, but this time it really worked for me.
What brought it together for me were the girls in the band, the way they were dressed, how they looked, and especially how the guitarist absolutely shredded through her solo. How’s that for girl power? :fist pump:

The interview portion I just watched was just it always is with Prince. He talks, you listen, as if you’re compelled by means of telepathy.
The only mention of new music came about like this:
Prince was asked the eternal question of “what his favorite jam is” and he actually had a real answer (opposed to “the newest one”). It’s a song called “The Breakdown” and he went on to say he needs to write similar sounding material in order to put together an album, how there’s no pressure to get music out right away because he’s not on a label (as if the pleas from The Purple Army aren’t reason enough?!), and he’s someone who works via albums compared to this “single driven market” music is in.

Sure, that’s a compelling argument as to why he hasn’t had a new song on the radio since the 90’s, but I don’t want to buy into that anymore ๐Ÿ˜› with everyone else, I listen for the newest songs on the radio to see if a new album is coming out or if this next album is worth getting, stuff like that. But another reason I look for new songs is that it tells me that an artist is progressing. It keeps us music lovers engaged and that’s a hard thing to do if you’re not taking that particular route. I’m lucky personally because I know people who can connect me with the latest music, but I’d like a chance to buy albums too.

Come to think of it, I haven’t downloaded a song off the Internet in a number of years. The last time I did might have been an ending theme for one of my animรฉ series and that was when I was still in college. When I get my music, I’m strictly about albums. With certain artists, I like seeing what else they have to offer other than what makes it to the radio. And with the better ones, I love the songs on the album much more than what’s currently playing on the radio. Daughtry is a good example of this, Taylor Swift as well (although I have my love for certain singles as well).

So yeah, the one thing seemingly keeping an album from coming out is that Prince doesn’t have enough “like-sounding” material to string together.

Another interesting thing that came up in the interview portion was him talking about watching a singing competition with Esperanza Spalding [music fans will remember her as the “Best New Artist” Grammy winner who got death-threats from Justin Beiber fans… I really hope his fanbase has shrunk considerably after all the idiocy he’s gotten into], and how they were “rearranging” the songs in their heads as they were watching.
That I found fascinating, him saying that he sees/hears music differently than everyone else. That’s something only Prince would say ๐Ÿ˜‰

And supposing he wanted to do something other than music, what would it be? His first answer was that he was broke at age 16, went to the yellow pages and didn’t see anything he wanted to do so he decided he’d push his hardest to excel as a musician [man, I wish I had that kind of conviction!!].
He did come up with another answer: teaching. But teaching music, obviously

Then there was a surprising Q&A section. The cynic in me was thinking “I’ll bet he had all these screened ahead of time”.
The first one asked about Purple Rain turning 3o (and damn, I thought the question would be if he’s taking part in some festivities) and what he thought the last time he watched it… it was recently and he watched “Take me with you” :cue the crowd cheering:
The second was whether he had or was tempted to order something from an infomercial. He repeated the word “infomercial?” and everyone laughed like crazy.
The third was if there was a household chore he did that people would be surprised to hear. He said cooking and he can only cook…. omelets.

I was screaming at the TV: “Pancakes!!” because he did that on “New Girl”… apparently it’s omelets.
I also made a comment when Arsenio mentioned “Bacon bowl”… like “don’t you know Prince is vegan?”

Probably the craziest part was when some dude told Prince about his cheating girlfriend and he actually called her up to break up with her on the air. Like, whoa. Then she asked if Prince was available, to which he said no.
I don’t know if he’s really seeing somebody, he said it to be nice, or he’s still maintaining that commitment to celibacy.

***
I thought for a moment the other night how different I act around the celebrities in my life, what their presence does to me and such.
Prince and Plushenko have their similarities in that I am mesmerized by them when they’re doing what they do best. (And my Aly & AJ album came out of storage recently for a second round, so Plushenko does come to mind with a couple tracks that used to be just about Prince. If anything, to certain songs, I visualize him skating to the melody).
I guess the only major difference is that with Prince, it’s always the same: I’m mesmerized, unable to look away or think on anything but him, as if he mentally blocks the synapses that carry thoughts retaining to other things. I guess you could say, it’s like a local anesthetic that cuts off the pain at the source.

To be clear, though, I can’t specifically nail what the side-effects of Plushenko’s skating might be.
What I do know is that when the right song comes out, I’m along for the ride as long as it lasts. I even had a situation come up where it was kinda late, it’d been one too many nights in a row, whatever it is… I got a second wind watching one performance in particular and it really was more of a performance than anything else. The strangest thing happened. I don’t know how to explain it but there was a moment that I just SMILED. Like a light switch flickered in my head so fast that I didn’t receive the signal that that was what I wanted to do. It just happened and it was a beautiful, amazing, moment.

And to kinda complete the trifecta, RDJ is the opposite in that every part of me and not just physically, responds to him. If it’s familiar territory, my heartbeat relaxes. It’s an emotional journey and it’s always good feelings… so long as the material I have in front of me is something I don’t find conflict in.
Last night, he came to mind in a scene from “Bridesmaids” where Annie’s mom talks about meeting someone in an AA meeting. Supposedly someone there gave blow jobs to support his crack habit and became a gay prostitute.
There was also something in this week’s “Castle” and a news story about whether drug dealers should be held accountable for the deaths of addicts that reminded eerily of Julian.
The difference is that he didn’t intentionally go into that business. It was the only way his drug dealer could think of for him to pay back his debts… and it was the most humiliating way possible.
Like what did Julian do to him in high school to make him hate him this much that he’d go to those lengths?

The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman brought the criticism back to the forefront that people who die from addiction are victimized more than they are held accountable.
For me, it depends on the situation, but also the person. Certain people I will support more than others, but to keep the playing field even, I want to take their word for it until that word is deemed useless.
Sure, if “Less than Zero” showed more than just Julian’s last 3-6 months… say, a couple years, maybe I’d be less sympathetic, but as far as I’m concerned, he had a way out and if his drug dealer didn’t pull him back in, he’d still be alive.

Yep, things like that, I just will never let go because that’s the kind of person I am. Take it or leave it.

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