Thursday, April 21, 2016

Purple Pain . . . .

Well Fuck.  It's only April and the world has lost some true musical giants this suck-ass year.

And now Prince is gone.

The Gadfly usually doesn't expound much on the passing of music stars, other than the courtesy R.I.P.  comment and perhaps the sharing of a music video or two.  But Prince is different.

The Gadfly is a Minnesota native, Prince's home state.  The Gadfly was actually in the infamous nightclub First Avenue on a night back around 1983-84 timeframe when Prince was on stage - and The Gadfly had no clue who he was, and in fact, was too busy trying to pick up babes and win some billiard matches at the front bar area to care much about the stage show going on at the time.

But The Gadfly came to discover Prince and his music, oh yes he did.  And it really was kind of accidental -- The Gadfly turned on the radio one day just as there was this searing guitar solo playing, and when The Gadfly says searing, he means searing as in molten hot shards of metal ripping through your skull cap at high velocity.  And for someone whose musical world at that time revolved almost exclusively around hard rock like Led Zeppelin, Kiss, early Van Halen -- and the like -- that badass to the bone screaming guitar sound coming out of those Pioneer 3-way car speakers was heaven to The Gadfly's ears.  The Gadfly listened to the remainder of the song and only at the end did he find out it was Prince on his signature tune, Purple Rain from the soundtrack album of the same name.  That fucking monstrous guitar solo starts around the 5 minute mark of that song and it lasts about 2 and half minutes.  It's fucking brilliant and breathtaking.  It was so good that The Gadfly ran right out and bought a cassette copy of 'Purple Rain' and for about the next 2 weeks played that cassette from beginning to end over and over and over and over and over again until he was purple in the face.  At one point, The Gadfly recalls sitting outside a nightclub after a night of prowling in his car with a good friend of his and he popped that cassette in and told his friend, who was also a hard rock guy, to listen to it.  The friend was skeptical at having to listen to a black dude named Prince's music, but when The Gadfly played Purple Rain, the friend's eyes widened and something clicked in his little lizard brain --- and he got it.

Oh -- and just so you all know, The Gadfly's favorite song off that Purple Rain album wasn't Purple Rain actually, it was Darling Nikki.  When The Gadfly first listened to that song he didn't care for it much, but then he listed to it again, and then a few more times, but also paid serious attention to the lyrics -- and The Gadfly was smitten.  Who the fuck else could come up with the opening lyrics to a song like this? -- and get away with it??:
I knew a girl named Nikki
I guess you could say she was a sex fiend
I met her in a hotel lobby
Masturbating with a magazine
She said how'd you like to waste some time
And I could not resist when I saw little Nikki grind
That song is musically and lyrically a scream.  The Gadfly's first reaction was to be taken aback by the brash raunchiness of it, but as The Gadfly listened repeatedly to it, it dawned on him that Prince was just playfully fucking with our minds and his weapon was his naughty wit.

Nonetheless, that's just a truncated tale of how Prince and his art, because that is precisely what it is - art, had a major influence on The Gadfly's love of music.

And so as far as the obligatory R.I.P video ... here's one many of you probably haven't seen.  Watch as the master shreds a version of the Rolling Stones' 'Honky Tonk Woman' ... wow...

. . . man that guy's genius is gonna be sadly missed.


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