Sometimes it snows in April…
About five years ago, I wrote a post upon seeing Prince perform in concert for the first time after waiting for many, many years. This is part of what I wrote:
I’d like to take a minute to thank my mother for letting me listen to the music I wanted to when I was a kid. And for being cool with me having posters of a half-naked man plastered all over my bedroom. Oh, and for letting me paint ALL of my furniture purple and black. (No, really. I honestly did that.) The mid-’80s were the heyday of the PMRC and their “Filthy Fifteen” (the top two of which were written by Prince—though I could never really understand their fixation on “Darling Nikki”; I mean, he’s written plenty of much dirtier stuff), and the prevailing attitude was that we were all going to be driven to Hell by the likes of Sheena Easton and Cyndi Lauper, and only Tipper Gore could save us. (Thank goodness for Frank Zappa, ever the voice of reason.) Frankly, I can’t imagine my childhood being Prince-free. Those would have been some quiet and unfunky years.
Prince was my first big musical obsession; the first artist that got me interested in the idea of collecting, of seeking out rarities, of swapping bootlegs, and of looking for more than what was readily available. I also had a hardcore crush on Prince that put my earlier childhood crushes (namely Kermit the Frog and Michael Jackson) to shame. I know guys don’t always get why the ladies like Prince so much, but the man is 98 pounds of fiiiiiine. Then and now. He’s a freaky alien, for sure, but aren’t all of the best musicians?
This morning, Evan texted me asking if I was OK, and mentioning Prince. I didn’t understand what he was talking about, and then I remembered reading that Prince had been ill recently…and then I Googled “Prince”…and then I knew.
I mostly avoided the internet yesterday, and kept the radio and television silent. I thought about how I fell apart when Michael Jackson died in 2009. I thought about David Bowie. I thought about what it means to be an icon. I listened to Sign o’ the Times and belted out every word.
It’s rare to have a day pass in my life where Prince doesn’t come up in conversation. His musical badassery. His height. His vanity cane. His flowing caftans. His lack of underwear. His undeniable sex appeal. His purpleness. Prince is a part of my lexicon. He’s been a part of my life since I was a little kid.
Here’s something else I wrote about Prince:
Watching Prince play guitar is a lot like watching Michael Jackson dance. It seems so totally effortless, like the sound is just naturally coming out him and there’s nothing he can do to stop it. I’m not one of those people who gets all crazy about guitar solos and stuff like that, and maybe that’s why I’ve always loved Prince’s style. He’s just doing his thing up there, all natural and fluid and full of emotion. The guitar is an extension of him. Magic. No matter how many times I’ve watched him perform live in movies and on TV, nothing can compare to being 20 feet away and seeing it all happen right in front of me.
That night is still with me, totally fresh.
I’m not ready to take in all of the tributes and articles and reactions to Prince’s death yet. It’s hard for me to even grasp the fact that he could die in the first place. He seemed immortal. He looked half his age. He moved half his age. And he was a giant. I’m going to miss him.