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Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Nine Best Revelations From the New Prince Biography

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM

click to enlarge prince_chaos_disorder_revolution_jason_draper.jpg
Let me preface this by saying that the new Prince biography isn't especially good, insightful or interesting. Jason Draper pretty much digs through the same scant published interviews that fuel all bios of our Purple Sex Dwarf.

Draper appears not to have interviewed anyone himself, and every thirty pages or so he writes a variation on the following sentence: "It was becoming increasingly clear that Prince might not have been the savviest of businessmen."

All that distinguishes this from previous entries in the genre is that Draper's book grinds on through a couple more 2000s Prince albums, a couple more 2000s Prince girlfriends, and a couple more 2000s Prince CD distribution schemes. (2009's underrated LotusFlow3r is only $4.99 at Target!)

Oh, and in 2011's most clueless bit of music criticism, it dismisses "Sexy M.F." as "a catchy riff in search of a song." And it has a weirdly unsympathetic view of black America:

"The whole thing was aimed squarely and transparently at black audiences, with song titles such as 'Black MF in the House' and artwork full of fast cars, scantily clad women, and gaudy jewelry."

Anyway, to help you prep for the San Jose Prince shows tonight and Saturday, here's the best new-to-me gossip I mined from it:

1. Prince named Vanity "Vanity" after she rejected "Vagina." He pronounced it "Vageena."

2. Once, visiting Michael Jackson, Prince ate pizza with Bubbles the Chimp. The National Enquirer then reported that Prince had attempted to drive Bubbles to madness with mind control.

3. Prince didn't feel he was ever in direct competition with Jackson. Robin Power, who starred in Graffiti Bridge, told a previous biographer, "He felt he should be compared with Miles or Coltrane." (Draper adds in "[Davis]" and "[John]," just in case you can't follow that.)

4. As disgruntled ex-Time guitarist Jesse Johnson prepped to release Shockadelica, a solo album completed with no Prince interference, Prince rush-recorded and pressed a song called "Shockedelica." Also, Johnson alleges that Prince used to call him in the middle of the night just to say, "Jesse, your album sucks."

I know I should be upset by this, but "Shockadelica" is pretty much the most badass Prince song ever.

5. Mayte, Prince's first wife, claims she was never allowed to call him, even after the wedding.

6. Before she met him, Prince's second wife, Manuela Testolini, was an occasional poster on alt.music.prince.

7. That time Prince went proselytizing door to door for the Jehovah's Witnesses? He preached to a Jewish family on the night of Yom Kippur.

8. After the release of his third album, Dirty Mind, Prince and the nascent Revolution opened for Rick James. James later said, "I felt sorry for him. Here's this little dude wearing high heels, standing there in a trench coat. Then at the end of the set he'd take off his trench coat, and he'd be wearing little girl's bloomers."

9. In the early 1990s, Prince's management team showed him a chart that demonstrated that his expenses had gone way up while his income had decreased precipitously. Prince just flipped the chart over.


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