Podcast: A Year Without Prince – Part 1 of a Conversation with Jane Clare Jones

Last Sunday, I spoke with writer, philosopher, and fellow Prince obsessive Jane Clare Jones about…well, a lot of things, which is why we ended up having to break our podcast up into four episodes. For this first installment, we talk about our stories as Prince fans and articulate some of the reasons why his music–and, to a not-insignificant extent, the man himself–continues to mean so much to us. In the weeks to come, I’ll post the later installments, where we discuss the two recent books by Ben Greenman and Mayte Garcia, and try to unpack some of our thoughts around Prince’s death last April. I hope you enjoy it.

00:00:00   “For You” (from For You, 1978)

00:01:38   “Let’s Work” (Live at Carolina Coliseum, 1981)

00:04:19   “A Conversation” (Live at Park Café, Munich, 1987)

00:05:59   The Piece That Jane Wrote

00:12:51   “D.M.S.R.” (Live at the Trojan Horse, The Hague, 1988)

00:16:21   “Eye Love U, But Eye Don’t Trust U Anymore” (Live at Montreux Jazz Festival, 2009)

00:18:49   The 2007 Super Bowl Halftime Performance

00:18:53   Shredding at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2004

00:21:34   “Anotherloverholenyohead” (from Parade, 1986)

00:26:50   “June” (from HITnRUN Phase One, 2015)

00:30:31   “Trust” (from Batman, 1989)

00:36:44   “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)” (Live in Miami, 1985)

00:40:58   “Purple Music” (1982 Recording)

00:45:24   “Little Red Corvette” (Live at the Sydney Opera House, 2016)

00:51:24   “Computer Blue (Extended Version)” (1983 Recording)

01:03:15   “The Truth” (from The Truth, 1998)

01:13:27   “Venus de Milo” (Live at the Paramount Theatre, Oakland, 2016)

13 replies on “Podcast: A Year Without Prince – Part 1 of a Conversation with Jane Clare Jones”

OMG. I was just rereading Jane Clare Jones’ wonderful essay from last June and wondering how she saw things now–this series is a wish fulfilled! I particularly loved your discussion about the extended version of Computer Blue. Looking forward to the next installments. Thanks!!

Great stuff – thank you!!
So glad the two of you have done this – over the last year I’ve read and re-read both your work and Jane’s many times so its fab to have you in conversation. Are either (or both) of you going to the Prince conference in Manchester in May?

Hey, it’s Jane – with my odd incognito wordpress name 🙂 Thanks for your comment, I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and yes, I’m going to the conference! I’m giving a paper on Prince’s ‘ecstatic genius’ and how it relates to his mastery of ‘propulsive groove’ and the oscillating structure of the guitar-orgasms, and how that is connected to his undoing of the musicological opposition between linear/climatic song structure and repetitive groove, and the gendering of all of that. Some of which will be touched on (a bit less technically) in some of the later episodes here as well… Are you going to be there/give a paper?

not so odd – though I’m more of an Ardnamurchan Point girl myself. 🙂
The paper sounds like fun – I’m looking forward to hearing it. I’ll be there but not giving a paper.
In any case, I hope we can carve off some time at the conference for a drink and/or a chat. I’m in the UK fairly often so if you are mobbed at Salford, perhaps we can connect another time.
(PS. I sent you the above as a fb message but then realized you haven’t posted recently. We share Debbie Cameron as a fb friend – small world! Looking forward to seeing you at Salford).

Oh too bad, it would be great to have you there! Thanks so much for your work on D/M/S/R … makes my day whenever a get a message with your latest instalment!

Hi Jane and Zach:
Loved this – can’t you just post the rest TODAY?
Jane, you were kind enough to email me last June when I wrote to you about my personal purple tsunami. At the time, I thought I might have been in my freshman year at Princeversity. What I have learned over the past year is I’m still in middle school at this moment and may regress even further. After two trips to Minnesota (not this weekend, sadly) and the steady obsessive consumption of everything Prince I can find to read, watch, hear, really listen . . . and submerge and steep myself in . . . I am barely in the door of the restaurant and have only just started paging through the 1,001 page menu. And Jane, the advice you gave me about the external hard drive and saving everything I can find has been invaluable.
Thank you both so much – really look forward to the rest of your conversation.

Jane, I think you may have hit on something (many things actually) in regard to his music and feeling that his live performances didn’t transfer back to the albums (if I interpreted that correctly). I don’t necessarily agree with that but what I do think is that you are right in some way. Even he was perplexed as to why he could still sell out arenas but his music wasn’t selling. What I see is it might be because of the mystical, magical, charismatic, spiritual, sexual, lovable, adorable, physically attractive, intelligent, enlightening, talented, gifted (I could keep going, but we all get it) person and performer he was, people just wanted to be in the same space as him. If that meant having to choose (monetarily, which the majority of us have those limitations) between buying an album or a concert ticket, people chose the later. You don’t get the whole package when you listen to a CD. Now that we don’t get a choice, that might be why his record sales are skyrocketing?

This is interesting…and I guess it does depend on how you feel about the later recorded work. I think there is definitely something to what you’re saying, but I’m not sure it’s just wanting to be in the same space as him (although it was definitely also that), and I’m not sure it’s just his ability to generate such incredible energy in a crowd (although it was also that as well)…to me the music is just better, and it’s not even the songs, because as I mentioned, there are really a pretty large number of the later songs that I don’t particularly like/even really rather dislike in studio form that I completely frickin love live. I don’t know much about music technically, and even less about recording and production, but there is something incredibly airless/shiny/overproduced/flat (I’m not sure how it can be too shiny and too flat at the same time, but somehow it is) about a lot of the later studio work which isn’t there live…and I guess we can conjecture about that…but, like you say, it seems clear he didn’t know what it was either. I really don’t know. I just know it when he makes me go zing, and it’s there in the stage recordings after 2002 to me…but it’s not there, or rarely there, in the studio work….

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