Podcast: I Know That the Lord is Coming Soon – Erica Thompson on the Salford Purple Reign Conference

It’s been just under two months since I started interviewing presenters from this spring’s interdisciplinary Prince conference at the University of Salford, and I’ve been absolutely thrilled with the results. But all good things must come to an end, so I had planned to make this chat with writer Erica Thompson the last of my post-conference podcasts. It would have been a great choice, too; Erica’s presentation was the result of many years of research for a book project on Prince’s spiritual journey, so our conversation was less about the conference in particular and more about her findings more generally: a nice segue into future, less Manchester-centric episodes.

But just when I think I’m out, they keep pulling me back in. Contrary to my own statements in this episode, I have already set up another interview with a few presenters from one of the conference’s gender and sexuality panels. So basically, expect me to keep interviewing scholars from the Purple Reign conference until the next milestone in Prince scholarship comes along. And in the meantime, please enjoy my and Erica’s conversation about the importance–and, sometimes, difficulty–of understanding Prince’s religious faith in relationship with his art.

00:00:00   Hello. How Are U? (from Purple Rain, 1984)

00:01:47   “God (Love Theme from Purple Rain)” (1984 B-Side, available on Purple Rain – Deluxe Edition)

00:06:47   “Rainbow Children” (from The Rainbow Children, 2001)

00:11:20   Prince Talks to God on the Purple Rain tour, Orange Bowl, Miami, 1985

00:13:00   “Anna Stesia” (from Lovesexy, 1988)

00:17:44   “Love and Sex” (1984 Recording, available on Purple Rain – Deluxe Edition)

00:24:04   The “All-Seeing Eye” (and Some Appropriately Crowley-esque Phallic Imagery) on the 1999 Cover

© Warner Bros.

00:26:20   “Occult” Backmasking at the End of “Darling Nikki” (from Purple Rain)

00:33:37   “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” (from 1999, 1982)

00:38:24   “I’m So Confused” (from the Purple Rain Tour, Miami 1985)

00:42:59   An Earlier Conversation with Jane Clare Jones about the Disconnect between Prince’s Life and His Art

00:44:20   “Eye No” (from Lovesexy)

00:45:43   Erica’s Presentation at the Salford Conference

00:46:00   The Upcoming Prince from Minneapolis Conference

00:50:20   My Conversation with Karen Turman and Joni Todd

00:53:10   “The Work, pt. 1” (from The Rainbow Children)

00:56:04   Alex Hahn’s and Laura Tiebert’s (Very Good) Self-Published Biography

01:04:19   “Utopia” by Graham Central Station (from GCS2000, 1998)

01:08:05   “The Grand Progression” (1987 Recording)

01:13:59   “God is Alive” (1988 Recording)

01:16:54   Erica’s Blog, A Purple Day in December

5 replies on “Podcast: I Know That the Lord is Coming Soon – Erica Thompson on the Salford Purple Reign Conference”

Always enjoy your unique perspective on all things Prince. I think Prince was constantly in pursuit of the transcendent experience, breaking the the bonds of physical human existence, the bonds of binary sexuality, seeking the essence of what is sometimes called the “soul” or “spirit.” Maybe this started because of his physical constraints related to his physical stature or epilepsy or mental health/emotional struggles. He attempted many things to try to attain this transcendent experience including extreme sexual experiences, exploration of religions, pagan and christian, probably even some experimentation with drugs (Anna Stesia=anesthesia=drug induced state?). He most often seemed to find it in his music which never failed him. I think Prince was deeper and more spiritual than most people recognize. His physical presentations distracted people from the very transcendence he was trying to convey. He may have humanly fumbled along in pursuit of transcendence, sometimes stumbling badly, but he never stopped trying. Peace and love!

I have enjoyed your podcast & commend you on your open research of Prince’s spiritual path , leaving the ending open to one’s own summation. Having a long career in Behavioral Health & seeing people who struggle with pain management & are lead into addiction by horrendous behavior of the pharmaceutical companies, their greed & total disregard for the health & wellbeing of human beings…opioid addiction is epidemic & killing hundreds daily!! The daily pain Prince must have been enduring, having given his all physically on stage for years in addition to the trappings of being world famous & isolated by his fame, then adding into his spiritual search JW who shun proper medical care it was a tradgedy going to happen. But I don’t believe for a second that Prince was using drugs for a recreational high & then became addicted…please widen your perspective, shedding light on a national nightmare which caught up the brilliant light of Prince Rogers Nelson. Thank you

I recently discovered your blog and am on day three of binge listening to your podcast! Thank you so much for sharing your hard work, and particularly addressing this topic with your well done interview. I am often frustrated when others discuss what they consider inconsistencies between Prince’s singing about God and sex, sometimes in the same song. I’m fairly certain many would agree that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. I look forward to reading Erica’s book. Thanks again!

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