Podcast: Yes – A Conversation with Chambers Stevens

It’s been over half a year since the University of Salford’s interdisciplinary Prince conference, but I keep connecting with people who presented there and whose topics of research are too interesting not to discuss. This time, I’m talking to actor and playwright Chambers Stevens, who has a fascinating theory about the influence of improv training on Prince’s approach to life and performance. But we aren’t just retreading Chambers’ presentation from the Salford conference; he also has some hilarious stories to share about his own run-ins with Prince (and Chaka Khan), as well as some thoughts about the peculiar nature of Prince fandom. We had a lot of fun recording this–hopefully you’ll have fun listening as well!

And speaking of fun, there’s still a little more time to participate in my giveaway for a free copy of Duane Tudahl’s new book Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions: 1983 and 1984. The rules are simple: just subscribe to d / m / s / r on your podcast app of choice (logging into iTunes or Stitcher and searching “dance music sex romance” should do the trick), and leave a review. It doesn’t have to be a positive review; feel free to rake me over the coals if you want, just make it well-written. On Tuesday, December 12, I’ll look at all the reviews that have been submitted, pick my favorite–again, not necessarily the most positive!–and announce the winner on the next episode of the podcast. Oh, and speaking of that next episode, this is one you’re not going to want to miss: I was fortunate enough to speak to the one and only Marylou Badeaux, former V.P. of Special Projects at Warner Bros. Records and author of the upcoming memoir Moments: Remembering Prince. Come back and listen to it next week!

00:00:00   “Irresistible Bitch” (1984 Rehearsal)

00:01:15   The University of Salford’s Interdisciplinary Prince Conference

01:29:00   Band of Merrymakers

00:04:02   Previous Episode with Duane Tudahl

00:04:39   One More Plug for Duane’s Facebook Group

00:07:14   Here’s That Comment I’m Talking About

00:09:34   “Let’s Go Crazy” (from Purple Rain, 1984)

00:19:40   The First Person I’ve Spoken to Who Has Interacted with Prince

00:20:27   “Irresistible Bitch” (1984 Rehearsal, Reprise)

00:22:42   Don Amendolia’s Fimography

00:31:09   “Come” (from The Beautiful Experience, 1994)

00:33:01   A Few Clips from Glam Slam Ulysses, Courtesy of Dancer Kevin Stea

00:35:33   The New Purple Rain Remaster (and My Review)

00:38:12   (Chambers is Actually Talking about Sonny Thompson Here)

00:40:14   “Crazay” by Jesse Johnson featuring Sly Stone (from Shockadelica, 1987)

00:46:19   The Music Video for “Betcha by Golly Wow!”, 1996

00:50:30   “Betcha by Golly Wow!” (from Emancipation, 1996)

01:03:20   The Infamous James Brown/Michael Jackson/Prince Moment

01:04:18   The Violet Reality

01:08:34   The Prince Podcast

01:12:05   “The Second Coming” (Live at the Met Center, Bloomington, MN, 1982)

01:17:20   “Let’s Go Crazy” Makes a Cameo in Kingsman: The Golden Circle

01:21:26   “Soul Man/Kiss” (Live at Madison Square Garden, New York, 2004)

By Zach

Recovering academic. Music writing at Slant, Spectrum Culture, and elsewhere. Arguably best known as the author of Dance / Music / Sex / Romance, a song-by-song chronological blog about the music of Prince.

One reply on “Podcast: Yes – A Conversation with Chambers Stevens”

Mind-provoking interview! Prince was the consummate actor, after all he created “Prince” from literally nothing and maintained the persona successfully for decades. I do however wonder about his ability to be improvisational. I have heard/read several interviews with people close to him recounting him saying that by the time he got to the studio he already had everything musically completed in his mind and putting it down in a recording was just the next step. Alan Leeds commented Prince was always very deliberate in everything he did and in every impression he conveyed. Maybe this was part of Prince’s effort to control his environment, or a defense mechanism developed from being bullied as a young person, or just to maintain a persona that was much more accepted and loved than the “pre-success” Prince. Heck, even that outfit he is wearing in the James Brown/ Michael Jackson appearance is the same stage outfit he wore for the Minnesota Dance Company benefit performance where Purple Rain was recorded… hard to believe he was expecting to remain anonymous in the crowd…peace and love!

Leave a Reply