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Dirty Mind, 1980 Podcast

Podcast: 40 Years of Dirty Mind

Darling Nisi and Harold Pride return for a third episode in our series of in-depth retrospectives on Prince’s albums, this one for the 40th anniversary of 1980’s Dirty Mind.

Way back in February of 2020, I asked Darling Nisi and Harold Pride to record a third episode in our series of in-depth retrospectives on Prince’s albums, this one for the 40th anniversary of 1980’s Dirty Mind. The podcast was intended to predate De Angela Duff’s DM40GB30 symposium, which in those simpler times was still scheduled to be held in-person at New York University.

Well, you know what happened next: DM40GB30 was delayed, then went virtual, while I slipped into a pandemic-related depression fog that only lifted, appropriately enough, after I participated in the virtual symposium back in June. Meanwhile, the podcast continued to lavish in the D / M / S / R Vault (a.k.a. the “Documents” folder on my computer) until the end of last month, when I was promptly reminded of just how laborious a task editing a three-hour podcast recording can be.

Now, the wait is finally over: the D / M / S / R podcast is back, in all its wildly self-indulgent glory. I want to thank everyone for their patience, and assure you that there won’t be a two-year wait before the next episode; in fact, I’d recommend you go ahead and use one of the links above to subscribe on your podcast service of choice using one of the links above, because I’m aiming to put out one of these bad boys (i.e., podcasts, not necessarily review episodes) per month. As always, let me know what you think, and feel free to leave a review on your podcast provider if you’re so inclined.

00:01:38 “Do It All Night” (Live in Paris, 1981)

00:02:58 Harold’s Presentation at De Angela’s Lovesexy 30 Symposium, 2018

00:03:55 KaNisa’s Muse 2 the Pharaoh Podcast

00:05:20 “Dirty Mind” (Live in Paris, 1981)

00:07:00 The DM40GB30 Symposium Dirty Mind Rountable, featuring Cynthia Horner

00:11:43 “You” by the Rebels (1979 Recording)

00:19:57 Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince

00:22:44 “Gotta Stop (Messin’ About)” (Live at the Ritz, 1981)

00:26:15 “Dirty Mind” (from Dirty Mind, 1980)

00:33:00 “Contort Yourself (August Darnell Remix)” by James White and the Blacks (from Off White, 1979)

00:35:35 “Dirty Mind” (Live at Paisley Park, 2016)

00:37:38 “LITTLE RED CORVETTE/DIRTY MIND” (available on TIDAL)

00:40:44 “When You Were Mine” (from Dirty Mind)

00:45:01 “When U Were Mine” (from One Nite Alone… Live!, 2002)

00:49:33 “When You Were Mine” (Live at the Worcester Centrum, 1985)

00:53:55 Dirty Mind Aesthetic Influence #1: Tim Curry

© 20th Century Fox

00:53:58 Dirty Mind Aesthetic Influence #2: Freddie Mercury

Photo stolen from Twitter

00:55:19 “Do It All Night” (from Dirty Mind)

00:59:53 “Do It All Night” (Live at the Ritz, 1981)

01:03:37 “Gotta Broken Heart Again” (from Dirty Mind)

01:08:11 “Gotta Broken Heart Again” (from Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas, 2003)

01:10:06 “Gotta Broken Heart Again” (Live at the Ritz, 1981)

01:15:34 “Uptown” (from Dirty Mind)

01:23:36 “Funkytown” by Lipps, Inc. (from Mouth to Mouth, 1979)

01:29:06 “Uptown” (Live in Paris, 1981)

01:30:48 Prince’s Racially Ambiguous Presentation on the Dirty Mind Album Cover

Photo by Allen Beaulieu, © Warner Bros.

01:31:51 Prince’s Obscured Face on the Back Cover of Dirty Mind

Photo by Allen Beaulieu, © Warner Bros.

01:33:48 Prince’s “Kardashian” Look on the Prince Album Cover

Photo by Jurgen Reisch, © Warner Bros.

01:34:02 Prince’s Darker Complexion on the Controversy Album Cover

Photo by Allen Beaulieu, © Warner Bros.

01:35:58 “Head” (from Dirty Mind)

01:37:10 Dirty Mind’s Infamous “Please Audition Prior to Airing” Sticker

Photo by Allen Beaulieu, © Warner Bros.

01:44:03 “Super Freak” by Rick James (from Street Songs, 1981)

01:44:18 “Head” (Live in Atlanta, 1988)

01:49:23 “Head” (Live at the Ritz, 1981)

01:53:02 “Sister” (from Dirty Mind)

01:55:37 “Sister” (Live in Dortmund, 1988)

01:57:18 Michael Dean’s Interview with Tyka Nelson

01:58:56 Zach Talks “Sister” on the Press Rewind Podcast

02:00:27 “Sister” (1980 Demo Recording)

02:04:23 “Partyup” (from Dirty Mind)

02:11:08 “Partyup” (Live in Paris, 1981)

02:21:23 “Head” by Ice-T featuring Brother Marquis (from Party O’ the Times: A Tribute to Prince, 1999)

Zach

By Zach

Recovering academic. Music writing at Slant, Spectrum Culture, and elsewhere. Founder and editor, Dystopian Dance Party. Tweets @zchoskins.

2 replies on “Podcast: 40 Years of Dirty Mind”

I love listening to the three of you talk! Your thoughts are always so spot on, and you give me things to think about.

This album can out when I was 19, and when I bought it, it was my 2nd Prince album purchase. Most days, it is still my favorite Prince album. In 1980, I had just moved to Minneapolis. Just about every time SueAnn Carwell played somewhere, throughout the early 80s, that’s where my friends and I would be (and Prince would sometimes be there, taking in her bar sets as well)—I was in spaces like this, near him, before I ever saw him perform.

Anyways, as you say, Uptown can’t possibly be Uptown-the-real-neighborhood, and I can’t imagine any Prince fan would have thought that at the time. I’ve heard people say Uptown was aspirational, what Uptown the physical place could be brought into being at some future day—and maybe that kind of is Paisley Park. I loved hearing you talk about these things in this podcast!

Back then, I did understand Uptown to be an idea, in the mind, but more specifically, I can tell you for certain what the meaning of Uptown in the song was to me and my friends at the time—I was Uptown, Prince was Uptown, the fans were all part of this moveable Uptown that was very real and literally embodied in us, the fans.

Also want to remind you of the kind of siege mentality that fans had at the time. Prince was not popular or beloved outside of the fan base, and was, if he was heard of at all, in the dominant culture of MN, dismissed, reviled, and warned against. It’s even hard for me to imagine now, and I was there, but a person could lose friends for sticking up for Prince, he was that hated by mainstream people.

Coincidentally, side-note, there was also an anti-smut campaign going on in the early 80s—the force of it was to try to protect the Black and brown communities adjacent to the porn shops on Lake Street—(white) men who drove in from the suburbs would also harass and menace women and girls in their close-by neighborhoods. In my mind, this was all happening right around the time Vanity showed up, but I’d have to check the dates to be sure. An ordinance was passed, written by feminist guest-lecturers at UW, Katherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin. I went to every full day of hearings down at the city council. It was later overturned in court.

Yes, in and after Purple Rain, there was the aesthetic of new wave dress up. In 1980 there was none of this. When I bought my Rude Boy button down at the record store on Block E, one of the few legitimately sketchy blocks in the entire Twin Cities area, that was me putting myself into the Prince camp, the Uptown. Speaking for myself, fans dressed more like what The Time would dress like—fashion and accessories that were readily available in shops downtown and on Lake Street with a fair amount of 2nd hand/Ragstock mixed in.

In my tiny, multi-cultural group of fans, we did think we were on the brink of solving racism—not in a color blind way at all. And homophobia (though we didn’t have that word at the time, we knew that “queer bashings” after bar time downtown were a somewhat regular horrifying occurrence and we were obviously against that). I fully, fully agree that Uptown isn’t an “all lives matter” song—it’s liberation song. We knew Prince was Black, and we knew Prince was straight/hetero—I was hanging out with people who went to high school with Prince. This was part of what we loved and what gave us courage—I perceived him to be, essentially, sticking up for gay people by drawing some of the cultural ire to himself. That’s part of what gave us courage to stick up for him, to stick up for Black and brown people, to stick up for multi-racial/multi-cultural spaces, to stick up for gay people, and drag queens, and anti-racist skinheads, and underdogs of all kinds.

Ha ha well I wrote a little too much, but mainly I just wanted to say, Uptown is—or was back then–the 1980+ fan base, in my experience.

Hi Carmen–thanks so much for your kind words, and for this more great stories about your time in early-’80s Minneapolis–it would be literally impossible for you to write too much on this subject for me!

The anti-smut campaign is super interesting–I’d heard about Prince being a target for the religious right in Minnesota when he got bigger, but it’s interesting to hear that there was also some more nuanced conversation happening earlier. Gotta say I’d love to know what Dworkin thought of Prince, hahaha. And I totally agree that “Uptown” meant something different when the song was written–and still does, I think, for a lot of fans who aren’t invested in the colorblind myth. I think if anything Prince’s more radical later thoughts on race clarified, rather than contradicted, his early vision.

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