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

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

 

(Featured Image: Parade, 1986; photo by Jeff Katz, © Warner Bros.)

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.

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

Advertisements

I Wanna Be Your Lover

I Wanna Be Your Lover

(Featured Image: Prince, 1979; photo by Jurgen Reisch, © Warner Bros.)

The recording sessions for Prince began in earnest in late April of 1979, with overdubs and mixes completed by June 13: about seven weeks, all told, barely half the time Prince had taken to complete his debut album. Indeed, while For You and Prince are often grouped together by critics, in practice the two albums are a study in contrasts. Rather than the state-of-the-art Record Plant, Prince used Alpha Studios in Burbank, California: a relatively modest facility located in the home of owner and engineer Gary Brandt. And where on For You Prince had seemed determined to use every inch of the studio console, his approach to its successor was markedly scaled back; according to Brandt, Prince deliberately limited himself to only 16 of Alpha’s 24 available tracks (Brown 2010).

Prince’s stripped-down aesthetic was born partly of preference and partly of necessity. In later interviews, Prince would suggest a growing dissatisfaction with For You’s fussy production: he had tried to make “a perfect record,” he told Melody Maker’s Steve Sutherland in 1981, but “it was too scientific” (Sutherland 1981). Working with 16 tracks at Alpha Studios would likely have felt more comfortable to an artist used to the humbler accommodations of Sound 80 and his own home studio in Minneapolis; crucially, it was also much cheaper. For You’s recording budget, you might remember, had ballooned to some $170,000–almost the entire amount Warner Bros. had allotted for Prince’s first three albums. So this time around, Prince told Lynn Norment of Ebony magazine, “I realized that I had to make some money to prove to them that I was a businessman” (Norment 34). By recording quickly and economically, Prince would ensure that the new record came in on time and under budget. “He was really in a hurry,” drummer Bobby Z recalled to biographer Per Nilsen. “There was quite a bit of debt to the label, and he needed a hit. His back was against the wall” (Nilsen 1999 54).

Continue reading “I Wanna Be Your Lover”

4 Paisley Park’s Consideration: The NPG Era Needs Its Own “4Ever”

4 Paisley Park’s Consideration: The NPG Era Needs Its Own “4Ever”

(Featured Image: Booklet from Emancipation, 1996; © NPG Records.)

Here’s a follow-up to last week’s guest post on Andresmusictalk, this time pitching a collection that does for Prince’s “NPG era” what Prince 4Ever did for the Warner years:

4 Paisley Park’s Consideration: The NPG Era Needs Its Own “4Ever”

Next week, more 1978 home recordings you probably don’t remember or care about. I’ll try to make them interesting, though!

After 4Ever: Why We’re Still Waiting for a Definitive Prince Compilation

After 4Ever: Why We’re Still Waiting for a Definitive Prince Compilation

(Featured Image: Prince by Herb Ritts, from the 4Ever booklet; © NPG Records/Warner Bros.)

I know I wrote a lot about “Moonbeam Levels” earlier this week, but it turns out I had a lot more to say about Prince 4Ever (you’ve probably noticed, I always have a lot to say). So here’s a rundown of Prince’s compilations from 1993 to 2016, what each gets right, and why even now, we still need a truly definitive set. Check it out at Andresmusictalk below:

After 4Ever: Why We’re Still Waiting for a Definitive Prince Compilation

Next week, it’s back to the post-For You grind with a couple of light, but pleasant outtakes from mid-1978. See you then!