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Ephemera, 1975-1976

Leaving for New York

Though it was a major boon for his own development as a songwriter and producer, for the rest of his band, Prince’s agreement to collaborate privately with Chris Moon went over about as well as you might expect. Curiously, Moon remembers Morris Day taking the snub hardest: “he was a pretty flamboyant, outrageous, strong personality even back then,” he told biographer Matt Thorne, “so I think it struck him as difficult that the quietest person in the band had been picked over him, the front man” (Thorne 2016). Morris, of course, was the group’s drummer, not the “front man”; it’s unclear whether Moon was speaking figuratively, or confusing him for someone else.

In any case, the rest of Shampayne served Prince with an ultimatum: Moonsound, or the band. He chose Moonsound, of course–but his version of the story suggests that the decision wasn’t just about ditching his friends at the earliest opportunity. In Prince’s telling, it was his trip to New York in the autumn of 1976 that caused the rift, and it was symptomatic of a larger gap in ambition between himself and his bandmates. “I asked them all what they wanted to do, ‘Do you want to stay here, or do you want to go to New York?’” he explained to Musician magazine’s Barbara Graustark in 1981. “No one wanted to do it. They liked their lifestyle, I guess. I don’t think they really liked the idea of me trying to manipulate the band so much. I was always trying to get us to do something different, and I was always teamed up on for that. Like, in an argument or something like that, or a fight, or whatever…it was always me against them” (Graustark 116-117). 

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Dystopian Movie Party Podcast: 30 Years Under the Cherry Moon

As promised/threatened, I’m once again interrupting the usual flow for a Prince-related feature from our sister site Dystopian Dance Party. Today, Callie and I talk about our mutual, misguided, only semi-ironic love for the second installment of Prince’s cinematic saga, Under the Cherry Moon, which released 30 years ago this Monday. Tune in for lots of incredulous laughter, and one moment in which I actually compare the film to Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (don’t worry, it makes slightly more sense in context). And of course, feel free to check out Dystopian Dance Party, which is where I write about whatever I feel like writing at any given time (though, unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of Prince on there, too). Show notes here. See you next week!