I have been avoiding this post for some time, but I have to express my thoughts on the passing of Prince. When Bowie passed, I was extremely sad. When I heard the news about Prince, I was instantly filled with anger; and my anger didn’t even start to reside for 2 days. Normally, I don’t feel effected by the passing of celebrities, musicians, or cultural figures. The world of celebrity is largely distant from the relational, occupation, and emotional challenges of daily life; and in the end, what we enjoy about their art and work is still with us.
For me, Prince is different. Since I started listening to his music nearly 10 years ago (Yes, I’m late to nearly every game in life.), I was instantly captivated and enamored by his command of every instrument, the modern and timeless sound of his production, and the diverse nature of his sound that covers nearly every genre. Musicians try to be boundless and unclassifiable; but that proves to be the death of most bands starting out, and the beginning of the end for larger acts that “try something different”. AC/DC is great because they do one thing extremely well. Prince is the best because he did everything extremely well. Bass was never regarded as Prince’s primary instrument, and yet his bass-lines are perfectly catered for each song and at times, very demanding. I’ve been playing bass for a long time, and when I get bored or want to have fun, I learn Prince songs. And just for the record, I still can’t play The Time’s “777-9311” correctly.
And yet, despite the fact that Prince is one, if not my biggest musical inspiration, I did not know the man. I had no personal connection with him. So why am I upset every time someone or the media mentions his death? Maybe it’s because I can’t count how many times Prince’s music has inspired me to pick up my bass, sing in the car, or try to write a great song. Many of my LA memories and moments of struggle in LA have been set to the backdrop of Prince’s music. In this regard, I feel extremely close to Prince and his passing is very personal. But yet there’s something more gut wrenching that has happened to me since the passing of this musical icon.
As long as Prince was out there, pop music still mattered. To me, Prince symbolized and embodied a time in which pop records were important, had something to say, and people took the time to listen. Although it could be argued that this period in music consumption died several years ago, I now believe it is truly over. There will never be another Prince. Not only was he a once in a lifetime talent, but he was a once in a lifetime talent from a once in a lifetime era that allowed musical genius to thrive. Luckily, we will always have his music and can always draw inspiration from his spirit.