Friday, April 22, 2016

FIRST EARTH DAY WITHOUT PURPLE RAIN

R.I.P. TAFKAP

Temecula, CA – It's official. The 80s are now dead. With the death of Prince, I feel that decade has now wrapped. Though a fan of live music since seeing Ramsey Lewis [with family] and James Brown [with gf/1st wife Yvonne], and capping off a stellar 80s live music season decade, I was never fan enough to see the Purple Rain wonder in person, though I did have a promo cable TV Purple Rain [movie] t-shirt. During that period I was more into Rick James than Prince for the obvious reason [see Memoirs].


Being into music means more than just following the bands you like, it means knowing about music and the artists making headlines, especially the artists your relatives like. Having the 'hipster label' in the fam, I kept up with the artist whose lyrics were so sensual but a little too TMI for me. From an artist standpoint like The Beatles, Prince argued with the powers that be, won a reprieve, but then went back. This was before the advent of the internet when the majors controlled all distribution of music.

There was no doubt that Prince was a standout talent who displayed more than just music ability. Much like Bipsy, the artistic streak wound through the fabric of the person then poured out in style and accoutrements. Also Prince's physical looks, which were Latino much more that Africanized, made him attractive to many beyond his racial culture but yielded identity issues for the rising star. At first. Fame in the spotlight tended to blend away any wondering as life in the moment gave more reflection to where he had come from.

Prince would not be a stingy artist either, spreading the fame around to others in his talented posse, particularly the women, something not seen since Sly and The Family Stone. The androgynous posturing of Prince also gave the emerging gender fluid market a talent to rally around beside David Bowie. Like Bowie, both sides of the aisle were left panting little whimsical imaginary hearts of fandom over the music and lyrics.

So far, 2016 has been the year of great artist departures as more artists of music renown seem to have left us this year than any remembered years past. And the year isn't even half over yet. I shudder to think what I might remember when I look back at the end of this year, provided I too have made it that far in life.

As it stands now, another talented and well-known personality joins the freshman ranks of the newly departed, sans any Beetlejuice, with front row seats for the open mic jamboree featuring some of the greats who passed before them. Imagine being free of your human ego and having a chance to see live [sort of] talented artists you may have only heard about, or perhaps were inspired by, even your contemporaries.

So tonight as I light a candle to you, Prince, as I am sure my first ex-wife did, being one of your biggest fans, I can only ask that if you go on a night [or eternal day] when Stevie Ray Vaughan is playing, say 'hello' to his keyboard player for me. Her name is Bipsy. Tell her there are those who miss them both still, but couldn't be happier how things turned out way over yonder.

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