Prince and the media: On feeding the beast without making a point


Kookiness and Adam Levine disses don't substantiate the Purple One's lofty pretenses.

Associated Press

The recent Billboard interview with the Artist Occasionally Referred to as a Purple George Lucas Character flies by at a Tweetable quote per paragraph. Mostly, it’s requisite adornment to his shtick as Minnesota’s eccentric, reclusive and recklessly moneyed Bruce Wayne. To wit:

Prince keeps a cage of doves in his basement: “[Reporter Gail Mitchell spies] a large, nearly floor-to-ceiling white cage across the hall. Approaching closer, I can see white doves, at least for our five of them, chilling inside.”

He has a notoriously concise rehearsal regimen: “We work for 15 minutes and then take a break,” he says with a chuckle.”

He doesn’t hang out with old people: “I don’t talk to old people,” he says. “Young folks are the ones with the ideas and constantly moving forward.”

From Gawker to Huffington Post, the blogosphere reassured us that in unsure times, like the tortured child at the heart of "Omelas," Prince remains bat-shit crazy. And that begs the question: At what point will we, too, just walk away?

The article’s title, “The O Word,” plays on Prince’s demand that the interview concern ownership of music. And, Prince owns a lot of stuff, including caged birds, a dossier of “female black lawyers” who remove his videos from YouTube and a storehouse of hits (44 entries in the Top 100 between 1980 and 1999), which he wants to keep out of the clutches of that masked, cartoon rodent Adam Levine.

But this never happens. Instead, the Artist gives us an exercise in bizarre interview conditions (no recorder or notes allowed in his conference room at Paisley Park). But there’s no plucky argument for shoring up copyright laws or, like, buying more vinyl.

All in all, Mitchell’s piece tells us Prince can still sing, dance, write music and serve up flapjacks following a basketball game. But, sadly, the only “O” word he seems capable of indulging still remains “OMG.”