Monday, April 25, 2016

His Name Was Prince: Christina's Memories of The Purple One

My mother was a bit of a punker.  I always have idolized her for that.  My favorite story of my childhood was that I was literally rocked to sleep by her at night to Alice Cooper’s “Welcome To My Nightmare.”  As you can see I grew up in a liberal family so my musical tastes are eclectic.  So Prince was introduced to me when I was only three. 

My first song that I ever sang in public was the Prince song “Head.”  Bear in mind this is a song about a woman who is getting married, meets a man and is so attracted that she gives him a blow job, and ends up marrying this dude instead.  I sang this in a TG&Y when I was four.  My mother was mortified... until she realized it was her fault because hey, she let me listen to it.  I was told not to sing it in public anymore and that was that.  This was only one of many moments from my childhood, from the relationship of my mother and I, in which Prince played one of the largest parts.

Three men that I have never met affected my life more than any and for reasons that vary: Michael Jackson, Brandon Lee, and Prince.  Prince wasn’t just part of the fabric of my life, he was the cotton inside the quilt of the relationship between myself and my mother.  His controversial Black Album was highly sought after when it first came out and in some states was illegal to purchase.  I lived in one such state.  It had crushed my mother that she had never been able to obtain that album, but I found a copy for her by chance.  It sits in her record collection to this day.  When the ban lifted and it was reprinted to CD I quickly snatched her a CD print as well.  We have seen every movie he had a hand in together.  The Sign O' The Times concert movie has always been one of my personal favorites.  The album was always a favorite and to see it made live is amazing.  Plus Sheila E., the drummer, was someone I always aspired to be.  A drummer myself, I would watch her drum solo during this concert over and over.  When The Symbol Album as they call it came out, it was obvious that it was a rock opera.  Then Prince released its accompanying movie Three Chains of Gold, and it gave the fans what they wanted.  It filled in the gaps of the albums' fictional story and left us with a full picture.  I watched that movie over and over one summer with my mother and cousins.  When Under The Cherry Moon came out we were ecstatic.  It is a family favorite.  To this day we will playfully fight with each other, screaming insults, and one will suddenly shout “CABBAGE HEAD!”  We walked around town one night laughing hysterically shouting, “Issac in the mood for drawers…” with people thinking we had lost our minds.  I don’t think, however, that I’ll ever be able to listen to “Sometimes It Snows In April” again with crying…

My father surprised my mother and I when I was sixteen with tickets to a Prince concert.  But, they weren’t just tickets.  They were VIP seats.  We were twelve feet from the man during the entire show, and it was electric.  He played in Lexington, Kentucky, asking during the show “Would you take me home?  Would you feed me?  Now, I don’t want no fried chicken now….”  I loved that he went there.  Spending most of the evening in a sleek and shiny purple suit his lavender colored piano was as much of a star of the show as he was.  Songs from his Emancipation album were featured players during that concert.  The moment that kills me to this day was that my father wouldn’t drive us to the after parties that were going on at nearby clubs because he was too tired.  We found out later that Prince had went to the clubs, having min-jam sessions in a back room for the VIP ticket holders only.  I still scream internally to this day over that, but I say nothing about it because if my father remembers it then it probably guts him to think that he didn’t take us.

My favorite piece that he ever wrote was, believe it or not, nothing that he sang on.  It was the extended version of "Raspberry Beret", with the instrumental into.  That intro for me is a piece of musical genius and I don’t know why, but I love its sound and I have been known to rewind it over and over.  Just the solo.  Beautiful piece of instrumental mastery.

People besmirched his name while he was alive and they still will do so in death.  They are still trying to.  But then again that was done with Michael Jackson, David Bowie, every singer on the planet that ever existed.  It doesn't change the fact that people have good sides and they have bad sides.   It's called being human.  Neither does it change the truth of the man and who he was.  His fans knew enough to know that he was guarded and strange, yet a good person who loved life.  But we were close to him.  His friends and family, however?  They seemed to confirm what we knew all along.  He was mysterious because he was private.  He never smoked, drank, or did drugs; in fact he banned all of these from his Paisley Park compound.  He even banned cursing/foul language from Paisley Park during his parties.  He worked with various charities under wraps, not taking credit.  His faith in God was utmost in his life and he even shocked people by going door to door for his Church, spreading the Word.

The world is a poorer place with Prince in it and we're to suffer that loss and keep going.  But we can be happy that he left us with what he sought to; a list of music miles long that make us dance, since, smile, and celebrate life.  All he wanted in this world was to perform, spread love, and make people dance.  Considering that all around the world people are holding free dance parties to memorialize him, I think he succeeded.  I can think of no better way to send a man of his stature off into the stratosphere than to dance our rear ends off.  He would want us to keep partying.  We owe him that. 

Christina Sizemore is trained in only four things:  writing, fighting, paranormal investigating, and being a mom.  At this point in her life she truly feels that she is not qualified to attempt to learn any new field.  A twenty year martial artist, mother of three, and writer who is working on the publication of her first book titled “Finding Your Way: A Guide To Your Path In The Martial Arts,” she spends her days working out, writing, making fanvids, going to DragonCon, and playing board games/video games/out in the yard with her kids and husband who are just as geeky as she is.  She is convinced that one day her skills will be of assistance in the Zombie Apocalypse and that while she is of no use in the kitchen, she can Buffy that zombie for ya or teach you the best way to get the blood stains out of your clothes (Psst…the secret is mixing Crown Cleaner and Shout.  Just sayin’.)

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