Photo by Herb Ritts
Last week pop music icon Prince died at the age of 57, bringing a sad and unexpected end to a massive music legacy. In light of his passing, we asked people in the music scene about their reflections on his life and music.
Jenny Merullo, Sledding With Tigers: "Prince was easily one of the greatest guitar players of all time, and that's not even what he did best. I can't think of anyone who compares."
Pat Erhard, Ash Williams: "In the insane turmoil of my childhood, one thing that would always keep my little brother and myself happy was sitting in the outward facing seats of my mom's station wagon and singing, 'When Doves Cry' at the top of our lungs. Prince gave me music when I needed it the most."
Nats Babel, Chica Diabla: "Growing up in Minneapolis, Prince is omnipresent, and I had the fortune of delivering pizzas to his house and Paisley Park for my first job. I saw him all the time out and about, as he is woven into the fabric of my hometown. As far as musical artists go, there was Prince and then there was everybody else."
Brian Ellis, Brian Ellis' Reflection: "It's still hard for me to accept that he's gone from this planet. His master musicianship and integrity have always been an endless source of inspiration for me. The world just lost one of the greatest to ever do it."
Craig Oliver, Volar Records: "Prince's performance of 'Purple Rain' in the film of the same name is a giant moment, and for me, the single greatest music moment in film history. When he finally plays the song (which in the film is credited to the women in his band), it's an ultimate moment of vulnerability, redemption, catharsis and transcendence, a spiritual rebirth in song that will forever bring me to tears every time I watch it."
Tim Pyles, 91X: "The closest I ever got to the man was in 1999 when I was able to attend the MTV Music Video Awards. I remember going to a random club to see Jimmie's Chicken Shack, but when the band was done the club transformed into an urban oasis of hip-hop and R&B. It was past 2 a.m., and I turn around to see Prince and Lenny Kravitz sitting in a booth together. I'd like to say I sat down and joined them in conversation, but the security guards discouraged me. Oh well, the moment was still magical."
Drew Andrews, Bit Maps: "Prince possessed the singular gift of merging low and dirty freak with a high-art aesthetic—summoning foreign worlds of sound in his songwriting by his multi-instrumentalist capabilities. There are few artists left who command, or care about, such risky things. Saying he'll be missed seems cheap and tawdry."
K-Rock tha Fantom, Far From Ya Average: "Prince's eclectic style and creativity embodied what a true musician should be. As a producer, I looked to his example before I even touched the keys or picked up a guitar."
Xavier Vazquez, videographer/projectionist: "I have drummed for samba bands and such so as a kinda wannabe, I first saw/heard Prince in 1979 (I was 14) on American Bandstand when he lip synced to 'I Wanna Be Your Lover.' What stood out was the awkward interview with Dick Clark and the fact that we learned he performed all the music himself--to me that was crazy. Later when 1999 was released, it was all I listened to for a month, during which time 'Automatic' became the track to cue up for make-out sessions."