PURPLE ROYALTY: Goodnight, sweet Prince — a king and a prince, and a queen in his ways, too. So all-encompassing and wide-reaching was the Minneapolis-born megastar in his influence and impact that he can lay reasonable claim to all titles of rock royalty. As of last week, we can now count him among the stars, along with David Bowie and Merle Haggard, whose earthly glint the passage of 2016 has snuffed out but who will burn brightly forever in the minds and skies of listeners and lovers into eternity.
For a man like Prince simply doesn’t die — even in his death, he will continue to do more and influence more than many still living. I was lucky to see the Artist twice in 2011, when he played a 21-show residency at Los Angeles Forum in Inglewood. Those shows were legendary. Just about everyone in L.A. had a different story of their show, recounting with awe their night’s 15-minute rendition of “Purple Rain” or a dramatic “Darling Nikki,” or Sheila E.’s incredible drum solo, or what guest star showed up, with artists such as Stevie Wonder or Gwen Stefani or Janelle Monáe joining in on the fun.
And then there were the mythic after-parties, where Prince was said to continue playing until dawn after a three-hour set, night in, night out.
The tickets were only $25 with no service fees, meaning these were shows for the people. It’s in his social activism that Prince stood out, and he should be remembered as an artist who used his power to empower others. He was a staunch advocate of artists’ rights. “When you stop a man from dreaming, he becomes a slave,” he once said while embroiled in a dispute with Warner Bros. Records over ownership to his songs.
What’s more, Prince, like Bowie, stood for self-expression. He was flexible in scope and style, a beautiful shape-shifter who showed a kind of compassionately trans-human perspective on the world — see “If I Was Your Girlfriend.” He inspired us all in his colorful individuality and encouraged us all to live with a little more flavor and passion.
With immense gratitude and love, we bid you farewell, Prince. See you at the after-party.
A DRAM OF POOR MAN’S WHISKEY: I.V.-born bluegrass/rock fusion band Poor Man’s Whiskey, known for its expert bluegrass covers of Dark Side of the Moon and Graceland, is back this weekend with a rousing set featuring original material at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St., sohosb.com) on Friday, April 29, at 9:30 p.m. Life’s been good for the heavily touring group, says cofounder Josh Brough, a roller-coaster of times good and bad. S.B. will be happy to host their friendly faces again. Their shows are renowned for their dance-inducing energy, such as at a recent Salt Lake City show where people were “bouncing off the walls” with enthusiasm. “After the show, I remember having a celebratory beer with my bandmates and thinking ‘Okay, I know what I’m doing with my life, this is it, and I’m stoked to be doing it,’” Brough said.
GIRLS TO THE FRONT: Girls Rock S.B. rockers Jamey Geston and Sofia Guerra will perform this Friday at the Girls to the Front Gala at Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, where they will play alongside headliners Haim and Beth Ditto. All proceeds from the event will benefit more than 44 independently run camps of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, helping girls from all economic backgrounds realize their music dreams.
GOODLAND GOES VINYL: If you find yourself at the poolside with no records to unwind to in your room, or if you want a musical keepsake of your glorious Goleta vacation or staycation, The Goodland (5650 Calle Real, Goleta) has now started to offer vinyl records in the hotel’s lobby in collaboration with L.A.’s VNYL. And what do you know? Of the 20 titles originally ordered for the record shop, says record concierge Lea Sindija, two were records by Prince.