Memoria In Aeterna: His Royal Badness

 

PrinceYet another sad day is upon us as an iconic artist has left this world. By now, we’ve all heard that Prince has passed. Unlike others, I’m not going to profess to be his biggest fan. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his music, but unlike David Bowie, his music didn’t really change me. That doesn’t mean that I can’t acknowledge his incredible contribution to the musical landscape. In fact, in listening to the music stream from The Current earlier today (thanks C-Dub), the DJ said something that hit home, “Everyone has a Prince story.” Okay, so maybe not everyone, but everyone under the age of 60 and I am no different.

It’s 1984, I’m 19 and with my first girlfriend (late bloomer, c’est moi). Purple Rain was all over the airwaves and theatre screens and I couldn’t help but be swept up in Purple-mania. As Summer ended, I’d heard that Prince was playing the Checkerdome and I wanted to take my then girlfriend, Marnie, to see him because, frankly, he was a panty-dropper. Judge if you must. Regardless, it was a four hour or so drive from my hometown and I was determined to take her to see Prince. I had no tickets, but I’d heard on the radio that they were still available. If only I’d understood the power of Prince at the time. Cruising down to St. Louis in my very first car, a 1979 Mustang (pumpkin orange no less), we finally arrived at the Checkerdome. The line getting into the venue was ridiculous – no shock to me now, but a huge shock to me then. When we finally got to the parking attendant, I panicked and asked if there were still tickets left. As kindly as he could, he chuckled and said no. I explained our journey and asked if there was any way to get into the building. Suffice it to say, I’ve never seen Prince live. After at least eight hours of driving, I’ve never seen His Royal Badness live. Like Queen, this is one of my biggest regrets in life.

I have many great memories of His Royal Badness from events like a terrific karaoke version of Kiss that my friend Josh does, the skiing movie, Hot Dog: The Movie that I also experienced with Marnie, which featured the Prince-penned song When You Were Mine (sung by Mitch Ryder which I honestly prefer over the original), Prince-themed music discussions with former Pitch and Studies in Crap writer Alan Scherstuhl, and many more. What I’ve come to enjoy later are behind-the-scenes looks like the anecdote below by Kevin Smith (for those sensitive types who aren’t familiar with Smith’s vernacular, there is cussing, so you’ve been warned).

Or if you’d rather hear from the man himself, you  can check out this interview from 1999 with Larry King. Kevin’s dialogue informs this one below.

So, to backtrack a little bit, do you have a Prince story? The comment section awaits you.

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