Prince's Seven Most Dickish Moments... And Why We Still Love Him
Prince is a dick. The litte guy just goes around the planet doing whatever he wants like some kind of mischievous, tiny demigod. Case in point: His recent appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Here's the story: Prince shows up to rehearse in preparation for his appearance promoting his new album, 3rd Eye Girl. Prince spots a beautiful 1961 Epiphone owned by Captain Kirk Douglas, guitar player for The Roots, and asks if he may play it during his performance on that evening's show. Now this is Kirk's favorite guitar, his baby. In every interview he talks about this guitar and how it's like a part of him, and in any other circumstance we're going to guess that he would flat-out refuse to let someone else borrow this precious guitar. But this is Prince we are talking about. So Kirk lends him the axe.
Purple Pain. twitter.com/CaptainKDougla...— Kirk Douglas (@CaptainKDouglas) March 2, 2013
Prince proceeds to play two songs on the show He starts with new single "Screwdriver," but then busts into his classic, heavy-as-fuck track "Bambi" from his second 1979 self-titled album. Prince nails it, and his solo at the end was one of the most powerful we've seen him do on TV. And then he pulls the dick move of the century.
During the last note Prince, in a classic rock star move, threw the guitar up in the air, and -- SLAM -- it hit the ground, still squealing with feedback. The headstock broke into pieces. Musicians all over the country felt Kirk's heartbreak that night. Kirk Tweeted an image of the broken guitar with the caption "purple pain." To top it all off, Kirk asked Prince to sign the guitar and he refused. What a dick.
But this isn't news to life-long Prince fans. We've known about his dickish behavior for years, and now we've compiled a list of some of the meanest moments in Prince history.
1. He hoards his best material.
It's well known among fans that Prince records a lot of stuff and most of it never sees the light of day. Hundreds if not thousands of songs, albums, and music videos get stuffed away in what is known as "The Vault." A lot of it has been leaked, stolen, bootlegged, and circulated among hardcore fans. Thank God, because a lot if it really is his best material. The crappy part is that we end up getting third or fourth-generation dubs of these amazing tracks from like 1987 that Prince is perfectly capable or releasing officially -- but instead he releases shit like Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic. Yeesh. Prince, please release this stuff. WE WANT TO BUY IT. TAKE OUR MONEY PLEASE. What a dick.
2. He totally stole "Kiss" back from another band.
"Kiss" was originally a country song Prince recorded by himself with an acoustic guitar which just featured a verse and chorus. He gave the demo to Mazarati, a local Minneapolis band he was working with at the time, to record for their debut album. They took Prince's simple little acoustic tune and gave it that infectious funk groove we all know and love today. Prince came in the studio late one night to listen to their work and loved it -- so much, in fact, that he decided to take it back and make it his. He erased all their vocals and the bass line, added a solo, sung it an octave higher, and released it to worldwide acclaim. Mazarati? Well their album failed and we never hear of them today. What a dick.
3. He fired his manager because he was cold.
Owen Husney was Prince's manager during the time he recorded and released his first two albums (which did not do amazingly well, by the way). Prince thought they should be smash hits and was frustrated by the reaction to them. During this time Prince began to treat Husney as less of a manager and more as an errand-runner. Apparently his demands became too much. During one cold night in a Minneapolis studio, Prince called Owen, demanding he bring him a space heater. Husney was super busy booking dates for a tour, and told Prince to get someone else to do it. Prince did not like this one bit and fired Husney on the spot, or so the story goes. What a cock.
4. He treated The Time like shit.
The Time was created as Prince's alter-ego band to appeal to "black" audiences. The idea was this: Prince would play all the tracks and his good friend/drummer Morris Day would be the vocalist and face of the band. Things were going great until The Time became successful and Prince began putting together a live band to perform the songs on tour. The band was made up of top-notch Minneapolis players, many of whom are now legends like Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and guitarist Jesse Johnson. Jesse recalls playing under the stern hand of the Prince as "hell." They were too good, and Prince did not like that. He started telling them how to play, how to dress, and how to dance. If they did a dance that the audience really reacted to, he would tell them to stop. He even kicked them off some shows and reduced them to playing behind a curtain.
Things got so heated that apparently a physical fight broke out backstage sometime in 1983 between Prince, Jerome Benton, and Jesse. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were producing songs on the side for other bands, and this also upset the little man. In fear of being upstaged, Prince swiftly fired Jam and Lewis shortly before the Purple Rain project began. Jam and Lewis went on to become the biggest producers of the '80s and The Time were never really good again. Check out this interview where Jesse Johnson recalls the purple horrors of working with His Royal Badness. What a prick.
5. He was weird to Kevin Smith.
Truth be told, we'd rather have our favorite guitar broken by Prince every day for the rest of our lives than sit through another Kevin Smith movie, but Smith's account of working with the Sexy Motherfucker is the one of the most candid, honest, and hilarious Prince stories known to the public. Kevin Smith was hired by Prince to produce a documentary during his religious conversion to Jehovah's Witness around 2000. Prince wanted to make a "spiritual movie" with his fans in Paisley Park, and Smith agreed to help him out. This is where things famously went wrong.
Prince assigned Smith the duty of delivering his "message" to the fans directly and engaging them in discussion on spirituality and music. These discussions were then to be turned into the film Prince envisioned. Things went absolutely nowhere. The discussions became aggressive and focused on Prince's bizarre religious beliefs. Hours and hours of talking with fans were filmed, and Prince did not approve of any of them. The film was scrapped and put in The Vault, never to be seen. The real fascinating thing about Smith's stories are the little details about Prince's day-to-day life, down to the fact that he gets his casual clothes from the Nordstrom's boy's department. It's a must-see for any Prince fan. Oh and how much did Prince pay Smith for all the hours of filming and traveling to Minneapolis? Nothing. He made him work for free. What a knob.
6. Prince hates his fans.
Prince hates the Internet. He is probably the single most aggressive artist when it comes to getting videos with his music in them off YouTube (just try searching for any live performance or recorded material. IMPOSSIBLE!) In 2007, Prince and his lawyers went lawsuit-crazy against his biggest fansites to try to shut them down. Yup, just fansites. Not filesharing sites, not defamatory critical sites, just plain fansites. The way he sees it is if he's not making any money off something his name is on, then it should be shut down. One of these sites, Housequake.com, was the greatest fansite in history. The ground it covered with its resources and historical data concerning the Purple One's career was invaluable to fans. Instead of being flattered, he felt betrayed and fought the site. It's gone forever now. What a dillhole.
7. The websites.
Every few years, it seems Prince fans have to join another website or fanclub to access "exclusive" content. We remember shelling out $100 for a "lifetime" membership to the NPG Music Club in 2005 and a year later getting a weird email about it shutting down due it "maximizing its potential." Uh, what? In 2010 he opened LotusFlow3r.com to much hype, promising interactive content and exclusive tracks to fans who ponied up $77 for a year-long membership. After little to no content showed up for a year, fans were outraged when they found that the site auto-charged their credit cards for an additional $77 without alerting them. Prince.org member OperatingTheatan wrote: "So far I have paid another $77 for a floating jellyfish which vanishes when you click on it. Well done, Prince. Nothing like treating your fans like royalty," Desire2006 added, "It looks like the [Better Business Bureau] will have 2 re-open its 'Prince' case file again!!!!!" What a wiener.
We could go on and on about the other sucky things Prince has done during his career, but we do see a change happening. He's calmed down on the religious stuff in recent years, and he's back to playing his nasty songs again. His shows in of late have been nothing short of phenomenal, and he seems to be releasing new music regularly, rather than just hoarding it in the vault. His new all-female band kicks total ass (though we would love to see John Blackwell back on drums), and his new hairdo is awesome. Oh, and that broken guitar? Kirk said that Prince eventually apologized for it and said that he would "Take care of it." Awwww.
He may be small, but he is the biggest dick the music world has ever seen ... and we love him for that.