News, Weather, Mozart, Sports, Eurovision Love Ænema & Perverted Videogames from Vleeptron

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old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

02 March 2005

negotiating tactic


Mike, one of Vleeptron's premier Comment-posters, just e-mailed me Prince's cover of Joan Osborne's "One of Us"!!!!!!! Clickety-click click and Holy Shit Prince was coming Out of My Speakers after this song had been lost for several years!!!

Mike -- the Boy Scouts made you One Very Useful Dude! And I didn't have to ask you for it in French! (Actually, the Swiss guy was a real sweetie-pie, he gave me no trouble at all, he understood my crazy francais e-mail, and zapped the .mp3 to me immediatement. He recognized a fellow member of the World Prince Adoration League.)

Mike ... how come you are just sittin around there with that song in your magnetic media? I personally thought it was the most rare and obscure of all Prince's œuvre, but there you had it and now I have it!

So anyway, my VleeptronCam is right now on the fritz, but if it were working you could click here to see a superannuated (Mike solved the quadratic, he knows my age, so does Kwak) nerdy Jewish neurotic guy in a purple velvet Prince outfit playing air guitar to this song for the past two hours. Not a pretty sight.

We now return you to our post, already in progress:

* * *

In an earlier post I wax deeply enthusiastic about Prince, and I am not jiving, he authentically moves me and cracks me up and I think he is one of the greatest artists and musicians ever to move to Minneapolis from Galaxy Dwingeloo 2. He appears in many of Vleeptron City's hottest music clubs frequently, sometimes an acoustic set, sometimes backed by Morris Day and the Time, and from time to time George Clinton and other superstars from Parliament Funkadelic sit in.

One evening, about a week before the dreaded Y2K, in which all the computers on Earth crashed and were wiped clean of all data, all the airliners fell out of the sky, all the power went off in all the hospitals, all the oil tankers ran aground, and all the money was sucked out of my Aunt Edith's savings account, Prince had a nice long chat on CNN with Larry King, and I watched every second of it, and was so grateful to actually hear Prince speak his mind at length and talk about his life and music that I bought the hemmorhoid medication that was being advertised between segments.

It was a remarkable interview: The Most Talented and Musically Original Human Being on Earth chatting with The Dumbest Human Being on Earth. (You guess which was which, no pizza slice for this one.)

For many years in the middle of what should have been Prince's supersocko Number 1 With a Bullet rock star period, he was muted and silent because of a bitter and intractable disagreement with his record label, Warner Records. (When the subject arose, Larry had to mutter, "And I should mention that that's owned by AOL Time-Warner, which also owns CNN, and probably your cat and your boxer shorts and your Sister Kate, too.")

I'm sure executives at Warner AOL Time Life Engulf & Devour have their side to the contract dispute, but Prince had come to the conclusion that a corporation for which he was making millions and millions of dollars was screwing him up the ass with a hot poker while tying him naked to a hot radiator, and that he was helpless to do anything about it.

He saw only one recourse: He would just stop writing new songs and just stop recording new albums and just stop performing and touring; if Warner executives were capable of feeling pain, shutting off the Profit Valve was probably the only way he could get their attention.

It was around this time that Prince renamed himself to the Ineffable Ankh-Like Symbol Entity. (He says he never called himself TAFKAP, that was an invention of the media which was having trouble typesetting the Ankh-Like symbol.)

Meanwhile, they negotiated. Prince would come to Warner Corporate Headquarters, in midtown Mordor, and take the elevator up to the Board Room, and, with some of his representatives, would sit across a huge table from the Warner executives and attorneys. Think Caucasian and Suits and Square.

Prince attended these negotiations dutifully and hoped for the best. But this wasn't "just business" to him. This was his creative and spiritual life and soul at stake. So at each negotiating session, he wanted to Make a Statement.

This he did by scrawling SLAVE in huge letters on his forehead with a black Magic Marker. He says the Warner executives and attorneys would see it as Prince took his seat, and there would be a little nervousness on that side of the table, and then they'd say, "Well, uhhhh, okay, now let's see what we should negotiate about today."

In his cover of "One of Us," God being just a slob like one of us is changed to being just a slave like one of us. This is one of Prince's very rare Very Angry songs -- but that sets the booming, explosive heartbeat of the arrangement.

LARRY KING: So, uh, where do you live?

PRINCE: Larry, I have a house in Spain, and also I live in Minneapolis.

I've been to Minneapolis. I liked it ... but you wouldn't expect Prince to live there. He was born and grew up there and has always been drawn back to Minneapolis. You expect Mary Richards to make you a tuna-fish sandwich on white bread in Minneapolis. You don't expect Prince.

Another thing you don't expect in Minneapolis is Mystery Science Theater 3000, but there they are or were. One of the bad sci-fi movies they had to watch while imprisoned on the Satellite of Love had a minor villain who slightly resembles Prince, and the robots just go apeshit with Prince jokes and impersonations.

Another thing you don't expect in St. Paul is the William Marvy Co., where I bought my Model 405 genuine rotating illuminated barber pole, the one in my bathroom. They kept asking me, "Are you a barber?" and I kept telling them I was not a barber, and they thought this was very odd, they had been in business since 1937 and nothing like this had ever happened before that anyone could remember, but they sold me the pole anyway, and I drove it back to Massachusetts. The contractors who were resuscitating my mega-destroyed bathroom were amazed at the nifty rotating illuminated barber pole. "Hey Ed! Come here! Check this out!"

Another thing you wouldn't have expected in Minneapolis around the time I visited there was the daughter of the King and Queen of Sweden. Kroninprinsess Viktoria was just a teenage girl who liked ice cream, but the Stockholm tabloid newspapers just mercilessly attacked her and called her fat and chubby on the front page all the time, she started having a nervous breakdown, so her rents shipped her off incognito to go to college in Minneapolis, where everybody speaks fluent Swedish (maybe Prince doesn't, but I'll bet he knows a lot more Swedish than I do), and all the other girls looked just like Vikkie, it's pretty much the identical genome. I think she's hot. I was in Stockholm, bought one lousy postcard of the Swedish Royal Family, and fell in love with her instantly. I like a girl who has an appetite.