Prince was so much bigger-than-life that some of my musician friends and I have been thinking —’why even bother?’
Funny enough, that’s how I felt when I first saw him live around 1979; at an early show of his in North Minneapolis. At some point during the performance Prince took off his guitar (which he’d been tearing up mercilessly,) kicked each band member off his instrument, and proceeded to set each one on fire —first the keyboards, then the bass, and finally, Bobby Z’s drum kit. Back in ’79 I also thought, ‘why even bother?’
I tried to explain Prince to someone the other day, to some rare person who didn’t know him at all beyond recognizing his name. “Prince showed us how much more there was to listen to,” I said.
Listening is not the same for each of us. Most of us are habituated to listening at the depth of say, a piece of typing paper. Others of us, the skilled ones, listen at the depth of an inch or two. Prince listened at a depth of thousands of feet.
That’s what I take away from this whole tragic thing. The listening… it’s all about stopping to hear.