Saturday, April 23, 2016

Prince - R.I.P.

As you probably know, Prince died two days ago. He was only 57. Prince was an incredibly talented musician. For one of his albums, he not only produced, arranged and composed it but played all 27 instruments on the recording. He was arguably the greatest living guitarist when he died.

I can distinctly remember walking out of a theater having watched Purple Rain feeling amazed by Prince's talent.

Minnesota is a land with a rich history of musical talent. Bob Dylan, The Replacements, Husker Du (with Bob Mould) and Soul Asylum to name a few.

I have traveled a lot and everywhere I go I hear Prince. It always makes me proud to be from Minnesota. Not just because of his talent but because Minnesota is the kind of place that a five foot two scrawny eccentric minority kid can become a superstar. Maybe that is why Prince continued to live here.

Prince was well know for denouncing record company contracts calling them a form of indentured servitude and even slavery. Young musicians are often conned into signing contracts when they are just staring out only to later learn that they are obliged to make a set number of albums for the record company. But they cannot make anything they want; often the contracts specify they have to follow the artistic direction of the company and the company can accept or decline the albums. So they are essentially locked into the contract until the record company decides to release them.

I do not know if Prince every spoke about lifetime alimony but you can bet he would have thought it was an even worse form of slavery than a record contract. I love Minnesota but lifetime alimony and a corrupt legal system are huge problems here. Justice is not something that just happens. The laws need to support it and the legal system needs to ensure it.  When that falls apart, as it has in Minnesota, it causes real harm to innocent people and indeed all of society.

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