Monday, June 25, 2012

"The Mplsound, We Can't Be Beat" - Attention Mpls Prince Fans!

Well, folks, it's been another hectic week, so I'm devoting this blog entry to a simple call to action: If you're a Prince fan in Minneapolis, I need your help!

As I've said before, I'd like to visit Prince's hometown in the near future, and I'd really like some insight on the must-see Prince places. Note: I am NOT trying to invade his privacy and go to his current Minneapolis home à la Kesha, so don't give me directions there.
I'm thinking more along the lines of the obvious landmarks, such as:

  • First Avenue, the club where Prince regularly performed, and the main setting for his masterpiece movie, "Purple Rain."
  • The real Lake Minnetonka, the place where "Appolonia" (Patricia Kotera) thought she was "purifying" herself in the famous "Purple Rain" scene (Prince fans - where was that scene really shot?). 
  • 915 Logan Avenue, the home where Prince lived as a kid.
  • Park Avenue United Methodist Church, the church that Prince has attended, and the setting for his wedding to first wife Mayte Garcia, who was recently interviewed about her upcoming reality show, "Hollywood Exes" (thanks for the tip, Dimitri).
  • Central High School, Prince's high school.
I'm really interested in meeting Minneapolis residents who remember seeing Prince and his family around town, before and after he became famous. It'd be great to chat with them about their impressions of the star.

So, Minneapolis Prince fans, if you have any tips for me, or if there are other places that I should definitely check out, please leave me a message in the comments section below, or send me a private message here!

Have a good week, and thanks for reading!

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Don't You Wanna Know the Word?" - Updates

Hello, everyone! It's been a very busy week, but I wasn't going to let Monday come and go without posting (albeit late). I'm staying on task with this weekly blog! Here are some more updates on my progress:

  1. Revamping the website: I've mentioned my intention to redesign this website in earlier posts, but I've finally taken the first step--changing the domain name. This blog is moving from "" to "" The transition should be complete some time this week. Next, I can focus on changing the look of the site. I'm excited to see what I can do (within my limited means, of course).

  2. Finding out about Prince's experience at Park Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis:  Last month, a church member read my blog and offered to help me get in touch with people who were there when Prince attended. I'm happy to say that he provided me with some great contact information last week (shout out to Matt!). Hopefully I'll get another interview or two this week.

  3. Waiting to do an interview with a MAJOR source for my book (who has agreed to chat): The status has not changed since the time I first mentioned it; I'm still waiting. :)

  4. Talking to four more important Prince journalists: As you know, I've already interviewed C.J. I'm reading Jon Bream's "Inside the Purple Reign." When I'm done, I'll contact him.
As always, thanks for reading! Tell your friends!

To be continued....

Monday, June 11, 2012

“All Praise and Glory 2 the Most High” – 5 Other Famous Jehovah’s Witnesses

As I mentioned earlier, I’m going to research other“born-again” musicians to compare their experiences to Prince’s experiences. Last week, I realized that it would also make sense to get a little more specific and investigate other stars who are, or have been, Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are some pretty big names on the list. It’s also interesting that, while some were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses and later moved away from the faith, others, like Prince, moved to the faith in their adult lives.

Check out five other famous Jehovah’s Witnesses:

1.  Michael Jackson—It’s pretty well known that M.J. was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. In fact, there are legendary tells of the King of Pop dressing in disguise as he went door-to-door to witness.  Additionally, we can’t forget that he was pressured to place the disclaimer before the "Thriller" video, distancing himself from occult affiliation:
2.  Janet Jackson—Obviously, like her brother, Janet was also raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. Also like Mike, Janet seemed to step away from the religion later in life. In a 2009 interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News, Janet talked about having her first birthday party at 23-years-old (Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays and holidays):

See 4:30 mark

3.  Serena Williams—the superstar tennis player recently told Sister 2 Sister magazine that she is recommitting herself to the Jehovah’s Witness faith, which she grew up in.

4. Omarion—back in 2009, the R&B singer and former member of boy band B2K admitted to BV Buzz that he had been studying to become a Jehovah’s Witness, and even cited Prince as an inspiration for witnessing door-to-door:

Yeah. I can see myself doing it. Prince does it. I think it would be fun to go door knocking with him. It would be really interesting to knock on somebody's door and see them open it and be like, "Oh Prince!"
5.  Larry Graham—Legendary bassist and former Sly and the Family Stone member is a devout Jehovah’s Witness. He served as a spiritual guide for Prince as the "Purple Rain" star was learning about the faith. Watch Graham and Prince perform “The Christ” (originally titled “The Cross”) live:

Monday, June 4, 2012

“Joy—It’s in the Dictionary, See J” –Interview with C.J.

Good news: I have another interview under my belt! As I said in last week’s entry, I spoke with Minneapolis’Star Tribune columnist C.J., who has covered Prince for almost 20 years. As Prince fans may or may not know, C.J. was the alleged inspiration for Prince’s song “Billy Jack Bitch” from the 1995 album “The Gold Experience.”  

I had a wonderful time speaking with C.J. She was very helpful and fun. She gave me some additional details about her face-to-face encounter with Prince, but she had some interesting insights into his spiritual development.

“He’s flirted with a lot of different religions,” she said. As I mentioned in an earlier post, previous biographers have said that Prince attended both a Seventh Day Adventist church and a Methodist church as a kid. However, C.J. talked about Prince exploring other faiths not based in Christianity.

Like others I’ve interviewed, C.J. believes that Prince is genuine in the Jehovah’s Witness faith that he is committed to today. Finding out that Prince went proselytizing door-to-door in Minneapolis certainly helped her come to that conclusion.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t think that Prince’s Minneapolis-based family, friends or associates will speak to me. “It’ll be difficult for you to get people to talk to you because I know he has made them sign confidentiality agreements,” she said. As you know, I’ve heard about that roadblock many, many times, and I don’t intend to give up (in fact, I’ve observed that many people have spoken to other biographers on the condition of anonymity)!

She did recommend that I contact Jimmy Jam, the legendary producer and former member of the group The Time (created by Prince) who is now based in California. “He might give you some insight…and he doesn’t owe Prince anything,” she said.

I’m looking forward to adding her perspective to the book, and investigating the tips she gave me.

Stay tuned!