Cat, We Need You To Rap

Cat Times

As the Prince weeks on produzentin.com are coming to an end, I thought this might be my chance to sneak in a story about one of my favourite record covers, the Sign ‘O’ The Times single. Released by Prince in February 1987 it was the lead single for the album of the same title.

At that time I was very nervous when a new Prince single or album was released, especially if it was the lead single revealing the new Prince look.

This was before the internets hit the streets and therefore, or maybe because I was living in a small village in Germany, not much was known about the new record or look. So, I made my way to the record store on the day of the release and there it is: Sign “O” The Times.

For a moment, I was very surprised. Did he really do drag? On a closer look and by flipping the cover it was clear that the woman’s styling was done with Prince in mind. Hilarious. But who was this person and why is she on the cover of the new Prince single? I was desperate. Maybe the video would be more helpful. I was so disappointed when I saw the video for the first time. No Prince sighting during the whole video, only text rolling left and right and up and down. Times.

The album was finally released in April 1987 and it basically continued the theme: Prince wears peach and black. For the Sign ‘O’ The Times tour it would later read on the tickets: “Wear something peach or black”.

The woman on the cover is Cat Glover. It was her introduction into the Prince world. As a member of the band she joined the Sign ‘O’ The Times and Lovesexy tours and is featured in a couple of videos, like Glam Slam and I Wish U Heaven. Her raps can be heard on Cindy C. (of the Black Album, the rap was originally written by Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley and included on Music is the Key) and Alphabet St.

Years later, I read an interview with Cat (can’t find the magazine anymore) that Prince and her thought it would be fun if Cat would be on the cover dressed as him. Easy.

By the way, the B-side was written by Prince as he was challenged by Sheena Easton who thought he could not come up with a song to the title of La, La, La, He, He, Hee. It’s a 10 minute funk workout with a dog barking drum pattern about a sexually charged romance between a dog and a cat.

Prince Weekends

Last weekend Toffi and I went to the big arena Prince show. It seemed like it was sold out, around 20000 people. The stage in form of his trademark symbol is set up in the middle of the venue. We were in the fifth row directly at the point of the symbol.
I was especially happy to hear Controversy and If I Was Your Girlfriend. During 1999 Prince, to make the audience sing along, jokingly asks: What’s the name of this song?

Even more exciting than the big show are his aftershows. During his 21 nights in London, an aftershow is happing every night, although it is not announced whether or not he’ll be there.

He played the aftershow last Friday, so Toffi and I had the feeling he would not play the aftershow on Saturday. He didn’t. His band played and there are great musicians but the jazztrumentals were kind of heavy on us.

To make sure I would get another Prince filled aftershow, I bought tickets for 3 shows that are happening before I go back to Toronto. The first was this Friday. Again jazzstrumentals only. No Prince.

Finally, yesterday night, Prince and the band performed. They came on stage at 1 am and rocked the house from the very first minute. The audience was on a very high energy level too, singing along for most of the songs. They played a few cover versions, including What Have You Done For Me Lately by Janet.

For the encore Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas joined the band and rhymed CIA with KKK. He always reminds me of a jumping jack. Too soon, the house lights went on, the dj started playing again. About 5 minutes later, half of the audience had already left, people are screamingly running back to the stage: Prince and the band are back.
They launch into a guitar heavy version of Red Headed Stepchild, an unreleased song that Prince had written for his former protege Tamar. At this point the audience went totally nuts, jumping up and down during the whole song, singing the refrain.

Wish me luck for this Thursday night, my last aftershow (for now).

Earlier:
A Night In London
On Prince Concerts

A Night in London

I leave my place at around 9 to walk to the cinema to see The Godfather of Disco (trailer) at its UK premiere. As I arrive at the venue I see Mel Cheren head into the theatre. And just by chance I sit right next to him during the screening. The film is loosely based on Mel’s autobiography and features lots of interviews. Apart from Mel’s story, I found the interviews with Junior Vasquez (of all people) and Kevin Hedge of Blaze (he cute) most interesting. Also, it was very sad to see some of speeches that were held during Larry Levan’s funeral service.
After the documentary, I said hi to Mel and the director, Gene Graham. Now, let’s hope they’re getting some good distribution for the movie, that you can see it.

Then I rushed across town to get to the Prince afterparty. As Toffi is coming over next weekend and we’re heading to a Prince concert, I didn’t want to spoil the big arena experience and decided not to go to one of the main shows before. Although, Prince does not perform at every afterparty, I was very optimistic.

So, I get there at a quarter to one. 15 minutes later Prince hits the stage. Dressed in a red suit, red hat with big red feathers on top. His keyboard is set up in the middle of the stage and he starts with two Stevie Wonder cover versions, Superstition and Higher Ground, before moving on to A Love Bizarre. The audience goes crazy. He does back up vocals for Marva King on the Chaka Khan cover of Sweet Thing. Then, The Ballad of Dorothy Parker.
Most of the songs feature saxophone solos by Maceo Parker, of James Brown and Parliament/George Clinton fame.

The whole atmosphere on stage is quite relaxed. At one point Prince sings:
“Learn to work the toilet seat – If it’s up – Put it down” (from the new song, The Rules)
And gets the audience to repeat the lines.

A couple of classic covers follow, like Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin). Prince and the band leave the stage at 2:30 am.

Just one more thing, when he first got on stage, I thought he had scarfed his face just like in the old days. That would have been the icing on the cake.

Watch this site as it turns into a Prince fan page.

On Prince Concerts

It’s confession time, again.

I’m a little bit excited to go to a couple of Prince concerts in the weeks ahead. You probably heard that he is playing the O2 Arena in London (the former Millennium Dome) for 21 nights this August and September. I’ve been reading reviews of his first 4 shows like crazy. Of course, the people on the Prince message boards praise each concert over the last.

While reading the forums I came across an entry were the fans posted lists of the Prince concerts they had attended. They also denoted front row views with a little *. And I thought I had been to a lot of Prince concerts. Remember: there is always a bigger nerd.

I am fully aware that I am dating myself with this list, but here it is:

27-08-1988 Frankfurt – Waldstadion – Lovesexy Tour
07-06-1990 Hamburg – Alsterdorfer Sporthalle – Nude Tour
12-06-1990 Berlin – Waldbühne – Nude Tour
31-05-1992 Berlin – Waldbühne – Diamonds & Pearls Tour (I’m not sure about this one)
03-06-1992 Frankfurt – Festhalle – Diamonds & Pearls Tour
31-08-1993 Paris – Palais Omnisport de Bercy – Act II Tour
01-09-1993 Paris – Palais Omnisport de Bercy – Act II Tour
25-11-1994 Berlin – Tränenpalast
04-03-1995 London – Wembley Arena – Gold / Ultimate Live Experience Tour
05-03-1995 London – Wembley Arena – Gold / Ultimate Live Experience Tour
07-03-1995 London – Wembley Arena – Gold / Ultimate Live Experience Tour
23-08-1998 Zürich – Hallenstadion – NewPowerSoul Tour
22-12-1998 Frankfurt – Festhalle – NewPowerSoul Tour
13-10-2002 Frankfurt – Festhalle – One Nite Alone Tour
19-10-2002 Berlin – ICC – Festhalle – One Nite Alone Tour

I think my favourite concert was at Tränenpalast in Berlin. He played a 2 hour+ set after his 5 minute performance at the MTV Europe Awards. There were only about 300 people in attendance and my friend Yvonne and I were standing in the front row.

Maybe I’m thinking of this concert so fondly just because Yvonne and I had to work hard for this: We were standing at the entry for three hours, pressed against iron bars. Through the Prince fan base we had heard about the “secret” show and got in line at 10 pm, even before the MTV awards were over. Finally, the doors opened at 1 am. After we waited for another hour, Prince got on stage and blew the house down. He even spoke German: “Kaputt!”, referring to a mic that was quickly replaced.
I think it took days to get that stupid grin off my adolescent face.

Prince: Nude Tour
Prince during a Nude Tour concert (source).
I’m still in love with the pattern of the suit.

I met my friend Yvonne on the local bus to the Nude Tour concert at Waldbühne in Berlin. Taking the seat next to her I said: “I want to be front row and you?”. She was in. Together, we ran down the steps of the arena, landed in the 2nd row and had a blast.

Paisley Park: Slow

Yesterday afternoon, I was on the streetcar, still a bit hung over from the night at the Sugarshack (pictures soon), so I listened to some of my favourite Paisley Park slow jams. Only the last two were released on Prince’s Paisley Park label, but I think it is a good name for the mini extreme playlist featuring Prince produced songs by some of his protégées.
Listen to the songs using the flash player below.

Monie Love – In A Word Or 2 (Paisley Park Mix)
It’s 1993, Monie raps the verses, Prince sings the chorus. Her second album of the same name featured several Prince produced songs.

Martika – Love…Thy Will Be Done (Prince Mix)
One of my all time favourite Prince remixes. I think it is basically an extended version of the already Prince produced original, having the extended dubby part at the beginning of the song. Wonderful. It was the lead single to her second album, Martika’s Kitchen, released in 1991.
The video is one of the first directed by Michael Haussman, who later did Madonna’s Take A Bow, one of the three clips for Kanye’s Jesus Walks and most recently, Justin’s SexyBack.

Mavis Staples – Time Waits For No One
This is the title track from Mavis’ first Paisley Park album. The video is very cute, especially at the end, when Mavis is heading out to the balcony and Prince is on the street, playing guitar next to a burning barrel. Very ghetto.
Sadly, the youtube clip doesn’t have the full guitar solo, but you’ll get the idea.
The whole album is one of the best Paisley Park releases, including the funky Jaguar and another favourite of mine, Train.

Sheila E. – Noon Rendezvous
From her 1984 debut album, The Glamorous Life.
I love the sparse instrumentation. Is this romantic?
I’ve been wondering what 2 wear
I love our noon rendezvous

http://mp3player.poqbum.com/player.swf

(Flash player found via the wonderful daughters of invention)

Clipoverload

I am a little bit addicted to youtube.com. The streaming videos made my Sunday.

Reno 911

Here are some clips of my favourite comedy TV series, Reno 911:
Jim Dangle buying new boots
Sky diver
Assistance call with a dog

Kate Bush

Rocket Man music video
This is one of my favourite Kate videos ever. Another evidence that a wind machine is always good.

Kate performing Kite and Wuthering Heights live at German TV show, Bio’s Bahnhof, February 1978
Love her dancing at the end of Kite. She wears the same dress at this rare “Red Dress Version” of the Wuthering Heights music video, filmed in the woods. Youtube has a lot of TV apperances by Kate, just do a search.

Pete Burns

Pete moves into the Celebrity Big Brother UK house. Auch etwas krass.
There are more BB clips of him. He is the best.

Mariah Carey

MTV Cribs – Part I, II and III
Her famous MTV cribs episode. Don’t miss her shoe room in part III.

Prince

Electric Intercourse
Live performance at First Avenue, Minneapolis on August 3rd 1983. Electric intercourse is a Purple Rain outtake and has never been released on any album. I love this song.

Vanity 6 – He’s So Dull
I’ve written about the video a few weeks ago.

MC Froggy – My Dumps

This is not on youtube.com but on Peaches MySpace profile. On Friday night, I’ve been to the last monthly Vazaleen party. We had a great night and the DJ played this super version of My Humps. Enjoy.