There probably isn’t a single music fan in the world who isn’t aware that Prince is totally bananas. That said, he’s really raised the bar for himself in a new interview with the The Mirror — the UK tabloid in which, for some reason, he’s chosen to release his next album 20Ten on Saturday. For free. The piece of the profile that’s making headlines around the world is the snippet in which the Purple One explains that he’s entirely unplugged from the Internet because it’s “completely over.” But those who only focus on that sound bite are missing out on a few thousand words of weird. And, of course, it’s all entertainingly complicated by the paper’s obvious interest in hyping the album to sell its own newspaper. Check out our favorite excerpts, from Prince’s “evangelical TV documentary” to an impromptu Soul Train dance party, after the jump.
1. Prince fires his interviewer.
We’re two minutes into Beatles classic ‘Come Together’ and I’m getting into my stride when I become aware that Prince is staring across at me and wincing. “Stop! Stop! Stop!” he shouts, slamming his hand down on his purple grand piano. “Have you ever seen The Apprentice on TV? Cos You’re fired!”
2. The Internet is so 2009.
[Prince] says: “The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it. “The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. “They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”
3. Prince wants listeners to be surprised… by his track titles.
“This one’s called ‘Compassion,'” says Prince. But as I try to scribble it down he looks aghast, grabs my wrist and pleads: “Please, please. It’s a surprise, don’t spoil it for people.”
4. 2010 is the year when Corporate America causes the apocalypse.
So why did you decide to call the album 20TEN? I ask. “I just think it’s a year that really matters,” he says. These are very trying times.” To emphasise the point he chivvies me into another room, switches on the TV and shows me clips from an evangelical TV documentary blaming corporate America for a range of woes from Hurricane Katrina to asthmatic children.
5. Don’t ask about Prince’s childhood.
Prince talks about his beliefs with missionary zeal, but ask him anything remotely personal and he’s brusque. Question him on his childhood and he says: “I don’t talk about the past.”
6. Don’t ask about Michael Jackson.
And on late friend/foe Michael Jackson, he simply replies: “Next question.”
7. Prince always keeps background singers on hand.
Time for another surprise. “Come,” he says, and like an excitable Willy Wonka, he leads me down corridors lined with glinting platinum discs to a lounge where his three talented backing singers, Shelby Johnson, Olivia Warfield and Elisa Fiorilla, are waiting by an ebony futuristic grand piano.
8. Prince engages in alcohol-free, vegan, Jehovah’s Witness debauchery.
But where are the guests? And where’s the bar? Of course, I remember, he’s a strict teetotal vegan — when one of those backing singers wanders in, offering me a glass of still water. She is closely followed by the other two, carrying trays of sliced melon and raw vegetables, which they place on a long table beside a large Bible. “Help yourself,” says one.
9. Prince (abruptly) remembers the ’70s.
Just when it couldn’t get any more bizarre, Prince clambers behind video equipment under the stairs and starts screening 1970s clips from the US TV show Soul Train of his music heroes such as Marvin Gaye and Barry White. He urges his guests — all five of us — to dance and the spirited backing singers look like they’re having the time of their lives.
10. Prince divulges the secret to his eternal youth.
He adds earnestly: “Playing electric guitar your whole life does something to you. I’m convinced all that electricity racing through my body made me keep my hair.”