I was 12 years old back in February of 1981 and had stayed up to watch Saturday Night Live like every other Saturday night. Charlene Tilton was hosting and I had a HUGE crush on her. I hadn't heard of the musical guest, but, back then, SNL was how I often saw up and coming artists. Living in Salina, Kansas…there wasn’t a validated market for anything other than country music and soft pop. There. I got that out of the way…the first of what will surely be many digressions.
Anyway, Charlene introduces the musical guest. I had fully planned to go to the kitchen and grab some snacks so I could be back in time to catch Charlene’s next skit. This small framed guy walks up to the mic, denounces war and counts off to Party Up. If I can paraphrase Billy from Purple Rain, “snacks my ass muthafucka”…I was HOOKED! His total vibe was that of nonconformity…a word that was beginning to describe me more and more as a gay kid. The music, the lyrics, the band, his style of dress, his moves…I remember him doing a little James Brown thing with his feet. I went to sleep that night knowing I was not an anomaly and that I didn’t have to change who I was just to fit in…I would have to leave Salina…but that’s an entirely different story.
Fast forward a year or so and I’m chillin at home watching Friday Night Videos. The video for 1999 comes on and the first thing that grabs my attention: Lisa Coleman and Jill Jones…suggestively dancing and singing while Lisa played keyboards. It was ever so slight, but dang I caught it and knew I had to see what else was going to happen in this video. Mind you, I never caught the artist’s name who performed on SNL that night in 1981. After all, that show was all about Charlene! So, the lead singer of this video band slides down a pole and approaches the mic…the camera zooms in and…IT’S HIM!!!! The guy who had interrupted my SNL snack break and inadvertently changed my life forever. I had to have this album. I went to Salina’s local wrecka stow (shout out to House of Sight and Sound) and bought 1999. While there I discovered he had released 4 albums prior to 1999. I had to have those, too.
Therein began my love affair with all things Prince: his music, his album art, his lyrics, his philanthropy…his purely unadulterated authenticity. There wouldn’t be a time in my life for the next 34 years that I couldn’t associate an event or a memory or how I felt with a Prince lyric…the same could be said for the present.
On April 21, 2016, I experienced a loss the likes of which I had only experienced one other time in my life…and I hope to never experience, again. It wasn’t just my loss…it was the world’s loss. I cannot change reality, Prince Rogers Nelson, but I can make sure you are never forgotten and that I will educate all who will listen through my own artistic endeavors…this site being my humble offering of love and respect. Until we meet…I wish you a peaceful Transition 2 The Dawn.