Let me preface this whole thing by saying that I am a gigantic fan. I vividly remember hearing 'Little Red Corvette' for the first time...I was in Junior High and hormones were laying waste to my sanity. That song let me know that I wasn't crazy, and the sound gave voice to what I could not articulate. Mainly that I needed a love slave.
I was already on the bandwagon when 'Purple Rain' came out, I still count 'Under the Cherry Moon' as a sadly overlooked masterpiece (the album, not the movie...if you'd performed the songs live in the movie it would be a camp classic instead of a heinous vanity project), and I saw 'Sign o' the Times' in the theater. OK? I ordered 'Crystal Ball' on the internet. I am a true believer!
I dug it when you shaved 'Slave' into your facial hair. I cheered when you shook off the corporate puppeteers and reclaimed your name.
Here's what I've been missing from you...ROCK. All capital letters blistering guitar solo cock of the walk ROCK. I feel like you lost all your old Hendrix records and are stuck listening to Al Green and Joni Mitchell. Now, don't get me wrong. I love these influences and how they play out in your music, but we have so few guitar gods these days. You are one of them. With great power comes great responsibility. That's a line from 'Spiderman' but i thought invoking a strange guy in tight clothes with a mysterious identity might inspire you.
Now that you know that we are pining away for some ROCK, I have the perfect solution. And it can be just another facet of your diamond lake of personalities...
I have three words for you...
Are you ready? (Those aren't the three words, I'm just building suspense!)
NEW POWER TRIO.
You need to put out an album by the New Power Trio. An Are You Prince-perienced phallus of soaring guitar solos and howling electric blues ROCK. And then you need to tour with that band. Strip away the keyboards, the horns, the lutes, the samples, the back-up singers, the choreography, the instrument shifting, the strings, all that shit. Strip it all away until it is just you, a bass player, and a drummer.
NEW POWER TRIO.
You've done the Sgt. Pepper psychedelia thing, the Parliament thing, the hip-hop thing...what about the time honored tradition of the power trio? Check out the following list...
The Jimi Hendrix Experience...need I say more? We all know you spent hours as a teen hopping around your bedroom wearing scarves and learning these songs note for note. Turn that private obsession out, oh Purple One!
The Who...I know, they had Daltrey, but whenever Pete sang they were a power trio. Unstoppable.
Cream...terrible production, lame singing, stupid lyrics. But holy macaroni, what a noise! 'Disraeli Gears'??? That's almost as pretentious as 'Graffiti Bridge', are you gonna take that lying down?
Husker Du...not so well known as the above triumvirates, but these guys came from your hometown, they exploded all over each other over the course of several amazingly diverse albums, and they somehow managed to be a huge punk success without anyone catching on that the two main songwriters in the band were gay. Their gay-ness only fueled their ROCK. I know you love the ladies, but your androgynous history has to respect a dirty gay punk power trio. Check out 'Zen Arcade' for sheer insane scope of vision.
The Minutemen...c'mon, don't tell me you don't know The Minutemen, P. Rog Nelson! These three guys tore the country apart for a few years before their hefty lead singer died in a van crash. Political, absurd, breakneck, hilarious, ultimately tragic. Listen to 'Double Nickels On The Dime' and try not to be inspired.
King's X...more gay music! And Christian, too! These guys clearly listened to you a good bit so you have to return the favor. Their Wizard of Oz homage is titled 'Gretchen Goes to Nebraska' and it is a killer. Take ZZ Top and throw them into a blender with the Chili Peppers with a dash of Judy Garland worship and voila! King's X.
Speaking of ZZ Top...ZZ Top! 'She's got legs. And she knows how to use 'em'. Imagine yourself covering that song in some Texas amphitheater. Wouldn't that go a long way towards healing the divide between North and South in this country?
Nirvana...sure, they added Pat Smear at the end, there, but that was only three for the most part. And the noise? Immense! Aren't you challenged by the punk rock pop tart 'About a Girl'? Don't you think Kurt Cobain was trying to bait you into answering with a gender bending punk riff 'About a Boy'? Just sayin'...
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble...pure blues madness. Think of all the old blues chestnuts you could wail on. And your teeth aren't as fucked up as his. And you're still alive.
G. Love and Special Sauce...a bit soft to be considered a power trio, but this guy got all funky for a few minutes there back in the 1800's. You could crush him with your Prinky. (That's Prince's little pinky, by the way).
Morphine...these guys really messed with the power trio formula, substituting a saxophone for the guitar and taking two of the strings on the bass away. I include them to show you that this formula doesn't have to limit the scope of the band. Check out 'Super Sex' for a jolt of weirdness. A two string bass? Genius.
Green Day...they went from bratty poop obsessed stoners to hard hitting pundits. Doesn't the epic sprawl of 'American Idiot' make you want to revisit your political oddity 'Ronnie Talk to Russia'? Don't you think you could write a punk musical about the illicit lesbian relationship between Condi Rice and Valerie Plame? Just a thought.
Kings of Leon...the new breed! The only one who could ever reach you were these sons of a preacher man! If you haven't bobbed your perfectly coiffed head to these dirtbags, you are really missing out. Creedence crossed with Radiohead or some shit. Get on it, Your Lavender-osity!
Neil Young & Crazy Horse...I know, he can't really sing, and he writes the same song OVER AND OVER AND OVER, and all the critical acclaim is a bit nauseating, but honestly, check out 'Ragged Glory'. That's three dudes in a barn.
Primus...ok, these freaks are led by a bass player, not a guitar slinger, but that should just incite your six-string ire. 'Pork Soda' has songs about murder, fishing, and the battle of Wounded Knee, for chrissakes. (Oops, sorry about the Lord's name in vain thing). Don't copy the Penguin suit gimmick that Claypool did. It wouldn't work for you. And for pure pop culture cred, they wrote the theme to 'South Park'. That alone puts them in the pantheon.
Finally, perhaps the original, Buddy Holly and the Crickets. The only rock star geekier than you.
Please, Prince. Read this. Get into Paisley Park with the rhythm section of your choice and get crackin'. We need Prince and the New Power Trio. There are so few talents able to write the great song, sing the great song, and then shred insane guitar licks all over the great song. Are you going to let John Mayer corner this market???
I didn't think so.