Paisley Park: lonely palace or insightful museum?

Paisley ParkPaisley Park stands beside a highway in a quiet suburb some distance from Minneapolis. If you’ve been living under a rock or are too young to know much, you might not know that this is where legendary musician Prince lived and made music, and where he died in April 2016. Prince was arguably the most gifted and accomplished musician in popular music of the 20th and early 21st century. Without doubt he can claim the title of most prolific. In 1987 he constructed the 65,000 square foot complex, named after one of his songs that described a place of “profound inner peace.” Reporter Amanda Petrusich visited Paisley Park and described her experience for The New Yorker (June 25, 2018). Seeking to better understand the enigmatic genius, she came away disappointed by the experience, which evoked the sensation “of being near Prince, but never quite with him.” Continue reading →

Prince and the opening of Paisley Park

Paisley Park gala openingI had the opportunity to tour Prince’s Paisley Park studio on October 6. The Chanhassen City Council angered fans across the world by refusing at the last minute to issue a business permit, throwing plans into disarray for thousands of people who had purchased tickets. Bowing to pressure, the city issued a temporary permit allowing Paisley Park to open to the public for just three days, on October 6, 8 and 14. I felt doubly privileged to be able to take the tour. Not only did I feel privileged to see the space where Prince expressed his creativity for three decades, but I felt lucky to experience it when future plans remain uncertain. (Hopefully, the council will eventually do the right thing and allow Paisley Park to operate as a museum.) Continue reading →

Electronic dance music museums to open in 2017

MOMEMElectronic dance music will soon have not one but two museums dedicated to the genre, which has become superficial over the years. That may sound like a harsh put-down, but the genre is deliberately designed to be about surface, not depth. It is now basically a set of simplistic building blocks that even a non-musician can put together in formulaic patterns with maximum repetition, in seemingly infinite sub-genres that differ subtly to all but initiated devotees. Anyway, the two museums will be opening in Germany in 2017. Continue reading →

Motor City paving over its musical past

freewayDetroit — unlike cities such as Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans — has never been able to cash in on its famous musical history. Despite being well known as the birthplace of Motown, not to mention major artists from Aretha Franklin to Madonna, there is little to mark the fact that the Detroit metro area is one of the most significant places when talking about the history of American music. So why isn’t the Detroit music scene a major tourist draw? Continue reading →