Thursday, October 8, 2015

dirty mind

Prince was just a-freakin' as he drove his daddy's car into virgin territory with his unique blend of salacious new wave funk and revolutionary rock and roll.  While still a teenager the Minneapolis prodigy signed a three album deal with Warner Brothers Records and managed to retain creative control over his music.  On his debut album 'For You'   he produced, arranged, composed, and played all twenty-seven instruments.  The follow-up 'Prince'  gave him his first number one hit, with the R&B smash "I Wanna Be Your Lover".  

As he prepared for his next album, he returned to Minneapolis where he had set up his own studio at the house he rented at Lake Minnetonka.  He brought some of his touring band into the process this time around, actually recording with Dr. Fink on synthesizer (on "Dirty Mind" and "Head")  and  Lisa Coleman on vocals ("Head").  Otherwise, all other vocals and instruments were performed by Prince.   The lyrics were more explicit than anything that had ever been released, dealing plainly with such taboo subjects as threesomes, incest, and oral sex without any metaphor or double entendre.    The music was just as raw, bridging the diverse styles of funk and post punk, soul and new wave, pop and protest, into something that defied categorization.   

Prince would express at the time:   "To me, disco was always very contrived music. It was all completely planned out for when the musicians were recording it in the studios. Basically, what I do is just go in and play...It's easy for me to work in the studio, because I have no worries or doubts about what the other musician's going to play because that other musician is almost always me! All the other musicians on the record are me. Disco music was filled with breaks that a studio musician would just play and fill up when his moment came. But I don't do that at all – I just play along with the other guy...[The idea that I can play twenty-seven instruments] came about because that was the exact number of instruments I played on the first album. But actually, there are a lot of instruments which if you can play you can also play another six related ones...I think I've always been the same. But when you're in the hands of other people they can package it in a way that is more … uhhh, acceptable. All along I've had the same sort of ideas that came out on this record. It's just that my former management had other thoughts about it all...The songs on Dirty Mind were originally just some demo tapes that I recorded and took to LA to play to my new management. Even they weren't too happy with them. We also had long talks about what I felt was me getting closer to my real image, and at first they thought that I'd gone off the deep end and had lost my mind. Warners basically thought the same, I think...But once I told them that this was the way it was, then they knew they had no choice and they'd have to try it, because they weren't going to get another record out of me otherwise...I know that I'm a lot happier than I was. Because I'm getting away with what I want to do. With the other two albums I feel I was being forced to suppress part of myself – though also I was younger...I just turned down all the producers that Warners suggested to me for the first album. Even when they finally agreed to let me produce myself they insisted I had to work with what they said was an Executive Producer, who was really just an engineer. And that caused a whole lot of other problems, because he was versed in shortcuts and I didn't want to take any – though (laughs) that was why it took five months to make...The recording's become a little easier these days. I used to be a perfectionist – too much of one. Those ragged edges tend to be a bit truer...I write everything from experience. Dirty Mind was written totally from experience...When I started doing my own records I really didn't want to listen to anybody, because I figured I should just disregard what anybody else might be doing. Though I suppose subconsciously I might have been influenced just by the mood that was going on around me. I can only be a product of my time … unless I cut myself off totally. Though that is soon to come...[from] the world...Just write music, and things like that. Hang around in my head. And just make records. I don't think I'll perform any more. I don't want to do this too much longer...It's still fun. But I get bored real fast. Yeah, it's still fun. But I can't see it going on for too much longer in the same fashion."

'Dirty Mind' became an underground smash, selling a half a million copies with zero radio exposure.  The album charted at number forty-five on the Billboard 200 and number seven on the R&B album chart.


"Uptown" reached number five on the US R&B singles chart.


"I was in a lot of different situations when I was coming up to make that record. A lot of anger came up through the songs. It was kind of a rough time. There were a few anti-draft demonstrations going on or that I was involved in that spurred me to write Partyup...Really, that song is just about people who'd rather have a good time than go and shoot up one another. That's all – it's pretty basic. I just seem to read about a lot of politicians who're all going to die soon and I guess they want to go out heavy, because they're prepared to make a few mistakes and end up starting a war that they don't have to go out and fight...I just think the people should have a little more to say in some of these foreign matters. I don't want to have to go out and die for their mistakes."

'Dirty Mind' 
full album:

All songs written and composed by Prince, except where noted

Side one

1. "Dirty Mind"   Prince, Dr. Fink (music) 4:14
2. "When You Were Mine"     3:47
3. "Do It All Night"     3:42
4. "Gotta Broken Heart Again"     2:16
Side two
5. "Uptown"   Prince, André Cymone  5:32
6. "Head"     4:44
7. "Sister"     1:31
8. "Partyup"   Prince, Morris Day 4:24


Capitol Theatre January 30, 1982

The Ritz, New York March 22, 1981

American Bandstand  
January 6, 1980
I Wanna Be Your Lover / Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? 

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