Shut up, already! Damn!

IMG_0313
The Head. Photo by The Coffa. 
Tell me who in this house know about the quake? Well, we do!
It was 30 years ago, today. – Well almost. I was on a school trip to some canoeing place and while some went out for a second round, I hung out with my favourite girl friend, Tina. No, not girlfriend, (we were passed that) but girl friend.

She lent me her brand new cassette tape with the latest Prince album on it. I popped it into my yellow Sony Walkman, inserted my earbuds, pressed play, and nothing was ever the same again. Sure, we had all heard “Sign O’ The Times” but the album was a whole other beast! When I first heard that overly confident voice demanding everyone to “Shut up, already” I was blown away! Those drums, man. I was heavily into hip hop and metal at the time and hadn’t fully fathomed the awesomeness that was Prince. I hadn’t even realised how good his earlier records was, until that magical, mystical moment in the sun on that floating pier. I remember I had to sit down, it was all just to much. “I mean really!” – I was listening to the worlds greatest party, and I was invited! The music took me places. Lunch was served and I had starfish and coffee, maple syrup and jam. I got to bathe with Dorothy Parker, with my pants on! I was 15 and believe me when I say, I thought about “It” all the time.
prince 2
For the first time I could relate to the androgynous singer. His beats were hitting, his riffs were hard. His voice was punchy and raw. He was singing about me, to me. I was mesmerised. It was as if he was inside my head. All those times I had wished that I was your girl friend! Lately, in school, I had turned into the guy they all came to, with their older-boyfriend-issues. I had gone from king status to geek status. I had become the nice guy in the friend zone and summer could not come fast enough! And suddenly here was Prince! He got me. He understood. He gave me comfort and a sense that I was destined for something else – the afterworld. For me, that afterworld was whatever was gonna come as soon as school was over.
Safe to say, Tina didn’t get the tape back. Not until I had had the chance to make a copy of it anyway. (Don’t worry, I’ve bought it three times since).

PrinceStrangely though, as the years have passed, I haven’t listened that much to the album for maybe 20 years and as I saw that it was time for its’ 30th anniversary I started wondering why? So the other day, I sat down and put my headphones on. Wow! Immediately I was back on that pier in the sun. But something else hit me. The reason why I haven’t listened to ”Sign O’ The Times” for so long is probably because I am listening to it everyday! Every time I put on Miles Davies, it’s thanks to that album. Every time I listen to Frank Zappa, it’s because of Prince. Every time I enjoy a great pop song it’s because of how that album taught me music, production, sound. Suddenly I realised, that moment on the pier was the starting point of my career as a producer and mixer. Had it not been for ”Sign O’ the Times” I might never have dared to venture into all those obscure jazz albums and fusion groups. Maybe I wouldn’t even have understood the rest of Princes catalogue. The album is full of exciting counter point, intricate chords, weird sounds, and advanced theory, but done in a way that you never realise the complexity of it. It’s a true masterpiece and maybe the highlight of a brilliant career. It’s also a rare gem for musicologists that is far to often overseen. On a more serious note, if it wasn’t for ”Sign O’ the Times”, I would never have had the balls to build my studio. I would never have learnt how to make a properly gated reverb. I probably wouldn’t have been asked to produce Orren and Barbas earlier group, King Kong Crew, and we would maybe never have met. I certainly wouldn’t have been Grammy nominated, and Billy Momo wouldn’t have sounded the way we do! In a way, I owe it all to a purple-loving man in heals, wearing Peaches and Black! (Oscar Harryson, aka ‘The Head’, guitar + producer)

Advertisements

Published by

billymomo

Swedish 7 piece urban folk band. Tomas Juto: keyboard/lead vocals | Oskar Hovell: acoustic guitar/banjo/lead vocals | Tony Lind: drums/vocals | Oscar Harryson: guitar | Christopher Anderzon: bass/vocals | Mårten Forssman: harmonica | Andreas Prybil: percussion/vocals https://billymomo.wordpress.com

5 thoughts on “Shut up, already! Damn!”

  1. My daughter was 6 months old when “Sign O’ the Times” came out. I was never a big fan of Prince, but I appreciate Prince for his contributions to and influences on music and culture, and providing inspiration for many musicians like yourself.

    Like

  2. Sign o the Times is to my opinion,the highest mountain in Prince his music career.So much different songs,but all pieces of music art and still a clear overall message.
    When the single,Sign o the Times came out,I bought the 12″ remix version,the groove lasted longer and I was in the middle of going out in local nightclubs in Arnhem, the Netherlands :Luxor and Swingcafé.Really bizar places to go out,but the best clubs than around in the Netherlands .
    Than the Sign o the Times Tour get started,I bought some field tickets,for the friday night show at the Galgenwaard Footbal stadium in Utrecht (he did here 4 shows in a row),and on the tickets was announced “wear something peach and black “.
    The concert was amazing,very much beautiful women and men,all de dressed-up in the peach and black color code, the biggest stage i’ve ever saw and totally like the albumcover designer.
    The Public Adres system (sound) was very massiv and a flying system ,so I was really aroused about the coming show and it became a music hurricane.
    The support programme was Madhouse,the Jazz rock formation of Eric Leeds,saxaphone player also in The Revolution. Heavy funky jazzrock at AC/DC level.
    And than,the Show started:Sign o the Times begins with a sreaming and very raw intro solo on guitar,together with big clouds of showfog rolling over the audience, than six people with a single hanging drum,walking from left to right, Sheila E upfront and playing the ritme.Amazing.
    The rest of the show,went like a hi-speed train,one big rush of party.

    The next day I rode in a news paper, a comment article on this show.The journalist was completely smashed by music and the show.But what I really like, the fact,he mentioned:13 kilometers further,in the village Schoonhoven, people could hear Prince signing and could clear understand the song lyrics.
    Wonderfull Night.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Although my only musical talent is appreciation, I had a similar epiphany to “Parade”.
    I loved good music, my parents loved good music, I grew up listening to good music. I already loved Prince; I identified with the ‘other’ in him, Prince ‘got’ me.

    But then I heard Parade. I remember listening to ‘Mountains’ and suddenly the whole concept of the ‘arrangement’ was crystal clear and brand new. As a non-musician, I was never aware of an arrangement before. I heard songs as ‘one thing’, in totality. Music was about emotion to me, not so much about art. Never had I heard how all the different parts came together. MY MIND WAS BLOWN!
    It changed the way I listened to music from that day on. Even songs I had heard hundreds of time were more vivid, more colorful, more MORE. My brain was SO HAPPY for all this new brain food!

    After he passed, I subconsciously and then consciously took inventory of what Prince had brought to my life since I first became aware of him in ’80-’81. Too long to go into probably only of interest to me.
    But …Prince made me love music beyond what I ever knew I could. He demonstrated how music can get all into all those grey squishy folds of my brain and simultaneously fill it up and empty it out.

    Dude was MAGIC. Otherworldly. I miss knowing we were sharing the planet.

    I’m sure this full of typos, I’m writing this on a phone in a parking lot. But some things you just have to connect with in the moment. Loved your piece.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s