Last year on this date, the world lost a true music icon. I couldn’t write a blog about it that day because I was definitely sad and, for once, at a loss for words.

Yes, I am talking about Prince.

Here we are, a year later, and it’s still too surreal, too hard to fathom that Prince is gone. Mary’s Basement always covered “Purple Rain” but when we played last year at the RGCC, you could see the sadness in people’s eyes when I started the first chord of that song. I got emotional too but instead of crying (I did that at my computer that day), I threw my guitar behind my back and let it feedback.

A bit melodramatic but it worked.

The funny thing is, I hated Prince as a kid. Couldn’t stand him. I was a typical snot-nosed metal head, listening to the bands of the day such as Priest, Maiden, Metallica, etc. So what turned me around?

A guitar solo.

Heard the outro solo to “Let’s Go Crazy” and refused to believe it was Prince playing. I thought “Nah, he has that other guy behind him taking the solo. That guitar is a prop.” Then I saw Prince play a few songs live on MTV and I had my ass handed to me. He FLOORED me with his playing. Right then and there, I started taking him a bit more seriously. I borrowed PURPLE RAIN from my aunt, really studied those songs. From there, I was hooked. I was still a metal dude but also a new Prince fan.

I was lucky to have seen him in 2004 at the Brendan Byrne Arena (I refuse to call it Izod Arena, though now it’s closed…thanks Gov. Christie!) He was mesmerizing, forgot he had a band with him on stage. He did a solo acoustic set in the middle of the show and let me tell you…it was unreal. Played some licks that were like John McLaughlin/Al DiMeola at times. Oh and he can sing and dance well too 😉

As I sit here typing this, I still don’t want to believe that he’s gone. Granted, I was bummed when we lost Keith Emerson, Allan Holdsworth, Greg Lake; was really upset when Freddie Mercury, Ronnie James Dio, and Dimebag Darrell died. But Prince’s death just threw me way off-axis.

Rest In Purple…