Milwaukee musicians react to death of Prince

Milwaukee musicians react to death of Prince

640 427


The artist known as Prince has died at age 57.

“It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57,” said his publicist Yvette Noel-Schure.

“Prince was a true inspiration,” said Johanna Rose, a Milwaukee musician who took part in the “Prince Uncovered” event at Alverno College last fall. “He never let anything get in the way of his art. His passion and drive will always be something I reference when feeling defeated as an artist. He changed the world with his music and for that we are blessed. I feel lucky to have lived in the era of Prince.”

Here are reactions from other Milwaukee musicians:


James Julius Anderson (Foreign Goods)
“For me, Prince is essential for the level of technique and intention he brought to his music. Nothing was an accident, every chord, every note, every look, every wardrobe change, it was all nailed down and planned out. He brought a level of life into the music that makes the connection between sex and art tangible.”


Nathaniel Heuer (Hello Death, Group of the Altos, curator of “Prince Uncovered” at Alverno College)
“At noon today my Dad texted me two words from Minneapolis, ‘Prince died.’ I just waited stone-faced, for it to sink in, my mind wandering to all the ways he has been a part of my life.  If I had to boil down everything he’s taught me as an artist into a few words they would be: Work hard every day and try to make your life the same as your art.  If you are able to participate in and witness creativity, life, and love simultaneously then you are most of the way home already.”
88Nine Radio Milwaukee
I regret that I don’t get to see what he would’ve done next.
Sarah Marie Gilbert (aka Sugar Ransom)
“I have been, and still am, attracted to Prince’s fearless approach to a transformative identity in artistic context—from the outside, he seems to have allowed himself to be totally consumed by song. In song, he was constantly challenging style and form and yet still driving all of us wild with hits—a master in so many respects. I regret that I don’t get to see what he would’ve done next.”


Tommy Shears (The Living Statues)
“Despite his legendary status, the man always stayed close to his roots, so that makes this a tough day not only as a musician but as a Midwesterner as well. My thoughts are with our neighbors to the west.”


Biju Jibu Zimmerman (local drummer)
“I grew up pop and purple is my favorite color. Prince’s inspiration was there even when you didn’t know it was there. The one musician that all of us music lovers and musicians held high because the inspiration touched us all. What instrument didn’t he play? I bet you didn’t know Prince wrote that song. Haha! So amazing. My boss is married to Prince’s ex and I will cherish all the stories that were told and will be told! Live on Brother because nothing compares to you.”
He empowered so many people of all kinds to stand up, stare down society and say, I'm proud of who I am, and you can never take that away from me.
Jordan Davis (Space Raft)
“My Dad’s youngest sister had been obsessed with Prince throughout the 80’s, I remember seeing her Prince and the Revolution posters up at my grandparents house when I was a small child. I had been obsessed with Michael Jackson at that age and knew looking at this Prince poster that this wasn’t the type of pop music for kids my age, I saw it as risque,


“I imagined it to be dangerous, I knew it must be raw, and above all could see that it was real. As I got older I was slowly introduced to his music, and as I matured, my view of him broadened very quickly. This was the guy who could literally do anything he set his mind to, compose a perfect melody, leave millions of guitar players in the dust with his untouchable guitar work, sing viscerally in almost any register, produce flawless pop hits, and through it all he seemed to always be prepping his understudies for the future, putting new faces on the stage and into the limelight, producing new talent, filling the Revolution roster with strong and proud women during an extremely misogynistic period in the music business.


“He empowered so many people of all kinds to stand up, stare down society and say, I’m proud of who I am, and you can never take that away from me. I have so much respect for the man, I will be spinning my copy of my favorite Prince record ‘Around the World in a Day’ just as soon as I can get home from this devastating day. Gone too soon, the world will never be able to repay you for your service to man and woman kind.”


Kellen “Klassik” Abston
“I was exposed to a lot of Prince coming up as a child. Purple Rain is still my favorite movie. Prince as an artist displayed to me at an early age that truly being a star meant loving who you are, embracing and being confident in that, in such a way that no one can replicate. As a producer and an artist, Prince has always been, for me, the archetype of true musical genius: eccentric to an other-worldly degree, but with the virtuosity and technical mastery to back it up. The greatest rock star of my time.”


Mark Stewart (GGOOLLDD, Pharo)
“It’s tough to even wrap my head around the impact Prince has had on me and the music I’m involved in making. I remember being so blown away at a young age learning that he wrote, played every instrument, sang and produced his records.


“His method of doing everything himself certainly affected me and a lot of other Milwaukee musicians I can think of in our approach to making music; and in fully realizing a musical idea without compromise. All of his records are incredible but tracks like ‘The Ballad of Dorothy Parker’ and ‘If I was your Girlfriend’ from Sign of the Times still just completely blow me away. His production is so forward thinking, futuristic, understated and showcases how Prince was always pushing the boundaries of music and moving pop, rock & r&b into new territory.”


Milwaukee musicians and fans also are expressing their grief on social media:
 Chris Morales Instagram

Prince at SummerfestCourtesy Summerfest

Prince at Summerfest, 2011

Prince performed several times in Milwaukee:
1980 — MECCA
1981 — MECCA
1983 — MECCA
1997 — Bradley Center
2000 — Milwaukee Auditorium
2001 — Marcus Amphitheater, Summerfest
2004 — Marcus Amphitheater, Summerfest
PrinceCourtesy Milwaukee Journal archives.

Prince at MECCA in 1980.