Prince’s Hot Rock: The Secret Life Of America’s Sexiest One-Man Band
Most influential one-man band
By Debby MillerApril 28, 1983
What does a twenty-two-year-old musical wizard in bikini briefs have that other rock stars don’t? Whatever it is, it makes him the world’s sexiest and most influential one-man band.
But if there is a Jamie Starr, why can’t he be reached? Manager Steve Fargnoli says it’s because he’s “in and out of Minneapolis,” because he’s “a reclusive maniac” (like Prince) and because “it could be months before I see him.” Can he be reached by phone? “No.”
Well, you wouldn’t need to call him over to Prince’s home studio if he’s already there. “Prince is Jamie Starr,” says former Warner Bros. artist and fellow Minneapolitan Sue Ann (Carwell), who has been a friend of Prince’s for years – ever since he wrote and produced her first demo tape. Others who are close to Prince also say that he is Jamie Starr, but they refuse to be quoted in print. But, says one, “everybody knows who’s the main man behind everything.”
“We could be this Generation’s Yardbirds,” Prince’s guitarist Dez Dickerson boasted to a reporter about the way everybody was splintering off Prince’s musical family tree and making solo records.
Dickerson himself wrote “He’s So Dull” for Vanity 6 and has done some solo recording. André Cymone, since leaving Prince’s band a year and a half ago, has signed a CBS contract and released an LP, Livin’ in the New Wave, on which he plays all the instruments and produces himself. Alexander has released a twelve-inch dance record, “Do You Dare.” Sue Ann, who had a hit in “Rock Me” a few years ago, has finished a new album, Inside Out. And the Time’s bassist, Terry Lewis, and keyboardist, Jimmy Jam, recently wrote and produced a couple of songs for the all-girl group Klymaxx.
“Minneapolis is a mini-Motown”, says Alexander, summing it up. “We’ll have a hell of a lot to do with the musical direction of the Eighties.”
But Minneapolis offers a kind of calm within the music industry, and they all stay on there, honing their acts. And while they’re working, they’re left alone. There’s no chasing limousines there. There aren’t any limousines carrying celebrities to the nightspots.
So nobody made a big deal of it when Prince walked into First Avenue, a club in downtown Minneapolis last summer, a rock club where images of Grand Master Flash, the Human League, the Clash and others flash in montage on the walls. What’s new? somebody asked Prince. Sheepishly, he held up a test pressing of 1999 that he had tucked under his arm. Later on, he asked the DJ to throw his new song, “Delirious,” on the turntable. And then, with his hottest record filling up the enormous room, Prince took Vanity out onto the middle of the dance floor to give his own record the ultimate test. They wiggled around, they strutted, they dipped. And Prince looked happy. It had a good beat. It was easy to dance to.
This story is from the April 28th, 1983 issue of Rolling Stone.