Prince Remembered

19 years ago, MNMO interviewed a Minnesota legend

The sudden passing this morning of Prince, the cultural phenomenon, musical genius, and all around legend, has his home state of Minnesota in a state of shock and mourning. Here at Minnesota Monthly, we went back into our (pre-web) archives to find a cover story from 1997, with photos. The article, by Martin Keller, found Prince at a time of hope and optimism surrounding the release of his album Emancipation.

From the article: “Wearing what looks like a Versace outfit–black lace pants, a loose charcoal-colored vest over a pumpkin-colored ribbed turtleneck sweater, and shoes of a matching autumnal color–he talks openly in a soft baritone.”

From the article: “Leaning back in his chair in the studio, he expands on the topic. ‘I’m as much a part of the city where I grew up as I am anything. I was very lucky to be born here because I saw both sides of the racial issue, the oppression and the equality. I got the best of all worlds here.'”

From Martin Keller: “No other Minnesotan has embodied such an array of contradictions. The Artist’s music has consistently explored the polarities of light and dark, male and female, straight and gay, the yin and yang of relationships.”

From the article: “Rising to his feet to make a point, [Prince] paces excitedly to the soundboard and leans on it. ‘John Lennon would have never written the beautiful music he wrote at the end of his life if he hadn’t gone through what he did with Yoko and himself. He would never have written “Imagine.” And “Imagine” is going to be around in 2,000 years.”

If so, so will Prince’s immortal songs. Few have made as much of an impact on the state of Minnesota, and few will be so grieved and missed as deeply.

Quinton Skinner is a writer and editor based in the Twin Cities. A former senior editor of Minnesota Monthly, he held the same post at Twin Cities METRO and 
has written for major national and local publications. He is the co-founder of Logosphere Storysmiths and author of several novels, including his latest, Odd One Out.