-- By Brett Stillo
Rock & Roll guitarist Lonnie Mack died the same day as Prince. Call it fate, call it show business... whatever, but the death of a big name celebrity will always overshadow the death of a lesser name. C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Farrah Fawcett, or Groucho Marx all were pushed to the back pages as well.
Lonnie Mack and Prince share a connection beyond a date in an obituary. Both of them played the electric guitar like proverbial bats out of hell. They were players among players with a command of the instrument beyond mere technique. Indeed, their fingers seemed electric, boosting the sound and texture of their guitar solos to stratospheric levels.
Mack, born in 1941, was a first generation Rock and Roller -- part of an echelon of pioneer guitar heroes of the early 1960s that included Duane Eddy, Dick Dale, and Link Wray. Among his peers, however, Mack was ahead of the curve with a cutting-edge guitar style born from the formative sounds of Blues, Gospel, and Bluegrass. Mack took these traditional elements and supercharged them to create a raw, electrifying sound that screamed from his trademark Gibson Flying V, “Number 7” (the seventh model to come out of the factory in the Flying V’s original run in 1958).
-- By Brett Stillo
Few artists have meant as much to us as Prince has here at Amoeba, and his death has been hard on us, coupled with the passing of David Bowie just months prior. A few of us shared memories of our first Prince albums, seeing him live and what he meant to us beyond the music.
It has been tough. Prince has been and always will be a huge part of my life. It's hard 2 put into words the depth of the emotional connection that I made with his music. Over the years I would use his music as a source of strength and joy 2 get through tough times, enhance great times, and just generally inspire me on multiple levels. In addition 2 the music, the man himself has been a huge inspiration 2 me as well. Prince would work his ass off, never give less than 300% and wouldn't settle until he had as close 2 perfection as possible. His standards were impossibly high, his creativity endless and his style impeccable.
I was lucky enough to witness him do his thing on a number of occasions. SO lucky. I've been playing many of those moments over and over in my mind. Every time I saw him was different, unique, surprising and just flat out incredible. During the course of one night, he could work you up into a frenzy of dance, make you laugh and then have you on the verge of tears from the sheer beauty of a song. His talent, his presence and energy were unparalleled. He could play just about any instrument at a virtuoso level. During one show, I saw him play guitar, piano, bass, drums and a saxophone ... FLAWLESSLY. He could hold a note while running across the stage, drop into the splits, pop back up spin around 360 degrees and then jump on top of a piano. ALL IN HIGH HEELS. And he'd do it for four full hours — then, more than likely, play a second and maybe even third show later that night. There is, was and probably will never be again, anything/anyone like him. I really thought I was going to be able to experience him again. R.I.P Mr. Rogers Nelson u will be sorely missed but absolutely NEVER forgotten.
First up is Prince’s seventh album, Around the World in a Day, which comes out July 5. The album followed his hugely successful Purple Rain album and saw Prince experimenting with more psychedelic sounds on songs like “Raspberry Beret.”
Out July 19 is Parade, Prince’s eighth album and soundtrack to the film Under the Cherry Moon. Though the film wasn’t a hit, its soundtrack was, winning him critical acclaim for its minimalist funk jams like “Kiss.”
Due Aug. 23 is Sign o’ the Times. The double album is considered by many to be Prince’s best, including socially and sexually provocative material, with sped-up vocals representing his female alter ego, Camille, on songs like “If I Was Your Girlfriend.”
Props to DJ Traps (pictured above c/o James Mak / Joysco Photos) who won the recent 2016 DMC Bay Area Regional DJ Battle. Repeating the feat he accomplished exactly three years ago in the same battle (2013 Bay DMC was held in SF), he will again head to NYC this upcoming August to rep the Bay for a chance to take the USA title. Held in Fremont on April 22nd and presented by both Official Rane DJ and Adisa, the Bishop's Hip-Hop Chess Federation, who hosted the event, the runners up in the battle were AkikoLUV - Akira Funabashi in second place, and Primo, Adrian Primo Silva in third place. Meanwhile the results of the 2016 DMC USA Scratch Finals also held at same venue on the day were winner DJ IQ, with runners up Prolifix in second place and DonPaco in third. Congrats to all the participants! Scroll down to end of this Amoeblog to see group picture of the Bay Area DMC event by hardworking Bay Area hip-hop photographer James Mak. Upcoming 2016 DMC Regional battles include next Saturday, May 7th, in Austin Texas. More info.
Shattering the (sometimes true) stereotype that rappers with "Yung" in their stage name are mostly superficial, lacking in intellectual merit, and low in substance, Los Angeles based rapper Yung Jake blew minds and stereotypes last night at NYC's MoMA. There the CalArts grad took part in MoMA’s adventurous Slithering Screens: 10 Years of New Frontier at Sundance Institute: series by performing his engaging multi-social media show that melded Tweets, YouTube viral videos, memes and GIFs, and more including of course rapping. The presentation, that lasted three hours, was s mixed media statement on life in this Internet age by the West Coast artist who hails from Long Island, NY.
Like everyone I know who's been texting me or posting online regarding this morning's breaking news of the death of Prince, I too am in utter shock. Between the recent passings of David Bowie and Phife Dawg of Tribe and now Prince (all artists I love and whose entire catalogs I own), I don't know how many more of these sudden unexpected deaths of my musical heroes that I can take. In case you somehow missed the news story, it was confirmed by several sources that earlier today the artist born Prince Rogers Nelson, who went by the name Prince as well as that symbol of his, has died at age 57 at his Paisley Park studios in Minnesota. While no exact cause of death has been announced yet, according to TMZ, authorities had responded to a medical emergency this morning at the artist's famed home/studio where reportedly he was found "unresponsive" after collapsing. This is shocking and totally unexpected news since Prince had been very active lately doing shows all over, and making music including his recent two part HITnRUN album series.
Prince's death follows the (possibly related) news from a week ago that he had been hospitalized with the flu. That story made headlines when his private jet was forced to make an emergency landing in Illinois following a show by the artist, one of the many shows he had been doing lately. Just a couple of months ago, in late February, Prince was in Oakland, CA at the Paramount where he dedicated his two performances to former collaborator (and GF) Denise "Vanity" Matthews of Vanity 6 fame who died just ten days earlier. The Bay Area singer was also age 57. But this news of Prince's passing news is just too sad for me! So rather than dwell on it, I am going to go and put on Prince's music, and listen to it for the rest of the day. Below is a list of some of those albums plus a video of a performance by Prince in NJ from January 1982. Rest in Peace Prince. You really will be missed!