Prince. The artist. The man who made so much music that he has a vault! A vault of music never produced that could fill our ears for decades to come. The man who was told by his label Warner records that they owned his name, so he changed his name to a symbol – probably one of the coolest legal moves ever made in solidarity with artistic freedom and expression – to remind them they didn’t own his soul. Prince was a perfectionist of the highest order – and while we know the MTV star, he was just a full on rock god, shredding a guitar like it was a subprime paper trail at Goldman Sachs. He was funny. He was THE central focus of my exaggerated legend comedy shtick – a little tiny punch of heels and purple and diva and clouds and sex. The only thing Prince could ever be accused of half-assing was pants.
Prince stories are on the brink – no fully over the brink – of hilarious. Dave Chappelle and Fred Armisen have morphed from impersonators to biographers as we steep the leaves of the man that was, and learn he was just too good to be true.
I thought about doing a shot for Prince – Like I did for David Bowie. But it didn’t feel right. There have been Purple Rain and Raspberry Beret drinks since he unleashed those songs on us. In fact, if there is a Prince song, there is a drink that a bartender has already wonderfully made for it – and it just didn’t need my input.
Then the Kentucky Derby came upon us, and it all became very clear. I am a fanatic of the Derby, and every year I make a hat. And this year I knew exactly what I had to do, in my way, to pay tribute to the soul that was so entrenched in my own lexicon that I felt a ripping inside when I learned he passed.
In death, perhaps the only thing we find exaggerated about a great Prince story, is his immortality.