Prince, we hardly knew ya. At least not like this.
The Purple One answered questions from fans and Arsenio Hall — and even played advice guru.
Prince has never seemed so normal, so comfortable and so un-self-conscious on television as he was Wednesday night on “The Arsenio Hall Show.” Yep, that Arsenio who had Prince as a guest back in the early ‘90s.
Except for Hall’s opening monologue, Wednesday’s hour-long program was devoted to Prince. With the New Power Generation and 3rdEyeGirl, he played two new songs (“FunknRoll,” “Mutiny”) and one old one (“She’s Always in My Hair”), and Liv Warfield, one of his former backup singers, offered a tune from her new album.
In conversation with Arsenio and the studio audience, Prince – wearing a series of turtlenecks and fur- or fringe-trimmed vests -- was quick, funny and short but to the point.
Here are some things Prince revealed:
- He doesn’t have a cellphone. “Everybody I know has one.”
- His pet peeve is strangers touching his hair.
- He doesn’t watch “American Idol,” “The Voice” or other TV talent shows because he always finds himself rearranging the music (in his head) that he hears others perform.
- He doesn’t watch infomercials. In fact, he acted like he didn’t know what they were.
- “Purple Rain” happened to come on the TV three days ago and, in his living room, he watched the scene featuring the tune “Take Me with U.”
- He doesn’t have a favorite song. He always answers that by saying “the next one.” Then he mentioned a new one called "The Breakdown."
- When asked about all the songs he has in his vault at Paisley Park, he said, “I don’t go back in time.”
- He hasn’t released an album for a while because "We live in a singles-driven market. I live in the old school and making albums is what I like. You wait until you have other songs to go with (ones you like). Without a contract, there's no rush to do an album."
- When asked about music and technology, he called it a double-edged sword where artists aren’t getting paid their fair share and it’s difficult to do audits and accounting. “it’s about justice and fairness,” he said.
- He can cook. “Only one thing. Omelets. All my friends have high cholesterol.”
- He never had a Plan B. “When I was 16 and completely broke, I got the Yellow Pages out and couldn’t find a thing I wanted to do.” Later in the conversation, he amended that by saying he’d want “to teach in some capacity.”
- Steven, an audience member, asked Prince to help him sort out a problem with his out-of-town girlfriend, whose first date together was a Prince concert last year. So, on TV, Arsenio and Prince called Keegan. After asking her why she started seeing her ex- again after Steven moved to L.A., Prince listened to her answer and then said: “In this life, you’re on your own. This is what it sounds like when Steven hangs up.” Then Keegan asked if Prince would go out with her. “No,” he said, “I’m not available.”
Photo: Arsenio Hall Show/ CBS Television Distribution