Call it a sign o' the times or just another miscalculated controversy, but Prince is strumming up headlines again -- this time for allegedly speaking out against the sexual freedoms he used to champion.

In an interview with the New Yorker magazine that reflects on his continuing life as a Jehovah's Witness, Minneapolis' most famous (and famously scandal-prone) musical son reportedly tapped on a Bible as he said, "God came to Earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, 'Enough.'"

The interview was conducted at Prince's new mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif., where gay marriage has been an omnipresent topic surrounding the newly passed Proposition 8 ban. Prince has maintained a Los Angeles-area residence for decades and has mostly lived there full time since his divorce in 2006.

"So here's how it is: You've got the Republicans, and basically they want to live according to [the Bible]," the article quotes him as saying. "But there's the problem of interpretation, and you've got some churches, some people, basically doing things and saying it comes from here, but it doesn't. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum you've got blue, you've got the Democrats, and they're, like, 'You can do whatever you want.' Gay marriage, whatever. But neither of them is right."

Like a lot of the singer's controversies, this one was greeted with curiosity or disdain but not exactly shock by fans and industry watchers. On the fan message board, reactions ranged from dismay to denouncement to arguments that the singer was misquoted.

Popular blog sites such as Perez Hilton (whose namesake author is gay) and the Huffington Post followed up initial, outraged reports on the article by citing "a Prince insider" who denounced the story, accusing the reporter of not using a tape recorder. The singer, however, has disallowed recorders in interviews for decades. No official statement from Prince about the article has been offered.

Minneapolis DJ/rapper Tori Fixx, an openly gay performer hired by Prince for parties at his now-shuttered Paisley Park studios in Chanhassen, did not doubt the validity of the interview.

"Prince, of all people, knows not to comment to the press if it's something he really doesn't want to talk about," Fixx said, calling the comments "a slap in the face."

"He would know as well as anybody that probably half his audience is gay/lesbian people, which comes from years of playing with androgyny and stereotypes. He sure had no trouble making money off those people all those years."

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658