With Prince set to to kick off his first Australian tour in nine years tomorrow, the full details of a rare interview given to the Herald Sun have emerged.
Famously reluctant to give interviews, News Limited journalist Nui Te Koha managed to get Prince to answer a few email questions ahead of the tour. Appearing over the weekend, including being syndicated to The Daily Telegraph under a Staff Writer by-line, the raw answers have also appeared on the fan forum, Prince.org.
A total of 40 questions were sent to Prince, of which 12 were answered in a mix of sarcasm and humour.
The News Limited story focused on the set-list curation, and how he reads the audience with his band, and his shunning of digital music distribution.
"Bigger, younger crowds like the party songs played immediately, so we generally comply," he said. "The concerts are tending to skew younger these days so once folks know they are on familiar ground, we can play some rarities. You don't put kids in the deep water until you make sure they can swim."
The story explained that he has 200-300 songs, each with variations so they can be lengthened or shortened based on the crowd's reaction. The leaked email answers shows how Prince explained it in his own words.
"Roughly 200-300 songs with variations 4 each of them. 4 example: based upon crowd response any song can b lengthened or shortened with a simple cue: Raspberry Beret's second verse and bridge can b added if the audience sings louder than r lead singer. :) Also depending upon the diversity of the crowd we can quickly seque in 2 Cool, The Time's theme song. An urban audience knows all the words to that song whereas folks from Helsinki... well, u get the picture." (sic)
Another section that didn't make the story is his response to how he approaches "those classic super-high notes". "By hitting higher ones," he replied.
And the three things he expects of his band are: "Foot washing 2. Locks of hair 3. Per diem."
A couple of other gem Prince-isms that News got from the email interview included his ultra-sarcastic take on buying single songs digitally. In his own words he explained, "It's cool cuz we usually buy books by the chapter. When we rented Avatar, we watched 5 scenes every weekend til it was finished." (sic)
Still on digital music, he offered, "Personally not a fan of digital music. Happy 2 say we grew up with the record player. Altho this current generation experiences the world differently - neither better nor worse, just different. It's not up 2 the past 2 dictate. That said, the decision 2 turn analog music in2 numerical data was not made by a musician.
"It was made by a music consumer. We all got dragged unwittingly 2 this well and r now paying the cost. When hipping a young artist 2 Joni Mitchell's canon of work, we don't direct them 2 iTunes. We sit them down and play the music chronologically. Finally, we would like 2 say how excited we all r 2 come back 2 Australia 2 show everybody what they've been missing all this time. Get ready 2 dance!"
And his band must "play 2 win. Otherwise they'll b back-up dancing 4 Robin Thicke."
Asked about his rider, he replied, "Riders r the least important thing on tour." Coincidentally, The Daily Telegraph's Confidential have leaked contents of his rider today. Featuring herbal tea, a selection of champagne, liqueur, red and white wine and candles, it's nothing extravagant.
Prince's tour kicks off at Sydney's Allphones arena tomorrow, Friday 11 May.