Friday, September 5, 2014

Prince And 3RDEYEGIRL Rocked The House On Arsenio

Rocking a wicked ‘fro, bell bottoms and a huge gold chain, Prince and his new band, 3RDEYEGIRL, set the stage on fire with a mesmerizing performance of his rock/soul classic “She’s Always In My Hair” on The Arsenio Hall Show earlier this year. His Royal Badness more than lived up to his sobriquet. And his three-member all-female band showed that they weren’t some gimmick or window dressing.  These ladies can jam! They effortlessly held the groove down, and axe-maiden Donna Grantis and Prince both delivered electrifying guitar solos during the performance. I’m not 100-percent positive, but Prince may very well be the first major male artist to have an all-female backing band.  The members of 3RDEYEGIRL are Donna Grantis (guitar), Hannah Ford (drums) and Ida Nielsen (bass). Prince and the trio also premiered his new track, "FUNKNROLL," during his visit on Arsenio; and he performed "Mutiny" with the New Power Generation.

Being the convention-flouting iconoclast that he is, Prince never had any qualms of about recruiting talented female musicians for his bands, and I’m not talking backup singers—but prominent players front and center.  This practice goes all the way back to his first backing band, the Revolution (1979-1986). By ’83, the Revolution had two female members: guitarist/vocalist Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman (keyboards, vocals).  Both had pivotal roles in the band and occasionally made songwriting contributions.  Prince took it to the next level when he assembled powerhouse trio 3RDEYEGIRL as his new backing band last year.

“She’s Always In My Hair,” was the B-side of Prince’s top-ten single “Raspberry Beret,” released in 1985. The song is about his protégé singer/songwriter Jill Jones, with whom he was romantically involved in the early ‘80s.  She also sang backup on several tracks on his groundbreaking double LP 1999. "She's Always In My Hair" was also included on his comprehensive greatest hits compilation The Hits/The B-Sides (1993). And critically acclaimed R&B star D’Angelo recorded a superb cover of the song in 2008.

Prince has been keeping very busy of late. He has been gigging across the globe with 3RDEYEGIRL and has two new albums coming out later this month. His album with 3RDEYEGIRL, PLECTRUMELECTRUM, is set to drop on September 30, and his solo album, Art Official Age, will be released on the same day. There will be a slew of special events, live concerts and other activities going on in celebration of these two new releases. Also, these two albums will mark Prince's first releases under his new partnership with Warner Bros. Prince departed from the label acrimoniously in 1996. In April of this year, he and Warner Bros. patched things up with a sweet new deal.

Under his new partnership with Warner Bros., he regained ownership of the master recordings made during his previous contract with the label, including classic albums such as 1999, Dirty Mind and Sign ‘O’ the Times. Also, Warner Bros. will release previously unheard material by Prince, as well as a digitally remastered deluxe 30th anniversary edition of his landmark album Purple Rain. So there are a lot of cool things going on in the Purple One’s world right now.


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