Al­ways loyal to home­town

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - WORLD -

MIN­NEAPO­LIS — Bob Dy­lan left Min­nesota, but Prince never did.

When the mu­sic su­per­star died at age 57, it was in the same sub­ur­ban Min­neapo­lis stu­dio com­pound where he had lived for years. He could have opted for the glam­our of ei­ther coast but stayed home, where fans oc­ca­sion­ally saw him in lo­cal night­clubs, a record store or just bi­cy­cling near Pais­ley Park.

“He was every­thing here,” said Mark An­der­son, 43, a long­time fan who es­ti­mated he saw at least 30 Prince shows and would bring his teenage son from nearby Ea­gan to see Prince’s oc­ca­sional late-night jams at Pais­ley Park. “He was more than a mu­si­cian. He was fam­ily. “I think a lot of fans feel that way.” Crowds con­tin­ued flock­ing Satur­day to pay re­spects at Pais­ley Park. An au­topsy was con­ducted Fri­day, but of­fi­cials said it may be weeks be­fore re­sults are known. A group of Prince’s “most beloved” fam­ily, friends and mu­si­cians cel­e­brated his life in a small, pri­vate ser­vice on Satur­day af­ter his re­mains were cre­mated.

Prince’s fame made Min­nesota feel good about it­self.

In the wake of his death, fans here have re­called how the Os­car and seven-time Grammy win­ner put the sleek “Min­neapo­lis Sound” of the 1980s on the na­tional mu­sic map.

“When you think of Min­neapo­lis, you au­to­mat­i­cally think of Prince,” said Jen Boyles, 37, a long­time Twin Cities mu­sic jour­nal­ist.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Cole­man was among thou­sands who turned up Thurs­day night out­side First Av­enue, the down­town Min­neapo­lis night­club Prince made fa­mous with his hit 1984 movie Pur­ple Rain and where part of the movie was set and filmed.

“Think about what Prince has meant to so many peo­ple across the globe, not to men­tion folks in the Twin Cities,” Cole­man told the Star Tri­bune. “Prince made us cool. Prince re­ally made his mark from here.”

Even the lo­cal sher­iff, at a news con­fer­ence on Prince’s death, re­minded re­porters that the pur­ple-lov­ing megas­tar was, at heart, a lo­cal guy.

“This is a tragedy for all of us. To you, Prince Rogers Nel­son was a celebrity. To us, he’s a com­mu­nity mem­ber and a good neigh­bour,” Carver County Sher­iff Jim Ol­son said Fri­day.

Min­nesota is a rich mu­si­cal state that has pro­duced Dy­lan, Judy Gar­land, Ed­die Cochran and the An­drews Sis­ters. But they all moved away.

Bob Fuchs, the man­ager of Elec­tric Fe­tus, a south Min­neapo­lis record store where Prince would browse with­out fans both­er­ing him, rated Prince equal to Dy­lan. Prince’s de­ci­sion to stay home, Fuchs said, made him spe­cial.

“As far as home­town mu­si­cians who still live here, that puts Prince at No. 1,” he said.

Lars Lar­son, who worked as se­cu­rity for Pais­ley Park on and off since 2001, said he thinks Prince cher­ished small-town life.

“He had the free­dom to do stuff here and not worry about pa­parazzi both­er­ing him. I re­mem­ber he would take trips to Dairy Queen in his BMW. I don’t know if you can get away with that in Hol­ly­wood,” Lar­son said.

A few years ago, Prince showed up with a guitar at First Av­enue, where he fre­quently per­formed, to see the band Gayngs, the club’s gen­eral man­ager, Nate Kranz, re­called. But in­stead of per­form­ing, Prince just watched from the stage, Kranz said.

Prince last per­formed at the club in 2007, but would stop by oc­ca­sion­ally to see lo­cal acts, Kranz said.

Be­sides open­ing his 65,000-square-foot Pais­ley Park record­ing com­plex in 1987 in Chan­has­sen, a town of nearly 23,000 peo­ple about 30 kilo­me­tres south­west of Min­neapo­lis, Prince also owned a lot of un­de­vel­oped land in the sub­urb, Mayor Denny Laufen­burger said.

“Maybe to a cer­tain ex­tent he con­sid­ered this a lit­tle bit of peace­ful re­pose,” Laufen­burger said.

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