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Thread started 07/02/20 3:50pm

FrankieCoco1

Transcript of Matt Everritt (BBC 6 Music) interview with Michael Howe for Sign O’ The Times Super Deluxe

Matt Everritt (ME)/Michael Howe (MH) interview (as transcribed by me)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/pro...s/m000khwj
(At about 1 hour 44 minutes into the show)

For those who cannot access the interview (because it might be just accessible to users in the United Kingdom), here’s the transcript (thanks Mods for agreeing):

Matt Everritt (ME)/Michael Howe (MH) interview (as transcribed by me)

MH: This is Michael Howe and I am the chief archivist for the Prince estate, and I am the executive producer and A&R person of all of the re-issues and everything that emerges from the vault.

ME: For me and I think for a lot of people, this is the big one, have you felt that from fans and the wider media as well?

MH: Yes, I think so, certainly the early chatter, seems to be very favourable and people seem to be very excited about it. I mean the album itself, I mean the original album, has such a mythical quality to it, most people rank it at the absolute pinnacle of Prince’s recorded output, so there’s a mystique that surrounds it, just because of what it is. Also the creative period was so remarkably deep and wide that the ancillary material and the bonus stuff is just outstanding.

ME: Where was Prince’s head at in the lead up to the record?

MH: That’s an interesting question. Obviously I wasn’t in the room at the time but the general complexion of things was that Prince was on a non-stop tear, it was just a blizzard of activity.

ME: In terms of this record, he’s breaking some of the rules he laid down for himself. This is, not a new beginning, because that was pretty frequent for Prince, but certainly looking at the world in a new way.

MH: Indeed. I mean, as you can glean from the title and the content of the lyrics, it was a very topical album and I think it resonates as much today, particularly in the climate of the world now, as it did then. He was certainly concerned with world events, gangs and drugs, aids and all kinds of weighty topics that was consuming his attention during this creative interval.

ME: A lot of the records leading up to it, Prince is creating a complete world for himself. That’s the power of those records. He’s the architect, he’s the kind of god of the environments that these records exist in. This is more like Prince has been dropped from the heavens and is kind of, not out of control because once again I don’t think he ever was, but certainly he’s looking at what was surrounding him, outside the Prince bubble, as it were.

MH: I agree with you, that’s an astute observation. I think there’s a enclosed ecosystem to some of the other albums, that are beautifully created, but are perhaps more artificial in some ways than what he was dealing with on Sign O’ The Times, which is a very gritty, very real reflection of what was happening. It was also Prince becoming the solo artist that he was at the beginning, again. He was Prince, the Prince and the Revolution, then it became Prince, so he’s transitioning from the group dynamic to the guy at the centre of everything.

ME: We do have to do the title track story because it is an enormously important song, and one of his finest pieces of work. What have you picked up in the history that you can work out as to where his mind was coming from when it came to writing Sign O’ The Times?

MH: Actually this only came to fruition for me at least, when we were doing research into the overall body of work. Apparently, Prince and Susannah Melvoin were in LA in July of 86 and there was an earthquake, I think July 12th or July 13th 86. An earthquake that literally shook Prince to the core, and the following day, he picked up a copy of the LA Times, and there was basically a headline and a story that almost verbatim, detailed what is in the song, Sign O’ The Times: there’s a gang called the disciples, there’s discussions of crack, machine guns, there’s basically everything that’s articulated in the song, was lifted almost verbatim out of this article, interpolated basically from this article. And that really got his creative juices firing on these topical observations and sort of led him on this trajectory to what Sign O’ The Times as a concept became.
[Edited 7/3/20 11:27am]
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Reply #1 posted 07/02/20 4:08pm

FrankieCoco1

Also another snippet of the interview from Mary Anne Hobbs 6 Music show on Fri 27th June:

MH: I think the thing I learnt about him was he was a keen observer of the things that were happening around him and was able to distil those things in a very straight forward and a very articulate way, but still be incredibly attuned to the creative process and to popular culture in general. The ability to get a topical message across inside the space of an unbelievably crafted pop song is pretty remarkable. Obviously I have no doubts about his creativity, as a musician and a man, but being to articulate those things in a kind of academic way, that is digestible and understandable by mass culture is remarkable.
[Edited 7/2/20 16:08pm]
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Reply #2 posted 07/02/20 4:59pm

williamb610

Thanks, Frankie!

Frankie....OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, YAOW!

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Reply #3 posted 07/02/20 5:13pm

Muppet

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Gotta wonder if the same quake was the inspiration for Housequake.
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Reply #4 posted 07/02/20 8:22pm

TwiliteKid

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Am I missing something?
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Reply #5 posted 07/02/20 8:22pm

WhisperingDand
elions

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SERVE IT UP, Frankie.

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Reply #6 posted 07/02/20 11:42pm

love2thenines2
003

Any scoops ?
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Reply #7 posted 07/03/20 12:13am

FrankieCoco1

TwiliteKid said:

Am I missing something?


Looks like the transcript has been removed, but the link to the show with the interview is available.
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Reply #8 posted 07/03/20 12:16am

FrankieCoco1

love2thenines2003 said:

Any scoops ?


Not really , except details of how the song Sign O’ The Times was written after him and Susannah Melvoin were in LA during an earthquake, with Prince taking lyrics direct from the LA Times he read at the time.
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Reply #9 posted 07/03/20 3:54am

jaawwnn

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FrankieCoco1 said:

love2thenines2003 said:
Any scoops ?
Not really , except details of how the song Sign O’ The Times was written after him and Susannah Melvoin were in LA during an earthquake, with Prince taking lyrics direct from the LA Times he read at the time.

Tracking down the exact edition of the LA Times would be a worthy task for fans.

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Reply #10 posted 07/03/20 5:29am

FrankieCoco1

jaawwnn said:



FrankieCoco1 said:


love2thenines2003 said:
Any scoops ?

Not really , except details of how the song Sign O’ The Times was written after him and Susannah Melvoin were in LA during an earthquake, with Prince taking lyrics direct from the LA Times he read at the time.

Tracking down the exact edition of the LA Times would be a worthy task for fans.



Might be this one from 13 July 1986, if anyone has an LA Times subscription!

https://latimes.newspaper...ly+13+1986
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Reply #11 posted 07/03/20 1:26pm

OnlyNDaUsa

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FrankieCoco1 said:

jaawwnn said:

Tracking down the exact edition of the LA Times would be a worthy task for fans.

Might be this one from 13 July 1986, if anyone has an LA Times subscription! https://latimes.newspaper...ly+13+1986

and an artical about "Star Wars"

The Spike is Real Wear a Mask (this is not the 2nd Wave)
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Reply #12 posted 07/03/20 9:17pm

databank

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jaawwnn said:

FrankieCoco1 said:

love2thenines2003 said: Not really , except details of how the song Sign O’ The Times was written after him and Susannah Melvoin were in LA during an earthquake, with Prince taking lyrics direct from the LA Times he read at the time.

Tracking down the exact edition of the LA Times would be a worthy task for fans.

nod

Actually a really smart "Super Deluxe" move would have been to strike a deal with the paper and include a copy of the issue in the boxset.

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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