Michael Kirk Please Interview us For Your New Movie “Prince: R U Listening”!

Film Director / Producer Michael Kirk of Maltese Productions please interview us for your new movie “Prince: R U Listening”!

–First of all we are huge fans! —

I am writing this open letter to introduce you to my esteemed friends who are music aficionados and Paisley Park regulars.  Together we have more knowledge about Prince than most of the so-called experts in the media frenzy over the last six months.  We want to help with the making of your new documentary film “Prince: R U Listening”.  We don’t care about money or publicity.  We do this for the truth and because we were a part of that Paisley Park scene that showed “love4oneanother”!  Here is a brief background of each of us.

Fig. 1. Matt Martin and Jeremy Swenson – Dance Party at Paisley Park, Oct, 2015.
1) Dr. Griffin Woodworth has a Ph.D. in Musicology from UCLA where much of his research has been on Prince and Frank Zappa.  Since 2012 he has been working on a book “Prince, Musicologist” (working title) for the University of Michigan Press Tracking Pop series.  He has been a Paisley Park regular since about 1995 and has written articles, blog posts, and has also been cited by the media on the history of Prince and music generally.  He is also a music history, music technology, and music commercialization professor – he has taught at leading colleges and universities from MN to SC.  See the links to some of his publications here:

b) News Media: At Prince’s house, heartbroken fans mourn ‘a piece of my childhood gone’.
c) Academic article: Prince, Miles, and Maceo: Horns, Masculinity, and the Anxiety of Influence.
d) LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/griffinwoodworth

2) Mark Bonde is an energetic leader with a firm understanding of the global security landscape and is focused on helping organizations deliver higher levels of physical security through the effective use of technology.  He possesses a strong set of interpersonal skills that enable him to communicate effectively in diverse cultures and environments.  He has been going to Paisley Park since 1995 and is friends with one of Prince’s longstanding and highly regarded tour and party DJs, DJ DUDLEY D (AKA Dustin Meyer).  He was also in Prince’s 1996 MTV Emancipation Broadcast as an extra.  He has a BA from the University of MN in Political Science, and has been cited by the local media about Prince and has blogged and spoken about him in the following links:

a) Video Blog Eulogy:

b) Blog: Paisley Nights.
c) Media commentary: Prince fans still visiting Paisley Park.
d) LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-bonde-b249353

3) Sara Savoy is a seasoned business leader with over 20 years of success in sales and sales management.  She focuses largely on driving net new revenue and exceeds quota attainment for Digital Technology and Marketing (Software and Software as a Service) products.  She is a strong local music insider, creative photographer, and has also been a Paisley Park event regular for many years.  She has a few impressive blog posts and media citations, including a photo of Paisley Park that went viral from TIME, Rolling Stone, and other publications this summer:

a) Media: Her Paisley Park photo cited by TIME Magazine among others.
b) Blog: A Rehearsal of Fortune with Prince at Paisley Park.
c) LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarasavoy

4) Michael Holtz is a data and infrastructure technology professional who runs a DJ business on the side.  He has been Prince’s event party DJ for about the past two years and still does so for his estate on occasion.  He has an exotic flair for funky beats and is respected among Paisley Park staffers and the electronic music scene in MN.  He has commentated on Prince and the music industry many times and can be seen in the following news links:

a) Fox News: Prince’s Studio DJ Opens Up About Pop Icon’s Final Public Performance.
b) DJ Video Commentary: A Tribute To Prince | A Reflection On His Life with Mike Walter and Michael Holtz | #DJNTV.
c) DJ Service web-site: 2 The Max Entertainment.
d) LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelholtz

5) My name is Jeremy Swenson and I am a passionate creative, music curator, and Prince super fan who has been a regular concert goer and party goer at Paisley Park since 2000 – both public and under the radar events.  I watched Prince audition and select his best drummer ever, John Blackwell,  and even got on stage to sing with him in the year 2001 at a jam session.  I am connected with many of his present and former bandmates and staff on Facebook, LinkedIn, and in other social channels.  I was at the last dance party on 04/16/16 and was one of the lucky few to hear from Prince before he passed away the next week as were my friends Mark Bonde, Michael Holtz, Harvey Andrus, and Sara Savoy.

I have a BA in Political Science and Jazz from UWEC, an MBA from St. Mary’s University of MN, and am currently pursuing a rare and exceptional masters degree at the Univ. of MN in Security Technologies.  I have blogged and commentated about Prince, the Mpls music scene, the music business, economics, and related technology concepts.  I am also a speaker and Sr. Consultant to the insurance, banking, retail, and healthcare industries at the intersection of process improvement, security, and technology.  See a few of my written works below:

a) Blog 1: Prince and Purple Rain 30 years later: Business and Music Innovation.
b) MN AMA Blog 1: Three Keys to More Innovative Marketing: The Case of Prince.
c) Blog 2: Social Tech CEO Jimmy Chamberlin Rejoins Smashing Pumpkins.
d) MN AMA Blog 2: U2: Music Marketing Tweaked for a Hyper-competitive Digital World, While Still Appealing to Emotion.

We have open hearts to help with your film pursuit of the Prince scene in whatever way we can.  Our insights and stories are valuable as you move your documentary forward. 

Fig 2. Bill McKee and Jeremy Swenson visiting The New Paisley Park Museum, Oct, 2016.

Please contact me here to set up a meeting.

Much love and respect,

Jeremy Swenson

Prince and Purple Rain 30 years later: Business and Music Innovation

June 25 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain and many artists, business people, universities, politicians, and even technologists have a renewed curiosity about the album or they are exploring it for the first time. As a true fan of the kind of creativity Purple Rain represents, and as a patron of many Paisley Park jams and parties over the last fourteen years I offer my commentary on Purple Rain at 30.

Purple Rain is without a doubt one of the top four albums of the 80s and it is arguably the most unique and controversial due to its sex appeal and dirty lyrics, intricate guitar solos, use of the drum machine, dreamy synth lines, wide vocal range, long songs, and gospel energy. When the movie and album are lumped together as one piece of art, the piece transcends generations and has the ability to awaken emotions in us that inspire our best creative thoughts.

1017488367_62c523be73PURPLE Rain 1984

Purple Rain is a passionate story of a conflicted artist who is more than confident yet insecure about his love life but he has the musical ability that most university music departments combined could not get close to. Prince’s equivalent in the corporate world would be that creative trial lawyer who never ever loses a case and has garnered the largest settlements possible.  Yet his ego and intimidating personality push some people away from him — that distance from regular people allows him to connect with regular people via his art whether in the courtroom or on the concert stage.

L. Londell Mcmillan.

LLM-w-PlaquesAlthough Prince is no lawyer, he has hired some great ones over the years, L. Londell Mcmillan – the famous entertainment lawyer and owner of the Source R&B Magazine, and Clive Davis – the Harvard Law educated record mogul, chart-topping producer, and long time record company CEO at Sony, Arista, and J records. Prince’s legal and business maneuvers have helped him win a legal case against his estranged half-sister, got him out of an unfavorable contract with Warner Bros in 1996 to redefine his brand under a new name thus renewing interest in his art, allowed him an open record deal at Arista Records in 1999, and in 2004 his business team came up with the idea to sell his album with each concert ticket sold for his large worldwide Musicology arena tour thus bringing his album sales numbers to the top of the Sound Scan charts in an unprecedented move. Yet Prince like the King / Elvis has lost a few battles, mostly due to his poor management style and huge ego. In one case a European court ordered him to pay $2.95 million dollars to a European concert promoted he stiffed — for good or bad reasons – Prince is indeed battle-tested. Yet presently he has renegotiated a new contract with Warner Bros to re-master and remarket Purple Rain and many of his best albums of years ago and for the most part, he gets the rights to the masters which is unheard of for most artists. Purple Rain helped broaden free speech in music for today, brought about “explicit lyrics” stickers, and encouraged multiculturalism in a band that has mass appeal.

Whether or not all of Purple Rain the movie is factual, Prince’s former manager Alan Leeds would suggest it is at least true about his personality. Prince is the ultimate storyteller with his music even when it has no words. Trial lawyers will use all kinds of words and images to tell stories that lead to winning outcomes, yet Prince has an infinite palette of sounds, tones, and rhythms, and he commands them all at once like a sophisticated CRM software package.

In the movie Prince’s band, The Revolution is on a spaceship ride with Prince as he takes them to musical highs they otherwise would not reach, yet he does have a special relationship with Wendy and Lisa, and the sensitivity they add to the song Purple Rain can be positively felt as helping Prince release his pent-up innovation and raw emotions regarding misspent love, family anger, and frustration with his status as a young boy. Additionally, all the songs are performed as if the band is at a gospel church, and the theme of faith and diversity seems to be inferred in the panoramic cuts to the audience, the band, and even backstage. It is thus no surprise that Prince is now a very serious believer.

Many fans know that the recording of Purple Rain the music was far from perfect. In fact, it was done in 1983 before the movie was released, and it was recorded by a mobile studio sound truck that was connected into First Ave, and not everything went well with the recording in terms of mixing and rigging up the sound. Although the movie and soundtrack ended up being a smash hit not all involved with the project thought it would be and there were concerns that they would not have enough budget to get it done so they were rushed. On the album, tape splices can be heard at times, and When Doves Cry has no bass (Prince’s intention), and the mix is imbalanced by today’s standards but for the most part it is a live album, and even with these imperfections the musical performances are amazing, innovative, and emotionally real, and the songs make the album timeless. The performances truly were a perfect storm and that’s why no other takes even with better recording would have made the album any better. It is a masterpiece and I and many others look forward to the re-mastered version ideally with extra songs on it.

By Jeremy Swenson