Local Current Blog

Music News: Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ amp found in pile of vintage gear at Minneapolis music shop

It’s the dream of every vintage gear collector: you dig around in one shop after another, and suddenly you make an incredible find that nobody would have expected. That’s what happened to local collector Ross Davison, who went looking for a very particular vintage amp just because he wanted its unique tone. At Encore Music in Minneapolis, he stumbled on a rare Mesa/Boogie Mark IIC+ amp that he bought for $1,200 — a discount of nearly $500 because the dealer was “tired of looking at it.”

Davison then took a closer look at the amp, and noticed “Prince 2″ scrawled in marker. Could it be? Yes indeed: some detailed research revealed that it was in fact one of the amps Prince played in the 1980s, including during the Purple Rain era. When Davison sent the amp in for servicing, it was fixed up by the very same engineer who’d worked on it for Prince, and who remembered all the details of Prince’s unique configuration. (Guitar Player)

In other Purple Rain news, Apollonia made a surprise appearance at a Monday night screening of the 1984 cult classic in Los Angeles. Also on hand were writer/director Albert Magnoli, producer Robert Cavallo, costume designer Marie France, and cast members Jill Jones and, formerly of the TimeJerome Benton. Billboard captured some of the many stories that were told at the event. Apollonia’s next stop? First Avenue, where she will be on hand for at least one of the Revolution reunion shows this weekend.

Also, the first details have emerged regarding the lineup for the Oct. 13 Prince tribute concert at U.S. Bank Stadium. According to an e-mail from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the show “feature members of the iconic Prince Family, including Morris Day and the Time, Sheila E, The Revolution, and New Power Generation, featuring prominent pop stars of today on guest vocals.”

Other celebrity stuff you can buy

Slash has slashed the price of his L.A. mansion by a cool $1 million. The 11,000-foot Tuscan villa can now be yours for just $9.5 million — a price that includes “six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a swimming pool with an outdoor bar, a skate ramp and large kitchen with double islands,” notes Billboard. Not to mention: “the home’s lower level features a nightclub replete with a DJ booth, LED lights, a pole-dancing pole and photo booth. There is a professional recording studio with a vocal booth, as well as a screening theater and wine cellar.”

The MTV Video Music Award earned by Miley Cyrus in 2014 for her meme-friendly “Wrecking Ball” clip is up for sale on eBay with an asking price of $10,100. The seller: Jesse Helt, a formerly homeless young man who delivered a moving speech when Cyrus sent him onstage to accept the award on her behalf. Helt is doing well, apparently, and is soon to be a father. (BuzzFeed)

Coldplay honor Wilder

On Monday night in Denver, Coldplay covered the Willy Wonka song “Pure Imagination” in honor of the late Gene Wilder, who sang the song in the 1971 movie. (Billboard)

Bruce keeps getting Brucier

Bruce Springsteen just can’t stop. Having just days ago set a record for his longest-ever U.S. show, on Tuesday night in New Jersey he and the E Street Band topped that new mark by playing for 241 minutes: just over four hours, and only five minutes shy of their all-time record. In 2012 in Helsinki, the band played for four hours and six minutes. (Billboard)

CMJ is still on, CEO insists

Adam Klein, CEO of CMJ, has reaffirmed that this fall’s annual CMJ Music Marathon will indeed go on as planned — despite challenges and delays that have convinced many music insiders the event won’t happen. “A little patience and a whole lot less wild and unsubstantiated speculation is what we need right now,” said Klein in a statement. “CMJ will continue as an innovative force and a strong presence going forward.” (Pitchfork)

Phil still “Easy”

Phil Collins appeared at the opening of the US Open tennis tournament on Monday night to play a two-song set that featured a duet with Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. on “Easy Lover,” the hit that featured Philip Bailey on the original 1984 recording. Nerve damage prevents Collins from playing drums anymore, so his 15-year-old son Nicholas took the kit and, reports Rolling Stone, played “one of the most famous drum fills in rock history with ease.”

London mayor continues fight for nightlife

London mayor Sadiq Khan, who recently posted a job opening for a “nightlife czar” for the city, has responded favorably to a petition calling for the reopening of a nightclub, Fabric, that’s had its license suspended after two attendees died of drug overdoses. “My team have spoken to all involved in the current situation,” said Khan in a statement, “and I am urging them to find a common sense solution that ensures the club remains open while protecting the safety of those who want to enjoy London’s clubbing scene.” (Pitchfork)

Dolly’s back on top

Dolly Parton is celebrating her first album to top Billboard’s country chart in 25 years. The icon’s new collection Pure & Simple currently sits atop the country chart, which last saw a Parton chart-topper with 1991’s Eagle When She Flies.

Kenny G strips down and pushes up

Celebrities and commoners are sharing videos of themselves dropping and doing 22 as part of a viral campaign (similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge) called the “22 Push-Up Challenge.” The challenge is meant to raise awareness of the alarming suicide rate among military veterans. Among the most notable participants: Kenny G, who at age 60 is looking pretty buff. In turn, the smooth sax god challenged Richard Marx, Michael Bolton, and pro golfer Amy Alcott to follow his lead. (Consequence of Sound)