It’s nice to be able to call him Prince. Remember when he picked that unpronounceable symbol? We had to talk around his name. We would mention a song he did and say things like, “Do you know when that singer is touring?” If we absolutely had to refer to him, we had to say things like, “You know, that guy.” Then we rolled our eyes and somebody would say “Prince” in a whisper, like he might hear us. It was all so hush-hush because that guy was so damn touchy about his name. We never knew if he was lurking around corners in dance clubs, trying to spot someone to accuse of ripping him off.
More aggravation ensued when he became known as, “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” Newscasters said it, and newspapers wrote it, but cool people said, “Gimme a break, I’m not going to call him that.” And there was no way we were going to worry about mispronouncing that unpronounceable doodle that means love. Nyahh. We just called him Prince.
The reason he didn’t want to be known as Prince anymore was because, supposedly, he thought Warner Bros. just wanted to make money off of him and his reputation. Uh, yeah. That’s what record companies do when they sign you, dude. In 1993, Prince abandoned his name and wrote the word “slave” on his face. Oy, playing the martyr card. Poor, poor, rich, famous Prince.
I guess “The Artist” assumed that we’d all just keep revering him and do whatever the deity wanted — humility was never his strong suit — and that’s a nice segue way into another kind of suit: lawsuit. I’m talking about the 21-page, $22 million suit by the complainant Prince Rogers Nelson (his real name). Prince was named after his dad, a pianist with the stage name Prince Rogers.
On Jan. 16, Prince set things in motion to sue 22 Internet “bootleggers” for $1 million each. Their crime was illegally posting his photos and videos on places like Facebook. Many of the defendants were his fans. People were just like, “Enough already.” I mean the guy is 55 now. How long does he think people will put up with his shenanigans before they refer to him as “that old guy with all those names who sued his fans”?
On Jan. 29, he dropped the lawsuit. TMZ quoted Prince’s lawyer saying, “Because of the recent pressure, the bootleggers have now taken down the illegal downloads and are no longer engaging in piracy.”
So, The Artist, who first appeared as Prince, then as a symbol, then as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, and currently known as The Jerk Who Irked Us, might finally get a grip. Or not.
He’s been bitching about the world, or more specifically, the online world — which is kind of the same thing now — for years. In 2007, he had a hissy fit and threatened to sue YouTube for letting people post videos of him without his authorization. In 2010 he said, “The Internet’s completely over.”
Uh, not really, Mr. Monosyllabic.
These days Prince has an estimated net worth of $300 million. Ten of his albums went platinum and he’s had at least 30 Top 40 singles. Will someone please tell me why this guy has such a stick up his ass?