Pamela Des Barres' Guitar Gods: Prince

Miss Pamela continues her celebration of her favorite guitarists.
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During the musically flat '80s — at least for me (Springsteen excluded) — the hot little package from Minneapolis righted some of those techno wrongs, reminding us all that rock and roll was a term originally used to describe a steamy, rockin, rollin’ roll in the hay. I came late to his game, unfortunately, missing his skimpy underwear era entirely, before glomming on to his majesty in ’82 when 1999 was released. There was such unfettered joy pouring out of my speakers, complimenting his happily horny shout, "I wanna f**k you!" on “Let’s Pretend We’re Married,” before winding up the song thusly: "I'm not saying this just to be nasty. I sincerely wanna f**k the taste out of your mouth."

I imagined all kinds of intriguing contortions. Did he really SAY that? Mmmmm-mmmm.

Yes, indeed I certainly enjoyed his taunting wordplay, but it wasn’t until the Purple Rain album came out that I realized the sensual wunderkind was playing his guitar like it had a p*ssy. If you haven’t listened to his centerpiece solo shimmering on that title song lately, melt into your sheets, turn it up crazy loud and enjoy yourself like “Darling Nikki” did while employing her magazine in a very unique manner.

That wailing solo is like a plaintive call and answer—a siren call. He makes his guitar beg, he makes it plead. It cajoles and backs off, insists and relents, takes flight and crawls, creeping, weeping, and insistent, ravaged and wrecked, revealing the pent-up trashed, thrashed, yet deeply hopeful desire teeming inside us all.

It was in a long white limousine, cruising through the parking lot of the Los Angeles Forum where the title of my first book came into being. Me and my ex hubby, Michael, and my dollest-pal Patti D’Arbanville, had decided to arrive at the Prince concert in high style, and as we caromed closer to our backstage passes, I stood up, thrust myself through the sliding Caddy top, shouting wildly, “I’m with the Band!!!” And without missing a drumbeat, Patti screamed, “There’s your title, Pammie!!”

I used to hang out at Helena’s — the trendiest Hollywood nightclub that ever was — and one balmy night, I was on the dance floor grinding and humping to the ridiculously flawless song, “Kiss,” when the notoriously private Prince teetered into the club on his six-inch heels and slid into the booth in front of me. During the lyrics, “You don’t have 2 watch Dynasty/ 2 have an attitude,” the hunky star of that very TV show, Michael Nader, walked through the door and stood at the threshold, emitting prime-time star power, standing proudly above us like a superhero.

I usually retain my cool around my faves, but this was one of those unforgettable synchronistic moments, and it gave me the courage to approach Prince. I breathlessly stood in front of his table and bleated, “I love you!” like the gushing fan I was. He didn’t move an inch, hiding behind very, very dark sunglasses. I stood motionless as his song continued to play and the trendies danced. Then, he slowly slid his sunglasses down his perfect nose and looked at me for a long deliberate moment, before returning to his dark glassed-in hideaway.

You know those moments when time takes an eternal photograph? I will forever have the image of Prince’s huge piercing brown eyes inside me somewhere.

I can see them right now.

Prince Performs "Purple Rain"