Prince; Travis Barker; Spirit

Prince passed away on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at his home at Paisley Park and is survived by sister Tyka Nelson and 5 step-siblings who are looking to inherit a rumored $300,000,000 once his estate is settled as Prince left no will.

Prince is an Oscar winning song writer and performer perhaps best known for his song “Purple Rain,” and the same titled movie, as well as winning a Golden Globe and Grammy Awards for his song writing and performance prowess.

It is rumored that when Eric Clapton was asked how it felt to be the world’s best guitarist, Clapton’s retort was “I don’t know, ask Prince.” And while this may not be more than a rumor, it does have a touch of truth to it. Anyone that has seen Prince’s guitar solo from a live performance of “Purple Rain” on YouTube knows that he is in the Top 10 of best guitarists. Prince was an icon to be certain, but was not the only talent to come from his generation as anyone will tell you Michael Jackson was around and producing hits at the same time. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti allowed a fine tribute to Prince at the City Hall on 5/6/2016 which was well attended and many well known acts such as Stevie Wonder added their talents to the mix. Garcetti opined that Prince was a once in a generation icon. It was a fitting tribute considering that Prince viewed LA as his second home.
Because I grew up during the age of greats such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix I can say that Prince’s fret work was more than adequate, it was awe inspiring.

At Howard Stern’s recent birthday bash, Adam Levine demonstrated his bad ass guitar work by performing the same guitar solo as Prince did at the end of “Purple Rain” on the Youtube video “Purple Rain.” I gotta say, Levine is quite capable of carrying the mantle of excellent axman via Prince, maybe Levine was channeling Prince at that performance since he was paying homage to the Purple One. There is a video on Youtube of Levine playing the solo.

there cannot be any denying that Prince was a force to be reckoned with on any level. Prince defined the musical taste of a whole generation of kids as well as their parents who became converts to his brand of Funk music.

For myself it is almost always about the danceability of a tune and found that groove in an early tune titled “Girls and Boys,” and who can forget Sinead O’Connor’s version of “Nothing Compares 2 U.” That thing still resonates with me even though O’Connor stated in 2015 that she would no longer perform the song because it no longer was relevant to her life. Maybe I am wrong, but I’ve always felt that Prince song put her on the map artistically as well as many other acts.

There are many more hits that he wrote which were hits for other acts. There were no lawsuits filed and no scandals to be sensationalized during his tenure as a rock icon…until now.

I’ve heard some say that he pulled a Michael Jackson with the misuse of pain pills since he had hip surgery. It is entirely possible; has anyone paid attention to his leg work on a stage! Jeez, I’m surprised that he only had 1 hip surgery. That man could move!

His sudden death at 57 is tragic and to have died alone in an elevator compounds the tragedy. Please have respect for his family, and his grief stricken fans and stop feeding the fires of gossip and innuendo. Instead, talk about: “Kiss”; “Raspberry Beret”; “Lets Go Crazy”; “Erotic City” and all of his other greats. I’m told that he left a vault full of material to be released posthumously for decades to come…talk about that!

Please note that the photos for this story are taken @thehollywoodwalkoffame by me.

Back in July 1988 I was working for a local magazine titled “West-End” and covered a performance by Spirit at the Pelican’s Retreat. While engaged in conversation with Randy California and Ed Cassidy, the subject of “Taurus” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” came up and how the opening chords sound very similar.

Cassidy kept quiet about it and California summed it up by telling me that he was flattered that Led Zeppelin enjoyed his work and that he was ok with it.

It’s important to remember that California earned his chops with some of the best including Jimi Hendrix, and that he used the theremin prior to Jimmy Page using it.

Spirit was on my turntable before Led Zeppelin and I am familiar with both band’s music. In fact, I wore out both their LP’s. Both bands performed together on a few occasions and it is entirely possible that Page was influenced by Randy California’s “Taurus.” “Taurus” was written two years prior to “Stairway To Heaven.” “Taurus” was recorded in November, “Stairway To Heaven” was nominated into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2003.

There is a court date on May 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California where Page and Robert Plant will have to defend their anthem “Stairway To Heaven.” Judge Gary Klausner has ruled that there are “sufficient similarities” between the two songs for Page and Plant to stand trial for copyright infringement. Many feel that there is a passing resemblance between the two songs, while others say absolutely not. I’ve listened to several opinions on Youtube to get a better feeling for what the general public is saying and the opinions are split down the middle. The best demonstration comes from TJR on youTube who has two videos about the “Taurus” and “Stairway To Heaven” controversy. TJR asserts that there are many similarities in his first video, but never renders an opinion. In the second video, TJR adds his opinion and qualifies it with an assertion that many of us already know: Led Zeppelin and Spirit toured together and Page could have easily been influenced by “Taurus.” The website for TJR is www. and you can also find him as TJR on YouTube.

A big shout out to Travis Barker for being such a good sport and reaching out to Miyavi and Miyavi posting a photo of the two of them on Instagram.

Barker is an edgy drummer, Miyavi is an edgy axman, put the two together and BAM! You have the BIG BANG!

Barker’s book “Can I Say” is now a national bestseller and continues to do well. The book is an excellent personal account of his struggles. TB humbles me with his strength.

Barker has been on several music magazine covers and will be featured in “DRUM” magazine soon.

On the passing of Prince, Barker wrote a heartfelt tribute to Prince that states Prince was one of his favorite artist’s of all time and how he had held a dream that they would collaborate and/or Barker would play drums for Prince.

Barker also stated that Prince used to come and watch him and #DJAM play. Barker also stated that Prince was one of the most inspiring artists of our time.

Barker’s band Blink 182 have a new endeavor dropping on July 1, 2016. You may go to their website to give it a listen or Barker’s page on Facebook and click the link there.


  1. All of the “Star” art has been removed from the @hollywoodwalkoffame. It was located just above Marshall’s heading toward La Brea where Teachr’s electric box Street Art with Prince still lives. You will have a chance to meet Teachr as well as Pay 2 Play director John Ennis, Shepard Fairey, Mr. Brainwash and many more local Street Artists @stonemalonegallery 7619 1/2 Melrose Ave. May 28, 2016 7pm to 11pm.

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