*In an extensive article for Rolling Stone, Lenny Kravitz details his close friendship with Prince, recalls memories of various gigs and visits to his homes, and how Prince’s music – particularly the “Dirty Mind” album – opened up new possibilities in his life.
Below, Lenny’s own words as told to Andy Greene:
My first memory of ever hearing Prince is when a black radio station I used to listen to in Los Angeles began playing “I Wanna Be Your Lover” in 1979. I remember hearing the song and liking it, but I didn’t really identity with him until the following year when Dirty Mind came out. That was a pivotal moment for me. Just seeing the album cover opened up my imagination. Here was an African-American cat, skin color like mine was, playing the guitar like I wanted to play. Obviously I would have been into Jimi Hendrix as that prime example, but this person was alive. This person was doing his thing right in front of me. So he had a very deep impact on me. I was able to see where I could go.
The music, the vibe, the color, the hair, the band members, everything, was amazing to me. And Dirty Mind is still one of my favorite recordings of Prince just on a sonic level. It’s a really tight, punchy record that is funky with elements of rock and punk. It just really drew me in. Then it just kept going with Controversy and 1999 and Purple Rain.
…I remember sitting in biology class in high school. I had a Sony Walkman and I’m listening to Dirty Mind. I’m listening to “Head” and I’m studying Doctor Fink’s synthesizer solo. I just remember sitting there and listening to it over and over. That record just opened up my imagination as to where I wanted to go. He looked like me. I could identity with him. I had this big imagination as to where I was gonna go, and it did not fit in a box. He was saying to me, “You can do this. This is how I did it, and now you do it your way.” That meant a lot. He was a mentor and then someone I got to know as a friend and play with. So when he left, a part of me really went too.
Kravitz also talks about the first time he was compared to Prince, the first time Prince called him out of the blue, playing pool and ping pong with him at his apartment in Paris and MUCH more in the article. Click here to read in its entirety.