Why I Will Never Visit Prince’s Paisley Park

The enigmatic singer craved privacy. Let’s respect that.

By Kirk Miller

 
Prince
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30 August 2016

The private home and studio used by Prince is going public.

Don’t expect to see me in line.

It's not for lack of curiosity: opened in 1985, the 65,000-square-foot Paisley Park, located in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen, served as the creative nexus for the “Purple Rain” singer. He recorded there, rehearsed there, hosted private parties there ... He had the entire place wired for sound, so he could jam out any moment.

He lived there. Seriously, he lived in his studio. And, tragically, died there, on April 21, from an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl in April.

According to a press release, Paisley Park will open on October 6th for daily tours, with a chance to see Prince’s personal archive, “including iconic concert wardrobe, awards, musical instruments, artwork, rare music and video recordings, concert memorabilia, automobiles and motorcycles.”

In honor of the Purple One’s 1993 underappreciated “Seven,” let’s count the seven ways this is a terrible idea.

He was a private man
You know why there’s an air of mystery around Paisley Park? Because Prince didn’t hand out invites to just anybody. This was a man who sued former employees to protect his privacy. He hid hundreds of songs from his record label (which he also sued). He went after YouTube and other sites for posting his music and TV appearances.

Even Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson, who announced the new tours, acknowledged “only a few hundred people have had the rare opportunity to tour the estate in his lifetime.” Kevin Smith once told a great, bizarre story about touring the estate in 1999 for a planned documentary of the singer that paints Prince as kind of a Howard Hughes recluse figure. Oh, and that release? Shelved.

He had no will
Nelson can claim that opening Paisley Park was something “that Prince always wanted to do,” but there’s literally no proof of this. Also, given the estimated $300 million up for grabs in the estate ... let’s not trust anyone’s motives right now.

It’s going to be managed by the company that oversees Elvis Presley’s Graceland
So, you know, classy.

It’s a ripoff
Tickets are $38.50 and go up to over $100 for a “VIP experience.” For a 70-minute tour.

There’s an ongoing criminal investigation
The man died at Paisley Park — which, again, was his home. Can we wait until the investigation is finished?

Prince works better as a mystery
The man was inscrutable. Occasionally offputting, it was also part of his charm. Here’s an obit that sums up Prince’s mysterious appeal nicely: “Prince was many things at once yet ultimately remained unknowable and inscrutable — a blank space upon which fans projected their own sense of who they wished him to be. Prince was, in many ways, ill-suited to global celebrity. If the face he presented to the world was debauched with a vengeance, in private the singer was soft-spoken and intensely shy. Indeed, for much of his career he lived a hermit existence, hidden his Paisley Park recording facility in his home town of Minneapolis ...”

He really, really didn't want people getting into his vault
Prince’s legendary vault of unreleased songs was “drilled open” a mere week after his death. Does owning a literal vault sound like a man who liked to share his life?

Side note: There are now plans to release numerous albums from this vaulted archive, which begs the question: name one good posthumous album you still enjoy (seriously doubting you still have Michael Jackson’s Xscape in your playlist).

For once, let's let sleeping gods lie.

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