Name: Chris Johnson
Years as a Prince fan: 32
First album: Purple Rain
Favorite album: Purple Rain
Current jam: Revelation
Chris Johnson is a purple community member originally from Minnesota who hosts the Purple Knights Podcast in his free time. As a result of being born 3 months premature, Chris incurred brain damage that resulted in Cerebral Palsy. Having CP has put Chris in a wheelchair but has not stopped him from being a dedicated Prince fan and attending 5 concerts so far.
Once, Prince left a half-finished pina colada at the bar, and my sister went up and took a sip from it! -Chris
Chris’ sister attended a college in Minnesota and would drive a couple hours with her friends to attend (non-Prince) shows at First Avenue every few weekends. Although they never saw Prince perform there, they would often see him attending the same shows they were there for. It was these stories that first caught Chris’ attention, but he didn’t experience Prince’s music firsthand until “1999” and “Little Red Corvette” started playing on the radio. Being too young to understand the lyrical content, Chris latched on to what he could process – the music. He was mesmerized and thrilled by Prince’s voice and couldn’t stop listening once the Purple Rain album was released a year later.
Ever since Chris purchased this album, the title track has been his all-time favorite Prince song and for an important reason. Depression, anxiety, and extreme loneliness often claim dominion over Chris’ life and launch him into phases of darkness. One such instance occurred when Chris was 12-years-old and contemplating ending his life. “Purple Rain” led him to a spiritual epiphany that aligned Chris’ consciousness with his higher self.
From that moment on, and to this day, whenever I listen to Prince’s music, it helps me to exist as my higher self – a self without any physical or psychological handicaps. “Purple Rain” paved my way to that. -Chris
Although the music is what caught Chris’ attention, it is the emotion as well as Prince’s independence that continues to inspire him. Chris has a deep admiration and respect for Prince for always staying true to himself, even though he may not particularly agree with every decision Prince makes. This same honesty is present in the music, and this authentic emotion and exploration of human nature is fascinating to Chris on a personal level. Similar to my views, Chris also believes that we, as fans, do not have the right to control any aspect of Prince’s personal or professional life.
We’re simply along for the ride, and those of us that choose to hang on will funk until the dawn…if you can’t hang, you can get off the boat. -Chris
Speaking of funking until the dawn, Chris’ 5 previous concerts have included 3 shows at Paisley Park. Two summers ago, Chris attended the show featuring Kandace Springs. While she was performing in the Love4OneAnother room, Prince was hanging out near the stage, occasionally picking up some percussion instruments to join in on the jam. At one point, Prince floated over to Chris and attempted to hand him the cabasa he was playing. Although incredibly flattered and awestruck, Chris wasn’t confident in his ability to play the shaker since his hands don’t function properly due to his disability. Instead of trying to yell over the music to explain his situation, he just smiled at Prince for a moment until he walked away.
Spirituality and sexuality aren’t mutually exclusive; they’re two halves of the whole that makes us uniquely human. -Chris
This concept of seamlessly melding sexuality and spirituality is part of what draws Chris to Prince’s music and is incredibly discernible in “Revelation” from HitNRun Phase Two. The combination of Marcus Anderson’s soprano sax playing, Prince’s guitar solo, and the deep lyrics convey a message that can be interpreted many different ways by each individual listener. Just like Chris’ experience with “Purple Rain,” every fan encounters each track in a different way. With this jam, it’s all about reaching your own personal revelation, whatever that may be.
The task at hand, until we see the sun, is to keep doing you until you come…to revelation.