Sean Sandusky Does Prince's Greatest Hits
Prince is one of those icons that I blindly deem infallible. From my view, the man hasn't released an acceptable record in 17 years -- keep in mind that's giving a lot of credit to 1994's Come, his last album as Prince before the transformation to a symbol and exodus from Warner Bros. Though history has called it a "contract fulfilling" flop, it's certainly worth your time. Look at that title, this was one of Prince's dirtiest moments and tracks like "Pheremone" and "Race" even evoke Dirty Mind levels of sweaty funk. Still, it's dated -- Prince's post-New Jack by a guy who invented New Jack attempt at finally shedding the last skin of nastiness.
All said and done, with nearly two decades of sub-par material, Prince is an untouchable force. Someone I can always visit - through his epic stretch of epic albums -- and continue to be amazed at the talent and innovation. My Prince love is strong and I often consider him a big influence on everything in my life. What's even more upsetting than his dearth of great pop hits, is his lack to cooperate with the digital world. His reluctance to share his history through YouTube, or even releasing his extensive vault of platinum nostalgia, has robbed a generation of his power. If you really want the essence, find the live film from the Purple Rain tour. If I could only see Prince every night for the rest of my life I'd be fine.
So those of us who worship the guy are forced to either listen to Sign O' the Times for the nth time or emulate exactly what we love about him (cause honestly, is there anyone around that can do what he did these days?). James McNew of Yo La Tengo always comes to the fore in the Prince conversation. His solo project, Dump did a whole record of Prince covers called That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice, and it's something I still play since I first heard it. Even in these four-track renditions, it's hard to mistake the purity of Prince's songwriting. "Raspberry Beret" is a particularly potent nugget.
....Which leads me to Sean Sandusky and the magical tape found by an old acquaintance, Jon Lorenz, at a thrift store in Southwest Ohio. Even more raw and primitive than Dump, the mysterious Sandusky plays Prince like nothing I've ever heard. It's twisted and minimal, frightening and endearing all at once. Savant Outsider or Wicked Prank, I urge you to download this and melt in it.
I'll let Jon tell you about finding the tape in his own words. The full tape is listed below.
"Well.. I found it at Valley Thrift on reading rd in Cincinnati. It's the kind of spot you never ever find good tapes at. You can find good records (original ESP Burton Greene - No cover :( for a quarter but tapes, never. It's usually the same tapes every time I go there. The usual selection of sermons and 80's pop music. So, yeah I wasn't even really looking at tapes because honestly they never ever have anything but I noticed a Sean Sandusky tape sitting out basically because it was an obvious home-made cover with xeroxed art glued over a David lee Roth cover. That sort of thing always catches my eye. So, yeah I ended up finding three copies of it though one didn't have a cover. Since all the covers were different and the tape looked like it could be some weird find I decided to buy all three. So unfortunately I don't have a car tape deck so I eagerly waited til I got home to pop it in. I really didn't think it would be as weird as it is. I figured maybe it was some kid making his own cover for a Prince mixtape he made or something... but I put it on and was kind of weirded out by what I heard with it starting with the slowed down spoken intro to the first side and then it jumps in to the most bizarre Prince covers you might ever hear. Super weird arrangements with just clarinet, harmonica, flute, and drums.
But yeah so I was hoping to find contact information on the cassette somewhere but nothing. I kind of figured it was probably someone I knew just throwing some tape together under a different name and throwing them around thiftstores. i had a couple guesses on who it could possibly be and those have proven wrong. It's most likely some kid from the suburbs making weird music and throwing them around thrift stores. I've kind of been waiting to find more copies at other stores but haven't seen a single one since. I'm not even sure when the tape was made. It looks like it has to be somewhat recent by the quality of the covers. Not really faded at all.. but who knows maybe it sat in someone's basement for years and never saw any sunlight.. but i would assume it's at least from the last two years. I have a feeling that whoever made the tape doesn't go by Sean Sandusky so trying to find this kid might be pretty hard. It might even be better if he is never found.
But yeah... I'd like to try and reissue this on cassette but trying to figure out who this kid is first. Would really be interested in hearing originals that he has done."