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Prince plays London living-room gig

LONDON (AP) - When Prince came to London a few years ago, he played more than 20 nights at the vast O2 arena. This time, he played a suburban living room to a dozen people.

The enigmatic star flew into London on Tuesday at the start of a still-evolving string of dates in support of forthcoming album "Plectrum Electrum," recorded with all-female trio 3RDEYEGIRL.

Details are being released in a trickle, but Prince said he planned to play "iconic" venues along the lines of music club the Bag o' Nails - where Jimi Hendrix once played - storied rock venue Electric Ballroom and Ronnie Scott's jazz club.

"We'll work our way up, if people like us, to bigger venues," Prince said.

His first stop was the East London home of British soul singer Lianne La Havas, who met Prince last year while she was touring the United States. The pair bonded over common musical tastes and a shared love of tea.

In her cozy living room in front of a crackling fire, the band played two acoustic tracks of what Prince called their "funky rock 'n' roll," or "funk 'n' roll," including the newly released single "PretzelBodyLogic."

Later, Prince and the band showed off its funk-laced, punk-edged sound in an unannounced late-night set at the Electric Ballroom, a landmark venue in north London's music heartland of Camden. He said he'd be back at the club on Wednesday - "a lot earlier and a lot funkier."

The trip to London, he said, is "open-ended."

"We're going to be here until people don't want to hear us anymore."

Prince said he planned to keep ticket prices as low as $10 - "because it's a new band and you're maybe not hearing what you'd expect."

The tracks on the new album were developed during epic jam sessions at Prince's Paisley Park studios near Minneapolis.

"We've been together for over a year and it's perfect," said Prince, who sipped a mug of strong tea with honey as he chatted to La Havas, her housemates and three journalists in the British singer's brick Victorian house. "The more we play, the more fun it is, and addictive it is."

Prince looked every inch the star in the incongruous surroundings, dressed head-to-toe in black and sporting a furry jerkin and large sunglasses.

The multinational 3RDEYEGIRL is made up of Danish bassist Ida Nielsen, Canadian guitarist Donna Grantis and American drummer Hannah Ford. Ford said the band sometimes jammed for 12 hours or more in days and nights of music interspersed with games of ping pong.

"That's our amazing life," she said. "And we wouldn't want it any other way. We are literally living a musician's fairy tale, and it is now our reality.

"Once you start jamming you sort of forget about the time," she said of the band's sessions with Prince.

"A lot of the time we didn't even know we were recording for an album. We were just jamming and vibing off one another."

Prince, she said, is "an incredible teacher in all the genres - rock, punk ..."

"And ping pong," added Prince.

For 55-year-old Prince - a genre-bending musical pioneer and outrider for more than three decades - the unusual promotional tour reflects a determination to do things his own way.

"I was in it (the music industry) and got out for obvious reasons," he said. "I'm just hooking up with like minds."

He said he's sworn off contracts and deadlines because "it's just no way to make art."

Prince said he hoped to record the band live during their stay in London, as well as buying "some clothes - and some tea."

Asked if - as rumored - he would play the Glastonbury Festival in June, he didn't issue a denial, but said he was trying to "slow time down" and live in the moment. "I can't think of the festival now."

He spoke about his decision to launch a lawsuit - later dropped - against fans who posted links online to unauthorized footage of his performances.

"Nobody sues fans," he said. "It's just a poor way to phrase it. A bootlegger is a bootlegger, a scalper is a scalper. They know what time it is.

"Just sharing music with each other - that's cool," he said. "It's the selling that becomes the problem."

He claimed not to have noticed that 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of his groundbreaking album "Purple Rain," regularly hailed as one of the best records of the 1980s.

"I don't look back," he said.

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ggb0909 February 05 2014 at 11:53 AM

Saw Prince in December in Ct - he was amazing , didn't miss a beat , backup singers and band were amazing also - He really delivered played for 2 hours . He came back out for encore , and ended with the iconic Purple Rain -- he was very personable - it was like he was in your living room performing.
Prince is the king of rock - not only can he sing but his guitar solo said it all. Love me some Prince!!!!

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Russ February 05 2014 at 9:28 AM

Prince, get off your ass drinking tea, and grab your guitar, some booze and a girl , and tour the world. Life is short. go entertain, thats what you do best.

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mygailbaby February 05 2014 at 9:31 AM

LOVE this Man. There is a big something about him that's made him stay true and standing where many have fallen in life and craft. Some of his songs make me want to tear off my clothing and beg to be taken. LOL!

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ronald February 05 2014 at 9:41 AM


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thadvance February 05 2014 at 9:57 AM

I agree with Prince.....slow down and pace yourself; that way you can be aroound for more than just awhile. I've seen to many bright and shiny stars fizzle and implode one way or another. Prince, you are doing the right thing. Your legacy will be a beacon for many others. The media and fans can be an unfulfilled gluttonous beast; trying to dig into your whole being without let up. Put it (the beast) on a diet and live!

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dcraig62 February 05 2014 at 10:05 AM

I wish I could be in London right now. Really happy he decided to make music and perform it live again! In the 80's he was my favorite artist and I've missed him!

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countrykumfort February 05 2014 at 10:13 AM

One of THE best guitarist ....in the known world.
Go to youtube and search 'while my guitar gently weeps- prince'

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kingsvardo2 February 05 2014 at 10:24 AM

It's a shame that Prince has to immigrate to another country to get to express himself as a musical artist because as many of us know once you've had your 15 min. of fame in the USA it's hard to remain there for any length of time. He's just trying to continue to express himself musically in a country that embraces American rock n' roll figures that we as Americans are ready to throw in the " has been " category real fast. And it's evident by all the negative comments in this column on another rock n' roller that had to pack up and leave to get recognized as still having that spunky funk to continue in England and remain a headliner artist and not stay in the USA and get on the Legends Of Rock N' Roll Oldies tour buses wanting him to sing " Purple Rain " just one more time before the fan dies.... Rock on Prince !!!!!

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mike February 05 2014 at 10:40 AM

You can all ditch on him,But he can play a mean guitar .His half time show was twice as
good as this year.

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mzharleywood February 05 2014 at 10:54 AM

No other guitarist can rock it the way Prince does!

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