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Prince’s pill addiction began with bathtub accident, friends recall

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For his tour supporting the album “Purple Rain,” Prince planned to sing a song while sitting in a bathtub 10 feet off the ground. While rehearsing the scene in a Minnesota arena, the bathtub broke, sending Prince hurtling to the floor.

“It fell 10 or 12 feet with him in it. I never moved so fast in my life,” recalled Alan Leeds, Prince’s tour manager at the time, in the new book, “Nothing Compares 2 U: An Oral History of Prince,” by Touré (Permuted Press, Aug. 24).

“After that, his back hurt day after day. Then in LA, he slipped and hurt his knee. He got some meds and finished the tour, but I don’t think his hip and his leg were ever completely normal after that.”

These incidents, as recalled by people close to the superstar, marked the beginning of a life of pain for Prince that most likely led to the addiction that killed him. Prince died in 2016 from an accidental overdose of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

To those who knew and loved him, the manner of Prince’s death was especially ironic, as he was vehemently anti-drug from his teen years well into his time as music royalty.

Close friend Morris Day remembers a time when Prince tried psychedelic mushrooms, only to declare it the first and last time he would ever do them.

“He wasn’t hip at all. Prince was a square,” said Prince’s cousin Pepe Willie of the musician’s teen years. 

“We’d go outside, smoke a doobie and come back upstairs, and he goes, ‘Oohhhh, ooohhh, look at you! Your eyes are red! Look at you, look at you!’ And we’d be going like, ‘Oh, man, come on.’ He was square.”

During his teens, Prince experimented with drugs just once, surprising good friend and future frontman for the Time, Morris Day with a request for psychedelic mushrooms. The trip did not go well.

“I got some mushrooms and we both tried them. We went to a club and this dude starts freaking out,” Day told Touré. “Next thing I know, he’s sitting on the floor with his head in his hands, and he was tripping like his mind was playing games on him. He was like, ‘I’m not never doing this s–t with you no more.’”

Even in the cocaine-heavy ’80s, Prince would sometimes record in the studio for over 24 hours at a clip fueled not by drugs, but by dessert.

“In his marathon sessions, he would eat cake. He loved, loved, loved cake, mostly vanilla with chocolate frosting,” said Susannah Melvoin, Prince’s one-time fiancée and vocalist in several of his bands.

“I would make that for him on a regular basis and that would keep him going. He would come up from the studio, take another slice, go back down. That’s how he kept going.”

Prince wouldn’t tolerate drug use by his band members, and Touré writes that friends of Prince claimed he even dumped singer Vanity as his girlfriend because she liked to get high.

“If he saw two crew guys in a corner looking suspicious, he’d have me check on it,” said Leeds. “He had a borderline paranoia about having anybody around who was into drugs.”

So it was a shock to all around him when, around the time of the commercial failure of the 1988 album “Lovesexy,” Prince began taking ecstasy and hallucinogens recreationally, according to a former girlfriend.

After his 1988 album “Lovesexy” flopped, the singer reportedly began doing drugs recreationally. It was a dramatic departure for a man who used to be known by his friends as a bit of a square.
Redferns

“He started doing hallucinogens with [his then-girlfriend] Ingrid Chavez and all these different people and looking back now, for me, that’s a red flag,” says Jill Jones, a background vocalist for the star who also dated him on and off in the 1980s.

The drugs even affected key decisions regarding his music. Prince was set to release an album titled “The Black Album,” which Touré describes as a “lewd and aggressive record,” but nixed it unexpectedly.

“He had a bad feeling about the album while doing ecstasy with his then-girlfriend Ingrid Chavez and decided to shelve it at the last minute,” wrote Touré.

Ingrid Chavez and Prince in "Graffiti Bridge".
Ingrid Chavez and Prince in “Graffiti Bridge”.
Alamy Stock Photo

He recorded and released “Lovesexy” instead. (Prince eventually released “The Black Album” in 1994.) At least part of the reason for that album’s failure was a rushed rollout due to the last-minute switch.

While he was dabbling in these drugs, Prince was also dealing with the constant pain from his tour injuries. Touré writes that Prince, who had a dislike of doctors, may have been self-medicating “as early as the early ’90s.”  

Morris Hayes, Prince’s keyboardist for almost two decades, believes that Prince did a stint in rehab in 1994.

After hearing that Prince was messing with drugs, and believing that he was treating the band even rougher than usual — Prince was always a strict taskmaster — Hayes nervously confronted him.

“Hey man, I don’t mean to cause no problems,” he said to his boss, “[but] you’ve really been weird and acting really out of character lately. Word on the street is you’re messing with drugs.”

“Aw, man. I’m not doing anything like that,” Prince replied, according to Hayes. “I’m working, I’m doing stuff. It’s nothing like that. It’s cool.”

Hayes was relieved until the next day, when Prince failed to show up for rehearsal. This was remarkably out of character for a man who had no life other than recording music.

Prince returned a week later. He told Hayes that he spent the entire week, for the first time since his teens, without playing guitar or writing a song.

His use of pain pills was probably longer than maybe some of us might have thought … I think he really relied on it

Prince guitarist Wendy Melvoin

“I took some time to lie about and kind of cool out,” Prince said, “and I appreciate you coming in here and saying something.”

To Hayes, this explanation seemed incomplete.

“That he didn’t play or write for a whole week was really a big deal. I’ve never seen Prince go a day without doing something musical, much less a week,” says Hayes.

“I was like, ‘Well, what did he do?’ We didn’t hear from him; no one in the band did. I don’t know what else he could’ve did other than go somewhere where he was sequestered. I think he went to rehab. I hope he went to rehab. I think he was dealing with an issue and I hope that’s what he did.”

While no one is quite sure when it intensified, by his later years, Prince was relying on opiates to keep his pain at bay.

“I think the thing that controlled him was his drug addiction,” says Wendy Melvoin, Susannah’s twin sister and guitarist for Prince’s band the Revolution.

Susannah Melvoin
Susannah Melvoin recalls baking cake for the “tender” star to get hm through marathon recording sessions.
Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP

“His use of pain pills was probably longer than maybe some of us might have thought because, when he started getting his aches and pains, I think he really relied on it,” she added. “And he was little. I think it just got worse for him over time.”

“I feel that the whole fentanyl thing was just him escaping pain from the hip and it got out of hand,” said Mark Brown, the Revolution bassist who Prince christened Brown Mark. 

“[He needed] something to take that pain away, but then it got to the point where the addiction settles in, but he’s keeping it hidden because the thing he lived by [was], ‘Never let anybody see you sweat.’”

Prince died on April 21, 2016, at age 57. According to Wendy Melvoin, Prince, who weighed around 145 pounds when healthy, was down to around 107 when he died. Jones noted that when he passed, there were “thousands of pills all over the building.”

While nothing about Prince was conventional, from his savant-like talent to a lifestyle that shut out everything but making music, in the end, the tragic manner of his death was the most normal thing about him.

“He wasn’t doing drugs like a hedonistic rock star,” Touré wrote. “He was doing drugs like so many working-class Americans who need pills to get breaking-down bodies through the workday so they can show up for the people who rely on them.”

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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