Prince Plays London Living-Room Gig

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 remain scarce, but Prince said he hoped 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.

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,” including the newly released single “PretzelBodyLogic.”

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. “The more we play, the more fun it is, and addictive it is.”

Drummer Hannah Ford said the band sometimes jammed for 12 hours or more – interspersed with games of ping pong.

“A lot of the time we didn’t even know we were recording for an album,” she said. “We were just jamming and vibing off one another.”

Photo: John Sciulli / Getty Images for Samsung
La Zona Rosa, SXSW, Austin, TX

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