Prince Fans Get First Glimpse Inside Paisley Park

Oct 6, 2016
Originally published on October 6, 2016 7:10 pm
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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Fans wearing purple came to Paisley Park today. That's the estate of the late musician Prince and Chanhassen, Minn. Public tours began at Paisley Park today less than six months after Prince died of an opioid overdose. Starting in the late '80s, Paisley Park was where Prince wrote and recorded songs like this one.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALPHABET ST.")

PRINCE: (Singing) I'm going down to Alphabet St. I'm going to crown the first that I meet. I'm going to...

MCEVERS: Years later Prince acquired the whole property and lived there, too. It is also where he died. Music reporter Jay Gabler was among those who toured Paisley Park today. He's with Minnesota Public Radio's The Current. Hi there.

JAY GABLER, BYLINE: Hi there.

MCEVERS: So you actually had to buy a ticket to get in to Paisley Park today. And I guess that zoning problems are going to halt tours there after this weekend. What were some of the highlights of what you saw today?

GABLER: Well, the big wow is that Prince's remains are actually at Paisley Park. He was cremated, and on display in the atrium of Paisley Park is a miniature model of Paisley Park that contains a small purple box that we are told contains Prince's ashes.

MCEVERS: Wow. So like I said, you know, they're going to halt this because of a zoning, you know - what do you - what are some advice for fans who want to actually get there to get to see Paisley Park and get to see his remains?

GABLER: Well, so the thing to do is to watch the social media. Paisley Park now is on Twitter. It's on Facebook, and they will be updating fans with what's going on with the zoning situation. Right now the decision to rezone Paisley Park for use as a museum has been postponed by the Chanhassen City Council while they look to have some concerns about traffic and safety alleviated.

But I spoke with the mayor of Chanhassen this morning, and he sounded hopeful that those concerns will be taken care of relatively soon so that it will be able to open permanently for tours.

MCEVERS: What did you hear from some of the fans who did get to go in today?

GABLER: They seemed very satisfied, very happy, very excited to be there. Some of them have traveled from a long way away. This of course was the first day, so you have some of the most excited fans there. And you know, if the tours were a little imperfect, if they were a little rough, if the logistics were a little bit rough, you - they didn't seem to notice or mind that much. They seemed just thrilled to have this opportunity to visit this estate that was so core to Prince's life and work.

MCEVERS: What else did you see there?

GABLER: So you get to see the studios that Prince worked in, that he recorded music in. You get to see the performance spaces that he used when people would come to see shows at Paisley Park. And coolest for me as someone who had visited Paisley Park several times during Prince's lifetime was that you got to see some spaces that you didn't typically get to see as a casual visitor to Paisley Park.

You get to see the study where he worked. You get to see the little kitchen where he would hang out and watch Timberwolves games. You got to see his personal studio always ready with instruments for him to, you know, go and lay down a track whenever he felt the need.

It was really cool to just experience the space as Prince used it, as Prince lived in it and move through the whole space in a way that, you know, was not previously possible.

MCEVERS: As we said, it's just been, you know, six months since he died. It seems like a short time to turn this around and open it up as a museum. I understand they had a few problems. Tell us about that.

GABLER: Well, yeah, it was a little bit rocky. There of course was the zoning issue that we've discussed. And in terms of the way the tours were operating, you know, there are a couple of different levels of tour. There's the regular tour, and there's the VIP tour. And they're sort of bumping into each other. And the tour guides could have been better informed, but I think those are kinks that they'll work out.

MCEVERS: That's Jay Gabler of Minnesota Public Radio's The Current. Thank you so much.

GABLER: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PAISLEY PARK")

PRINCE: (Singing) Paisley Park is in your heart. There is a woman who sits all alone by the pier. Her husband... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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