Prince Announces Tour, Gets Friendly With Major Labels

Former Warner Bros. 'slave' now wants deal with all the record companies.

LOS ANGELES — Looks like Prince's performance at the Grammys was a sign o' things to come.

The singer announced his first proper nationwide tour in six years on Tuesday (February 24) at a press conference that featured the singer and his New Power Generation band offering a sneak peek at what to expect from the shows, which will supposedly be the last time he performs some of his greatest hits live.

Prince opened the Grammys with a show-stealing medley featuring Beyoncé (see "Beyonce Sings Twice, Christina Plays Nice, Outkast Cool As Ice On Grammy Stage"), performing "Purple Rain," "Baby I'm a Star" and "Let's Go Crazy."

"Our last tour was based on the music from [2001's] The Rainbow Children, and this time we got a really tight band, and what I wanted to do was hear them play some of my early music," Prince told the hundreds of journalists and fan club members jammed into the El Rey Theatre. "It's older music but it's going to be played in a newer way.

"I'll bring them back out and show you what I'm talking about," he added, minutes before the band returned for "Kiss," "Sign 'O' the Times" and other favorites.

The Musicology Tour, which opens March 29 in Los Angeles, will feature Prince performing in the round to accommodate more concertgoers. So far only dates through June 12 in Bossier City, Louisiana, have been announced, although the tour will also hit Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and more. "We're going to go around the world and probably back again," Prince said.

The artist formerly known as the Artist also revealed he has recorded a new album, titled Musicology, which he hopes to release later in year in a rather unconventional manner.

"I've been talking to all the major labels to help with promotion and distribution, the notion being that the pie, the market share, should be shared by all," Prince said. "So I'm going to ask all of them to release it at once. That might seem a little bit crazy, but I'm going to ask them."

Prince, who once famously called himself a slave to Warner Bros., has not released an album on a major label since the mid-'90s. He's met with several so far and said he would be open to teaming with one for Musicology if not all the companies are interested.

"The distribution situation is going to be handled by the group of individuals that are most hyped about pushing the project," he said. "We spend a lot of time on the music and we take great care in doing the best that we can. It gets frustrating sometimes when you take five, six months out of your life and give it to somebody to mess up in two weeks."

Musicology, which features a single of the same name (Prince performed it Tuesday), will also be available on a new download system Prince is developing, with songs for 99 cents, or 77 cents for fan club members. He's also working on a way to give the album for free to fans who purchase concert tickets, "the thinking behind that being the people who buy concert tickets have been with me for over 20 years," he said. "So it's just my way of saying thanks."

Prince also noted several upcoming performances, including Thursday on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," March 3 on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Memorial Day at the Tiger Jam for the Tiger Woods Foundation and July 2 at the Essence Festival.

The singer is also opening the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony next month (see "George Harrison, Prince, John Mellencamp Among 2004 Rock Hall Nominees"), and while Beyoncé isn't on that bill, he said he'd love to perform with her again.

"She seems to have a relationship with the music ... which means that she does it naturally, like really naturally. After one rehearsal we played one of her tunes with my band, because usually she sings with tracks and I wanted to hear her sing with a live band, and it was," Prince said, pausing to take out a handkerchief and act like he was wiping away tears, "you don't even want to know. It was good."

Prince tour dates, according to his publicist:

  • 3/29 - Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center

  • 3/31 - Phoenix, AZ @ Glendale Arena

  • 4/2 - Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center

  • 4/6 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Ford Center

  • 4/7 - Omaha, NE @ Qwest Center

  • 4/8 - Ames, IA @ Hilton Coliseum

  • 4/10 - Champaign, IL @ Assembly Hall

  • 4/12 - Indianapolis, IN @ Conseco Fieldhouse

  • 4/13 - Cincinnati, OH @ U.S. Bank Arena

  • 4/14 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mellon Arena

  • 4/16 - Columbus, OH @ Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center

  • 4/17 - Cleveland, OH @ Gund Arena

  • 4/18 - State College, PA @ Bryce Jordan Center
  • 4/21 - Columbia, SC @ Colonial Center

  • 4/22 - Knoxville, TN @ Thompson-Boling Arena
  • 4/23 - Raleigh, NC @ RBC Center

  • 4/25 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Office Depot Center

  • 4/26 - Tampa, FL @ St. Pete Times Forum

  • 4/27 - Jacksonville, FL @ Veterans Memorial Arena

  • 4/29 - Birmingham, AL @ BJCC Coliseum

  • 4/30 - Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena

  • 5/1 - Biloxi, MS @ Mississippi Coast Coliseum

  • 5/4 - Kansas City, MO @ Kemper Arena

  • 5/5 - St. Louis, MO @ Savvis Center

  • 5/6 - Nashville, TN @ Gaylord Entertainment Center

  • 6/12 - Bossier City, LA @ Century Tel Center