ABOUT THE SONG: The song came out pretty spectacular. Nils and I were just in L.A. with Hans Zimmer, who is also a huge Princefan, for the musical setting of my novel adaptation, when suddenly Sheila E. came in with Wendy & Lisa and started singing. No, just crap.
When I met Nils, he told me that he sometimes goes to the cellar with his bass brother Frank and jams on a drum machine. I thought, yeah, then jam it up guys. As singer and songwriter of my bands, I was never interested in jamming. At the time when my boys were making music in the rehearsal room and getting drunk, I preferred to write songs at home in leisure, which means I never actually jammed. The more surprised I was when I heard the recording. It grooved like hell! From out of nowhere text fragments slipped onto the groove. We screwed a little on the song structure, adapted the lyrics to it and "the real funkman" was almost done. The song was created in a flow and I think you could easily hear it, it just runs beautifully right from the start.
The drums were played by Marcus recorded by Thomas in his studio. The rest we actually clarified, as you can see in the video, with Nils and Silke in the kitchen - much to the delight of their neighbours. To get some more pressure in the final mix, we got Axe to master the song. That's how "The Real Funkman", the song that the fictitious band in my novel "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" composed for Prince was written, more than 30 years later actually as a hymn for the artist of our lives.
“The Real Funkman” credits
Lyrics and music by Michel Birbæk and Nils Kruse; Lead Vocals: Michel Birbæk; Additional Vocals: Silke Braun, Nils Kruse; The Kid: Miss Ira Shivani; Bass: Frank Schumann; Drums: Marcus Rieck; Guitars, Percussion, Programming: Nils Kruse; Drum recording and Mix: Thomas Widdig; Mastering: Axel Hilgenstöhler; Producer: Nils Kruse; Grafics and Video: Purple Eye
recorded in Cologne, Germany 2018
available on amazon, itunes and all the others in high quality audio.
5 on prince
1. What was the prince moment of your life to you?
Michel: When he published "Around the world in a day" after "Purple Rain". I just couldn't believe it. He just had the success of his life and instead of trying, like so many others, to preserve the success, he did something completely different. This artistic freedom, which he lived out and demonstrated, impressed me deeply and later always accompanied me in my own decisions. I think, also because of him, I took the liberty to end my own career at its peak.
Nils: I was on the road with my band in 1989. After the soundcheck we hung around in the bar area and waited for the evening. The barman put in a bootleg of the recording of a Prince aftershow concert*. I only knew his official albums, which already inspired me - and then that!... the feverish creation of "People Without" ... the use of the synth hook ... I was paralyzed, such a freedom and yet something so compelling I have never heard before.
* Lovesexy Tour Aftershow at "Paard Van Troje Club" in The Hague, Netherlands, 18/08/1988. Only 300 people were present.
2. What was Prince's greatest achievement for you: playing the guitar, singing, acrobatics, composing, acting?
Nils: His incredibly dry and precisely played funk guitar; the magnetism with which he knew how to lead his musicians and yet gave them personality. His ability to pull you into a scene you just don't want to get out of within a few bars - better than in movies.
Michel: Of course everything. But because I am a singer and his voice touches me so much, I would choose his singing.
3. Which album was the most valuable for you - and why?
Michel: As I said: "Around the world in a day". But of course "Purple Rain" was also a music wake-up experience. Alone a song like "Lets go crazy", the maxi version is almost a rock opera, almost an LP of its own, this album was so full of ideas, madness. Through these songs I first understood what you can and may put into music. And then in any case "Lovesexy", because I really thought after "Sign'o'times" he couldn't surprise me anymore. But with the record and the live show he knocked me over again and I understood that he would always surprise me. Not always positive, but he would always stay in motion, always thinking ahead. I also internalized that for myself.
Nils: "Sign'o'times" - Also here he projected a huge film in my head and that's great, he actually shot it. I love the colorful breadth of the compilation from live and studio to today - nobody was that brave.
4. Did Prince teach you something, what can nobody take from you anymore?
Michel: Check 1. and 3.
Nils: Yes. Nobody can take music away from you. It's a gift, let it go. Do not listen to others, do it first and foremost for you and your salvation. Don't worry about conventions like song length or structure. Feel it - do it. Whether you are famous or not.
5. If you could have met Prince for a juice, what would you have talked about?
Michel: Not music by a hundred! From today's point of view, I would be interested to know what he would still like to experience with people. Then I'd invite him to burn through artistically with me. A world-class musician and a passionate writer, together in a camper, 4 weeks down Route 1 on the Big Sur. Whatever it would have been, it would probably be something special.
Nils: Talk to Prince?! Oh, I wish we'd leave the juice and jam together until dawn - then we could talk.