‘That’s the coolest motherfucker ever’: Minneapolis agencies reflect on what Prince meant to them, the city and state

As people process the sudden loss of Prince, there have been celebrations and tributes, from around the world. Shock has turned to reflection — and it is especially true in the artist’s hometown of Minneapolis. A cultural icon who knew no bounds, he fully embraced and embodied the city and the entire state of Minnesota. In many ways, he was Minneapolis — and several agencies shared their thoughts about Prince’s impact, influence and legacy.

Mike Caguin, chief creative officer, Colle+McVoy

The flowers are starting to gather in front of First Avenue. And fittingly, it’s raining. Thirty-two years ago, a revolutionary from Minneapolis inspired the world to start seeing things differently. Our offices sit mere blocks from the venue where Prince left his indelible mark. It’s a place that reminds us of the visionary fire he ignited in music, art and fashion. And his genius reminds us to keep exploring possibilities while breaking every rule. He was a cosmic galaxy of creativity that held so many worlds, and this one will never be the same without him.

Jeff Kling, chief creative officer, Fallon

I was a no-fun teen taught to squirrel his money and never ever to spend it, not for any reason, and I spent my own personal money to see a piano-playing showman named Prince. Purple Rain Tour, Capital Centre, Washington, D.C. First concert. At one point Prince sat at the piano under a cone of light, alone, and asked the audience, “Can I come home with you tonight?” The crowd exploded. When we settled, Prince whispered, “I don’t know. You look like a heartbreaker.” Which elicited an “Awwwww” a thousand puppies couldn’t have produced at the top of their form. I remember thinking, “GAH, What is this? Bill Murray taught me to recoil from loungey smarm, but I am completely in love! WHAT ARE THESE FEELINGS I’M FEELING?”

Ryan Peck, creative director, Carmichael Lynch

In college I was lucky enough to weasel my way onto the Graffiti Bridge set as an extra in a club scene. As in all movie productions, we spent most of the day just sitting around on an empty set. About seven hours into our marathon wait, a door opened and I could just see a man with an unmistakable feathered head sitting on a couch: George Clinton. Now, at that time, I considered myself the biggest Funkadelic fan in the world. I couldn’t help myself. I got up, went through the door and embarrassed myself by telling George Clinton he was the coolest. He just looked at me – through me — and said, “Wrong,” then pointed across the room at Prince, who was standing in the doorway, and said, “that’s the coolest motherfucker ever.” And, of course, he was right.

Chris Lange, founder, Mono

He made it cool to be a short dude. I'm 5'5". I own a guitar that he used in the 80s at Paisley Park, it's fun to play it and think what did he create on it? I saw him on his motorcycle when I was kid. His keyboard player lived next door to my friend. I thought, "who the hell is that? He's got something going on." I personally loved when he said FU to the record company and changed his name to something they couldn't say or put on a list. It was creative integrity to 11.

Kevin Truckenmiller, creative technologist, Mono

His dedication to perfection inspired all Minnesotans to join the world in persuit of greatness. Without his voice, artists would have been too nice to ask for what they deserve, and too humble to attempt the impossible.

Steve Peckham, SVP/GM, Olson Engage

If you grew up here you had an appreciation his music and his mystique. Everyone had a Prince-sighting. One minute he’d be at First Avenue or The Dakota and then he’d be alone in a suite at a Vikings game. We Minnesotans are known for being stoic, never sitting it the front row at anything. And while Prince exemplified the fierce Minnesotan desire for privacy — he was so eclectic and so damn cool and we took tremendous pride in that. What an amazingly complex human being: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life.”

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