Numero Group: By The Numbers

Reading Rainbow: The Minneapolis Sound, Bound
September 12, 2013, 11:51 am
Filed under: Purple Snow

Building upon hundreds of hours of interview footage and spools of microfilm, there were a few periodicals that proved invaluable in compiling Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound. Before these volumes go into deep storage, we thought we’d share some of the more compelling items in the Minneapolis wing of the Numero Library.

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Tons of The Insider

Almost every musical home we entered in Minnesota had a small, but mighty payload of The Insider gathering dust or simply disintegrating. Growing from pamphlet to tabloid, as publication intensified from occasionally to monthly, the Insider was a tool for the local musician trying to get gigs, locate a keyboardist, or hock equipment. The club calendars, advertisers, and album reviews gave us several windows into several eras of the Minneapolis Sound. Like when Micside become Cookhouse, which became the site of Prince’s first recording session within a few years.

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Minnesota’s Black Community

This text book established African Americans in the Land of Lakes as entrepreneurs and government officials, doctors and lawyers, pastors, preachers, and neighbors. In his publisher’s letter, Walter Scott explains: “It is my fervent hope that this volume will… generate greater understanding between the races, and, as a result, help close the gap which keeps white minnesotans and black Minnesotans from clasping hands to “work” toward a United America.” Son, co-publisher, and Prophets of Peace bassist Anthony Scott was joined by many of his musical peers in these very pages.

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African-Americans in Minnesota

The Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul is a fine establishment. The gift shop has countless educational titles on their house imprint (plus these really good caramels). A bit more macro than Minnesota’s Black Community, the svelte paperback African-Americans in Minnesota provides census records, migratory patterns, and telling details about how African-Americans came to be established themselves as a force in the frigid Midwest.


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A Bunch of Books About Prince.

With dozens of biographies in and out of print, these particular tomes afforded a helpful timeline for how Prince Nelson’s storied career stacked up against those of hometown factions, both rebel and allied in nature. The problem with most Prince books is that once a supporting character leaves the Artist’s orbit, they essentially disappear. In our book, everyone is a supporting character. That doesn’t make Prince’s high school picture not cool, though.

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Right On!

As other artists from the Twin Cities began crossing over into the mainstream, national media took notice. This early Andre Cymone interview finds the recently emancipated Revolution bassist describing his ideal first kiss, and fielding questions like: “Are people still mistaking you for Prince?” When asked “Has the Minneapolis association been helpful or harmful to you at this point?” we get this jewel.

I don’t like it. I hate the way we’re all grouped together, but I think at this point, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. I want people to see that I’m just growing, just starting, so I have a long way to go before I get to the level these other people are at.

We hope purple snow will reveal that the Twin Cities music scene is and was a complex ecosystem of innovative individuals creating art that doesn’t always connect with the audience it deserves. We hope to remedy that as well, and hopefully show that the history embedded in these grooves is worth investing in.


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Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound will be available 11/12/13, and is available for preorder now. Pre-orders and subscribers will receive a bonus 45. (Andre Cymone Right On! centerfold not included)

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