By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You know about Prince, First Avenue, Paisley Park, and Purple Rain but what about where it all began?

In this week’s Finding Minnesota John Lauritsen went on a one-of-a-kind tour to learn about the lesser-known parts of Prince’s life.

A Minnesota artist with a worldwide influence. Prince may have died young, but his music lives on. “If you are a fan of music, you are a fan of Prince,” said Randy Luedtke.

Count Randy as a life-long fan. And not just of the obvious parts of Prince’s life, but the not-so-obvious too.

About 120 times a year, Captain Randy as he’s known, takes Prince fans on a sort of behind-the-scenes tour. Stopping at places like a house in south Minneapolis that was used as the Kid’s home in the movie Purple Rain.

“He bought it in 2014 about a year and a half before his passing,” Randy said. “He basically purchased it because it was part of his legacy. Because it was in the movie.”

“Prince the Tour” is about 3 hours long and Randy says his biggest draw are tourists from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. His trip takes fans past Paisley Park and First Avenue, but also to landmarks — like a mural outside of Floyd’s Barber Shop.

“The background on Prince. Did you have to take a Prince class? Did you have to get certified?” Lauritsen asked.

 “I did,” Randy replied. “It’s called the Internet. I thought what would you want to see? You have to go back to where it all began.”

That includes the newly-renovated Capri Theater in north Minneapolis where Prince played his first solo show. And then a drive past the home Prince grew up in.

“His legacy is strong. His music is timeless,” said Randy.

Which is why one of Randy’s favorite tour stops is the Electric Fetus and a visit with co-owner Aaron Meyerring.

“It’s not like it’s all one segregated area like Graceland. It’s pretty spread out,” said Aaron about the places Prince touched.

This part of the tour is special because you can walk in Prince’s footsteps. He was a customer for decades. In fact, his very last tweet was about the store.

“He would come in the middle of a snowstorm. The middle of a blizzard,” said Aaron. “He loved to just lose himself in the records. It was his hometown record store and he once told me it’s the funkiest record store in the world.”

From Minneapolis to Chanhassen and even down to Henderson, Minnesota. The Purple Rain scene about purifying yourself in Lake Minnetonka was actually filmed in the town of less than a thousand, and there’s a park to commemorate it. That too is part of the tour. For Randy, it’s his way of showing respect for a man who loved his home state even as his popularity spread across the world.

“His character. His charisma. Prince is never going to go away. He’s only going to grow,” said Randy.

Because of COVID, Randy is also planning to make a virtual tour available to fans in November.

John Lauritsen

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