Being from Minnesota and having had a couple of encounters with the little purple guy from Chanhassen, did you really think I was going to NOT say anything about the death of Prince?? Yea, right!!
There is no doubt that the man was a genuine musical genius who came complete with the insanity defense very well covered. Not only a musical genius but a marketing guru as well. He knew how to market himself like nobody else in the music business, that’s for sure! I am sure there will be college level classes on business marketing that will feature his methods and those of Gene Simmons from Kiss.
In the 90’s, Minnesota was the hotbed of modern funk and R&B music production. We were the home to Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Former Prince band mates who made Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey household names. Prince had set up his Paisley Park Studio. A state of the art movie and sound production center that was at the time in the middle of a cornfield near a rural town called Chanhassen. Now it’s just another suburb of Minneapolis.
Most people in the music business who came to Minnesota, no matter where you played or recorded, made the pilgrimage to Chanhassen to pay their respects to the Purple One. Being in the Limo business, I made several of those trips. The man was a nut case, that is for sure. But everyone agreed that he was a musical genius and worthy of the idol worshipping.
Seeing the Man
I was called out to the studio to pick up someone and take them to the airport. I met the guest at the gate, and we were off to the airport. About 5 minutes out, my guest told me we needed to go back. He forgot his briefcase. Pulling back up to the wooden gate, there stood Prince. We made eye contact and I smiled. (he was short!) My guest asked me if I knew there was a rule that we were not allowed to make eye contact with him? I asked what happens if I do? He gets mad and will have you banned from ever coming back. I looked back and made eye contact with him again as my guest got out to get his briefcase from Prince.
My guest got back in the car and laughed. He told me that “Prince was not pleased”. But to do it again if I am ever allowed back out here. We started to talk. The man has worked for Prince since the early Purple Reign days but maintains his own house, family and a company on the east coast. Currently, Prince is his employer, so I asked why he maintains a residence and a business elsewhere while working full time for Prince in Minnesota? “Because the little guy likes to fire you for silly things then rehire you a few weeks later. I don’t play that game and he knows it!” I was really liking my passenger at this point…
The rest of the trip we talked business, music production, and life….
BTW, I was never sent back out to Paisley Park ever again!
She Said “No” to Prince
It’s pretty well known, at least in the music business and Minnesota, that Prince made a few unknown musicians into millionaires and famous performers. He was also known to ruin a few careers as well if you did not live according to his directive. He was Prince and he could make you famous if he wanted to. But what if you were already famous and already had a well-established following??
In 2007, Jazz Saxophonist Candy Dulfer was coming to Las Vegas. So I made arrangements to interview her before the show. She had called from Holland. Candy had worked with Prince on his Love Sexy tour and had performed in Minnesota once at the Mall of America.
In the interview on Podcast 31, we talk about her work with Prince. Candy Dulfer had a large following before working with Prince and did so just to fill in some dates and get some other work done. To her, it was not a career-changing experience but a way to kill some time. But to Prince, it should have been earth shattering and life changing.
We joked that she said no to Prince and still had a career afterward, despite what Prince himself thought would happen. After the tour, he offered her another chance to go on a world tour with him and he would make her a star. She said no. She had other things to do (like wash her hair?) and Prince did not like hearing the word “no”. Especially when it comes to his offer of greatness and star power. But really? What could he do for her that she hasn’t already done? Ok, besides playing in a shopping mall in Minnesota!
Those are the two Prince stories I am allowed to publish….. Some day I am writing my biography and will name names and tell all my stories… I swear…
- Podcast 31 – The Candy Dulfer Interview
- Candy Dulfer on Amazon
- Prince on Amazon
- Purple Reign, The Prince Tribute Show at Westgate Las Vegas
Photo: Tom Donoghue