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29 May 2013

Sexy Dancer: Cat Glover Talks 2 Beautiful Nights

   When it comes to dancing, Catherine Glover is definitely the one you want to see.
  Glover, simply known to Prince fans as Cat, was the artist's first lead female dancer/choreographer. She paved the way for others including Diamond and Pearl (Robia LaMorte and Lori Elle), Mayte, Geneva and, later, The Twinz (Maya and Nandy McClean).
  Glover is a self-taught dancer originally from Chicago.  She honed her skills in her hometown and, later, on the L.A. club scene. She made it to the finals of the then hugely-popular TV talent show "Star Seach," as part of the duo Pat and Cat-- the first act to receive a "perfect score" on the program-- only to lose.
  But, that was only the beginning. Her talents were in demand by the late 1980s: David Bowie and Prince both asked her to work on their respective tours. She chose to work with The Purple One and the rest is history.
  Her high-energy dancing and singing were prominent on Prince's "Sign o' the Times" Tour, which was filmed and released theatrically, in 1987 and "Lovesexy" Tour in 1988. She also choreographed the music video for Prince and Sheena Easton's single "U Got the Look" and danced alongside Sheila E. in the video for "Koo Koo."
  In addition, she sang backing vocals on several Prince songs and was the featured rapper on two Prince cuts: the hit single "Alphabet St." in 1988 --where Prince gave her a memorable introduction-- and "Cindy C," which was recorded in late 1987, but, not officially released until 1994 on The Black Album.
  K Nicola Dyes conducted a telephone interview with Glover, on Mother's Day, two days after "Lovesexy 25," the silver anniversary of Prince's groundbreaking album, where she discussed the real reason she left Prince's band, her unreleased solo album and creating the "Cat Scat":

  When I was a kid I loved to dance.

  I started dancing when I was five. Actually, I think I started when I was in my mother's womb. I basically learned (to dance) from the street.

  Chicago is my hometown. I was born and raised in the Windy City. Love it.

  I always wanted to be famous. (Laughs).

  My approach to choreography is from the heart: be yourself, let go and just feel the music. The music is the important thing, just feel it.

  Star Search was the most amazing thing for me, because, I never thought I would get that far.
  When I did Star Search I was working in Beverly Hills at this store called The Beautiful Web on Beverly Drive where I was a salesperson. A friend of mine, Patrick Allen, the Pat of Pat and Cat, used to hang out at a club called The Rhythm Lounge 
in L.A. on Melrose Avenue . It was filled with breakdancers like Shabba-Doo, Toni Basil, Bugaloo Shrimp and Poppin' Taco. I met him at that club and he asked me "How would you like to audition for Star Search?" I said "Sure!"
  We auditioned and made it on the show. However, there were only seven shows to win in that year. It changed my life, because, I never thought this little girl coming from Chicago would get on Star Search with all these trained dancers. We won the semi-finals, got to the finals and lost. We lost $100,000.
  But, it wasn't all that bad. Some of the judges were the best choreographers in the business. One of them was Michael Peters, who worked with Michael Jackson. He couldn't believe we lost. I remember we lost to this couple named Christopher and Snowy. They danced to Prince's song "Baby, I'm a Star." We danced to "You Wear it Well" by DeBarge. After we lost, I wasn't even upset; I went straight to work. I worked in Beverly Hills in the daytime, but, I was a dancer at The Palace in Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard and Vine at night. No big loss.
  As a matter of fact, more people said "Who is this girl? Where did she come from?" People in Chicago signed a petition saying that I should have won. Ed McMahon contacted me. I said the judges chose (the winner), what's fair is fair and that's okay. The thing is I haven't heard about them (Christopher and Snowy) since, just being honest. But, they were really nice people.
  We got the first perfect score, which was all "fours" and through the seven shows we did we got three perfect scores. I was shocked. If I could find some of the tapes, I could show you the look on my face. One of the perfect scores came (when we danced) to Diana Ross' song "Eaten Alive." Allen (was dressed) as an alligator hunter who died and I was a lioness. I remember that people looked at me funny, because, I had no shoes on. I had borrowed a friend's lion costume and we did this jungle theme. We had no idea that people were going to love it. I kept saying "Oh my God, are you kidding me? All fours?"  I was just this little street dancer.
  Allen contacted me a couple of weeks ago. He was doing a show in Venice Beach and invited me. However, I couldn't make it. That was a bummer. When I was signed to Warner Bros. Records, with Steve Fargnoli, I moved to London. When I filmed my first video "Catwoman" I got in contact with Allen and I invited him out to London to be in the video. He's in the beginning of the video with a green suit on. He's a such a sweetheart. I love that guy to death.

  I met Prince... the formal introduction was at his house in Beverly Hills. I was invited by Devin DeVasquez, a Playboy Playmate who was also on Star Search (as a spokemodel). She was dating Prince at the time. Prince's father (John L. Nelson) and DeVasquez were good friends.    
  She invited me to Prince's house for dinner and I met him when he walked in with a DAT (digital audio tape) or a cassette tape and it was "Housequake." He wanted Fargnoli (Prince's then manager) to come upstairs and hear it. He saw me sitting at the table wearing all purple—suspenders, high-waisted pants—and I had on that chauffeur's hat that I gave him for his birthday. (He wore it singing) "Forever in My Life" in (the concert film) "Sign o' the Times." He said "Who is that sitting at the table?" I was invited there for a friendly dinner by DeVaquez and he popped up, looking cute as ever, I might say.
  After dinner we all went to a club. We took different cars and we ended up at a club called Voila in Beverly Hills, a private club, downstairs in a mall. I was sitting there with Fargnoli, DeVaquez, Prince and a couple of other people. Prince said (speaking in a low, raspy voice) "Cat, when a good song comes on will you dance with me?" I said "Sure!"

  The first song came on and he didn't ask to me to dance. The second song came on; he didn't ask me to ask. On the third song, "Simply Irresistible" by Robert Palmer, he asked me to dance. I was wearing cowboy boots and a pair of Levi's jeans. He reached to hold my hands while we were dancing, but, I had leather gloves on, so, I couldn't feel anything.
  He started doing dance steps and I started doing them; whatever he did, I did. I think he noticed that, so, he started doing them more and I started doing them more. I think we stayed on the dance floor for two songs. After that, the DJ played some kind of uptempo house music, which I love, being from Chicago. I remember I walked toward the DJ and there was a wall. I put my hands on the wall and started jackin' (a dance move closely associated with house music that originated in Chicago).

  That's the night it all started.

  David Bowie's Glass Spider Tour... It's a funny thing: Prince asked me to join his band on a Friday and David Bowie asked me (to join his tour) on a Saturday -- the same weekend. I said "Oh my God, when it rains, it pours." I love Bowie, because, I grew up in the "neo" days, the punk days and that was the music I danced to. I had a dilemma.
  Troy Beyer (the actress/director) was dating Prince at the time and she lived in my (apartment) building. I said "Troy, Prince has called and Bowie just called. I don't know what to do." I was so confused. She said "Cat, do what your heart says." I said "Prince!"
  I turned down Bowie and I accepted the job with Prince. But, what I did was I replaced myself on Bowie's tour with one of my best friends, Constance Marie, who played George Lopez's wife on The George Lopez Show. I got her to do the Glass Spider Tour instead of me. I think everything that Marie did as a lead dancer is what I was supposed to do. I actually saw it. It was awesome.
  We were on tour at the same time. Bowie was staying across the street from us in Italy. It was really weird. The good thing was that when we were on tour, Bowie and I hooked up. He was in a limo trying to get into a club where we were doing an aftershow. One of the security guards knew I was inside and he said "Bowie wants to see you, he's outside." So, I snuck out the back door and I jumped into his limo. I asked "What's wrong?" He said (speaking with a British accent) "Cat, there's too many bloody people out here. You know me. I just want to bloody get in." I got him in safely through the back door.
  We ended up at Paisley Park together about a year later when Prince threw a party. I was with Bowie, Constance Marie and Prince, standing against a wall. Prince said "Yeah, that's my girl" (referring to Cat). Bowie said "No, that's my girl." Prince said "Well, I had her first" and Bowie said " No, she was supposed to be with me first!" It was funny. That was the conversation. It was amazing. Me and Constance Marie are sitting there looking at each other like "Wow, is this really happening?" We were just two little hip-hop dancers from the club. It was pretty cool. It was an awesome feeling.

Sign o' the Times Tour Promo Poster

  The "Cat Scat"... Oh my. I've been doing that dance since I was about five years old. I used to go to the library in Chicago, I would I walk up this big hill to get there and I would always check out African albums. I would check out anything with African music. There was a particular artist whose album I had for more than two months. I got in trouble for not bringing that album back to the library. It had these African drums on it. (Mimics drum sounds with voice). I would sit there and do the "Cat Scat" slowly. But, when the drums sped up, I started shaking. (Mimics drum beats faster).
  Then, I started renting all these African documentaries, just trying to learn how the African culture came up with the spiritual dances that they do. I became attached to it and I've been doing it ever since—that dance and another dance I called "The Leg," which no one knows about yet. I can't explain it. Not the "Wooden Leg," but, "The Leg." Maybe you'll see it soon. I grew up on the Westside of Chicago --which was really bad-- and I remember the adults used to say "Do 'The Leg,' Catherine!" I basically grew up on African music as far as dancing. But, I listened to rock, heavy metal, punk and ska (music). Weird, right? Strange girl!

  It all changed... I don't know. If I stayed into punk and ska (music), I would still be "strange." I would listen to Prince if I got depressed. I had this dream, from the very first time I saw Prince, from the first album he had. I said to myself "I'm going to meet him one day and I'm going to dance with him. Once he sees me, he's going to love me!"
  Now mind you, I didn't know about beauty. I always thought I was just a human being; a person. I never looked at the women he worked with and thought "Ooh, I could never be (like) that."  I just thought "I'm Cat and I can dance. He'll love me and I'm just like him."
  I remember when Vanity 6, The Time and Prince were on tour in Chicago. I was a dancer at this club called Dingbats. They stayed at the Holiday Inn right across the street and I went to his hotel. I had short, curly blue-black hair, I had on this tiger print blue shirt that I cut up and then I sewed zippers in it--don't ask me why-- and I wore leg warmers. I remember standing at the elevator pushing a button. I was trying to get up there to meet Prince. The door opened and he was there, standing with Susan (Moonsie) and couple of other people. I remember that he just stared at me. He looked at me from head to toe. I thought "Wow." But, I still didn't get to "meet" him.
  They ended up in our club where Mr. T was the doorman. I had a fake ID. I didn't know how to lie about my age, so, I think my ID said I was 28 years old and I wasn't even 21! I remember that Vanity 6 and The Time came, but, Prince never showed up. I was a go-go dancer there. That club was so funny that I had to control my own disco lights. Ghetto! I was a starving dancer. There were only two of us, the other girl's name was Michelle.
  When it was my time to go up, I would flip the switch and put on the strobe light. Then, when I wanted to get really sexy, I'd dance over to the light and flip another switch to make it red. It was hilarious. But, everyone loved it. That's like Flashdance ghetto style broke! But, we did it.       Imagine being a dancer and not having a light man. Your lights are onstage and you flip the switch: "I want strobe light now," "I'll have a red light," "I think I want a spotlight." That's how it was.
  It was a 28-and-over club with so-called "sophisticated" people. They had no idea I was underage.

  Sometimes I wonder why (Prince) chose me. Before me, I saw women like Sheila E. --gorgeous. Apollonia—gorgeous. Vanity—fabulous. Jill Jones—voluptuous. Then here comes me. Why? I literally asked Prince about that one day. I said " On a serious note, Prince, why me?" He said "Why not you?" I said "Because, I'm Black." He said "What? Why do you think I wouldn't like you, because, you're Black?"
  I said "Well, let's see: Sheila E., she's mixed. Vanity, she's mixed. I mean, come on. You have Apollonia. You have Jill Jones." Most of us are Black, but, I think I was the "original blackness of Black." I said something like that. But, he was very surprised. He was literally shocked.
  I think that also let him know that I was very humble. All I wanted him to do was see me dance and I knew he would love it. I didn't realize that I wasn't that beautiful, so, I was never vain. Even though I grew up in Chicago and have been on my own since I was about 16 years old, I never knew what beauty or ugliness was. I just thought of everybody as a human being. I don't say "Ooh, she's cute," you know? I never knew about insecurities or jealousy. All my friends were of every race in Chicago. But, things have sure changed now.

  I used to think that everybody in this industry was exactly what I had imagined them to be. But, (whistles) boy was I wrong. Sometimes, it's nice to admire an artist from afar and love what they do, because, meeting them can be a huge disappointment. I was very naive. Extremely naive.

  I always wanted to work with Prince! So simple.

  Laughter is life.

  "U Got the Look"...funny story. Even though I was in Prince's band, he asked me to choreograph the video. I said "Fine, but, you have to pay me. This is not for the 'Sign o' the Times' Tour, this is an extra job." So, I told him the money that I wanted and he agreed to it. He said "We're going to film it in Paris."
  I did not speak any French. He had me audition about 300 dancers, and—excuse me for being ignorant or slow—but, I had no idea that Black people there didn't speak English. I was there saying "Hello! Hello!" to all the Black people and they couldn't speak English and I couldn't speak French. Now, this is when I say I was naive.
  The best education is to travel the world. There is no book that can teach about cultures. Luckily, there was an interpreter, I can't remember her name, who was Prince's assistant at the time. I was trying to call out their names and stuff like that. I narrowed it down to about a dozen dancers. I did the choreography for everyone and the video came out really well. It was exciting and sexy.
  No one knows this, but, Prince and I both edited the "Sign o' the Times" movie together. Even though it has the editor's name (on it), we went picture by picture. We had pictures all over the wall of the editing room.
  The "U Got the Look" video was amazing. Sheena Easton was funny. I told her "You have to be sexy and you have to walk backwards." She said "But, I will fall! I will fall down!" I said "Just do it." It was cold and I was freezing. I was about to blow off the stage holding on to Prince's coat and she said "Oh, I can't, I'm scared." I said "Just do it!" It came out really well. I actually enjoyed that video.
  Prince's mom came (to the set). That was the first time I met her. She was so beautiful. A doll. Just gorgeous. I met Prince's little brother. He was so cute and he had a crush on me. I was like "Bless your little heart." I can't remember his name, but, he was just adorable. He had green eyes and curly hair. Prince's mom was really short like him and adorable, sweet, kind. Just awesome.

  Cat Glover on her wardrobe for the "Sign o' the Times" Tour: "That peach dress from "Sign o' the Times," from what I understand, but, I'm not sure, was Prince's own design. But, everything else, those were my own clothes. That's how I used to dress when Prince met me. I wore poodle skirts and bustiers. The only thing that wasn't me was the peach dress. Well, I didn't walk around in the green tutu from "Hot Thing." Let's clear that up now. I didn't wear little tutus at clubs. But, everything else you saw was actually mine. No one dressed me."

  Touring was fabulous. Fun. Exciting. Tiring. It was amazing. It was so much fun. It was just incredible. If you are on tour with the right person, you don't ever want to go home.

  Filming "Sign o' The Times"...The reason the movie was put on film was, because, when Prince first exposed the new band, a lot of people in Europe held up signs that said "Where are Wendy and Lisa?" and "Where is The Revolution?" They did, they really did.
It was funny, because, I was the new kid on the block. They weren't warm and welcoming to us. Prince got very upset.
  We were doing our shows and something drastic happened. I can't remember what country we were in, but, there was a thunderstorm. Mind you, we were performing outside. But, the show must go on. Prince and I were on wireless microphones. There was rain, lightning and thunder. A bolt of thunder struck one of the signs over Boni Boyer's keyboard and it fell. That's when we said "That's it" and Prince decided to put "Sign o' the Times" on film.
  I was in my panties. Okay? I was cold. Everyone else was in clothes. You know how my clothes were. I was cold, I was freezing, but, I was professional. When that sign fell and it took a chunk out of Boyer's keyboard, Prince said "That's it." I think God said "I'm going to save you guys." 

  As a responsible person, Prince was really concerned with all of the band members. He didn't want anyone to get hurt. He didn't want any of the fans to get hurt. Water, lightning and mikes, what do they equal? Disaster. The wind was blowing so hard we couldn't even see. We actually performed as long as we could until we stopped.

  People often ask me if I ever dated Prince. The answer is no. A lot of women that get with Prince mistake his friendship and his affection as them being his "girlfriend."
  Let's put it like this: if you're his girlfriend, you'll know it. I was never his girlfriend. 
 it was strictly professional. Although, we were both attracted to each other.

  Boni Boyer was my best friend on tour. We shared dressing rooms together. She was a jokester. She was so funny. During sound checks she always had everyone laughing. She was multi-talented. Boyer was from Oakland. She was from the street. She would have Prince on the floor laughing. When she would walk onstage during sound checks, we would all immediately start laughing, because, we knew she was going to say something funny.
  I remember we had a sound check in Europe and Boyer was a little late. Prince had on this green two-piece outfit with the alphabet on it. She was late and Prince said "Boni, you're late" and she had on silk pajamas. He said "Don't come on my stage and sound check with those silk pajamas on." Then, Boyer looked at me and Sheila E. --or me and Levi Seacer-- and she said "Yeah, but, you're wearing green pants with the alphabet on them."
  We started laughing and we laughed so hard. She made everyone laugh. She was so confident. She was a great singer and a great musician. She could carry her own; she was awesome, funny and raw. I miss her, she was my best friend.

  You should never assume things before you actually see them for yourself.

  The "Sign o' the Times" single cover...that was when Prince actually asked me to join his band. I had no idea what was going on.
  He asked me to go by his house in Beverly Hills and pick up a dress. I flew to Minneapolis the next day and I had no idea that was the dress I was supposed to wear. But, that dress was supposed to be for Susannah Melvoin, Wendy's twin sister. It just so happened I fit the dress. I came to find out that was the dress he wanted me to wear for the cover and he didn't let me know what it was for.
  Earl Jones, Jill Jones' uncle, did my hair. I put on the dress, they gave me Prince's glasses, Prince told me to play the guitar and they started shooting. That how it ended up on the cover.
  By the way, that heart you see on the cover, was a thick glass mirror. It was so heavy and that's why you see my muscles. I was shaking holding that heart. I said "Prince, if you were going to make the heart black, you could just drawn a black cardboard heart and it would have been effortless."

  But, he's smart and he's such a genius, he wanted it to look like him. I got it. If you're holding something heavy, I don't care if you're a baby, girl or woman, your muscles are going to show. Even my dad thought that was Prince. Prince's dad thought that was Prince. Amazing, right?

   When I created routines for Prince's tours I had to make sure everyone could play their instruments and dance at the same time. Seacer and Miko Weaver were so mad at me about some of the stuff I did for the "Lovesexy" Tour. I told Seacer he needed to stick one leg over his bass and hop on one foot to make it funky. In "Sign o' the Times" I said "You guys want to be dogs and go 'woof!' You want to crawl, there's a fire hydrant, open your leg and 'pee' on it." I was really animated.
  Some of the band members had a problem with the choreography, especially (for) "Housequake." I made everybody jump and told them to act like they were experiencing an earthquake. That's what "Housequake" is, an earthquake. No, they weren't too pleased.

  Collaboration means collaboration. That's it. A lot of people don't under the meaning of wanting to collaborate with you. When you get in the studio they want to take over everything. It's so true.

  The L.A. club scene in the 1980s was awesome. What I liked about it was that everybody had a dream and they had a goal. Our goal was just to be famous, be seen and give our best work to whomever was there. Everyone just had fun. The times have changed so much and nowadays it's not like that.
  Back then, you went to clubs to have fun, be seen, enjoying yourself wearing crazy outfits: bows in your hair, lace gloves, tore-up fishnet stockings, blue and purple hair, spiked bracelets, you name it. A lot of celebrities and movie producers used to go clubs to find new talent. Prince was one of them.
  Everyone knows knows that my club was Vertigo. After I met Prince, I took him to my side of the tracks. The biggest club out here was Vertigo and (there were) a lot celebrities— I'm talking "red carpet," "velvet rope." I had Carte Blanche. I would go to the club, bring 16 people with me and security would let me in. Then, I felt bad for people who were standing in the line and I would say "Let him in or let her in." I just had that power. I had that juice. I had juice in every club out here, you name it. And still do. Yes, I do. (Laughs). But, a lot of those clubs (from the 1980s) are closed now.
  The thing about Prince is that when he comes to L.A., he wants people to direct him to the clubs that are not famous. He doesn't like to go to the "bougie" clubs. He likes to go to the clubs where things are happening. I took him to all the underground clubs. It's like when you are in your hometown and other people say "Go here!" But, you say "No, Prince, come here." I was that type of person. You can kind of say I turned him out on the clubs. Yes, I did. He knows I did.

  The Black Album was the first time Prince got me on tape recording. It was intense. I can't even go into that right now, because, it's too intense. The album didn't really have any production. It was spur of the moment. The Black Album was about personal things he was going through, which is why I don't want to discuss it.

  Prince, Madonna and I were the original lineup for Graffiti Bridge. That movie was strictly written for Prince, Madonna and myself. Period. Exclamation point.
  That movie was actually written on the Lovesexy Tour. Everyone in that movie replaced us. Prince actually wrote the movie and most of it was what we experienced on the Lovesexy Tour. Madonna pulled out of the movie and I left Prince; I quit. So, he had to revamp the script.
  That's when he got Ingrid Chavez and everyone else. But, Mavis Staples was one person that was originally supposed to be in the movie. She was always part of the movie. Sheila E. was part of the movie. Everyone else was a replacement. I don't mean to say it that way, it sounds kind of harsh and mean, but, I know the original script.
  I was in the studio with Madonna and Prince when they were discussing the script. The story was totally different. I remember they were arguing over the script, bragging on each other, talking about each other's shoes and I was laughing. Madonna said to Prince "Cat and I should have a dance battle" and Prince said (speaking in a low raspy voice) "I don't think so. I don't think you want to do that. I don't think you want to dance against Cat." That's just how he said it. I'll never forget it.
  That was two powerful people, together, in the same space—and me. I was more like a bystander listening and watching.

  But, the whole movie changed.

  It's a waste of time answering questions for people who continuously ask the same damn questions over and over when they know the real answer.

  "Alphabet St." Do you know what that song is really about? Somebody told me! I was just in the studio singing the song. Honestly, I didn't know. On truth. On the Bible.
  I was in the studio with Prince for two or three nights and I was so exhausted. I was tired and he left me. He said "I'm going home now and I want you to record your vocals. When I come back, I want to make sure they sound good."
  He knew I loved Salt 'n' Pepa. He said "You better get it right, because, if you don't, Salt 'n' Pepa are going to rag on you!"
  He left me in Studio A at Paisley Park and showed me just one time how to work the board to record my stuff. I recorded my stuff. Sure did.
  Prince is the type of person that if you don't know how to do something, he'll show you one time and he has that much faith in you that you can do it. Of course, you don't want to disappoint him. So, I said "I'm going to do this. He knows I love Salt 'n' Pepa. How dare he throw them up in my face!" If anybody approved of my rapping, I wanted it to be Salt 'n' Pepa.
  Actually, their manager (Herbie "Lovebug" Azur), called me up one day and wanted me to choreograph one of their videos, after "Push It" came out.

  Cat Glover on Teena Marie: I was living in London and she was in London working with Producer Jazzie B. He was friends with my ex-boyfriend Tim Simenon, of Bomb The Bass. Bomb The Bass was producing my album and producing Seal's song "Crazy."
  So, when Teena Marie got in town, she got in touch with me. She came over to my flat. She, Boyer, a couple of friends and I were there.
  The first thing she said was "Cat, we need you to rap!" It was so cool to hear her say that to me and she literally did my whole rap (from "Alphabet St."). All of us are sitting in the house and I'm looking at them and said "No, this is not Teena Marie. No. And she likes my work?"
  So, me, her and Boyer were kicking it and I was on my way to the studio. I had my video camera; I used to document everything I did. Boyer and Teena Marie were on camera, so, I'm talking to them being funny and said "So, why are you here?"
  Teena Marie said "Well, my record company sent me here to work with an artist that doesn't even know what an eight-bar intro is." You know, after eight bars, you're supposed to sing. Well Jazzie B had her singing on the 16th bar and she wasn't happy about that. So, she and Boyer started joking and sang "Alphabet St."
  Both of them came to the studio and sang background on a ballad that I wrote about Prince called "Are You Listening?" It's most beautiful song you'll ever hear in your life. That is one of the songs I would love the public to hear. Simenon has all the music (from Glover's unreleased album) and he's in Sweden right now.
  We (Glover and Teena Marie) were never friends before that. But, she was cool. It was like I had known her all my life.

  People would be surprised to know that I'm most insecure person they will ever meet. I always get compliments on my body. I don't think I have a great body. People always say that I'm a great dancer and I think I can be better than I am. It kind of shocks me. But, I'm glad that I'm humble like this, because, I don't see myself as other people see me.

The Sign o' the Times/Lovesexy band (L to R):
Top row, Cat; "Dr." Matt Fink; Eric Leeds; Levi Seacer; Atlanta Bliss; Sheila E.
Bottom Row:  Boni Boyer; Miko Weaver; Prince

  Lovesexy was a really beautiful experience. We were all in the studio and recorded our parts together; some of us recorded our parts separately. It was was a very humble, spiritual and emotional experience. It was the best experience of anything I ever did with Prince. It was very passionate and very personal.

  Being in the limelight has its ups and its downs. People forget that you're human, that you have feelings and that you have a family. You don't know who to trust.

  I left Prince's band in 1989 and it was my choice to leave. He did not fire me. I chose to leave, because, I'm mother's child-- I have morals, values and I could make my own decisions.
  I was asked to do something I didn't agree with. So, I chose to leave. That was my decision, not Prince's decision. I wasn't offered (an opportunity for) a solo career before I left Prince. I was actually on a retainer while Prince was doing the "Batman" movie. He fired someone—but, he actually wanted me to fire that person-- and that's why I left.

  Cat Glover on her unreleased solo album I Am Energy: When I moved to London, they wanted me to sign with Warner Bros., or WEA International (now Warner Music International), with Fargnoli.  He had started his own (record) label called Red Dot Music. The album's title, I Am Energy, was, because, everyone said when they saw me on stage I had so much energy. Prince called me his endorphin. Most of my clothes (on the Lovesexy Tour) said "Endorphin."
  Basically, everyone said "Cat, when you're around me, you give me so much energy." So, I called the album I Am Energy.
  However, it was never released, because, of a conflict of interest. Fargnoli was my manager, but, he also owned the label. So, it was not working out. I asked to be released from my contract and (the album) never came out. There were no more releases after (the single) "Catwoman."
  "Now it Rains" was on the b-side. They asked me out of all the songs, what would I like on the b-side, and that song was something different. I wrote that about Prince. "Now It Rains" is still my favorite song.

  The album was completed. However, Simenon, my producer, actually owns the masters; Warner Bros. never paid him. He has all my masters. He produced everybody: Neneh Cherry, Seal and he did a lot of remixes for Prince. He's a really good friend of mine.
  I'm working on releasing I Am Energy with my Business Manger Shawn Carter. We're working on some ideas on how to get that music out there. I wrote and produced everything on it with Tim Simenon.

  But, what I'm looking at is working with my business manager, because, he's connected to a lot of people in the hip-hop Industry: Chuck D., Son of Bazerk, Johnny Juice. I'm going to work with all of those people to get that music out there and do an updated remix on "Alphabet St."

Cover for "Catwoman" single, courtesy of Warner Music International

  Songwriting is a way to release personal things that I couldn't normally express. Sometimes when I write things, they are not for me to sing, they are for other people to sing. Writing to me is a release of emotion and feelings; things that I could never actually say. A lot of musicians write music based on their experiences or other people's experiences. Sometimes when I write music it's based on my experiences, but, I never tell anybody. I'll have someone else sing it.

  From my point of view I think a lot of people totally misunderstand Prince.They think that he's this quiet type of control freak. He is a control freak to some point. Prince is shy, but, he's far from quiet. Once you get to know him, sitting in a room with him having a one-on-one conversation, he's totally funny. You would absolutely think you've known him for a long time.
  I get it. He is Prince. He can't talk to everyone and there are some crazy fans out there. But, if you ever got the chance to just talk to him and be a normal person around him, you would see he's just as normal as you are. He likes eggs, I like eggs. He's funny, I'm funny. And he doesn't sleep in all his outfits! (Laughs).

  Family is the most important thing to me. I don't put my career, finances or anything before family. If my family is not with me at the same time, forget it.
  It's like running in a race. When they shoot that gun—you know "on your marks, get set, go!"--you have to run together. My career doesn't come before my family, my family doesn't come before my career. They walk side by side.

  My biggest regret... I say that I never regret anything, but, I've got a lot of regrets. I could write a book about regrets. My biggest regret is that I left Prince. He told me about a certain person and I chose to make my own decision. In the long run he was right. That's it. He asked me to do something and what he told me about the person was correct. I didn't listen.

  Cat Glover on the proposed "Alphabet St." Remix: "I'm looking forward to that. That's the most exciting thing for me. Prince loves Chuck D. and Public Enemy. He adores them. Johnny Juice has the best beats you could ever hear; he has a vision. Son of Bazerk is off the chain—raw, original hip-hop. That's what I'm focused on right now. That's who I'll be working with in the near, like yesterday, future.
  The relationship that Prince and Chuck D. have is very close knit. So, out of respect, when I do the "Alphabet St." Remix, it will be the bomb. Prince is going to love it.  

 You know how some people just take his songs or Warner Bros. owns some of his music in his vault and has other artists doing it? Prince is not happy with it. Fans are not happy with it. But, Warner Bros. does not own "Alphabet St." That's called remix! Paisley Park! After the madness! I'm looking forward to that. I'm going to make him proud.
  The thing is to have respect. I have all the respect for   him. You would never catch me saying anything negative about him. Everyone has their ups and downs. I admire him and I respect him. He treated me so well. I just love the man, he's awesome. He's a good person to be around when you get to know him. He's fabulous.

  Nowadays, I am a little bit more aware of the choices that I make and the people I surround myself with. A lot of the people that I have met are not honest with me or there for me. They are just there because they want something. I've learned a lot and I've grown up a lot.
  It's kind of sad that I'm not the free spirit that I used to be. But, free spirits get burned. You need someone watching your back or you need to watch your own back. I've leaned a lot about that. I'm still learning.
  Have you ever put something on Facebook, you could be talking about someone else, and people think you're talking about yourself? They ask "Oh, Cat, are you alright?" I think "Dude, I'm not talking about myself." I could scream. When I put something on Facebook, I'm analyzed. I'm thinking "This is not about me. Everything I put on Facebook is not about me." I hate when people read into that. It really drives me crazy.
  You could write everything in black and white. But, they'll pick and choose the words they want and make up their own mind, with their own sentences. I'm always friendly with my fans, but, some of them just go overboard.
  I have been known to go off and snap. I'm human and I'm from Chicago. I can only be polite for so long and then Cat Glover will snap. People will say "I didn't know she was like that, she always seemed so sweet."
  You didn't know me. You know that image of me. Trust me. Prince knows me. People that know me personally, know me (emphasis added). You pushed those buttons, that's just it.
I have feelings and emotions like everyone else. But, I have that streak in me as well. People forget that we're human.

  The next thing is my new reality show I'm working on, which, I can't talk about and another TV show coming up really soon on a major network. I can't disclose, yet, but, you'll see me really soon—in the next two or three months.
  I'm looking forward to working with Chuck D., Son of Bazerk and the Public Enemy family doing a lot of music. That's my love, my passion. I can't wait to just connect on that level. I'm really excited. There were some projects I was in and I let go for the best. There are some new projects I started and I'm excited about them. You'll see me on a major network sooner than you think with a very famous celebrity.

  The future...the sky's the limit. I want to build this empire. I also want to help other people get into this business and teach them the right way to do it, the quickest way to do it, the professional way to do it. I want to help other people who have been in this struggle get there the right way. I have so many other projects in my head; bigger dreams than I had with Prince and other things like that.
  Another thing I'm going to do is make a documentary. That has been one of my biggest dreams. I'm going to find the right person to do it with. It's going to be black and grainy. It's going to be awesome.
  Honestly, I've gotten everything I ever wanted. I had faith in myself. It had nothing to do with how I looked or whatever . I just believed in me. I want to empower people. I don't care who you are, what you look like, if you don't think you're good enough.
  The way things are nowadays, people are so into the fake crap they see out there. They think they have to look "like this," dress "like this" or act "like this." I can honestly say everything on my body is real. No lift up, no fake lips, no fake hair, none of that. It's all Cat Glover. So, I just want to make sure that men and women know they don't have to go that other route. I can't wait. There are so many things about Cat Glover that people don't know that I'm going to put out there.

Cat on the Lovesexy Tour

Stay beautiful, Kristi


Lead Photo: Cat in "SIgn o' the Times" film. Courtesy of Warner Bros.


25 May 2013

International Lover: Marcus Scott Goes to Australia


  Beautiful Nights and Purple Funk (Australia) have teamed up to throw the ultimate Prince party.  
  W2AUS: The Prince Anniversary Party will take place 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. May 31 at The Hi-Fi, 125 Swanston St., Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Marcus Scott, of Beautiful Nights in Chicago, will be the host. DJ Phil K and special guest DJ Philvester will be featured on the turntables all night long. Tickets are $25, plus a booking fee (AUD) and this is an 18 and over event.
  The night's theme will celebrate the one-year anniversary of Prince's Welcome 2 Australia Tour stop in Melbourne. Highlights will include, songs, concert footage and music videos from Prince and related artists; special cocktails; a “Sexy MF” contest (with three categories including “purple,” “Princely” and “sexy”), with prizes donated by Seattle Artist Troy Gua and a special performance by Scott.
  “This is a purple night that you are never going to forget,” said Party Organizer Sofie Hendrickse, who has been a Prince fan since 1981. “So 'let's get crazy! Let's get nuts!”
  The event was the brainchild of Hendrickse and Karen Parrish, both of Melbourne. The two met last year in Parrish's “Princepirations” Facebook Group which she started in May 2012 after seeing Prince on the Welcome 2 Australia Tour. This will be the first Prince party hosted in Melbourne, according to the pair.

Sofie Hendrickse

   Hendrickse said the idea was formulated when she made a comment on the page that she thought someone in Melbourne should throw a Prince party, as a way for local fans to “cope” with only seeing him in concert intermittently. She added that he has only been to Australia three times in the last 20 years: The Diamonds and Pearls Tour (1992); World Tour (2003) and Welcome 2 Australia Tour (2012). 
  She said Parrish, who has been a Prince fan for 33 years, joined in the online conversation and assured her that they could make it happen. The two had never met in person, but, not long after that exchange, they were on the telephone brainstorming and discussing ideas. They launched Purple Funk (Australia) as a business venture and “the rest is history.”
  Hendrickse added that his last stint in Oz left many fans with what she called “P.P.D.,” or “Post Prince Depression,” especially since he started touring the United States earlier this year.
  “Australia just can't get enough of Prince and...I was, and still am, on a 'purple high'” Parrish said. “I felt the best way to bring back the Prince magic was to gather our purple family together for one special night...”
  “Melbourne went into a frenzy” when Prince had his afterparty at the Hi-Fi last year. More than 5,000 people lined up to get inside, but, only 900, including Hendrickse, got in. While he did not perform that night, he did DJ for a bit (with DJ Rashida) and she got the chance to meet Cassandra O'Neal, who was then a keyboard player in Prince's band. When the ladies approached the club with the idea for a Prince party, the booker was very interested, Hendrickse said.
  They have promoted the event through the W2AUS Facebook event page, Twitter, the Purple Funk (Australia) Web site ( and press releases to radio and print media. There has also been strong word of mouth in their local Prince community.
 In addition, there has also been a whirlwind of planning including hiring DJs and a photographer, selecting music videos, concert footage and music for the party, arranging accommodations for Scott and much more,said Hendrickse, who has past experience as an event manager.
  Parrish said it has been “months of hard work, late nights (and) networking,” but, that the response has been “fantastic.”
Karen Parrish

  As of this writing more than 580 people have responded to their event page to say they will attend the party and that although that figure does not represent everyone who has already purchased tickets, sales have been moving “very nicely,” Hendrickse said.
  "The fun part has been interacting with Prince fans on our event page, witnessing their excitement and feeling appreciated,” she said. “It's exciting to know that we are bringing everyone so much 'purple pleasure.'”
  The ladies met Scott online when he joined the Princepirations page, around the time he was planning the very first Beautiful Nights Prince party in Chicago, hosted by Maya and Nandy McClean, better known as The Twinz, who originally hail from Australia. The three began talking and they asked him if would be interested in hosting their Prince party in Australia. He readily agreed, Hendrickse said.
  Scott said he is grateful and honored that he was asked to host this party. He arrived on May 23 and will spend two weeks in Melbourne. He is looking forward to meeting a lots of new Prince fans at the party and sharing music and stories with them. He will perform a couple of times during the course of the night, but, that it will be “nothing extravagant.” He will focus on answering questions and taking pictures for anyone who is interested. His goal is to be a “respectful American representing Chicago.”
 He also said he's not going to the party to “be Prince” and that he hopes people don't expect to see him in ruffled shirts, high-waisted pants and a purple jacket. In fact, he has another role model in mind for the night's party --James Bond-- and said that watching a 007 movie recently inspired him to likely wear a tuxedo to the event.
  “I want to be a smooth operator,” he said.

Marcus Scott

  To add to the festivities, Scott will be celebrating his 36th birthday May 25 and the ladies arranged a gathering for him at the Blue Diamond to celebrate.
  He said that he is thrilled to spreading the Beautiful Nights message across the globe, but, he wants to let his stateside fans know that he hasn't forgotten them.
  “Since we had the first (Beautiful Nights party last November), I've been in high demand,” he said. “I'm going constantly going to all these different parties. I tell people they will just have to wait (for another Beautiful Nights party). There's only one me, (but), I haven't forgotten about the Chi.”
  He added that he hopes this bash will lead to more Prince parties in Melbourne.
  Parrish, on her part, hopes that this event will have even far more reaching effects.
  “This party will be so loud and so funky it will wake (Prince) in his boots wherever he may be,” she said. “We hope he hears us and returns to Oz. We are waiting!”

Tickets are still available at
Visit the W2AUS: The Prince Anniversary Party event page at

Stay beautiful, Kristi


Lead photo courtesy of Purple Funk (Australia). Design by Troy Gua.


20 May 2013

Nothing Compares 2 U: Prince Honored at Billboard Music Awards

  I had the pleasure to attend the Billboard Music Awards where Prince received the 2013 Icon Award.
  I was excited to arrive at my very first awards show at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas May 19. Once I was inside the doors, it felt like I was attending a concert with several megastars on the bill (think Budweiser Superfest or the like for all you triple O.G.'s like myself out there). All the fans were suited up and I think there were a few women who even busted out some old prom dresses for the occasion. 
  The crowd's buzz was energizing. Besides the usual concession stands for food and alcohol (where they got me for $8 for a bottle of beer). There were also places to buy souvenir programs and more practically, rent binoculars, so us fans in the upper level, also know as the nosebleeds, could better zoom in on our favorite stars. Pretty clever. I said to myself "How come I didn't think of that?"
 I flirted with the idea of the renting them (for $10, plus a $25 deposit). But, once I got inside and got to my seat, I realized I didn't need them. I was in the fifth row of the upper level, but, it wasn't actually a balcony. The only thing separating us from what would be considered the mezzanine level was the entrance and another barrier. In fact, the way the arena was set up, there really wasn't a bad seat in the house.
  I could see from my section, that hardly any of the celebrities were seated in their designated chairs that early (about an hour before the show was supposed to start). I can't say for sure, but, I am fairly certain that Prince was never seated in the audience at all. The fans in the pit section in front of the stage could see all the stars being quickly ushered to their seats right before the show was set to begin and you could hear occasional cheering from that area.
  Finally after many announcements, the show kicked off when Tracy Morgan made his entrance from backstage. I'll be honest, I don't really think he's funny, but, that line he said about Wayne Newton being his biological father was priceless. Personally, I was a bit surprised to see Mr. Las Vegas at the Billboard Awards.
Courtesy of K Nicola Dyes
  Let me just put out a disclaimer: Although I am familiar with the majority of the stars in the night's lineup, I am not familiar with their music, so, it was all new to me. The show kicked off with Bruno Mars, who sang "Treasure," and I was very impressed. He and his band  (bands were a rare sight during the show) were decked out in their red suits, daringly unbuttoned black shirts and gold chains. The song was bangin' and the choreography was tight. The set reached back to the days when groups like The Jacksons, Earth Wind & Fire, The Commodores, The Ohio Players, Cameo and so many other legendary acts ruled the radio airwaves and concert stages. It was a great way to start the show.
  The sibling trio, The Band Perry, performed after Selena Gomez, who was second act of the night. They sang they their hit "Better Dig Two" and it was great. They were another live band (note to other performers, it does make a difference) and when they did they their drum solo mid-stage toward the end of the song, I thought this was a sign of more great performances to come.
  I was wrong.
  While sitting in the audience, I was not aware Prince would be the very last act of the night. Most fans have now tagged it on social media sites as "saving the best for last" and I would agree. Not all of the following performances were horrible, but, a lot of them sounded the same. It seemed as if everyone, except me, knew the words to all these songs. I've never felt so elderly and out of touch. 
  It sounded like a hodgepodge of electronica/pop/hip-hop where one song was barely distinguishable from the other. The performers included:  Icona Pop; Jennifer Lopez; Christina Aguilera (who sounded great, but, whose song I didn't care for); Chris Brown (doing his best Michael Jackson impression, but, it was a decent one); David Guetta, Akon and Ne-Yo and Seattle's own Macklemore and Lewis (I loved the shout out to local thrift store chain Value Village), whose performance we viewed by a feed from the Wynn Resort here in Las Vegas (Why? I don't know). However, it was interesting to see dancers rehearsing on one side of the stage for what was later revealed as Taylor Swift's "22" number. Also, Justin Beiber, performed twice (as well as Pitbull who performed with Aguilera and Lopez), the second time with
 Bieber (who, on a side note, looked like a New Kids on the Block throwback) was booed by a large section of the audience for several seconds when accepting his second award. I may have been sitting in the Team Bieber section, but, the rest of the audience was not having it. I must say, the kid looked caught off guard. He attempted to give his speech, but, was stopped midway by the incessant sound of disapproval. There were some screaming girl fans who tried to counter it, however, the damage had been done. It was truly surprising.

Courtesy of K Nicola Dyes
  All the musical monotony was broken up by the occasional award, parade of presenters (including many ABC TV network stars) interesting asides (when Kid Rock said "Let's give it up for performers lip synching to pre-recorded tracks," I swear I thought I heard him wrong)  and occasional epic fail (think Miguel's botched airborne attempt).
   Madonna, whom I hoped would perform, came out to accept her Top Touring Artist Award with an outfit that consisted of little more than a fitted coat, leotard and stockings and garters. She wore it with such panache that one could be convinced it was formal evening wear. However, the commentary between the two twenty-something girls seated behind me overshadowed her detailed, if meandering, speech: "You are the queen," "Ummmm...aren't you going to thank your fans? (This was before she finally did)," and "She must be at least 68 by now." Dear Lord. It turns out they were sitting in somebody else's seats, so, they had to kick rocks.
  It even seemed like the same people were winning all the televised awards (the night belonged to Taylor Swift). But, there were some pretty cool interactive moments during the show. When we all entered the venue, we were given small lights that we were directed to later point at the stage during Ed Sheeran's performance, that created the effect of a starry night sky in the darkened theater. Also, fans who downloaded an app before the Icona Pop set, pointed their smartphones toward the stage during the set and it created a glow of warm light in the audience.
  Finally, after Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne performed "High School" -- I'm curious to know how much home TV viewers saw of that oh-so-convincing lap dance-- it was time for the highlight of the evening. Prince was getting his award.
  Morgan came out and introduced Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae (the perfect people to give this tribute, in my opinion). They were decked out in the most innovative attire of the evening—Monae's seemingly inspired by Prince, circa 1984 and Badu's, in my opinion, bought back the very best elements of Parliament/Funkadelic. Her blond wig prompted also the now forty-something ladies behind me to wonder aloud if she was actually Mary J. Blige. Again, Dear Lord.

Courtesy of K Nicola Dyes

  Badu and Monae seemed thrilled to be handling the honors. I was happy to see them.
They gave a short speech introducing Prince as the recipient of Billboard Music Awards' 2013 Icon Award, which led into a video montage of Prince's performances, achievements and general impact on the music world. I enjoyed it and I was looking forward to a speech where Prince might further expound on these points.
  But, that night, he decided to let the music speak for him. As soon as the video ended, the proverbial curtain came up on stage right (there were two individual stages were separated by a platform and  short staircase where presenters descended from backstage to give out the night's awards) and Prince and 3rd Eye Girl—Donna Grantis, Hannah Ford and Ida Nielsen-- launched right into "Let's Go Crazy (Reloaded)."
  The audience was instantly on its feet and Prince began his reign over night's awards. His lime green ensemble topped with a black fringed jacket was eye catching. His afro, which caused chatter among fans in the stands-- "Look, he has a fro!" was shouted several times by some lady nearby-- was perfectly rounded. They rocked it out and singlehandedly put to shame the artists that came before him, with the exception of the artists two I singled out for praise above. The band sounded tight and they flawlessly segued into their newest single "Fixurlifeup." Then they went back and wrapped it up with "Let's Go Crazy."
  Then, as soon as the last note sounded in the perfectly clean rock and roll finish, the proverbial curtain came down and that was it.
  Morgan came out and thanked everyone for coming out and, like that, the awards ceremony was over.
  The band had come to out to remind us why Prince deserved the Icon Award. I'm not trying to be snarky, but, Prince and 3rd Eye Girl could have come out and sang the alphabet and it still would have been more inspiring than some of the acts I saw that night.
  I would have loved to hear a speech from Prince. In all honesty, it would have made my night. But, he must have had his reasons for not giving one, which I will not speculate on here.
  But, I will say that maybe he thought it was a night where actions spoke louder than words.
  Let me be the first to say they did.

Stay beautiful, Kristi


Lead photo: Prince and 3rd Eye Girl. Courtesy of


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12 May 2013

The Work Pt. 1: An In-Depth Interview with Pepe Willie

  Pepe Willie has always been willing to do the work.
  The Brooklyn-born singer/musician/producer began his foray in the music business as a "gopher" for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Little Anthony and the Imperials, of which his uncle, Clarence Collins, is a founding member. He also ran errands for major stars of the day including Dusty Springfield, The Chiffons, The Four Tops, Ray Charles, Diana Ross & The Supremes and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, just to name a few. It was during the time he spent with rock-and-roll luminaries that he decided he wanted to pursue a career in show business.
  His path to pursing fame and fortune took a detour to Minneapolis when he married Shauntel Manderville and relocated there. Not long after arriving, Willie worked with his wife's cousin, Prince and his then band, Grand Central (later Champagne or "Shampayne"), that included Andre Anderson (now known as Andre Cymone), Linda Anderson, Morris Day and William Doughty (also known as "Hollywood")-- as well as other local musicians who later found success in the music business -- during their formative teenage years on the burgeoning local music scene.
  He later formed his own band 94 East -- named after Interstate 94 -- with singers Marcy Ingvoldstad and Kristie Lazenberry. The band later included Wendell Thomas, Dale Alexander, Pierre and Andre Lewis and, after Alexander's departure, Bobby "Z" Rivkin. Prince is featured on several of the band's demos, which have been released by Willie, the first being in 1986, on the compilations Minneapolis Genius, Symbolic Beginnings and, most recently, The Cookhouse Five.
  Today he is president of Pepe Music, Inc., where he works with Ingvoldstad and Lazenberry. The company handles production, consultation, composing, publishing and recording, according to its Web site. 94 East is also planning to release a new album of new material through their label Reo Deo in late May.
  K Nicola Dyes recently conducted a telephone interview with Willie where he reminisced about his life, the early days of "Minneapolis Sound" and the state of today's music industry:

The Beginning

   I just found out a year and a half ago, when I was researching my history, that my grandfather and grandmother were both in entertainment. My uncle told me that his mother and father had 11 kids. So, I had five aunts and five uncles on my mother's side. One of my aunts, Muriel, sang with Etta James when she had The Coralettes. My other aunt, Dottie, went to school with Wynton Kelly, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. They all used to go to my grandfather's house and jam with my grandfather before I was born. I talked to my uncle and he said "Yeah man. Those were the days."

  I used to go to the Murray The K's (an enormously-popular disc jockey in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s) shows (at the Brooklyn Fox Theater) in New York. I used to go to the store (for all the musicians). I mean everybody was there. I was the only 15-year-old dude with $100 in my pocket. I was in love with Mary Wells. I used to stand on the side of the stage and one day, she looked at me and said hi. Then she went on singing "My Guy."

Little Anthony and the Imperials

   Little Anthony and the Imperials were singing at the Copacabana one night. Afterwards, my uncle asked me if I wanted to go to a party. We went to this dingy, dusty building with a freight elevator. When the doors opened up (to the apartment), it was one of the most immaculate (places) I had seen in a long time. 
  We went, sat down and ordered a couple of drinks. I poked my uncle and said "That's Jimi Hendrix." He asked me where. I pointed to him and my uncle said "Hey, Jimi!" He came over to talk to us. He was talking mainly to my uncle, because, they knew each other and used to hang out years before in Harlem. My uncle was really good friends with Hendrix. There were a lot of cats that hung out in Harlem at this hotel. It wasn't the best hotel. I believe it was the Cecil Hotel.
  My uncle introduced me to Hendrix and I said "I like your music." I noticed how big his hands were wrapped around mine. His hands were so huge and I have big hands. He saw this babe and left us and went over to her. He whispered something in her ear and they left. I wonder what he said.

Clarence Collins

   I (later) lived in Las Vegas with my uncle and I used to hang out all the time with Robert Goulet's ex-wife Louise and his daughter Nikki.
  People like that never cooked! I had never heard of that before. They were going to Dunes for breakfast, Circus Circus for lunch and the Sands for dinner -- every single day. You get tired of it after a while. But, it was a lot of fun. A lot of people knew them and we used to get see shows in lot of casino mainrooms. They were good people.
  I met Elvis Presley at the Dick Clark show at Circus Circus in Las Vegas. We were sitting in the audience. Jackie Wilson had just finished his set. Clark came out to introduce the next act. He said "Ladies and Gentlemen, The King." The lights went out down and all of a sudden spotlights went to the back of the room. I looked around and it was Presley with two giant bodyguards. He had his white suit on and shades. He snatched his shades off, like "Here I am ladies and gentlemen."
  He came walking down the aisle to his table and he saw Louise. He stopped. He said "Hi Louise. Hi Nikki" and they started talking. I stood up and he said "Hi." I said "Hi, I'm Pepe. It's nice to meet you." I shook his hand. He said something else to Louise, and then said "See you later" and went to his table.
  By the time I was in Las Vegas, I had already met tons of celebrities-- Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells, Dionne Warwick and Wayne Newton. I also met Ike and Tina Turner when I was bringing them up in the elevator at the Copacabana (during Little Anthony and the Imperials' engagement). I drank champagne with Adam Clayton Powell and I met Redd Foxx.
  But, when I saw Elvis, I said, now that man's a star. It was a different kind of thing.


  When I was introduced to Sly and the Family Stone's music it just set me off. When I heard their music, I knew that everything was going to be alright. I remembered all of their lyrics, I knew all parts of all of his music and I bought all of his albums.
  Then he came to the Fillmore East in New York and I went to see him with my uncle... He was the one who really set off for me as a lyric writer, because, he was writing the kind of (music) that I was writing. I called it "free writing." He was talking about real stuff that was going on.
  He's still the man, I don't care if he is crazy or not. Everybody took after Stone: Prince, Cymone and all those guys loved him. He had the multiracial bands, where everybody was together coming out of that hippie era. I lived by his lyrics.


  The first time I saw (Singer/Songwriter) Teddy Randazzo was in a rock-and roll-movie. He had on these cool white shoes. Several years later, I was with Little Anthony and the Imperials at the Brooklyn Fox Theater years later. This guy came up to the dressing room with a man on the guitar (Eric Gale, a member of the house band at the Murray the K shows). I supposed the group knew him already. I didn't know him and they told me who he was. It didn't click that it was the same guy that I saw in the movies eight years before.
  He had a song and it was "I'm on the Outside Looking In." They did a little recording of it in the dressing room. They took it around to the other acts' dressing rooms—Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Temptations-- and said "This is going to be our new cut" and they played it for them. They needed a hit really bad, because, their last hit was "Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko Ko Bop."
  It was their comeback song. Then they came back with "Going Out of My Head" right after that. Then "Hurts So Bad" and "Take Me Back," which were both hits for them. Randazzo was the guy. I vacation in Florida every year and I when I found out he was in Orlando, I went to see him. It just brought everything back to light. I loved that guy. He died a few years ago and it broke my heart. He was one of the most generous people and you could tell by the songs he wrote. I used to go to his house in West Nyack, New York. I didn't even have to call him. His doors were always open. I used to bring dates there. I knew people...(Laughing).

Teddy Randazzo


  I was influenced by the entertainers that used to hang out with Little Anthony and the Imperials. Everybody used to hang out with them. Priscilla Presley. Barbra Streisand. Lazenberry told me about this story she saw in Rolling Stone (Issue #85, dated June 24, 1971)   where Streisand said she got some of the best weed from Little Anthony and the Imperials.
  My uncle dated one of the Supremes, he dated one of (Martha Reeves and) the Vandellas, one of The Chiffons, the list goes on. It was known not to leave your women with Little Anthony and the Imperials. That was the word. 
  They were from New York... and they more sophisticated than the other acts that were there. (Members of) The Temptations were from Birmingham, Alabama, you know? They didn't know how to party like us guys from Brooklyn. The girls wanted to have fun and the New York people were more interesting. They could take them to the best spots, the best clubs. They knew all the right people.
  That's how I was introduced to the music industry and I knew it was for me.
  I used to make up melodies and the backgrounds in my head. I was taught by some of the best writers. But, they would rip my stuff apart. I stayed up late night, just writing. I had a few songs.
  When I write songs, I'm writing for a hit record. It has to be true, it has to be believable. I believe that people actually feel what I'm writing. Other than that, it's not right. How many babies were made to Barry White's music? He made it real. He made it sexy. I have to get what I have in my head out-- my own experience and what I feel. I try to keep to it real... It could be technically right, but, there (has to be) "feel" to it.

The Grind

  When I moved to Minneapolis, I was connected with my ex-wife, Manderville, Prince's first cousin. I didn't know anybody there except for her. I was going to Cookhouse Recording Studios on the weekend by myself. Thomas was a bass player and he was taking me to clubs where I was meeting other musicians. There were a lot of talented musicians here in town, but, they didn't know anything... about the record business. I was the man. I was the guy, because, I knew everything. I just knew it all.
  I came in and taught these guys. Prince was like my little brother. I taught these guys what they needed to know. I was from New York, from the big city. I came here and people were even walking slow. (Laughing).
  Living in Minneapolis at that time was so much fun. My buddies (from New York) said "Man, what are you doing in Minnesota? There's nothing up there!" But, I saw it. I saw the vision. I thought that Minneapolis was going to become the next Motown. As a matter of fact, they called me "Barely" Gordy (in New York). I wanted that to happen, so, I stayed here. Plus, I loved the place in the summer.


  I was working with the band Grand Central and, once, I asked them to play one of their original songs. They were jamming. (There was) very little singing. They did the lyrics and after that they would jam for like five minutes. I would ask (them), "Well, what's the name of the song?"
  They didn't have any basic construction of music. How could they go out and play cover (songs) by Earth, Wind and Fire and other groups and not pick up the formula? They needed an intro, a first verse, a hook, a second verse, then another hook, third verse or a bridge and then a hook again-- because, you need to have the hook in there at least three times. That creates this formula and if you use this formula, your songs are going to be three or four minutes long.
  That's how we presented it to these guys. I had them...put down their instruments. I didn't even know how talented Prince was until I was working with these guys for a while. I made them put down their instruments and write their lyrics on a blackboard that we had in the attic, so, that everybody knew the words to the music. These guys were all singing something different. One guy would write a song and he wouldn't explain it to the rest of them. They would just play, then they would start singing and they didn't even know what they were singing...
  One day at rehearsal, Prince told Cymone's sister, Linda (who played keyboards), "Those are not the chords you're supposed to be playing." He took off his guitar, went over to the keyboard and showed her what to play. I'm watching him and I said, "So, he plays keyboards, huh? Alright, that's cool." Then, Prince gets back on his instrument. The guys start playing again, then he stops again and said "(Cymone), let me hold your bass." I said, "The guy plays bass now?"
  He holds the bass and starts playing what he wants Cymone to play. So, Cymone gets the bass back and plays verbatim what Prince wanted him to play. So, I'm looking at Cymone and said "This guy's talented, too." Then, that's when I invited Prince to come to the Cookhouse Recording Studios (with 94 East) to play guitar when we did those five tracks.
  He was, and he still is, super talented. People love him, but, they don't know his accomplishments. I mean, he was the first artist ever in the history of music that was on the cover of Keyboard Magazine, the cover of Bass Magazine, the cover of Guitar magazine and the cover of Drum magazine. You have to be great just to be on the cover of those magazines...and he was on all of them. He's absolutely a force.

Grand Central members (without Prince), l to r: Morris Day, William Doughty   Linda Anderson, Andre Cymone

  Marcy Ingvoldstad:

  We (she, Lazenberry and Willie) were driving down the freeway, us girls were sitting in the back seat and started singing. (Willie) said "Oh, you can sing? I need background singers." Then, everything kind of started falling into place. (He) had been going to the studio and recording for a demo all on his own, doing his own thing. Now he started pulling us in for background... Then we kind of went from there...

  94 East was formed in the back seat of a blue Volkswagen. Did you hear that? In the back seat, baby! I had these girls in the back seat. (Laughing).
  Thomas' brother, Alexander, the guy who later played drums in Madhouse, was the drummer when we formed the group. We also got 17-year-old Pierre Lewis. He was studying Herbie Hancock and he was good. The musicians here were really good. They really studied their music, as far as playing is concerned. But, they didn't have the discipline that they needed.

  We did The Cookhouse Five (in 1975) and Prince was our guitar player on the sessions. We didn't have an electric guitar player -- I played acoustic -- to play his part (in rehearsals). So, Pierre had a brother named Andre Lewis and I said "Andre, can you play what Prince was playing?"
  I soloed out Prince's guitar tracks and gave him the tracks to learn. It was very difficult for him to play the way that Prince was playing. Prince was playing like a true professional, like he had been playing for 30 years and Lewis was learning.
  Prince just had this vibe, this feel; he had everything going for him. So, it never really did match what he was playing. Lewis was playing the same thing, but, it just didn't match... It wasn't the same sound, it wasn't the same feel. Lewis' guitar wasn't like Prince's guitar.

  We started practicing at Lazenberry's parents' house in St. Paul, in the basement and Alexander kept being late. We had to set an example. We said "If you're late one more time, we're gonna let you go." Low and behold, he was late and we had to fire him. He was good, but, we weren't going to cater to him just, because, he was good...These guys had to learn. So, we let him go. Then we started having auditions for another drummer. We put an ad in the paper and we had people come by...auditioning, playing and everything, including Sonny Thompson (who later played bass for Prince in the New Power Generation).
  So, one day Bobby Z comes in. He starts playing and he could hold his own. I wanted a white drummer, thinking (about) Sly and the Family Stone and we got him. So, we started rehearsing... He didn't play on any of our recordings—The Cookhouse Five or any of that. It was already done. So, all I had to do was mix and put together a show. That's why we were rehearsing with Bobby Z. He had to learn our songs and everything.


Pepe Willie

  I went to New York after mixing The Cookhouse Five and looked for a label to sign us. My first stop was to Randazzo. He started adding some other parts to the music: some horn lines, some strings, but, it was a little too much. I wound up taking a lot of that out, except on (the song) "Better Than You Think." We kept those strings in, because, they were just magic. He did it on a Melotron, which was kind of like the first synthesizer. It was a machine that had actual tape with recorded string lines, so, when you played it on a keyboard, you could play anything you wanted.
  These were the days when you could just walk into a building. (You could) look on the directory, see the record company, what floor they were on and jump in the elevator and go right up. You would talk to the secretary and say "Hey, I want to see an A&R guy."
  You can't do that now, because, they have security. You can hardly even get in the building.   Thomas went with me and he stayed in New York for about two or three months. He left and came back to Minneapolis. I refused to leave New York until I got a deal. In the meantime, Prince had started working with Owen Husney and Chris Moon.
  Randazzo went with me to Polydor Records and we signed with them. Hank Crosby, of the original Funk Brothers from Motown was hired by Polydor (to work with 94 East). He wrote (the song) "Fortune Teller" for us and I wrote "10:15." We were going to put out a single and he visited Minnesota a couple of times. When I got back (to Minneapolis) with a contract from Polydor, the whole group signed. I didn't want to be (the only one) signed.
  We started working on our show. Crosby came in and we were going to do our single (for Polydor). We walked into Sound 80 Recording Studios and as we were going in, Prince and Husney were coming out. Prince looked at us and said "What are you guys doing?" We said "We're getting ready to record our single, what are you doing?" He said, "Well, I just finished my demo. Can I play on your track?"
  I said, "Yeah, man, you know that, come on, let's go!" He let Husney go and followed us into the studio. He played guitar on "Fortune Teller" and did background vocals with Ingvoldstad and Lazenberry. He also played guitar on "10:15."
  After we recorded, Crosby and I went back to New York to mix the songs. He didn't like the drum track, so, he took Bobby Z off and he put in this guy named Buddy Williams. We were in the studio in New York...and I was just feeling for Bobby Z, because, I knew he was going to be upset about his drum part being taken out. We're signed to this label and I said "How am I going to explain this to him?"
  I already knew that these things can happen. I had been removed from being the main lead singer on "Fortune Teller." We brought in Colonel Abrams and produced his vocals (in New York). Crosby had found him somewhere and introduced me to him. I said "This guy's got a great voice." I didn't mind. We were signed to a major label. So, I just said "Hey, come on, Colonel." Whatever it takes. I knew that.
  When I came back to Minneapolis and I had to tell Bobby Z that his drums weren't on (the songs), oh my God...I could just feel the pain. It was a heartbreak. But, I just said to him, "That's part of it. All you have to do is learn the parts that Williams played for when we go out on tour." That's how it's done. It happens all the time in the business. I don't think he really got it. He didn't really accept my explanation.
  So, we kept rehearsing. Then, we found out that Crosby had been let go from Polydor. Then we had a new guy come in and we didn't see eye-to-eye. We were still waiting for our release date. They told us it was going to be released in January. No, it's going to be released in March, now it's going to be released in April. Then in June, we got a letter saying "Oh, we have to let you guys go." (Laughing).
  So, we were no longer with the label. But, we had accomplished something. We had accomplished being signed to a major label. You know, just walking in and knocking on the doors of all of these record labels: RCA, Columbia, Warner Brothers, Polydor. We went to a lot of labels... and we learned how to make things work by the time we got to Polydor. We were full-fledged negotiators. (Laughing). We got the experience.
  So, when we got let go, it was the summer. I was telling Prince and Cymone and we were standing outside somewhere. I told Prince "Yeah man, we got let go from Polydor." He said "What?!" Then he called Cymone over... "94 East got let go from Polydor." He said "What?! Oh man, I don't believe it." Prince said, "We've got to get back in the studio. We have to take Pepe right back into the studio and we're going to do some work." He said "Pepe, book the studio time."
  I thought... where am I going to get the money to pay $100 an hour for studio time? But, I booked it. I just went and booked it. I didn't care. I didn't know where I was going to get the money from.
  Prince liked my songs and he loved my writing. So, he and I wrote "Just Another Sucker" together. I wrote "Lovin' Cup" with another friend of mine. I also wrote "Dance to the Music of the World."
  We went to Sound 80 Recording Studios and we recorded two of those tracks. Prince was playing drums and keyboards on those sessions. Cymone played bass. It came out really well. But, then, later on Prince had gotten signed (to Warner Brothers Records) before we could really finish those tracks.
Promotional poster, New Year's Eve 1976

  One day, a friend of mine, Tony Sylvester, from The Main Ingredient, called me and said "I need some musicians." He was in New York and there is a plethora of musicians in New York, so, I guess he wanted something different. I said "Man, look, I've got two guys right here in Minnesota that can play everything." He was like "Nah, man."
  I said "Listen to me. I have these two guys (Prince and Cymone) and this is all you need. You don't need a drummer, a guitar player, a bass player, a keyboard player, but, these two guys." He agreed and he flew us to New York. We went to this studio where he was working on an album for The Imperials--Anthony had left the group-- and he was going use... one of the songs (from the Sound 80 session).
  He put us up at the Hilton in Manhattan. We went to the studio and started recording. We did some overdubs, we took my two-inch master from the Sound 80 session and we put that on and started working with it. 
  Everybody had to have their own song. I had "Dance to the Music of the World," Cymone had "Do Me, Baby" and Prince had "I Feel For You" and that was played on piano. We recorded it and I don't even have that recording of "I Feel For You" on piano--I own the copyright of that version. I lost it in Barbados, when I was at Eddy Grant's (of "Electric Avenue" fame) studio doing work for the Minneapolis Genius album. But, we finished that (session) and Sylvester paid them. This was the first time that Cymone had really gotten paid for doing studio work.


  When Prince got signed, and I wasn't at the time, I said "I'm not going to concentrate on me, I'm going to concentrate on Prince. He's signed. I had my chance." I didn't want to see Prince get screwed. So, I dropped everything that I was doing. I asked Ingvoldstad and Lazenberry (to help me) and said "Let's concentrate on Prince and make sure he has the right backing." We knew how difficult it was as a new artist. So, we did everything possible to help him.
  He started auditioning band members. He was holding auditions at Del's Tire Mart in Minneapolis and people were coming there. One day-- and this is the truth, but, other people might tell you something different -- Prince actually left the door unlocked. That's what happened and they got robbed. Cats came in there and took all this equipment. They couldn't take the speakers, because, the speakers belonged to me and they were huge. You couldn't fit them in car, you had to have a truck to put them in. So, that was the only thing left.
  So, Cymone and I were riding around the north side of Minneapolis looking for the thieves in my Volkswagen and he had his rifle. We were going to kill these suckers! (Laughing). We're looking for somebody who had our equipment and we didn't find anybody. Thank goodness! I didn't see want to see Cymone go to jail. I didn't have a gun! (Laughing). So, we left it at that.
  I told Prince, "Look, you guys come and practice at our house--(Lazenberry), (Ingvoldstad) and myself had a house in South Minneapolis-- on Upton Avenue, right off Lake Calhoun. They brought the remaining equipment they had over to our house and into the basement, which was a totally finished basement with a fireplace and everything. They were set up really well and they started having auditions. Gayle Chapman was brought in by Prince's cousin Charles Smith. Prince liked her and liked the way she played. So, he accepted her in the band. Matt Fink, the "doctor," he had auditioned there and made it. Bobby Z was already in, because, he had started doing errands for Prince as soon as he got signed. He was going to the store, doing that, doing this...for the promise of being Prince's drummer. Prince also wanted a white drummer. I remember the day Dez Dickerson came over and auditioned. He made it. Cymone was already in, because, he and Prince were friends and they lived together at Cymone's mom's house. So there was the band.


  They practiced in our home from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., 10 hours a day. They worked really hard. Prince gotten a sum of money and he was buying all this new equipment from all the stores. Husney was his manager.
  One day, Prince was at his home after rehearsal. I went over there, because, I couldn't get him on the phone. It was after they had practiced for 10 hours. So, I'm over (at his) house on France—he had just got signed by Warner Brothers, so, he had his own home. I was knocking on the door and he's not answering. I hear this tapping from the back of the house. 
  So, I go around to the side of the house, I look in these windows and I can see Prince playing drums. He's kicking drums after 10 hours of rehearsal. So, in between the beats, I'm knocking on the window, so, he can hear me. Then, he finally heard me and I said "Open the door, man!" So, he opens the door. We go down in the basement and we're talking. He was talking about what he needed. I said "Look man, your manager is supposed to be doing this stuff for you" and I said "Well, I'll go talk to (Husney)."
  The next day, I go to (Husney's) office; he had an ad company. I said "Well, Prince needs this and Prince needs that. You're his manager and you're supposed to do this stuff for him."
  Then he said --and these are his exact words-- "What, am I supposed to quit my job here at the ad company for some guy who probably won't make it?" I couldn't make that up...
    Then I said, " [T]hen you're out, you're fired." I don't know if I had the right to say it, but, I said it, because, I was protecting my cousin. He said "Well, why don't you be his manager?"
  I said, "Well, I'm not a manager. I can't be his manager. But, I'm not going to let him get screwed out here." Those were my exact words. So, I went back to Prince and let him know what was going on. He and Husney parted ways shortly after that. So, now, Prince needed management. He's signed to Warner Bros. He's got a good record out that's doing well, For You. But, he had no manager.
  I knew Don Taylor, manager of Bob Marley and The Wailers, through my connections. I called him and said "I've got a guy who's signed with Warner Bros. His name is Prince and he needs management." He said, "Yeah, I know Mo Ostin (then president of Warner Bros. Records)." He sent Prince and myself two first-class airline tickets to fly to Miami. He got us both hotel rooms. He came over to the hotel and he and Prince went back to his house to talk business. I just stayed out of the way.
  I told Prince, "Look, I'm not a manager, but, I'm not going to let you get screwed." But, I did manage him for 30 days. Warner Bros. as sending me all the correspondence and necessary things.


  I went on some radiothons with Prince in North Carolina, when his (first) record was out.
We got to North Carolina and one of the guys from Cameo was also there, they were big at that time. So, we got to this place where there was 2,000 kids and we were on the stage. Prince was signing his albums for all the kids that were coming up. He would ask "What's your name?" and then he would sign his autograph. The guy from Cameo was sitting next to Prince. They would move to him and they would give him an album to sign.
  The security had gotten kind of lax. I knew all about security from working with my uncle in New York. I went to the security person and I said, "Look, we're going to have to get ready to go. Go get the car or have somebody get the car, so, we can get back to hotel." There were people just starting migrate on stage and all of a sudden this guy is standing next to me. I'm looking at him like "Who is this guy?" He said "Don't worry about anything... I got your back." I said "Who is this dude?" So, I went to Prince while he was signing autographs and I whispered in his ear: "Prince, the next time that I come over and say something to you, I want you to get up and we're leaving." He said "Okay" and he was still signing albums.
  After security got their stuff together and they gave me a nod, I said "Prince, it's time to go." He got right up and shot right out of there through a gauntlet of security, jumped in the limo and we went back to the hotel. When we got to the hotel, Prince told me "Man, you know what?...I feel like a piece of meat being carried around." I went "Wow." What a way to feel. But, I knew exactly what he meant.
  It was just that "star thing" that he wasn't used to yet and he was high on it: signing all these autographs, people yelling out they love him...and they don't even know him. He said to me "People (are) saying they love me and we were getting mail from people-- we'd read the fan mail together-- and he said "These people don't even know me, how can they love me?" I said "They love your music. They love what you're doing."
  By the time we got back to the hotel and he was feeling that way, there are only certain things you can do to bring him back to reality. So, the guy from Cameo had come over, because, he was staying in the same hotel on a different floor. He came over to my room and Prince was there. He started talking to Prince, about how he liked his music. We were saying how we liked his music and then we asked where he lived. He said "I live in New Jersey." Prince said "Oh yeah, my sister lives in New Jersey." The guy from Cameo told us his address and Prince said "Hey, my sister lives in your building!" Come to find out, he lives just one floor over Prince's sister in the same building in New Jersey.
  That brought him back down to reality. (It was) something he could touch, something he could identify with, rather than that "star thing." It brought him back to family, it brought him back to his roots. He came down a little bit and he felt better, you know what I mean? That's what he needed, because, after you come off something like that, you can't go to sleep. It's too exciting...You're gonna go over what you went through: things that you are going through at that moment, what's going through your mind and how you feel emotionally.

 He did sign with Don Taylor for about a year. Then he moved over to Perry Jones and Tony Winfrey. I think they worked for Bob Cavallo. I remember everybody together at one point. Then Cavallo, (Joe) Ruffalo & (Steve) Fargnoli took over once Prince got bigger.
  They wanted me to work with them, for Prince, because, he was getting out of control. I was the only one who to him on a real-time basis; he was like my little brother. But, I said no, I didn't want to do it. I could see where he was going mentally, kind of like "I'm the baddest thing ever" and I didn't want him to get that way with me, so, I prevented that. They wanted me to "handle" Prince. They wined me, dined me and did everything they could. I said no. Prince and I remained friends. We remained tight for a long time after that. The rest is history.

  We had a lot of fun then. When Morris Day and those guys got signed to Warner Bros., Day and I would hang out a lot, driving around Minneapolis. We all had the same friends, so, we'd run into Prince. We didn't want run into him, because he was square. Prince was so square, I'm telling you. I mean, we used to laugh at this guy, but, now he's got the last laugh! But, then, we used to laugh at him. He was a good kid, very naive. But, he loved his music.
  We'd run into Prince and we said "Oh no, oh please." (One morning), at 3 a.m., we see Prince and he's running over to the car. He said "Hey, man, hey!" We said "Yo, Prince, what's up, man?" He gave me this cassette and Day put it in the car's cassette player. It's my song "If You See Me," but, he called it "Do Yourself A Favor." Prince had recorded it from memory. He didn't have a copy of The Cookhouse Five. He did his version and it was killing. I didn't even recognize it when I heard it.
  Day said "Pepe, that's your song." I started listening and I said "Oh yeah, that's right!" Prince said "I'm going to put it out on one of my albums, man." But, he never did it! (Laughing). But, the thought was there. I know that in his heart, he really wanted to do it. His career was really taking off , he just mapped out his albums in certain way and he didn't record it...
  (In 1986) Jesse Johnson called me and he wanted to record "Do Yourself A Favor" and I said "Yeah, man, go ahead and do it." I split the publishing with him on his version, even though I owned the rights to the song. But, he had a hit album out and he was requesting that he get 50 percent of the rights to his version. I said "Okay, fine." I didn't care. So, he put that out and we did some good numbers. It sold more than 400,000 copies. It's on the album Shockadelica, which was just re-released digitally last June. You can get on iTunes or any other digital downloading sites that they have.
  I have the Prince version (of "Do Yourself A Favor"). Later, it was stolen out of his house and somebody bootlegged it. I didn't get one penny from that. Prince called me up one day and I asked him "What happened to 'Do Yourself A Favor?'" He said "Man, they stole it out of my house!" I should have made him me pay me for that. (Laughing). But, it was all good.


Minneapolis Genius album cover

  Around 1984 or 1985, I knew that Prince was not going to come back and pull us out of whatever we were in. He was not going to come back to help us. I knew it. I've been in this business a long time and I said "I'm doing my own record." Everybody else was just waiting around for Prince to come and get them. I said "He isn't coming back, people. Get it in your head..."
  That's when I started doing Minneapolis Genius (an album of 94 East's previous recordings featuring Prince). We (started work) in New York and then we went to Barbados. We stayed at Grant's house and used his studio for a week. We came back and went to New York to mix (the album). I called Cavallo and told him that I was doing Minneapolis Genius. I wanted Prince to know, because, we were still friends. He said "Well, I don't think that Prince really needs to hear this right now." I said "What?" I didn't even understand that when he said it. I said "Oh, okay, bye" and hung up the phone.

  We got a licensing deal in 1995 with Charly, a company in Europe. They gave us quite a bit of money in advance. They licensed about 12 or 13 songs that Prince performed with us. Then, they sub-licensed it to other labels and that's why you have so many labels doing the same music. So, everybody was making money off this music. We're still getting licensing from that music.
  Our deal was over with Charly in 2000... We thought "We're the ones who own the master recording, so, why don't we release our own version of The Cookhouse Five and put it out?" So we had Dr. Fink remix those five songs and we put it out (in 2011).

The Future

  I'm writing a book right now...the title is "From Brooklyn to Minneapolis." It's going to have everything in there, from me meeting celebrities and going to the store for them, coming to Minneapolis and starting the "Minneapolis Sound" with Prince, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Day and Cymone.
  We also helped a few other guys like Rockie Robbins. He was signed with A&M Records and he had a hit record ("You and Me" in 1980). He came to me for advice. I've helped Ricky Peterson and St. Paul Peterson from the famous Peterson family. (Ricky's) a great pianist who played with some the musicians that played with Miles Davis.
  All of that is going to be in my book, as well as other things that I've experienced through the life and times of music.

  There's a company in Chicago called The Numero Group ( They came into Minneapolis looking for (musical) groups from 1975 to 1983 that were good, but, didn't "make it." They licensed "If You See Me" and put it on vinyl. Then they do a little coffee table book, with a little history, the vinyl and pictures of the group. That's coming out in the fall.
We also have a label here called Reo Deo. We're doing a new CD and this is the first CD that we're doing without Prince. The tracks are "Dial My Number," which is finished now, "Any o' Time," "Let You Go" and Find Myself."
  These tracks are hot, I'm telling you. They are just... burning. Just for the hell of it, I took "Dial My Number" and I entered it in the "Song of the Year" contest ( (People enter songs) from all over the world and I was a semifinalist. We got a great congratulations for that.

  (Our company) helps artists. We protect artists. We do exactly what we did for Prince. The business hasn't changed. The only thing that's changed is the music. You still have to copyright, you have to have that (songwriting) formula, you still need to have publishing and you still have to be part of a performer's rights organization. You've got to be protected out here. This is what we do for our artists.
  We just signed an artist named Monaye Love. She is backed by the Obamas. When President Obama came into Minneapolis, he stopped at Fort Snelling, and he saw her picture and asked one of the generals who it was. (The general) said "Take a look at this video."
  He played the video for the president, who said "Oh, Michelle (Obama, first lady of the United States) has to see this." He sent it to her and she said "She (Love) has to be part of the Yellow Ribbon Campaign." You can look Love up, she has a (video) on YouTube called "Finally Home." It's breathtaking and it's really good.
  We redid her vocals from the track. The track you hear when you go to YouTube is not one we did. They're matching the video with the new track right now, but, it's the same song. It needed to be a little more professional. Fink and I redid the vocals and fixed it. We've got the master back and Lazenberry's working on the graphics. We're getting ready to release that... along with our music on May 28.

The Cookhouse Five digital release artwork

  We work hard all the time and we want to continue working. We want to help the young artists coming out and let them know this is a business. It's easy to write songs for most of us who have the talent. But, the hard part is the business part...You have to get through that.
  You have a lot of artists who are watching TV and they see people like Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj who released their first record and sold millions. It doesn't happen like that for everyone. Some of us have to work a little harder.
  I always say that (the music business) is like being in a classroom and studying math: there are some people that are "A" students and they get it the first time. They don't have to study. Then you have your "B" students; they get it, but, they have to study a little bit. Then you have your other students, they are "C" students, because, they don't study enough. But, if they did study they would become "A" and "B" students. Their grades would go up. You have to work hard to get to where you're going. For some people it's easy...for some of us, we have to work a little harder to make sure we get a good grade. That's my analogy.

  We love working with young people, teaching them, because, they really listen. When they get a little older, they get a little cocky. They don't listen and they screw up their careers...In this world we're in now, (artists) can't afford to make any mistakes. They have to get it right the first time. They have to treat people decently. They always have to pay their bills, pay their lawyer and pay all the people they're supposed to pay.
  Also, they need to remember...when they do interviews not to only talk about themselves, (but) to talk about the people who came before them, that helped them get into the position they're in right now.
  There are a lot of artists from back before I can remember who helped. Like Little Anthony and the Imperials, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Ben E. King, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and The Four Tops. These groups struggled. They weren't getting all of their money and they weren't getting paid. Now you have these artists come up, they have one record and they are getting paid automatically. That's because of the hard work and the sacrifices that these other artists made... they have to learn to appreciate that.
  When they talk to the press, even if they've never heard of Dionne Warwick, Pearl Bailey or Mahalia Jackson, (they should) read about them. Study them, because, they're in the same business that we're in. See their struggles. Put their hearts out toward them and say "I have to hand it to all of these minority entertainers who helped make it possible for me to raise my family today."
  I see it in some of the artists, but, some of these brothers out there, I have to say it, they piss me off. I saw The Game (the rapper/producer) on TV one night pouring out a $1500 bottle of champagne on the street...He asked the cameraman "Do you know what this is?" The cameraman said "No." He said "Feeding the roaches."
  Now, come on. You don't have to do that. Do you how many people you could have fed for $1500? And you're out there throwing it away in the street. You have some of these other artists going out and "making it rain" in these clubs, gentleman's clubs they call them. "Make it rain" in your mother's house. "Make it rain" in your cousin's house. Throw $10,000 up in their living room and then leave, so, that they can have something. They're doing the wrong thing and it sets the wrong example for all of us. When we go into these records company now, they look at us like that. They have to stop. They have to do business. Jay-Z went out there to do his thing, Beyonce does her thing, Taylor Swift goes out there to do her thing.
  Some of these artists come out and make $400,000, $500,000, $1 million, $2 million or $3 million and they think that's it; they've got it made. Next thing they know, they're in bankruptcy court or the I.R.S. is after them, because, they didn't take care of their business... They have to do that. We try to instill that in all the artists who come in for consultation or artists that we sign.
 That's how we are, that's how we've always been and we'll never change.

Stay beautiful, Kristi


Lead photo: 94 East, courtesy of