Follow Me If You Dare…

So here it is…

My Prince story. I originally wrote this from the desk of my job in 1997 during free time while my boss was traveling. My thought at the time was that I needed to get everything that happened between Prince, myself and my friends down in some form so that we wouldn’t forget the details. When Prince passed away, one of the first things I did was search for this story. It took me half a day of searching through various hard drives and files, but I was thrilled when I finally found it. I am so happy I wrote all of this down so I can relive what was the time of my life, and share it with the world as well. Enjoy. Please note, I left the story largely unedited to retain my 26 year old voice. Apologies for any un-P.C. parts! Lol, it was the 90s! (Some names have been shortened for anonymity)…

 

The following is a chronicle of the enchanted adventures of three girls in pursuit of Prince…

…these coincidences are happening more and more frequently and when they do, they strike us as beyond what would be expected by pure chance. They feel destined, as though our lives had been guided by some unexplained force. The experience induces a feeling of mystery and excitement and, as a result, we feel more alive. -Taken from the Celestine Prophecy – 1994

Crazy? Nah, Obsessive? Yes, but not as obsessive as some, Wild? Most definitely…

Love…how would you define it?  Websters defines it as such:  An intense affection and attraction to another person….

Lately I have been pondering the notion of this crazy love I have felt for Prince for over 12 years now.  Those who have never experienced this kind of love don’t understand it, and trying to explain it is the most difficult thing in the world, but before I begin my story, I figured I should try.

For me it began in the summer of 1984.  I was an impressionable 13 year old, and was completely captivated by his presence on the screen in Purple Rain.  From the moment I left the theater, I was mesmerized by this man and his music.

Today, I am still in awe of his talent. I believe the man was touched by God.   I don’t think there will ever be anyone else like him in my life time.  Though I don’t say this to everyone, I also believe that he was some sort of prophet in another life, and those who are now his “fans” were once his followers. Either that, or he is some sort of Pied Piper, and we are cursed to follow him for the rest of our lives.  I say this because I don’t know many people who think he is just “ok”.  As Eric Clapton said, “You either love him or you hate him”.  For those who love him, it is an intense experience. For those who don’t, well, they just don’t get it.

Growing up, he was like a great boyfriend. His lyrics gave me my first taste of sex.  It was almost as if he took my virginity in the mental sense.   He was always there when I needed him.  Comforting me, making me smile, giving me presents (albums, and movies), and saying everything that I wanted to hear when I wanted to hear it..

Recently, Prince has made it clear that even he doesn’t understand how fans can look at him and feel “love” for him when they don’t even know him. While it sounds crazy to even me, I think of it like this; just as Prince turned to creating music as a form of escape during turbulent times in his life, many turn to the music he’s created as a source of joy, and escape. At the very least he should respect the power he has over peoples lives, not ridicule it.  Beyond that, the beauty of some of his songs evokes such emotion that well, you’ve gotta love the guy.

Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything.  I feel very fortunate to have recognized his awesome and inspiring talent, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of my experiences with this enigma.  I don’t think this is the end of the road with the girls and I and Prince either.  I feel as though we will cross paths again, probably when we are off doing fabulous things with our lives, and no longer care about Prince and his world.  Wouldn’t that be something??

Enjoy….  

THE LOVESEXY DAYS and BEYOND

My first experiences with all things Princely began as far back as 1988 when I met 2 of the members of the Lovesexy band,  Levi Seacer Jr., and Miko Weaver.  At that time, my brother worked for WEA in Washington D.C.  Miko and Levi stopped by the offices after performing in the Lovesexy show the night before at the Capital Center. I managed to contain my star-struckdom when introduced to them, and even mustered up the courage to tell Miko he was wearing a “really cool jacket”.  He and Levi took pictures with me, and some of the office staff, and I became the proud recipient of an autographed copy of the ‘I Wish U Heaven’ 12”.

A few years later, I went to a party at a club in New York called Limelight.  They were hosting a release shindig for the “Diamonds and Pearls” album.  (My two Princely chasing partners in crime were in attendance, but it would take two years before we would meet).  I was dancing away when two familiar men passed by me.  I tapped one on the shoulder, and said “Excuse me, aren’t you one of Prince’s dancers?” He turned and smiled and said “yes” and I invited him to dance with me.  He obliged.  I asked his name.  It turned out to be Kirk, and the guy he had been walking with was Tony M.

I asked Kirk about Minneapolis, and the clubs and the people there, stuff like that. I didn’t inquire about Prince too much, as I wanted Kirk to think I was interested in him. (Yeah, right). After awhile, I think he got a little bored because I wasn’t getting as freaky on the floor as Tony’s dance partner.  I thanked him for the dance and excused myself.  He welcomed me and copped a feel of my behind….Jerk!

I saw and danced with them again at another party a year later at a club called ‘Webster Hall’, this time  for the O(+> album, but none of this would, or could, compare to what began in the Spring of 1993….

Spring 1993 – The ­O(+> Tour

In late February, word arose that Prince and the NPG would be touring the U.S.  At first I didn’t believe it because Prince hadn’t toured the U.S. in about 5 years, but by March 1st it was confirmed.

On the Sunday afternoon before tickets were to go on sale, my boyfriend Melvin and I went to wait on line. All of the fans were friendly, and everyone was thrilled that they were actually getting to see the man perform live once again. I began conversing with the guy next to me and the girl next to him.  At first I didn’t think the girl (whose name was Rachael) was much of a fan, but I soon found out that this was not the case at all.  Rachael and I seemed to have a lot in common, and we talked and laughed most of the afternoon.  Soon enough her cousin Mauri showed up. Rachael had been holding a place on line for Mauri because she had to work that afternoon.  My first impression of Mauri was that she didn’t like me. I swear she gave me the dirtiest look, but to this day, she insists that it was all in my mind.

Anyway, by 9 p.m. that night the tedious process for getting tickets began.  We had to pick wristbands from a paper bag, and whichever number we got, we were to line up the next morning accordingly.  I was the lucky stiff for a change.  I got #104, the lowest of our little group.

The next day we met up again, and Mauri, Rachael and I traded pictures that we had each taken over the years with different members of the band.  This is when we discovered that we had been to many of the same parties.  We agreed that since we had so many similar experiences, something special would happen to us this time around.  To quote Mauri “We are going to meet Prince, we have to, we’ve gotten too close.”

The night of the show,  I wore a white spandex/netted bellbottomed number which took me 2 weeks to pick out.  I met Melvin at his job and we went down to Radio City Music Hall together.

Outside of the theater we saw Billy Sparks.  My brother had told me that he would speak to him about getting tickets (Billy and my brother are pretty friendly).  I walked up to him and told him who I was, and he said he wasn’t able to get any extras for me.  I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to attend the next night, but I tried not think about it.

When we took our seats, I felt a little strange.  I guess I couldn’t believe that I was where I was. Madonna, Eddie Murphy and his wife, and many other celebrities were in the audience, including Spike Lee who sat right in front of Mauri and Rachael.

Finally the lights went down, and the show began.  Anyone who saw it knows the Mayte/Arabian princess storyline. The real fun though came in hearing ‘Peach’ and ‘Johnny’ for the first time.  I’ll never forget it.  He closed the first half with 7, – one of my favorite songs of the 90’s. I was in my glory.

The second half we were treated to gems such as ‘She’s Always In My Hair’, ‘Insatiable’, and ‘Scandalous’. After performing ‘Purple Rain’, Prince left the stage but our screams ushered him back to say “I heard you calling me, what do you want? You make me feel like I shouldn’t have stayed away so long!” He gave us a medley containing ‘Partyman/Partyup’ , ‘1999’ and ‘Baby I’m a Star’, and with that – it was over.  The mystical love man had left the building.

After the show, a few of us went to Groliers Mansion in Manhattan because we were told that there was an after party there. We didn’t get in, but we got to see the man emerge from a white stretch limo with the license plate ‘Excel 10’.  Rachael was able to get a great photo of a smiling Prince entering the club.

Anyway, the next day after the first Radio City show, my brother was able to get tickets for me from a friend at Warners.  That evening I met Melvin in front of the theater. When we ran into Mauri and Rachael, they vowed to get on the stage during the ‘Continental’. (When he performed ‘The Continental’, the previous night, he invited ladies on-stage for a dance).

The show was basically the same but the events of this evening were not.  The first lady to go up during the ‘Continental’ was a pretty sixteen year old girl named Yvette, who Prince motioned to, and gave a lingering kiss on the cheek. The next thing I see is Mauri and Rachael climbing on the stage and boogying down the soul train line. I stood on my chair to get a better look.  I screamed to the people around me “Look! Look! My friends are on stage!!! My friends are on stage”, but no one seemed to care. Melvin looked at me and said “Well they said they were gonna get up there”.  I smiled with joy and envy…

At intermission, I ran down to where they were sitting and asked what Prince looked like up close.  Rachael told me he looked “like a dream”. I was mesmerized.  Mauri told me that her blouse had popped open while she was dancing with Kirk, and she didn’t notice it until they were back at their seats. (Figures, she was doing the ‘Mauriciere breast pumping dance’ – a shirt can only take so much!) I guessed Kirk was more more than ok with that!

After the show, I wanted to hang out and see where everyone else was going, but Melvin wasn’t interested, so we went home.

The next night, my phone rang around 10:55 p.m.  It was Mauri and Rachael calling me from the club Webster Hall.  They urged me to come out on a Prince chase.  It was late, and I didn’t want to travel by myself, but they talked me into it.  They gave me the pager number of a girl they had befriended that evening named Laura.

We agreed to meet at Nell’s nightclub.  I got there at around 12:45am.  I went inside, checked my coat and went to a pay phone to page them, but to no avail. I decided to wait for them by the front door until a security guard told me to “clear the area”.  Not thinking twice, I moved over toward the bar.  Seconds later, Prince walks in and sits down in a chair in the corner next to the staircase.  I gasped, but the club was too crowded for anyone to hear me.  It was the first time I was so close to him, and I swore I would faint.  I looked at him, he looked at me. I looked away. I shrieked, saying “oh my God, oh my God, oh my God” to myself. I looked at him again, he looked at me. I looked away.  I just couldn’t take it.

I ran downstairs to page the girls again, but there was a line to the payphone.  I ended up running into them by the coat check, and we starting screaming like little 4th graders.  We were so excited! There was no way anyone could have told us that we weren’t going to meet Prince that night. But lo and behold, when we went upstairs together, we discovered that the sexy motherfu*ker had left the club. Just that fast.  We looked around like lost puppies trying to find their master. But he was gone….Oh well.
Mauri refreshed my memory recently with an account of what took place as she and Rachael went down the stairs when they first got to the club that night…..

I thought it was the perfect opportunity to see Prince up close.  As Rachael and I went down the stairs, I looked up, and Prince was looking down at me.  I was like ‘Oh my God, I know he’s not looking down at me, but I looked up again, and he was leaning over the arm of the chair, watching me, with those beautiful, sparkling eyes. I winked at him, as he sat there smiling at me with this sinister grin, just like the one he gave Mary Sharon when he first spotted her in ‘Under the Cherry Moon’.

Anyway, before his departure, Prince stayed just long enough to have a sip of Evian from a champagne glass. A fan had swiped the bottle way before we could get to it, and her friend grabbed the glass. We all sat around the area he had occupied for such a short time, and talked with the other fans. I remember the girl who got the Evian bottle joked that she was going to masturbate with it.  None of us could blame her.

Eventually I ended up conversing with our new friend Laura.  At first I thought she was cool, but I noticed that she repeated the same things over and over.  For instance, she kept telling me that she was from Minnesota, Minnesota, Minnesota, and that she had over heard someone say that Prince was coming back, coming back, coming back.  (Nevertheless, he didn’t come back.  We found out later that he was busy playing a live set at a club called Club USA.)

After several hours, Mauri, Rachael, Laura and I decided to take a trip up to Prince’s hotel, the Rhiga Royale, to see if we could at least get a glimpse of him.  Mauri’s friend Raphael had chased down Prince’s limo the night before and found out where he was staying. (When I say chase, I’m talking high speed, to the point that Prince’s bodyguards jumped out with their hands on their guns).  I’m still not sure why Raphael did what he did, but his craziness turned out to be our blessing.

In the cab, I was once again, er, privileged to sit next to Laura.  Over and over again she said “Look at us, were demented Prince fans. Demented, demented, demented.”

Not much was happening in the front of the hotel, so we went around to the back.  We were standing by the service entrance trying to figure out what to do, when Laura presses the buzzer on the door.  Scared witless,  we took off up the block.  Mauri, Rachael and I were afraid we’d get busted for trespassing, but Laura didn’t seem to be afraid of anything.  We turned around to see Laura waving at us to come inside from the opened door.  Still a little nervous, we sort of mutually decided that if she did get any where, she wasn’t goin’ without us.

We stood against the wall and waited as she was buzzed into another door and spoke to the security guard.  As she began telling him that she was “assigned to clean Prince’s room” we whispered to each other what a nut she was.  Of course the guy was like, “yeah right” and made us leave.  We went back around to the front of the hotel, and Raphael and his girlfriend were just pulling up in their car.  While we were talking to him, Laura managed to come across Prince’s limo driver. She pulled me over and told me who she had discovered.  I went over to say hello, but she was flirting outrageously with him, hanging over the window, practically showing her boobies and the whole bit.  I starting getting uncomfortable with the way she was acting and went back to Mauri and Rachael to tell them what was going on. They finished up their conversation and went with me over to where Laura stood, talking to the limo driver whom we would come to know as Barry.

We spoke to Barry for a little while, but it was almost daybreak at this point and we all figured we should head home.  All of us except Laura.  She insisted that she would stay and talk to Barry.  He seemed a little annoyed with her, but who wouldn’t be.  She only asked him 3 million times to take her “up to Prince’s room”.  We left her there, leaning over Barry’s window.  We heard from Barry the next night that she waited in front of the hotel for about 3 hours.

During our conversation with Barry, he encouraged us to come up to the Apollo Theater in Harlem the next night where Prince and the NPG would be doing a special benefit performance.  We didn’t have tickets, but he promised that if we looked for him beforehand he’d try to get us in for free.

That afternoon I spoke to Mauri and we agreed to meet at the Apollo around 7p.m.  I was completely low on cash by this point, but I grabbed my last 30 bucks and was on my way.  I got up to the Apollo at 7 on the nose and I went around the back of the building to see if I could find Barry.  He was inside good old Excel 10, but he told me that he wouldn’t be able to help us out. Disappointed, I went back to the front of the theater to wait for the girls.

I was getting pretty nervous because it was close to show time and I had no tickets.  Mauri and Rach were no where to be found.  Scalpers were all over the place, but most were asking for $100, even $200 dollars for tickets.  Some girl introduced me to a scalper who sold her a ticket for $25 bucks.  I was reluctant, but I asked if he would sell it to me for that price.  He gave me a hard time at first, saying, “no no, $40 dollars”.  I whined, “but I don’t have $40 dollars!” Eventually I talked him down to $25, and that left me with only $5 to my name.

Soon after, Mauri and Rachael finally pulled up with Raphael and his friend Jerry. I tried to get them to hook up with the scalper who sold me my tix, but another scalper intervened and started arguing with my scalper as to who was going to sell the girls a ticket.  They got pissed, and didn’t want to deal with either one of them. They took off to look for a parking place.

I waited around for them, but the show was about to start so I went inside.  I had no idea whether or not they were even going to get in at that point.  My seat was on the first balcony, in the second row.  The Apollo is rather small, so this was actually a great seat.  I could see perfectly!  There were two girls sitting next to me, who were total hip-hop types to me.  Meaning, they didn’t look like they were into Prince. I was proved wrong though. They were really into the music, and were dancing and everything else.  At the start of every song they’d ask me “Which one is this?”  I’d tell them, and they’d go “OHH, I love that song!”

Mr. Nelson was in, as Billy Sparks would say “rare form” that night.  The show was absolutely fantastic.  The music was tight as hell and Prince was in a great mood.  Prince was also VERY flirtatious that night.  A sister up in the first row caught his attention.  He was practically having a conversation with her during the show.  I can’t remember everything, but I know he asked her “What color panties do you have on?” She replied “Red”, and he said something like “How could you wear red to my concert?” I guess he meant that she should have worn purple or something. He also asked “How many bedrooms do you have in your apartment?” She gave an inaudible reply.  He said “Because for I little guy, I take up a lot of room”. Hehehhe…

During the intermission, I was on my way to the ladies room when I saw Mauri and Rachael. I couldn’t believe my ears when they told me how they got in….

Mauri had a friend who worked for the radio station which cosponsored the concert.  She had asked him earlier in the week to see if he could get her on the guest list.  Not knowing if he had or not, she and Rachael went up to the woman at the door like they belonged.  She asked if she were on the guest list and gave her name, Mauriciere DeGovia.  Prince had just begun to play, and the woman didn’t hear her very clearly.  She held up an envelope with the name “Mercedes Lewis” on the front and asked “Is this you?” She heartily said “YES!” and grabbed the tickets and she and Rachael went inside.  Raphael and Jerry had to pay a scalper to get in.

Startlingly enough, Rach and Mauri were also sitting in the lower balcony, just a few rows away from me.  If they had been seated on the main floor or the second balcony, what happened next might never have taken place….

In the bathroom we agreed that as the show was ending we would meet and run around the back to see the man get into his limo.  Prince was half way through the final song (a medley of Partyman/Partyup), and I was up dancing my ass off when I happened to turn to see Mauri mouthing “ROBIN!!!” at the end of my row. I grabbed my stuff and the three of us ran down what seemed like a million steps in spiky heeled shoes and mini dresses—not an easy task.

Ushers were handing out free tee-shirts (which were $35 at Radio City) at the foot of the stairs, and we grabbed them and kept running for the door without breaking stride.

We were outside and turning the corner in no time.  Mauri says she heard a homeless dude say “They gots to be workin’ for somebody” as we whisked by.  I, not being an athlete, was trailing behind.  I was carrying my coat, which was a big red fur number, and it was slowing me down a bit.  Rachael grabbed it and carried it for me as we made it to the corner.  Out of breath, we stopped and looked around, and within seconds, Excel 10 was in front of our very eyes.  Thank God for that stop light.  We screamed.  The window came down.  We didn’t see a face, but we saw a gold coin cuffed hand emerge and wave to us.  We screamed even louder! I blew a kiss, and we started saying “We love you Prince!!!” and the hand re-appeared, this time holding a small white towel.  He threw it out to us, and the limo sped off.  Rachael, not even looking twice for the oncoming traffic, ran and rescued it from the grimy street.

The three of us were ssssssoooooooooooooooo elated. Elated is actually “too weak to define” what we were feeling.  It was a complete high.  Being at the show, running up the block, and getting this little gift from him was an unbelievable thrill.

Raphael and Jerry honked for us from across the street.  We jumped in the car, and told them what happened.  We all took turns holding the towel, (but I swear, Mauri held onto it the longest, lol) and it smelled heavenly.  I know they say he smells delicious all the time, but damn, even after a 2 hour show?!?!?

Anyway, we agreed to split it 3 ways the next night.  I made sure to study what it looked like so that they couldn’t do the old switchero on me. After all, I had only known them a few weeks.

We were sort of forced into going to Club USA that night.  That’s where Jerry and Raphael wanted to go, and since I had no money, and none of us had any other means of transportation, we were at their mercy.  Of course we had a miserable time.  Mauri and Raphael got into an argument. I fell asleep in the corner, and Prince didn’t show up.  He opted to go to Nell’s that night.

The next night was Sunday, and we were at it again.  I had to borrow some cash from my mom, who by this time was pretty sick of “this Prince mess”, but nothing could stop me.  Rachael picked me up and we drove to Mauri’s house.  We split the towel in three ways just like we vowed, and left to continue our escapade.

We drove straight to the Rhiga. We waited. Nothing was happening. We drove around and spotted Excel 10 at the Helmsley Palace.  We waited.  He popped out of the hotel, and into the limo faster than a speeding bullet.  We took off after him.  But he was only going back to the Rhiga.  (We heard later that he had went to the Helmsley to get his hair done).

While waiting at the Rhiga, a limo driver named Paul was on duty.  He came over to Rachael’s car and asked “Ladies have you been following us?” We giggled, and tried to be nonchalant.  He basically told us it was dangerous to be following them around, and to cut it out. We were like “Yeah right!”  Paul looked kinda seedy, and made a comment about us being cute before he left.  Dick.

Anyway, about 45 minutes later, the man flew through the Rhiga doors and popped into the limo. We completed ignored Paul’s request not to chase them.  We tried to be as unnoticeable as possible, but wouldn’t you know it! We ended up DIRECTLY behind the limo. We had another good giggle and I tried to hide my face. (Like that really made a difference).

He pulled up in front of Nell’s, and so did we. He went inside. After 20 minutes of trying to find a parking place, so did we.  As soon as we walked in we saw him sitting in his favorite booth in the corner in the far side of the club.  Nell’s features a live jazz band, and he was just sitting there enjoying the music. Playing “air drums” and the whole bit.  It was very interesting to see him enjoying someone else’s music.

We took our seats by the bar and tried to be inconspicuous. Within minutes he spotted us.  He sat there and ACTUALLY STARED AT US.  We started to FREAK out.  I was like “Oh my God, Oh my God! I look terrible! Look at my hair!” We couldn’t believe he was actually staring us down.  Then all of a sudden he started playing this weird game of hide and go seek. He’d lean back like he was trying to hide behind the menu card on the table.  Then he sat back up.  He’d lean back again, then sit up. Who was he kidding? Him hide with THAT big head??? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). It was all very surreal.

I immediately thought the worst.  I figured that we were bothering him, and that’s why he was hiding, but Mauri was like, “If we were bothering him he’d leave”, and given his track record for fleeing clubs, I saw her logic.

He continued this little game with us for almost an hour. We were thrilled that he was staring, but utterly confused by his actions.  We decided to send him a note on a paper napkin, ala ‘Under the Cherry Moon’ and Rach was elected to bring it over to him.  She didn’t get very far. A very rude Nell’s body guard headed her off at the pass.  While going through this sheer agony, we were attracting other men like flies.  We got several invitations to dance, but our attention was clearly focused on Prince.  One guy asked me why I wasn’t dancing and I said “because Prince is here”.  He replied indignantly, “Oh is that who you’re here for? Don’t you know he’s a fag?”  That incensed me.  I screamed back at him “PRINCE IS NOT GAY!!!!” The girls shushed the shit out of me, saying with horrified expressions “Will you shut up, he’s right across the room!”  Suffice it to say, that ended the conversation.

Eventually, Prince popped up and disappeared.  At first we thought he had left, but one of his body guards was still seated where he had been.  We went over to him.

His name was Cedrick. He was tall. He was dark. And he wasn’t very handsome…or nice.  We said hello, and tried to make small talk, eventually asking where Prince was.  He didn’t want to tell.  He mentioned that he saw us watching the man from across the room and asked us “why didn’t we come over”.  He asked what we saw in Prince, and stated “he puts his pants on just like everyone else”.  We detected a little jealousy in his tone.  We told him that we just wanted to meet him, say hello.  Cedrick continued to act annoyed and condescending, especially after Mauri told him “I DESERVE to meet Prince.”  Before he got up to leave, I got to touch Prince’s cane….

This time we really thought Prince had left, so we decided to depart as well.  While waiting on line at the coat check, the 6’0 tall Rachael spotted little Prince in the corner romancing some chick.  We meandered over toward him and stood as close as possible, trying hard to be flies on the proverbial wall.

The girl was pretty, in a typically Prince-girl way.  She looked to be mixed, or maybe Hispanic.  I remember she had curly hair that was done in an upsweep, and she wore a tight stripped dress.  She sat while Prince stood and seduced her.  It was weird. Watching Prince make out with someone.  I feel guilty now for being such a spectator while the man got his groove on, but hell if Prince was making out right in front of you, you’d look too….

What’s funny is that Prince seemed to know that we were watching him.  In fact, he seemed to ham it up when he saw us near-by.  At one point, he went over to his brother Duane, said something, looked at us, and went back to kissin’.  He kissed her like he was hungry, and her tongue was a steak.  It wasn’t intense with a loving passion, it just looked like he was horny as hell, which I’m sure was the case.

He continued to stand in front of her except once when he put her on his lap for like half a second. It also seemed that he would only let her touch him by placing her hands where he wanted them.  He also did this strange kneeling thing in front of her, (believe me, you’d have to be there to understand what I mean).  All the while though, he would occasionally peep over at us with a smirk.

Suddenly he took his chick by the hand and took off.  The poor sap that was trying to get Mauri to dance with him was left standing open-mouthed when she sped off after Prince alerting us by saying “Prince is leaving, Prince is leaving”.  I went kinda blank at this point, but Mauri and Rachael did get close enough to say “Hi Prince”.  He smiled and said “Hi, how are you” with a head nod.  The chick grabbed his hand a little tighter.  All I remember is seeing his cute little booty going up the stairs.  I didn’t say hello, and I thought I had blown my only chance in life to do so….

 

Summer 1993

I cannot recall how the idea of my working at Nell’s came about, but it wasn’t a conscience decision to get a job there just to meet Prince.  I think I heard it from the grapevine that they were hiring, and I needed the extra cash.

I went on the interview on a Tuesday.  I was grilled by two people for about 10 minutes, and was told that they were looking for a weekend Receptionist.  I thought that was cool because I could work there and keep my job at Profile Records, plus I had the experience as a Receptionist.  They called me about 2 weeks later and asked if I could come in for training on that Thursday evening.

My first night of work, I met two really nice girls, one of which was there to train me.  I cannot remember her name to save my life, but anyway, we were making small talk when Prince’s name came up.  I mentioned that I was a fan. We were talking about the “chick” he was making kissy face with that night in March (who I found out was a waitress there, but had since quit) when the phone rang.

After finishing the call my trainer puts the phone down and says “That’s funny, someone just called asking if Prince was going to be here tonight.”  Skeptical, I shrugged it off and said “That’s probably just one of my friends playing a joke on me because this is my first night working here.”

When I got home that night I immediately called Mauri and asked her if she had called asking about Prince.  She said “No, why?” and I told her what happened. I thought it was a VERY strange coincidence, but I figured that it had to be Rachael.

The next day at my job at Profile, I called Rach, and she insisted that she hadn’t been the one who called.  While on the phone, our mailroom guy Beau walks in and says “Robin, guess who was at Nell’s last night!”  Of course I asked “who”, and he said the magic name.  My eyes welled up with tears when he told me how Prince sat in the corner booth next to him.  Near hysterics, I buried my head under the desk, while tears streamed down my face.  Confused, Beau just walked away.  Rachael went ballistic when I told her what he had just said.

We couldn’t reach Mauri because she had just left her house to visit Rachael at her job.  Rachael and I chose to tell her together.  I was out for lunch when she first arrived, so Rachael sat there holding the news for like a half hour.  (How she managed, only God knows!)   When we told her the news, the three of us had another good scream together.  They decided that they would go up to the Rhiga to see what was happening, and I would come up there when I got off work.

The lovely and talented Beau was not only the mailroom guy, but the one who covered for me when I went to lunch, and my breaks.  He was lucky enough to answer the phone while I was away on break, to two females yelling something in his ear about seeing Prince.  When I got back to my desk, Beau gave me the phone and said “I think it’s your friends”.

I picked up the line, and it took me a full minute to get them to stop screaming and tell me what happened.  Apparently they he just seen Prince going into the Rhiga….

When I got off from work, I went to pick up an outfit.  Thank God it happened to be payday.  I picked out this black, very er, uniquely cut top, and a black skirt with the mad split up the back.  I hurried home and got dressed, and Rachael and Mauri picked me up around 10pm or 11pm.

We first went to the Rhiga.  The girls and I waited for awhile, but decided to go inside and use the facilities.  As we were coming out we saw Barry.  Not recognizing us, he gave us a polite “Hello Ladies” and let us go out the swinging doors before him.

Back in the car, we waited again, and it took only minutes before Prince darted out of the hotel, and into the limo.  Like Deja Vu, we took off after them to Nell’s just like on of those nights in March.

When we got there he was already perched in his usual booth in the corner speaking to two young ladies.  We took seats not directly across, but close enough to get up and go over when the time seemed right.  He seemed to be in a great mood that night.  He was eating french fries and it looked like he was having a fun conversation with the two girls.

Soon they got up, and we decided we’d be next.  We were a little nervous, so we hesitated.  Before we could muster up the nerve to go over, another young lady went over and was asked to sit down.  She wasn’t as pretty as the first two, so we figured that we’d definitely had a shot at finally having a conversation.

When the ‘not-so-cute’ chick got up, we hesitated again, but quickly decided that it was now or never.  Again, like Deja Vu, we were headed off at the pass.  Another rude bodyguard named Don told us that Prince was eating and he didn’t want to be disturbed.  We knew this was a crock, because he had been speaking to people for a half hour.  Down, but not out, we took our seats and waited for the man to finish his grub.  Within 5 minutes the bodyguards began to scurry. Prince was going to leave.

I, being the pessimist immediately thought he was leaving because of us.  Mauri, being the optimist, didn’t think that was the case at all.  Rachael, being the middle of the road type, didn’t know what to think.

Seconds later, Mauri spotted Prince’s brother Duane, who was the head of Prince’s security at the time.  She decided to go over and ask if we could just have a few minutes to say hello to the man.  Duane was very sweet and personable to her.  He told her that they were just about to leave, but they would be back at Nell’s the next night, and that we could come over and say hello then.

Prince got up, then paused for a moment to speak to someone, and we got a full spectrum view of his outfit.  OHH MY GODDD!!! Can you say, “Delectable, delicious, divine”?  He was dressed in this absolutely sexual black outfit, with lace SEE THROUGH pants.  OHH MY GODD, the nigga had on SEE THROUGH pants!!!! We yelled, “Happy Birthday Prince” (it had been his birthday the previous week) a couple of times, and when he finally heard us he smiled, waved, and said “thank you”.

Soon enough he left the club.  We sat there disappointed, and flabbergasted. Near tears, I was still convinced that he left because of us.  Mauri still refused to believe it, finding the bright side in the fact that Duane told us to “come back tomorrow”. Again, Rach didn’t know what to think.  We gathered our things and our egos, and left.

We decided to go back to the Rhiga to find out if maybe the man was going anywhere else for the evening.  Barry was waiting out front when we got there, and we went over and re-introduced ourselves.  He said, “Oh yeah, I remember you girls. I didn’t recognize you when I saw you earlier.  When you passed by, I thought you were in a singing group or something”.  (Guess it was those black dresses we all wore.)

We told him all about what happened at Nell’s, and if I recall correctly, he said something like “Don’s an asshole”.  The girls asked if he thought Prince would be going out again, and he said he didn’t think so.  He said he was going to be going off duty soon, and he had to make a stop at his mother’s house.  I guess we looked kinda down because he offered to let us sit inside the limo for a second.

Giggling like hyenas we got in.  We completely tripped out on being inside that limo.  There was a Guru, and I believe a Miles Davis CD laying on the seat.  Someone broke out a camera, and we took several grinning pictures.  Barry asked if we wanted him to drive us around the block.  We declined because I had stupidly left Rachael’s car door unlocked, and she was afraid to leave it.

It was getting late at that point and we decided to head home.  Graciously Barry offered to guide us to Queens through a short cut that he knew of.  Excel 10 lead the way and we trailed behind.  When we got to Queens, we said our good-byes to Barry, and went on our merry way.

The following evening was my first official evening working at Nell’s.  I brought a change of clothing, and changed in the bathroom after my shift ended at 10pm.  I waited for the girls who showed up around 11pm with Rachael’s sister Annie.

We sat in the man’s favorite booth, and ordered food.  We waited and waited, and nothing happened. A queasy vibe came over us.  What if he wasn’t gonna show up that night?  We decided to leave and go up by the Rhiga and check the atmosphere.  We rode up there…Nothing.  Not a limo, nor a Princely presence in sight.

This was when we were struck with a brilliant idea. Duane! Duane always traveled with him. Of course the hotel wouldn’t tell us if Prince was there, but they could tell us if Duane had checked out or not. Mauri, the brave one, made the call at a payphone outside of the hotel.  They told her that Duane had indeed checked out.  Prince was gone.  We were devastated.  Down, but not out, we vowed to try again the next time the man came to town…

THE TC ELLIS EXPERIENCE

It was also in the summer of 1993 that I met and became friends with TC Ellis, the “rapper” that Prince produced an album for, and gave a small role in his movie “Graffiti Bridge”.  One day he called Profile, looking to speak to Funkmaster Flex (who was the A&R person at the time), regarding this kid that he was working with.  When I took the message, his name immediately rung a bell with me.  I asked him, “Are you the same TC Ellis from Graffiti Bridge?” (as if there were many others…) He said “yes”, and I told him to come up later that day and I would help him get in to see Flex.

When TC arrived I was pleasantly surprised.  He was actually cute! He was kinda short, (what’s with those Minneapolis men and their height issues?) but had a nice build, and hazel eyes.   He was very charming, and we shared pleasant conversation while he waited for Flex. He asked if I had his album, and I sheepishly said “no” which was the truth.

After he finished his meeting with Flex, he came back to my desk, gave me his card, thanked me, and kissed my hand. (Flirty boy!)

Every so often in the months that followed, I would call him, and let Mauri, and/or Rachael speak to him.  He was very funny and always very nice. Rachael and I would get to know him better in the land of snow a few months later…

 

THE MINNEAPOLIS EXPERIENCE

Sometime in Late July, the girls and I decided that we wanted to throw a little party for the release of the Hits package which was due to come out in September.  We put together a letter, and sent it to his press agency.  We didn’t get a response so we sent the same letter Karen L, his publicist at Paisley Park, but again, no response.

In mid-August, a friend of Mauri’s who lived in Minneapolis called and told her that she was getting married.  At first Mauri was completely gung-ho about traveling there to attend the wedding.  Rach and I begged to tag along. Within several days, Mauri changed her mind about going.  Without her we really had no purpose for going to the Minne-Apple being that we didn’t know the bride, but figured we would still go and see the sights, hang out with TC, and go clubbing at the Glam Slam.

Rach and I soon bought our tickets, begging Mauri everyday to come along.  She complained that she didn’t have the money, but did consider taking a bus there, and meeting us.  This of course was ridiculous idea (by the time she’d get there, we’d be ready to leave as we were only staying four days), so we settled for the fact that she wouldn’t be going with us.

The same week that we picked up our tickets I got a long distance call at my office from Karen L. who was overseas with the man.  I was overwhelmed. Shocked first of all that she called me back, even more shocked that she took the time to call me from Japan.  She told me that she got my letter, and to hold off on planning a party because they would be putting something together.  I thanked her, and told her that I would be visiting Minneapolis on September 16th, and I asked if we could come by and meet with her. She said to call her when we were in town, and she would try to set time with us.

My family was outraged with the idea of me going to Minneapolis.  This is when my brother Dwayne first told me that I “worshiped Prince”.  I told him that my obsession with Prince was similar to his obsession with golfing (he wasn’t amused, lol).  I didn’t understand his fascination with the sport, although it brought him immense joy, just like he didn’t understand my fascination with Prince.  He didn’t see the connection, but in my heart, I felt that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.  I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs.  I saw Prince as a harmless vice.  My mother also said things like “Prince is your God”, and this saddened me as well. I was only having fun. I was just chasing my dream. Isn’t that what people are supposed to do in their early 20’s?  Nevertheless, I didn’t let them get me down enough to change my mind about going.

The night of the 15th, Rachael’s birthday, my dad picked me up, and dropped me off at Rach’s house.  We didn’t get much sleep that evening.  We were ecstatic to say the least.  The next morning before we left, I discovered that I had my period. I am mentioning this because having my period when Prince was around seemed to be a very strange phenomenon at the time.  I had it in March during the tour, and again, in June when he was here.  It was like his travel schedule was linked to my menstrual cycle!

Anyway, as soon as we landed in Minneapolis and got to the hotel, we called Karen L, and left a message for her.  Next we called TC.  He told us that he would come by later that afternoon, and promised to take us to Paisley Park during our visit.  We hung up the phone and screamed like ninny’s, (as you can tell, screaming is a big part of the experience) and went to our room to change.  We were off to find the New Power Generation store.

It is such a shame that the store no longer exists.  It was an absolutely beautiful place.  In the window was the heart shaped mirror that Cat and P used to cavort on in Sign of the Times.  It was very difficult to see inside because velvet drapes adorned the window and front doors.

When you first walk in there was a Lovesexy painting on the wall.  INSIDE of the floor (yes the floor) was a TV screen which showed non-stop videos.  P music was blasting from upstairs and down.  In the left hand corner by the stairs was the “7” tube which contained the purple rain coat, along with some purple rain coat condoms.  There was an arch which had each of his albums along with the protégés albums glued to it. There was a table in the center of the floor which had CD’s for sale.  In the back was the “Lovesexy” convertible. Across from it on the left was a poster rack where you could select your favorite P or P protégé poster.  On the right was a tee-shirt/hat rack. You could also buy incense and fragrances hand picked by the man himself. (Our favorite was ‘Pink Cashmere’.) There was also a rack where you could get tamboracas and tambourines.  Everything in the store was draped in some sort of velvet, lace or sheer fabric.

The upstairs was just as spectacular.  On the walls were still pictures from Purple Rain, and placed against the right corner wall was the Purple Rain motorcycle.  Of course we were obliged to touch it.  You weren’t allowed to sit on it though, and they had it roped off to make sure you didn’t.

Just outside of the viewing room was a counter where they had a portfolio containing the most beautiful, rare, 8 1/2 -11 photos of the man.  Some of which cost up to about $65.  Rach and I fell in love with the “booty picture”.  Just a picture of Prince in a red suit, which focused on his, well, better half.  (It ended up on the back of the “Most Beautiful Girl single CD).

Inside the viewing room, there was a huge oriental rug on the floor.  A couple of colorful lamps, a cushy armchair, and a half a dozen huge pillows on the floor.  You could literally lie down and watch Prince videos. (Which is exactly what we did.)

Our good friend Cedrick also worked at the store.  He seemed to remember us very clearly, and was alot nicer this time around.  We also met a guy named Anthony who worked at the store.  He put on the Hits video collection, and we screamed and laughed and just plain old enjoyed ourselves along with a girl named Chea and two of her friends who we will call Church Lady 1, and Church Lady 2.

Chea kept saying that I looked familiar to her, and Rachael thought she looked familiar too.  After a little bit of deductive reasoning, we figured out that Mauri and Rachael had met Chea in New York outside of the Groliers Mansion. She had lost her pocketbook in Radio City, and Mauri had found it.  Chea had since moved to Minneapolis, and her friends had come to visit her for the weekend.

After our afternoon at the store, Rachael and I went back to our hotel.  Right as we were going upstairs TC Ellis (whose real first name is David) arrived.  He spent about an hour with us, flirting with me, and admiring Rachael’s height. He also told us that he had been encouraging Prince to “use some sisters in [his] videos, and Prince took his suggestion, and that was the reason why he actually had a few black chicks in the Gett Off video.

Mr. Ellis promised to come back later and take us out, along with a friend of his named Tony. That evening, he called and said that he wouldn’t be able to go with us.  Rachael and I got dressed up and decided to conquer the city on our own.

We found the Glam Slam, and we saw Mayte going inside and decided to just hang out front for a little while to see what we could see.  We pulled up closer to the club along side a beat up black limo.  As we sat there just chatting, Prince pops out and runs inside the club.  Startled, Rachael hits the gas and we both started our famous screaming.   We found a parking space and went to the door of the club but couldn’t go in because they were having a private party for Mavis Staples.

Disappointed, we drove around for awhile after that and ended up getting lost.  We were dead tired being that we hadn’t gotten any sleep in 2 days, and it is a wonder that we didn’t get into an accident, but eventually we found our hotel.

The next morning we got up early, and headed off on a sight-seeing excursion ‘uptown’. By accident, we found the First Avenue, right at that same moment, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ came on the local radio station. We then went by the Glam Slam one more time.  When we got back to our hotel, TC’s friend Tony gave us a call, and said he was going to come by and take us out to eat, and TC would meet us at the restaurant.

Tony arrived about an hour late, in the Fred Sanfordesque vehicle of a friend, and complained that his “real” car had broken down, and he had to borrow the car of a friend.  Tony was TC’s manager/lawyer.  He was tall, attractive, and funny.  He took us to a nice little restaurant and called TC when he got there.  TC said that he was running late because of a personal dilemma, but would try to get there as soon as possible.

While waiting, we talked alot with Tony, who told us about an ex-girlfriend who had once been invited by Prince on a date.  He said that Prince’s henchmen approached her at a club one night, and asked if Prince could have her phone number.  She said yes, and a day or two later she got a call from the same henchman asking if she could take a call from the man.  They spoke briefly, and he asked her to have dinner with him.  She told Tony about what was going on, and asked if he would be mad if she went on a date with Prince.  He claims that he told her it was ok with him, and that after all, “it was a once in a lifetime opportunity”, and wished her good luck.  (What a nice boyfriend!)

The evening of the date, she arrived on time, and waited at the table in which the restaurant had reserved for them. An hour went by…another hour went by, and she decided to leave.  Just as she made up her mind to split, she noticed security people entering the restaurant and scurrying around.  She decided to wait on the sidelines and see what would happen.  Prince soon came in and sat down.  He looked around for a second and a pissed expression came over his face when he discovered that she had left.  With a “good for you” grin, she slipped out without being noticed.  The next day she complained to Tony, “Who does he think he is, keeping me waiting like that?”  Eventually Prince called to apologize, but she wasn’t having him.  She told him that his actions were rude, and she didn’t appreciate it.  Suffice it to say, they never went out again.  Tony added that he didn’t think that there was a man in Minneapolis who had a sister, mother, girlfriend, or wife that Prince hadn’t tried to get with at least once.

Speaking of keeping people waiting, we stayed at the restaurant for about 2 hours before TC called on Tony’s cell phone and admitted that he wouldn’t be showing up.  We thanked Tony, and left to go shopping at the mini-mall across the street from the NPG store.  I found this REALLY clingy red dress, and Rachael didn’t really see anything that she liked, so we went back to the hotel and changed to go club hopping that night.

We had to get dressed in a hurry because the Glam Slam was only open from 8:00pm to 1:00am. When we got there the guy at the door gave us an extremely hard time getting in because I didn’t have a drivers license.  I showed him every thing from my birth certificate to my phone bill, but he continued to be an ass.  Eventually though, he let me in.

The club was huge.  In the middle of the dancefloor was a huge symbol as one might have guessed.  There were columns in the four corners of the dancefloor.  At the top of the columns were bust-like sculptured images of what looked to be Prince, Gilbert Davison, and some unknown woman. On the right side of the club behind the DJ booth was the Glam Slam store where you could pick up souvenirs, such as the one’s you’d find in the NPG store.

Toward the front of the club was a huge stage, and the bar was to the right.  At the bar we noticed something kind of funny.  Pencils! Prince actually had pencils set by the bar. I suppose so that if you wanted someone’s number, writing it down wouldn’t be a problem.  That’s the first time I ever saw that in all of the clubs that I had been in.  Leave it to the player of all players to think of such a thing.

It was also the first time that Rachael, or I had ever been in a club, and no guy (except for one country bumpkin visiting from out of town) tried to hit on us, but we didn’t care, we were only there for one person anyhow.

Upstairs, was the balcony, where you could overlook the crowd.  There was also the V.I.P. room where you could chill…like a V.I.P.  When we ran into Chea, she saw to it that we got into the V.I.P  room with her and the church ladies.

If I’m remembering correctly, when you first walk in, there was a long conference room type table to the left.  There were several older couples sitting there and as we walked past, they all smiled and looked up at us like WOWEEEE! We felt kinda special.  There was a pool table toward the back, a small DJ booth, and several smaller tables and chairs all around.

We were all sitting around talking, when I discovered something strange.  There was this chick sitting at the table behind us with one whole titty hanging out! I lie to you not.  She actually sat there sipping on her drink with a breast exposed!  I told Rachael, and she looked and was like “Whoa Nelly!”  Chea explained that she was an actual hoe (like she sells it for real..), and she did stuff like that all the time.

We were a little shy about taking off our coats, but Chea asked to see our dresses.  When we showed her, she admitted that we looked really good in them, but later told us that Prince likes white girls to look slutty, but he preferred sisters who look classy.  I took great offense to that remark, but Rachael didn’t at first.  Nevertheless, we felt just weirded out by what she said so we went back to the hotel to change.

I was FURIOUS, and complained on the way back to the hotel, and on the video tape that we were making that Chea was jealous.  “Damn it” I exclaimed in defiance “ we’re sexy girls!”  Rach put on a short black baby doll dress, and I put on a tight bellbottom outfit.  No offense to Chea, because she was nice to us (at times), and has since offered to get me into an exclusive P concert, etc., but I still contend that a green eyed monster was in control that night.  We looked damned good! Never trust a Prince girl, they’re too competitive.

When we got back to the club, she looked at us like “Shit! they did it again!!!”.  ‘Peach’ came on and we started dancing like mad on the balcony, and this guy asked me, “you really like that song huh?” I paid no attention.  Chea pulled Rachael aside, and told her that there would be a private party at the Park. She said to wait by the door while she went to find out if she could get us in.

We waited and waited, and decided to go out front to see if we could find her, but no Chea. No church girls.  Annoyed, we went back to our hotel, then got the crazy notion to try and find Paisley by our selves.  The road was pitched black.  We were a little scared, because it’s a bit of a drive from the city of Minne-Apple, but we found it.  The building GLOWS, just like Prince does.  We saw a few people going in, and we started to go to the door and try to get in, but we chickened out, and went back to the hotel instead.

The next morning was Saturday, and the store was having a meet and greet with Mavis Staples.  We saw Cedrick, and told him that we had rode out to Paisley, but were afraid to go in.  He said “You should have knocked, I would have let you in!!” We were like, “Thanks alot!!!”

While waiting in line to get Mavis’ autograph, we saw Prince’s brother, Duane.  Jokingly, I said to Rachael, “I wonder if he has an ass like his brother!?” At that very moment, (and this is no lie), Duane hikes up his suit jacket to put his hand in his front pocket.  It was so hysterical!  It was as if he was secretly saying, “as a matter of fact I do baby…see!”

We also spotted a woman who Rachael thought might be Karen L.  Rach encouraged me to go over and see if was her, and say hello.  I was a little reluctant, but eventually I did as she said, and she was correct, it was Ms. L.  When approached, Karen was very friendly.  She apologized for not calling me back, but claimed to have been very busy.

I don’t recall what she said about the party, but it never ended up materializing.

Meeting Mavis was an experience.  She’s an amazing lady.  She has a very warm spirit, like your favorite aunt.  She took the time to hug everyone, and we were no exception.  She autographed our photos, and we told her how we loved her voice.  It was awesome.

Soon after that, Anthony pulled Rachael aside, and said for her and I to go up to the viewing room and not to tell anybody.  When we got up there, there were a few fans assembled on the floor, (remember there weren’t any chairs) waiting.  For what, no one seemed to know.  Rach and I got a vibe that something cool was gonna happen, and we were right.

Eventually, Karen L came up and took a peek, and she was followed by a cameraman from Paisley.  Turns out the MAN had requested that the cameras be sent to the store to film the fans reaction to the new “Hits – Video Collection”.  We were ecstatic! “Wow”, we thought, “Prince is ACTUALLY gonna see us on film!”

I hate to brag, but we were the most energetic, and I’m sure the most entertaining, of the fans assembled there. We seemed to be the only ones, except for one other guy, that knew all of the lyrics to the old jams, and most of the lyrics to the new.  Some of them seemed to be a bit stoic, but not us! When the camera focused in on us, we totally hammed it up.

We saw Chea outside as we were leaving and she said that she had “waited for us” at the Glam Slam the night before, but we knew that wasn’t true, so we shrugged it off.

On the way back to the hotel, we were like two Cheshire cats.  The “store experience” made our week.

That night, we got dressed up again, hoping this time to at least get to say hello to the man.  Again, we saw Chea, and hung out with her and the church girls.  We were still looking pretty hot, but Chea didn’t remark on our clothes this time around.  We danced and danced, and requested I think Erotic City.  When the DJ finally got around to playing it he said, “This goes out to Rachael, and Robin from New York City, happy birthday!”  (Rachael’s had just passed, and mine was the following Tuesday).

We went upstairs and chilled on the balcony over looking the crowd.  All of a sudden this couple starts doing this bump and grind down on the dancefloor.  They were humping like two puppies in heat.  They had to be pryed apart.

Soon enough, saw bodyguards-a-scurrying, and Chea suggested that Prince might be coming in, and within minutes he did.  He sat in a booth similar to the one he seemed to prefer at Nell’s.  Chea warned us not to try and go over, but Rachael was determined.  She said, “I didn’t come all the way out to Minneapolis for nothing.”  I was a little afraid, but I agreed.

After a while we did go over to where he was sitting.  It was a mad house.  People were trying their best to get close to him.  Cedrick and another bodyguard named Joey stood in front of the booth, and this dumb chick was actually trying to peer between them to get a glimpse.  It was terrible.  I felt really sorry for him. When he was in Nell’s that past June, he was sitting comfortably chatting with the fans.  People in New York didn’t make THAT kinda fuss over him. I was really surprised.  I thought people would be so used to seeing him in the Minne-Apple, that they wouldn’t care, but they acted like he was the town spectacle.

He didn’t look too happy either.  I don’t know if it was because he was being treated like an animal, or if he was upset about something else, but we didn’t press too hard.  We tried not to stare, and when we did catch his eye we shouted “Hi Prince”, and Rachael gave him a smiley face hand signal, and looking like a sad little boy, he waved back.  But that was it.  We didn’t hound Cedrick about speaking to him, we asked once, and he said he couldn’t do it, and that was that.

What’s funny is that he answered to the name Prince.  He had just changed his name in June, which was right around the time when we saw him, and he answered to it then, and he did it again this time around. I would never dare do that now, but looking back it’s pretty interesting that he was still acknowledging “Prince” at that point.

The DJ decided to play ‘Pink Cashmere’ which was not only the current single, but my favorite song at the time. I melted when it came on, and Chea and Rachael had to help me maintain my composure, especially since Prince was a few feet behind me.

Since he was a grump that night, we figured it was useless trying to have “the conversation” with him, so we left.

The next day was Sunday, our final day in Minneapolis.  We drove out to Paisley again, then ventured to the store one last time, and later went to the Mall of America for a few hours, and before we knew it, it was time to go to the airport and return to reality.

My trip to Minneapolis was one of the most fun, exciting, and memorable times in my life.  For a few crazy weeks after that, I thought about moving there, but soon came to my senses.

I sent Mr. Ellis a note that simply read “Do U Lie”.  He wrote me back and apologized and said he wanted to still be friends with me.  Rachael and I called him, and he apologized again, and explained that he was having problems with the kid he was managing, that he had gotten in trouble with the law, and he had to help him out of it.

I spoke to him a few more times after that, but eventually, we lost touch….

 

THE PAISLEY PARK MUSIC EXPERIENCE

About 3 weeks after I returned from Minneapolis, I got a interesting call at work.  It was from a kid named…Jesus, I cant think of his name, but anyway, he called to speak to the woman who ran the copyright department at Profile.  When I asked what company he was from, he replied “Paisley Park Music”.  Of course I was inclined to ask him a few questions about his gig.  Turns out he was an intern with the Music Publishing company that Prince obtained in his $108 million dollar deal with Warner Brothers.  Their office was located within the Warner Chappell offices in New York City. They didn’t handle Prince’s publishing, but they did sign songwriters, and pair them up with artists looking for new material.  The kid also was also a fan of Rap music the way I was for Prince.  I took his address and told him I would send him a package.  I did, and he sent me the Mavis Staples CD.

Less than a month later, he called me up and told me that he was leaving Paisley to go back to school down south.  I asked if they would be needing another intern, and he said yes.  I asked if it was possible for me to take his place.  He told me to send my resume, and he would give it to his boss Cat J.

It didn’t take long after I sent it in for Terri M. (the Administrative Director) to call me and ask me to come in for an interview.

I was interviewed by both Terri and Cat, and even though I was nervous as hell, I was confident.  I never let on about being a fan in any way, shape, or form.  They told me that being that it was an internship, they couldn’t pay me, so we agreed that if the choose me, I would only come in one day a week.

Later that afternoon, Terri called me back and said that they both really liked me, and wanted me for the internship.

The next day, I spoke to the human resources lady at Profile and told her my situation.  I explained that I would indeed take a paycut, and only work for 4 days.  She told me that she would speak to Cory R. (the president of Profile) and if he agreed, then it would be ok.  Well, Cory agreed, but only if the intern we had at our office would be willing and able to cover for me the entire day. Luckily, she said yes, and I was to work at Paisley every Wednesday!

The girls were in amazement that I pulled off such a feat.  I was too in a way.  I couldn’t believe that Cory actually said yes to such a bizarre request.  It must have been all of that praying I did!

My bosses….Cat and Terri.  I have yet to meet anyone who has had such a weird impact on my life.  Especially Cat. (Not to be confused with Cat Glover).

Cat…how would I describe her? I remember thinking when I first met her that day in the interview that she was really pretty.  (Mauri has always disagreed) But she is an attractive girl…until you get to know her.  “Cat’s” real name is Cathleen.  She has green eyes, red hair, kind of exotic looking.  She was born and raised in the south, and has a bit of a twang in her voice, but also she tries very hard to speak and act “black” if that makes any sense.

I would also describe her as a bit of a nutcase.  I believe that she too, was secretly a Prince fan, and that she came to work at Paisley thinking that he would see her and fall madly in love.  For whatever reason, men usually did.  Maybe it was because she was so friendly…in a touchy feely sort of way….she seemed to crave lots of attention from men. I mean, LOTS. I’ve decided the best way to give you an idea of her personality is to list some “Cat Facts” to back up what I’ve just said….

  • She had some sort of physical encounter with most the male songwriters. I once walked into her   office and she was lying in the lap of one of them with the lights off, claiming that she had a headache.
  • Once paid over $500.00 for “past life therapy”.
  • Got involved with model Bev P’s husband, even going away with him to Morocco. The only thing she actually admitted to was kissing him, but that’s bad enough…he was a married man.  (Soon after that, Bev divorced him).
  • Told me that by the time she was 23, she had been with at least 200 men.
  • Once brought this gorgeous Asian male model up to the office, and locked her door, only to come out a few minutes later with her lipstick smudged all over her face. She told me about another wild kissing session with him in a dark alley (no joke), soon after that. When she got tired of him, she promptly dumped him.  When he called her about 2 months later, and she didn’t even remember his name.
  • Even though she claimed to be completely heterosexual, she carried around a picture of a woman who was a beauty pageant contestant, whom she claimed was “totally in love” with her. (Most people were “totally in love” with Cat…according to Cat).
  • Tried to compete with me for the affections of a young handsome singer one of our songwriters was working with, by first encouraging me to go out with him, then when he seemed interested, putting the moves on him herself.
  • Told Terri at the end of the Paisley Park experience that she thought that “she and Prince would have been great together”….
  • After a makeout session with some married guy that she met during a business trip, she actually came back saying “I keep getting these cold sores in my mouth, I wonder why?”

So now do you get it?  Well read on….

…My first few Wednesdays working at Paisley were SOOO exciting, and tense.  I went in thinking I would acquire all of this top secret information about Prince, but nothing could be further from the truth.  The girls, and our friend Steve would call me all day and ask me stuff and they thought I was holding out for not telling them.  But I really had nothing to tell!

The day Karen L came to visit us I was a bundle of nerves.  She came in with Cat that morning, and basically said hello, but not much more.  She didn’t seem to recognize me.  I thought she was going to look at me and scream “EEEK! A FAN!!!!”

At one point, she and Cat were in Cat’s office talking when Cat asked me to come in for a second, I think to get some paper work or something, I don’t recall.  The music was turned up really loud, but she still tried to introduce me to Karen over it.  I shook Karen’s hand and figured I should come clean before she, well, looked at me and screamed “EEEK! A FAN!!!!” , so I said “I met you in Minneapolis at the Mavis Staples signing.”  I don’t think she really heard me, ‘cause God knows I didn’t hear her reply.

I walked out of the office and sat down at my desk thinking “Shit! I shouldn’t have reminded her about that!  She’s gonna come out and scream “EEEK! A FAN!!!!” and my internship will be history!!” The music suddenly cut off.  “Oh no!” I thought “she’s telling Cat I’m nothing more than a worthless FAN!!! They’re gonna kick me out!!!” The door opened….Cat and Karen stepped out…Cat comes over to my desk and says…. “We’re stepping out for about an hour, see you when we get back”.  Whheeeew!

One thing about Karen, she has some damn nice hair.  Maybe since she’s an executive she could afford to get it done all the time I guess.  She’s one of those sisters that you wouldn’t fuck with.  She’s probably so successful because she’s got that tuff-as-nails approach.  She’s cool.  I admire her.  She’s one of the few people I came out the Paisley experience actually respecting.

But anyway, soon into the experience I got to meet 99.  Yep, that 99.  9 (I often refer to her as ‘9’ for short) is a poet that Prince heard about and took a liking too.  Cat signed her to a song writing deal with Paisley, and Prince began a close friendship with her.

9 is a quintessential BOHO sister, right up to her shocking red afro. The kind who hangs only with the baggy clothes wearing, weed smoking, ‘poets and the part time singer’ types.  She’s not hard core street.  More like street with a conscience.  I hope all of this doesn’t sound like an insult, because I’m not trying to diss her, or categorize, that’s just the only way I know how to describe her, and I really did like her alot.

Two things I found incredibly interesting about 9 is that, a. I didn’t understand ANY of her poetry.  We had a file that contained the lyrics to all of her songs/raps/poems and one day when Cat and Terri were out, I sat and read them all and couldn’t understand a single one!!! b. even more peculiar is that she has a lisp.  A poet with a lisp???

Anyway, 9 and I kinda bonded to a certain extent, maybe because she is only a year younger than me, and we’re both Virgo’s. I never told her either that I was a Prince fan, but every so often she would tell me things that would floor me, and keep in mind I had to pretend I didn’t care.  Like this day for instance:

9 and a male friend were visiting the office.  I think this was only the second or third time that we had met.  Out of the blue she asked me “So, do you like Prince?” Taken aback, I answered “Yeah, he’s ok.  I hear he’s an admirer of yours.”  She looked really offended and snapped back “No. Of my WORK”, and she walked into Cat’s office.  As quickly as she walked away, she walked back, looked me dead in the eyes and said “I hear he’s an admirer of yours.”  I went numb, and her guy friend giggles, and said “You only wish right?” I said sheepishly, “Yeah, I only wish”, and 9 walked back into Cat’s office.  I sat there in shock like “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?????”

As far as what to call him goes, at times, I don’t think 9 even knew at first.  One time she gave me a note and said “Can you fax this to Victor for me?” I was like “WHO???” Looking a wee bit embarrassed, she quietly said “you know, Prince”.

It was also around this time that Prince recorded “Days of Wild”, and “Now”, and he sent a copy to 9.  I remember her calling in and speaking to Cat, and Cat telling Terri that Prince had written some songs for 9, and 9 didn’t like them very much. I thought that was hysterical!

 

WE INTERRUPT OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED BROADCAST TO BRING U THE BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE…..

In early November, (I was working at Profile this particular day) I came across an add in People magazine that had a sexy picture of the man sitting in a chair, holding his cane, his head was down, and a hat covered his face.  It read something like; “Eligible bachelor seeks the most beautiful girl in the world to spend the holiday’s with.  Please send pictures to…by such and such date.”

Of course I called the girls and told them all about it.  I faxed a copy of the add to Rachael, and the three of us called Paisley in Minneapolis to try and get more information.  Mauri put on the French accent, freaking out the poor guy who answered the phone. She said “eh, hello, I am calling from Pariz, could you gise me some informasion about zee add I zaw in zee magazine, eh Prince he iz looking for zee most beautiful girl in zee world, no?” Let’s just say, he wasn’t very helpful.

Anyway, we were psyched!!! “Finally” we thought, “We will send in pictures and he will remember us!!!”  We knew that this was the ticket to our dreams, but first we had devise a plan….

My job at Paisley…well it came in handy as far as finding out who would be the person who was in charge of picking the photo’s.  We figure that if we would send it directly to him, we’d edge out the competition with our inside knowledge.  Other than that I was SCARED to death thinking that Karen L would discover that I had entered the contest and, you guessed it, call up and scream “EEEK! A FAN!!!!”

We agreed to go over to Mauri’s house and let her mom take pictures of us.  The night of the picture extravaganza, Rachael and I brought over several outfits, and did our makeup as good as humanly possible.  We setup a backdrop (a bed sheet) to give it that “professional” look.  We stayed up half the evening taking pictures individually and collectively.

The next day I got the pictures developed, but was unpleasantly surprised.  None of them looked as good as we had hoped or expected.  I called Rachael, and she was really upset.  We called Mauri, and the three of us decided to come up with Plan B. The first idea we toyed with was a collage.  We would put the best pictures of us together in a collage format.  But how could we do it?  A poster?  There certainly weren’t enough pictures of us to make a poster to send…Hmm…What about our poetry?  Why not send a poetry book along with the pictures of us!!!  That was sure to make us stand out!!!

And it was that simple.  A few days later on my lunch break, I went out and bought a 3 ring binder photo album.  Next I picked up some gorgeous purple velvet at a fabric store.  Mauri and Rachael snuck into the computer room at school and printed out the poetry and stories that we had written specifically for the man, onto colored paper.  That evening, Rachael came over to my job and we took our project to the mailroom, and spent an hour gluing the fabric onto the binder as a covering.  It looked fantastic.

We left to go to Rachael’s house to finish the task at hand.  Mauri came over, and it became a Prince fest.  We played “Name that Prince tune”, and  watched videos while we worked.  Rachael had some black satin, and made a beautiful, PERFECT, symbol, and we hand glued these diamondy rhinestones onto it, giving the symbol the same glow the man has.

We completed the book strategically.  The first page was an introductory page of poetry, written by all 3 of us.  Second was a collage of pictures of Mauri.  Next was a page of Mauri’s poetry.  Then, a collage of Rachael, followed by her poetic writings.  Next, a collage of me, followed by my poetry.  We created a final collage featuring all three of us, and a closing poetic page.  Ohh, and there was one very strange creature that was a product of our fatigue that we put on the last page for laughs.  (Don’t ask).

Our book was, in every way possible, a testament of our love for him.  We worked so very hard on it, and to our eyes, it was perfect.  We surely expected some sort of reward for our labor of love…

The next day, Rachael took it to  work, packaged it up, and sent it to Paisley Park. We waited and waited…Nothing.  Eventually it was announced that Prince had selected his most beautiful girls in the world, and they would all be featured in the video in the song of the same name. Oh well.  We did think it was a mighty big coincidence that they chose to use a collage motif for the cover art.  🙁 (And no, Karen never discovered that I was a contestant.) 😀

Meanwhile, things at Paisley Park were going well.  In late December, Terri asked if I wanted to work for Paisley full time.  Despite the fact that I would be making less money, I was like ‘hell fucking yeah’.  On my last day at Profile, I ran around the office like a mad woman screaming, “I’m free!, I’m free!”  Not only was I leaving a receptionist job that I hated with a passion, I was beginning what I thought was a promising career as an assistant, working for my idol.  I didn’t even mind signing that $50,000 gag clause, which stated that for as long as I worked for him, I’d have to keep quiet, or I could be sued for up to $50,000.

I believe February 3rd, was the date of a big party at Paisley in Minneapolis for the release of the Most Beautiful Girl single.  Cat and Terri were going, but I had to stay behind and take care of the office work.  Strangely enough, 99 asked several times why I couldn’t come along.  I think she may have wanted me there for moral support.  She said, “Why don’t you ask them (Cat and Terri) if you can come too”, but I shied away from the idea.  I didn’t feel I had been working there long enough to make a request like that, but GOD DID I WANT TO!!!!! I WAS DYING INSIDE!!!!!!!!!! I WOULD HAVE GIVEN MY RIGHT ARM TO GO!!!!!!

The show started off with a fashion show featuring Nona Gaye (Marvin’s daughter), and the girls from the video, and then a performance by the man, most of which can be seen on the Beautiful Experience video.

When Cat and Terri returned to the New York, things were very strange between them.  This was the first time I got to see Cat’s evil manipulative side.  Terri was the first to actually return to the office.  She told me that she no longer trusted Cat because of several things that happened while they were in Minneapolis.  Without really going into detail, she explained to me how Cat had a tantrum at Paisley Park, literally breaking out in hysterical tears for no apparent reason.  Terri said that she suspected that Cat was jealous of the time Prince was spending with 99.  He and 9 had gotten pretty close during that particular visit.  He hung with her, and even gave her one of his canes and a jacket as a present. Meanwhile, he had never even said hello to Cat or Terri, and they worked directly for him.

I secretly suspected that yes, she was jealous, because as I’ve stated before I felt that she was really a Prince girl on the downlow like I was.  I know I would burst out in tears if he ignored me and paid attention to 99 right in my face.

Anyway, Terri was fuming, and I was curious to know what else had happened between them, but I dared not ask.  The next day Cat came in and began talking to me about the trip.  Of course she painted a slightly different picture.  She claimed to have gotten “sick” during their trip, and that was what caused her out burst of tears.

Stupidly, I said, “Yes, Terri told me that you were really upset about something.”  She immediately jumped down my throat, questioning me about exactly what was said etc.  I told her that “Terri just mentioned that you were upset about something, she didn’t tell me what.  I don’t want to get in the middle of anything that is going on because I have to work for both of you.”

She agreed, and that was all.  Or so I thought.  I later found out from Terri, that Cat manipulated her into confessing exactly what she had said to me about the trip by claiming that I knew more than I actually did.  All in all, it was a very juvenile scenario, but that was the order of business when it came to Ms. Cathleen.  I don’t think Terri trusted me much after that either…

99’s relationship with Cat was very rocky going forward as well.  For several weeks she would only deal with me and Terri.  Practically ignoring Cat.  When she came by the office soon after her return, she told me that she got to hang with Prince alot, and that after the show that night, she hung with him and the contest winners at the private party after the Beautiful Experience show.  99 said that the ‘most beautiful girls’ seemed to be jealous and disappointed that he was paying so much attention to her and not them.

It seemed that 9 and Prince were like two children when in each others company.  Especially at this particular party.  For instance, the girl with the dreads had given Prince a present which, when she gave it to him, he threw directly to 99, and the girl shrieked with terror thinking she was going to open it.  She did.  Meanwhile the poor child struggled trying to get it back from her.  The contents were a pair of edible undies, and flavored KY jelly.  How embarrassing!!

99 also said that at a certain point a few of them started dancing suggestively with each other to divert his concentration from her onto them. She added “When the chubby girl started stripping, I knew it was time for me to leave.”

Anyway, Terri had the gifts Prince had given 99 shipped to our office where they stayed for the longest while.  I didn’t get the impression that she liked the gifts very much because she never took it home.  And yes, I actually got to touch one of his cane’s…again.  Many times.  In fact, whenever Cat and Terri were out I would ‘cop a feel’…

I found out about so many things through 9.  Like the pink lipstick incident.  There was a time when Prince was walking around wearing pink lipstick.  9 said she decided to have fun with him one day while they were on the phone.  She said “I’ve been thinking about changing my image.”  “How?” Prince asked.  9 replied “I don’t know.  I was thinking about getting into wearing makeup and stuff.  What color lipstick do you think would look good on me?” Prince changed the subject.

There was also the time when she was hanging with him and Carmen (as in Electra) got a little upset.  Apparently 99 and Prince were having a conversation, and Carmen wanted him to shut up and pay attention to her.  She sighed loudly several times.  99 looked her and said “What’s the matter, you have asthma or something?”  Carmen rolled her eyes…

Prince was so enthralled by 9’s poetry, that he decided to build a poetry cafe/ala NPG store for her out in L.A. to be called “Bitches Brew.” 9 even moved to Cali to oversee the process.

I couldn’t believe the influence Prince began to have over her.  She was actually listening to him regarding things like her weight.  While she was in L.A. she lost several pounds, and when she came back to NY she did look pretty good, but Terri was concerned.  She told her not to “let him turn you into one of those video hoes.”

Unfortunately, due to several mishaps, including a few disagreements with 9, the project eventually fell through. It was a shame that it never materialized because she spent alot of time and energy working on it.

99 and Carmen had another run-in while she was in LA.  Carmen was there doing the Glam Slam Ulysses show at the now defunct Glam Slam L.A. club.  Karen made another appearance in the NY office and I overheard her telling Cat and Terri that 99 had saw Carmen buying drinks for some guy at a club (I’m not sure if it was the Glam Slam).  99 called Prince and left a message saying she had something to tell him about Carmen.  Karen said that Prince called her back in the middle of the night asking “What does 99 have to tell me about Carmen?”  She said she told him that she didn’t know, and after all, he knew that she didn’t like to get involved with his personal affairs.

Prince was furious that Carmen was cheating on him, (even though he was cheating on her with Nona, and Mayte) and eventually took away her fancy apartment, and the Glam Slam show.  When I first heard “I Hate U”, this particular situation immediately came to mind.  I had this sneaking suspicion that it was about Carmen.  No one knows for sure, but my money would go that the song was indeed written about her.

I was lucky to be friends with 9 because she always told me one or two juicy tidbits, such as, once when she was hanging with him, he sent Mayte to California for some sort of photo shoot, and the same day had Carmen flown in.  She told him “You think your slick don’t you?”  With a sly grin, he looked at her and replied “Yep”.  Also, he fined his girls for gaining weight.  Once in public, he told Carmen she was getting “fat”, and he made her cry.

Ohh, and how could I forget that thing that made me cry!!! I was sitting in Cat’s office when 99 says to me,  “Hey somebody was asking about you.”  Not even guessing what she was gonna say next, I asked “Who?”  She said, “Little purple guy, about this tall, lives in Minneapolis.”  I had to fight SOOOOO hard to stay calm.  I could have won an Oscar.  Cat’s eyes widened with indignation.  (Keep in mind, she was his VP, and he had yet to say hello to her.)  Before I could say anything, she asked the question for me “Really?  Why?” 9 said that he asked “Who’s Robin?”, she asked, “Why?” Prince replied “because I keep hearing her name synonymous with ‘the other two’.  Who is she?” She played with him instead of giving him the info. She said, “None of your business!”  Slightly annoyed, he retorted, “Look, don’t get smart with me Miss 9, answer my question.”  She gave in, telling him, “She’s the assistant in New York, she’s a really nice person, so don’t fire her.” He smiled.  I was overwhelmed.  I mean it seems silly, but I never thought that Prince, would ever inquire about me.  It felt really cool.

After a few minutes, I excused myself.  This was the perfect time to go to lunch.  I immediately went to the payphone in the lobby to call Rachael and Mauri.  (I couldn’t have made the calls in the office, because I needed to SCREAM!!) And scream and cry I did.  The girls were so happy for me.  Nothing in the world could have made us think that we weren’t destined to one day meet this man. After all, this was tooo much.  Definitely another feather in the old cap…..

Around March or April, JD Steele came in from Minneapolis to work with one of our other songwriters, and I got to spend the day with him.  We talked about music and stuff, and I mentioned that I had been “influenced” by Prince’s music as a kid, and that’s why I wanted to work in the music industry.  Like most people that work with Prince he didn’t seem terribly impressed by that statement.

When JD flew back to Minneapolis to put the finishing touches on the song he was working on, Cat flew back with him.  She managed to finagle her way onto the song.  She said a sexy few lines at the beginning of the tune.  In retrospect I think it was a pretty good tune though.  I just wondered if it was good protocol for a VP to be working her magic on one of her artist’s recordings, but hey this is the music biz!

I also got to meet Taja Seville around the same time.  Taja was (and I think she still is) a songwriter for Warner Chappell Music.  I had noticed her around the office several times, but I didn’t know who she was until one day when I looked at her and it just struck me!  I told her that I had her first album, and how it was one of my favorites.  She seemed genuinely flattered.

Taja was always super sweet and polite whenever she visited the office.  She always complemented me on my hair or clothes, and, well, she is one of those types of people who always has something nice to say.  She looks nothing like her album photo’s though.  I mean she’s very pretty, but on her albums you can definitely tell Prince was trying to give that “Prince girl sex kitten look.”

 

INTERACTIVE FUN AND GAMES!!

In April there was a preview party for the “Interactive” computer game at the Tribeca Arts building in Soho.  The New York office were asked to help out for the event.  I worked the door, signing the press people in, stuff like that.  I think Cat and Terri’s job was just to be there.  I was unable to get anyone on the guest list, but a friend of mine named Jeff, put Mauri down as his guest.

When Cat met Mauri, it was sheer electricity.  (Just kiddin’ Mauri.)  But there was some weird vibe that happened on Cat’s part.  When I introduced them, Cat grabbed Mauri’s hand and shook it, but then, didn’t seem to want to let go.  She was all up in her grill too, staring deeply into her eyes and the whole bit.  It was so strange.  Mauri went and took a seat, and 5 minutes later, Cat sat down beside her, and asked “How’s it going?”  Mauri was like, “ahhhhh, fine”, and Cat just said “that’s good”, and just walked away.

I was required to work, but I REALLY wanted to see the presentation. When all the media and guests were assembled, I talked Terri into letting me go in to see it.  The presentation was shown on a movie screen, and began with the video for “Interactive”.  The narrator then showed us several basic features of the game.  I didn’t understand the strategy of the game then, and I still don’t, but the presentation made it seem like alot of fun.  It’s best played by Prince enthusiasts.  Lots of photo’s and facts to discover, but other than that, good luck trying to figure out how to play it.

After the presentation we were all allowed to check it out on several PC’s and MAC’s while snacking on…snacks.  Me and Mauri weren’t exactly quiet about our excitement.  We found it hard to contain ourselves when we accidentally found Prince’s bedroom, but I don’t think Cat, Terri, or Karen noticed.  I was able to keep a copy of the game for myself, along with a press kit which included “PRINCE” tattoo’s stuff like that.  Finally a perk!!!

In May, there was another event that we were invited to work/participate in.  The photo exhibit showing pic’s from the book, “The Sacrifice of Victor”.  (I had gotten Mauri and Rachael’s names on the guest, but they didn’t show).

This was a particularly funny event.  There was this chick there draped in this very odd black Robin Poweresque dress-like dohicky that was split all the way down the front.  The sleeves actually became gloves.  The dress reminded me of something Morticia Adams would have sported back in the days. Not to mention the weaved out do.  It was sooooo funny.  Prince chicks are so weird.

Later, Maria, Karen’s assistant, who was in town helping out, told me that she was going around telling people that she was Nona Gaye.  We burst out laughing, since this chick looks NOTHING like Nona.  I wondered what possessed her.

The event itself was set up in a very cool fashion.  Large, framed versions of the pictures found in the book adorned the walls.  I wasn’t terrible impressed by alot of the pictures, but there were a few that I absolutely fell in love with. They were selling books and other items by the door, but I didn’t buy anything.  I would have liked a copy of the book, but I didn’t have the $60.00 necessary to purchase it.

There were a few celebrities in the house…well ok, only one.  Bev P and her husband.  I suspected that he was there for other reasons.

SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!

Soon after this event, I went to work one day and discovered that Paisley Park had pulled me off of the payroll.  Apparently, this was a result of Prince’s conflicts with Warner Brothers.  He didn’t want the publishing office, and Warners didn’t see a reason to continue investing in us.  In fact, they all wanted the office closed, but I was the first casualty.

Terri and Cat sat me down and explained all of this to me, but Terri said that if I continued on until we closed that she would pay me out of her own pocket, matching whatever I would get from unemployment (so that my pay rate would stay the same).

Stupidly, I agreed, without getting anything in writing.  The first pay period I was fine.  Terri paid me just like she promised.  The next pay period was a disaster.

I went to Terri to get my money, and she told me that Cat had agreed to pay me that week.  I went to Cat, and she said, “What???  I never said that!  You better talk to Terri and find out what she’s talking about.”  I went to Terri and told her what Cat had said.  She said “What is she talking about?  She knows we had this conversation, and she agreed to pay you.  I’ll talk to her.”  I waited and waited.  No money.

The next day, Cat comes into the office with two bags full of new clothes.  She stops at my desk and says, “God, I could have easily dropped $2000.00 in that store!”  Meanwhile, I’m freaking out wondering if I’m gonna get paid.  I walk in her office and ask, “What’s going on?  Am I going to get paid or what?”  She said, “Did you talk to Terri about giving you your money?” I sighed, and said “Yes, but she said she was going to talk to you about it.”  When Terri came in, I asked her again, and she assured me that she would talk to Cat.  As you can see, I was being bounced around like a friggin’ basketball, and my pockets remained empty.  At one point, Cat asked how much I was due, and I told her “$272.00” She complained about the amount, saying “Wow, that’s so much!”  This from the woman who had just spent almost $2000.00 shopping!  I told her that I didn’t even have money for lunch and she graciously (yeah right) gave me $20.00 bucks.

This particular day she was peculiarly bossy.  She went from being fairly easy going to wanting everything done “right now”.  My patience wore thin.  The bossier she became, the more I felt like crying, or punching her in the face.  I continued to ask them both about my money, and I continued to get the run around.

At about 10 minutes to 7pm, she called Angelique, a fellow music publisher into her office.  They chatted about bullshit.  Men and stuff like that.  I had this sneaking suspicion that she was trying to avoid me.  Certainly she knew that I wasn’t going to stay LATE.  So I guess she figured she’d just stay in her office and hide, until I got frustrated and left.  I walked by her office and she shot me the most GUILTY look.  I will never forget it if I lived to be a hundred. It was a look that I had seen her give while she was scamming a zillion people.  I gave up. I officially succumbed to the fact that I was being used.

I went in to Terri with tears in my eyes, and told her that I was leaving, that it was obvious that Cat didn’t want to pay me and that I was quitting.  She just said, “aww honey” as I walked out of her office.

That night no one called me.  I decided that I would go in early and collect my things, and leave them a resignation notice.

A friend of mine named Greg suggested that I take the cane that Prince had given to 99, since it was still in the office, but I didn’t dare. (Mauri still calls me names for not taking it!) I took a few music books and taped my note to Cat’s computer.  I basically told her that I felt wronged and cheated.  I blamed them both for having me working there for them when they knew that they couldn’t or didn’t want to pay me.  I also said that “what goes around comes around”, and that I wouldn’t be coming back.

As I was leaving I spoke to the office manager, who bought me breakfast, and urged me to tell one of the Vice Presidents.  I didn’t want to but she insisted that I did.  He said, “That fucking bitch, that’s terrible.  I’ll have a talk with her.”

Cat called me that night, and did her famous job of turning things around.  She claimed that she did have a check for me but I left before she could give it to me.  I asked her why she didn’t call me to let me know that, and she said that she had tried but I wasn’t home yet.  I asked why she didn’t leave a message on my machine, and she didn’t have an answer.   Nevertheless, she ended up making me feel like it was MY fault that I had to beg for my own money. She also said that I by telling the VP about the situation, I was playing bad politics, and that she could “crush” me in the music industry if she choose to do so.  I wanted to respond so badly to that but I held back.

She was leaving for Morocco, (with Bev P’s husband, and his band) within about 2 days.  I said that I would pick up the check after she had already left.

When I got the check it was dated the day after we had had that conversation, so she couldn’t possibly have had it “waiting” for me before I left that night as she had claimed. Oh, and the check she left behind for me was for only $200.00….!@#$%!

As for what happened to Cat, she ended up getting HER ass crushed when moved on to another record company shortly after our Paisley office folded.  In retrospect, I don’t hold any real animosity toward her.  I think she’s just a sad screwed up individual. I hope she’s grown up some, after all she was only 27 at the time.  I hear she is now a “performance artist” now.  A befitting title for a tried and true performer…

Terri asked me to work for a few more days, and I agreed, just to help her clear out the office.  She also asked me to work at the management company office that she co-owned.  I did for about two weeks, and yes, she did pay me.

 

THE ‘PLAYIN’ AT PALLADIUM’ EXPERIENCE

Only July 6th or 7th, it was announced that Prince would be doing two nights (July 13th and 14th) at club Palladium in New York.  Oh uh, the chase is was on again!

The girls and I found a remote Ticketmaster location in Queens.  I spent the night at Rachael’s house and we picked Mauri up and went trodding out at the wee hours of the morning to wait.  We figured there would be a long line, and we wanted to be first.

Surprisingly, there was only one other guy there to buy tickets.  While we all stood outside, waiting for the store to open, a butterfly landed on my shoulder.  Silly little girls that we are, we were positive that that was a “sign” of great things to come.

Tickets cost $60.00 a pop, and though I was facing unemployment, I shelved out my last $120.00 for both nights. (Talk about dedication!) As a matter of fact, after we bought the tickets, Rachael dropped me off at the unemployment office so that I could work out a dilemma with my checks.

When I got home that afternoon, there were several messages on my answering machine.  One from my friend Steve, (Steve is like the Prince news-wire) and 2 others from Mauri and Rachael, all exclaiming the fact that in addition to the shows, Prince was going to be signing autographs at the Tower Records in the Village.  I was ecstatic, but wait, there was another message…It was Terri.

I called her back, and she told me that Karen had been trying to get in contact with me.  It seemed that she wanted me to work with her and her assistant Maria for the two shows.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was

unbelievably nonchalant with Terri, as always.  I said something like, “Um, sure, I guess I could, I’m not busy…”  Terri said, “Well, it’s a way for you to make some extra money.  Karen said they could pay you up to $200.00 for the two days.”  I was like, “Ok, great, I’d be happy to help out.”  He he he, damn I’m good!

The autograph signing was to be held the day before the first show.  Me and the girls, never being ones to rest on our laurels when it comes to the man, decided that camping out would be the best way to go.  Being that the man is unpredictable, we wanted to be sure to get an autograph before he might have gotten antsy and left the signing.  So, we decided to camp out in front of Tower from the evening prior.

I got up there around 7:00pm and was the first person in line. Other people had the same idea as us obviously, because by 10:30 several other crazies had gathered as well.  I happened to call home to check my messages, and there was one from Karen.  I called her back, and told her that I was up by Tower Records, but I never really admitted that I was there for Prince. She asked me if anyone was waiting, and I told her, “yes a few people”, and she said, “You mean to tell me that people are actually waiting out there already?”

Initially the plan was for me to only wait until Rachael got there from work around 11:00pm. I ended up staying the entire night, because Rachael didn’t get there until almost 1am, and I was afraid to travel home by myself at such a late hour.  Mauri had to work the next morning, but she was to join us when she got off the next day.

Rachael and I befriended these two females whom I affectionately refer to as the “two drunk girls”.  They arrived in their jeep, fully stocked with booze.  When they ran out of booze they went to the store and bought more. Thus the title.

The short drunk girl showed me some pictures.  It seemed that they were at the photo gallery show.  Huuuhhhh!!!!  Wait a minute….that’s…that’s the short drunk girl dressed like the fake Nona Gaye!!!!

I was like “WOW!!! You sure look…different.”  The tall drunk girl said, “Yeah, you sure was looking good that night.”   I guess she knew I was wondering about the all of the hair she was suddenly missing (although I didn’t say anything).  She said, “Oh, I got my hair cut last week”, as I continued to stare at the picture in disbelief.

I also saw why she picked an outfit that had gloves attached.  She had some sort of disfigurement, possibly a burn, on her arm.

As the drunk girls pumped Lovesexy and other morsels from their jeep, and we sang, and cried, and gave the usual testimonies of our devotion.  Bonding, as only we fans can bond during one of these events.  We do that alot as you can tell.

Anyway, I told them all that I had worked for Paisley Park, and that I would probably be working at the show.  The two drunk girls looked like that were NOT trying to believe me.  But I didn’t care.

Sooner or later we all got pretty tired, and decided to retire on our varied sundry of home grown blankets and pillows.  I found it VERY difficult to sleep on the friggin’ concrete, no matter how cushy I tried to pretend my blanket was.  Rachael on the other hand was snoring by daybreak.

That morning I still considered going back home and changing clothes, but Rachael urged me to stay.  She said that if I stayed she’d get an outfit for me, and we’d keep the tags on, and she’d return it the next day.  (Yeah, I know, kinda cheesy, but heck, what else could we do?

Around 11am we went down the street, and picked out a silver sundress for me.  A little after 12pm we went to the Cozy diner, and blech, washed up in the bathroom, and got dressed.  Mauri arrived soon after we got back.  One of her friends saw us in the front and cut the line, and the people behind us looked as if they wanted to kill.  My ex-boyfriend Melvin had showed up earlier that morning and tried the same thing.  I was pissed, and virtually ignored him the entire day for being such an asshole.

By the time the signing was to begin, the line was around the block.  I saw Karen, and waved to her.  She came up to me, and said, “you didn’t spend the night out here did you?”  I said yes, and she looked at me like she thought I was a nut job.

I got so nervous waiting, I told Rachael that she could be first.  When we got into the store, I saw 99 hanging with the man’s entourage.  When I got close enough for her to see me, I waved, and she waved back, and motioned for me to come and join her.  Of course, I couldn’t leave Mauri and Rachael behind, so I asked her if they could come with.  She gave me kind of a blank stare, which I took as a no.

Prince was flanked by the band members, but in true player fashion, he had strategically had Mayte sitting on his left, and Nona Gaye on his right. (“It’s all about the pimp sandwich tonight!!) Mayte was the typical happy face she always is, and Nona was completely the opposite.  She wore shades, (as did Prince), and she looked that she would have rather been out shopping than sitting there with him signing autographs.  Nona is one unhappy looking chick.

When Rachael got to the man, she thanked him for everything from the NPG store in Minneapolis, to averting the nuclear holocaust with his awesome beauty.  (No, I’m just joking, what she said to him was really nice.  He seemed genuinely flattered).

All I could muster was the courage to say “thank you” when he signed the cover of my “Vibe” magazine, (which had a cover story on him that month.)  Beside that, Karen and Maria were standing nearby and I didn’t want them to notice any fandom.

I went over to 99, and as she was talking to me, I decided to peep over my shoulder and take a gander at the man.  He was leaning forward in his chair, listening hard to Mauri telling him the story of how he threw us the towel that night at the Apollo.  I gasped, “Look at his booty!” (You could see it quite clearly through his pants since he wears no undies.)  9 gave me the rolling of eyes and said, “That’s nasty, get away from me if your gonna be saying stuff like that!”  I said, “But 9, he doesn’t have on any underwear!!”  She continued to look disgusted.

By this time, Mauri and Rachael had finished with getting their autographs, and I brought them over and introduced them to 99, and Karen.  Karen asked me if I was still free to work, and told me where I could meet her.  The location was her hotel room in midtown Manhattan.

The next morning I got up beaming with excitement.  I thought the job was to be alot more than it turned out to be….

I arrived at the hotel, and went straight up to Karen’s room.  Inside was Karen, and Maria, and another woman who worked at Paisley, named Sharon. Immediately, I could tell this Sharon chick was not a friendly customer.  She was short with me, with every question I asked of her.

I also made a boo-boo, by almost allowing a messenger to use the facilities.  I didn’t think it was a big deal, but both Karen and Sharon made me feel a little dumb for thinking it was all right to let someone relieve themselves in Karen’s hotel bathroom.

The chick with the dreads from the ‘Most Beautiful Girl’ video arrived to pick up her tickets.  As she chatted with Karen, and I overheard Karen tell her to “keep in touch” because “I’m sure he’ll want to know what your doing, and what your working on.”

I spoke her briefly, and she seemed really cool.  She’s a photographer who lives on the upper east side.  Strangely, I’ve never run into her at any concerts since.  Maybe she decided to lay low after the “great KY” incident.

Soon enough, the bell rang again.  I opened it, thinking it was another press or Paisley person, but low and behold, it was Nona Gaye.  It took me like a half second to figure out who she was, and when I did, I blurted out, “Oh…Nona”.  She flashed the fakest smile which I think lasted for a millisecond, as she breezed passed me.

Turns out she was to be doing a press junket at another room in the hotel.   Between interviews, she helped out with the creation of the press passes and kits.  She was a little friendlier to me while we worked. I mean, at least she said a few words to me.  Her spoiled snottyism didn’t bother me though. I gathered that living her life probably wasn’t easy, and the world probably made her the brat that she seemed to be.   It’s not everyone who has a father who was one of the greatest musicians who ever lived, or even moreso, has a father who was killed by their grandfather….As I sat beside her, I kept thinking about the day after her dad was killed how I went to school and cried like a baby.  How much I loved his music, even today…

When she was done with her interviews, Nona was due to have “catwalking” lessons by one of her agents for a Versace show in Paris the coming weekend.  Before she left, she had complained to Karen about Prince’s flight schedule to Paris for the show.  She whined, “I don’t understand, why doesn’t he just take the plane with meeeeeeeee?!?”, which apparently he wasn’t interested in doing.  (By the way, I heard that at an after-party for that same Versace show, Naomi Campbell asked Nona if Prince… “has to stand on a chair to fuck you??”  I don’t know what Nona said back to her, but I’d give anything to find out!)

When Ms. Gaye came back, I opened the door, this time careful to say “hello” instead of “oh…Nona.”  This time she didn’t even give me the fake smile, she just walked passed me like I was a fly on the wall.

Around 6:00pm, Karen and Sharon left to go to the Palladium to help out, and Nona went back to her hotel.  I was there with Maria, and Billy Sparks, who had stopped by.  I put on this really pretty gold dress, (‘gold’ was the Prince color at the time), and when I came out, Maria looked at me like….hmmm…I smell a fan….

I got to have a pretty lengthy conversation with Billy Sparks too.  I told him that my friends would be coming down later, and that I hoped I wouldn’t miss seeing them.  He said, “don’t worry, when they get there, just find me and I’ll hook you up.”  I was like “Whoaaa! Cool!”

Soon enough Billy left, as did I and Maria to take a taxi down to the show. When we arrived, there were a ton of people standing outside, including Steve.  I ran up to him and asked him if he had seen Mauri and Rachael yet.  He said he hadn’t.  I began to worry, because the Palladium is a “standing room only” venue, and I knew that if they didn’t get there soon, they may have to stand in the back.

Maria and I went inside from the back of the club.  She quickly introduced me to everyone, and got to meet the wardrobe girls for Prince, Mayte and the band. I asked one of them if it was ok if I locked up my book-bag (which contained my change of clothes) in one of the bands wardrobe trunks. She said I could but to make sure I had everything I needed on me because she wouldn’t have time to let me in and out of the trunk.  I promised.

Karen who had already been at the club for a while, showed Maria and I the dressing room that she had fixed up for the man, complete with incense and velvet and chiffon draped everywhere.   I actually got to sit in there for about half a second.

My first assignment feed the band.  I got a tray of veggies and crackers from the club’s fridge, and placed it in the man’s room.  The same in Mayte’s room.  The guys were hanging out in the back getting their hair done, and their clothes pressed, so I carried their tray’s back to them.  Morris Hayes decided to just come up to me and stare in my face like I was an alien with 2 heads.  He asked my name and I told him.  I reminded him that I used to work for Cat, and had spoken to him on numerous occasions, and that I had met him the other day at the autograph signing.  He said, “you look different without your glasses on”, as he continued to stare at me.  I was like, “different how? better or worse?”  He said, “just different”.  I was like….oooook.

Next, I got Nona’s tray, and put it in her considerably small, drab dressing room.  I was told that I could relax until show-time in Mayte’s dressing room, with the wardrobe girl.  All of Mayte’s outfits were hanging up right in front of my face…. including the white beaded number she wore on the 1st Annual VH-1 Honor Awards.  I wanted to touch it but dared not.

At one point the wardrobe girl was reading the cover of this little box.  I asked, “What’s that?”  and she replied  “Hair tape.  It holds on hair extensions, and is safer for the hair than glue.”  I was a little shocked.  Mauri and I had always had a sneaking suspicion that Mayte wore a weave, but I got the answer straight from the horses mouth!! I’m not sure why Mayte wore a weave at that time, but I’d assume it was to make her hair look fuller.  Funny how people always assume that only black women wear fake hair.  FAKE HAIR KNOWS NO BOUNDS MY FRIENDS!!!

Soon people were whispering that the boss had arrived.  As I passed his dressing room, I had to fight the impulse to run in hollering, “Take me you foool…Take me!!!”  Instead, I just took a quick peek, but all I saw was a white boot heeled pant leg.

I saw Billy Sparks again, and he asked, “Your girlfriends here yet?”  I said, “No, I haven’t seen them, I’m getting a little worried” He said, “Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll get here soon.”

My next assignment was to help this kid from Paisley give out the VIP passes.  They went to the guests who paid $100 for their tickets.  The only added amenity to having paid this price was that guests were treated to a buffet style dinner upstairs.  Those expecting to be in a VIP section were sadly mistaken.  The real VIP section was for celebrities only.

As I stood at the top of the staircase by the VIP door, I noticed a familiar face.  It was Chea.  She was still working for Paisley in Minneapolis, but flew in to see the show, and visit her strange little boyfriend, George.

By this time I began to really worry about Mauri and Rachael of whom I had seen hide nor hair.  I knew that the club would soon get very crowded, and their chances of getting a good space to see the show would be slim.  I still had it in the back of my mind though that Billy would help me though if I needed it.

Soon it was show time, and I decided that I’d much rather go and see the show than stand and give out passes to the latecomers.  I told the kid I was working with, (I don’t remember his name) that I was going to see the show, and he seemed a little annoyed.  I didn’t care.

There was another little VIP type section of the club, upstairs, on the other side of the DJ booth with tables and chairs set up. It was a great place to see the show as it overlooked the entire stage.  I decided that this would be the place I would park to watch the set.  I also figured that when the girls got there, I could bring them up, and they could hang out up there with me.  Especially since there were already several others who really didn’t belong, such as Funkmaster Flex’s girlfriend (Flex was the DJ before the show that night), and another girl I knew who simply asked the bodyguard if she could sit up there.

I went back downstairs to see if I could find Mauri and Rachael but they were no where to be found.  I went back up stairs and peered at the sea of faces.  FINALLY!!! THERE THEY WERE!!!!  I called out to them about a zillion times until they ultimately heard me.  I waved and they waved back.  I motioned to them to stay put, that I was coming to get them.

The girls were on the complete opposite side of the club, and I wafted through what seemed to be a million bodies to get to them.   I gave them the VIP passes I had swiped and we made our way back through the crowd, and up the stairs, and over to the DJ booth.  The security guard looked at my pass and said, “Ok you can go in,” but when the girls tried to go through with me he stopped them.  I looked back and said, “Oh they’re with me.”  He said, “Well, I can’t let them in.”  This began about 5 minutes of arguing back and forth.  I told him, “There are a bunch of people who aren’t supposed to be sitting over there who are.”  He asked me to point them out, but I didn’t want to be a rat fink so I refused to tell.

By this time this asshole was really pissing me off, so I decided to ask Flex.  He said he couldn’t do anything. “Shit!” I exclaimed.  I went back over to the girls and told them that I would find Billy Sparks, because he said he would help if we needed him.  I went downstairs to the dressing rooms.  I saw Billy who seemed to be rushed, and I explained quickly what happened, and if he could help.  He said, “Sorry, I can’t do anything for you honey.” and hurried passed me.  “AAAAAAAARGGGGHHHHH” I went back upstairs where I saw Sharon.  All I got to say to her was, “Sharon, is it all right if my friends…” when she cut me off with a “NO!”

I was totally freaking out!!  I couldn’t believe this was happening!!!  Being an employee of the man, and getting to work back stage was a major perk.  All I wanted was to let the girls revel in the glory of it with me.  That was of course was the least I could do right???  I felt like shit that everything was falling apart. Why was such a simple gesture turning into a total nightmare?  Damn that Billy Sparks!! What about his promises to help!!!

Nevertheless, I didn’t want to give up.  I went to girls again and explained that everyone was giving me a hard time.  I didn’t know what to do.  Just then the music started.  We turned around and looked down on the stage through the plexiglass of the DJ booth and saw Prince appear.  He started with that Larry Graham song “The Jam”.   Soon came “Shhh”.  Mauri, who is the most reserved human being I know, burst out in a fit a hysterical tears against the plexiglass window.  I looked over at Rachael who is the least reserved person I know, (especially when it comes to Prince), and silent tears streamed down her face.  If this was loony tunes, I would have looked like a big cartoon heel by now.

I took them with me to find Karen, but we saw Maria instead.  She made the mistake of telling Mauri that she could “Go upstairs and watch the show on one of the huge monitor screens.”  Mauri practically yelled back at her that she “didn’t pay $60.00 to watch Prince on a video screen.”  All in all, I’m sure that Maria thought she was being helpful, but she was dealing with the wrath of an ecstatic Prince fan.

At this point, the show was well into being 1/3rd over.  I was frustrated, disappointed, and felt desperately guilty about taking them from their spot on the floor.  Where they had been standing wasn’t great, but it was a hellsight better than where they’d have to stand now.  I told them I was sorry again, and went back upstairs.

Much to my chagrin, the private space was crowded with a bunch of people who didn’t have pass the first.  I saw a Paisley Park employee, and told him what happened.  He thought it was a bummer that everyone was being so bitchy about it when, as he noticed as well, there were a ton of people who didn’t seem to have a pass.  I chalked it up to being one of those annoying ironies of life….

After awhile I got into the show.  I remember he did ‘Space’ for the first time and I instantly fell in love with it.  I can’t remember the set list, but the show turned out to be pretty funky.  I decided to go downstairs, which was backstage left, and check out what was going on.  There I saw Miss Nona who was standing off to the side of the stage waiting for her cue to go up and sing “Love Sign” with the man. She had a pissy expression on her face as always.  She went up and did her number, and I moved over to where she had been standing to get a better look.  I had to laugh when I saw them together.  She’s soooo tall, and he’s soooo short. She had to hunch all the way over to reach the mike.  Also, you could barely hear her singing, and what you could hear was off key.

When she came down, I clapped for her and said, “Yeah, Nona, you were great!” and she just looked through me and said, “Your standing in my spot.”  I thought, “What a fucking bitch!!!” Prince, who was still playing the song, gave her the wink to come back up for an encore.  She rolled her eyes, sighed, and smacked her hand against her leg as if to say, “Damn it, AGAIN??”  He saw her reaction, and ended the song before she had a chance to make her way back onto the stage.

I also got to be very close to Mr. Lenny Kravitz who was hanging around backstage with several teeny bopper looking models.  Now I always thought Lenny was cute, but seeing him up close did NOTHING for me.  He has the biggest head, and narrow butt I’ve ever seen. (I know, I know, so does Prince but trust me, Prince looks alot better.)

Lenny was there to do “Peach” with the man.  Lets just say that Lenny’s playing left alot to be desired.  You could see that he was talking to Prince and Prince was just playing away.  It didn’t appear that he was saying anything back to Lenny. When he got off the stage, he said to one of his models, “He’s such an asshole!” The model said, “Why? What happened”  Lenny said, “He wouldn’t tell me what key we were in.”  I guessed that Prince figured Lenny should be a good enough musician to just figure it out!!

Also, I got to see Prince‘s brother Duane again.  As I stood at the foot of the stage, Duane needed to get by, and instead of tapping me on the shoulder, he patted me on my bottom instead.  I turned around ready to punch somebody’s lights out until I saw it was Duane….Oh come on!  I couldn’t have decked Prince‘s brother!!! ;D

When it was over I met up with girls at the “real” VIP section where dinner had been previously served.  We sat at the bar, our cute faces masked with long expressions.  Some older guy that Rachael had befriended before I got there bought them a drink.

In the far right corner of the room was an area that we guessed was sectioned off for the man and his entourage, which included the likes of his band, and Lenny Kravitz.  It looked like a mini-stage hidden by white chiffon drapes.  You could tell that they totally fixed it up for him, ala his dressing room.  There were velvety couches, lit candles and the whole bit.

He came in and was quickly ushered behind the curtains.  He sat talking with Lenny and a few other celebrities for a while.  Soon the DJ through on the reggae, and Rachael hit the floor and went to work.  I’m not sure if l actually saw her or not, but she gave him a bit of a show regardless.

Soon the man emerged.  Immediately EVERYONE crowded around him.  I felt kinda bad about getting in his face the moment he stood up, so I stayed back.  Rachael being the brave soul she is went over to him as Mauri and I looked on.  When Rachael got close enough to him she offered her hand and thanked him for a “fabulous show”.  He smiled and shook her hand, and being that she’s 6 feet tall, and he’s like 5’4, he literally scaled her like Mount Everest with his huge eyes.  I was totally impressed.  Rachael ACTUALLY touched him!!! AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHH!!! 😀  Suddenly, he turned and went back into his humble (make-shift) abode.

We sat on the foot of the “mini-stage” hoping to see him again or somehow get his attention.  One of us did.  Prince‘s limo driver (not Barry, somebody new) sat down beside Mauri, and told her that Prince thought she was attractive, and wanted her to come to his hotel (the Ritz Carlton)  for a party he was having in his room.  She whispered this information to Rachael and I, and I let out the loudest scream, only to be shushed.

It was at this moment that Prince and his entourage got up to leave.  As he passed the three of us, with Nona Gaye on his arm no less, he gave Mauri this long,  gaping, “you better be there” stare.   I can envision this taking place although I didn’t actually see it.  I sort of blanked out again.

As Prince and his people made their way down the stairs to the back door a rush of fans, including us, ran out with him, but by the time we made it down, l‘s limo was pulling away.

The girls took off for Rachael’s car.  I told them to wait, that I had to “get my clothes out of the wardrobe closet!” but they said something to the effect of, “fuck your clothes!! We have the chance to go to Prince’s room, we not waiting for you, and your coming along!!!”  but I was really concerned because I didn’t have anything to wear to work the next day, not even a change of undies!  Regardless, I wasn’t gonna let them leave me!

When we got to the hotel, Nona was just leaving.  I ducked down so that she wouldn’t see me.  She looked pissed as always.  We waited for a few minutes, and then Mauri went up to the Prince’s limo, and spoke to the same driver who had given her the message.  She asked if we could come too, and he said no.

Watching her as she went inside the hotel was a weird feeling for the two of us.  I instantly felt unattractive, and hideous, after all, why couldn’t we go too???? I’m sure Rachael felt the same way.  We didn’t talk much.  In fact we fell asleep and awoke just as the sun rose.  Mauri had only been gone about an hour and a half, but we began to get a little worried.  Just then, she appeared with the most annoyed, sour look I’ve ever seen on her face.  We knew that something went wrong, but we just figured Prince turned out to be an asshole, or at the very worst, he was a terrible kisser or something.

Turns out she didn’t get very far.  She was tricked and brought up to Big Coco’s room.  Scared witless, she basically talked to Coco as though she was a little crazy so that he wouldn’t try anything.  She even said to him, “Why would you want to have sex with a groupie?  I could have AIDS or something”.  I think that squelched any ideas Coco may have had to get laid that night.  Luckily he DIDN’T try anything, and we started to realize that we were putting ourselves in some risky situations.  I don’t think we realized it until then.  If Coco would have attacked Mauri, what then?  Was it worth it?

We gathered our wounded and weary souls, and hit the road home.  When we dropped Mauri home, I didn’t realize that we were staying.  I guess I assumed that Rachael was going back to her house and she would drop me by my home being that, as I had reminded them a million times, I didn’t have ANY clothes, and I couldn’t very well show up at work in the same gold mini-dress!

When we got upstairs, I asked Mauri for a change of clothes, and I took the bus home.  By this time it was about 8:00 in the morning, and Karen wanted me to meet them by 10:00am.  I knew there was no way I’d ever make it.  When I got home, I called and told Maria that I had just gotten in, and that I was gonna take a nap and I would be there by 1pm.  I could tell she was annoyed, but I needed to take a nap, or I’d be a waste of space.  I was awakened by a minor bout of cramps.   Wouldn’t you know it!  Prince was in town, so of course I had my period.

I arrived at 1pm on the nose. Sharon was the only one there at first.  She actually asked me (in an extremely snide tone, no less) “So, how long have you been a Prince fan?”  These words were a death sentence in the realm of working for him.  As I’ve said before, you are TOTALLY looked down upon if you were a fan, and worked for him.  My dad told me I should have said “How long have YOU been a Prince fan?!” right back to her, but I just muttered something about , “always liking  his music…” and changed the subject.  When you think about it, all of his employee’s had to be on his dick to a certain extent or they wouldn’t be working for him.  Looking back, I should have just told her to kiss my natural ass and mind her business.

When Karen and Maria arrived, there tone was different as well.  Maybe I was being paranoid, but Sharon’s remark unnerved me a little.  I don’t even know why I cared, but I did.  I stayed pretty silent and picked up where I left off the day before with the assembling the VIP passes.

While I worked the ladies continuously mentioned “the check”  I had no idea what they were talking about, and they didn’t really explain themselves.  Around maybe 3pm, they all left to go down to the Palladium for a benefit show Prince was doing for school kids, which was also to aid the Dance Theater of Harlem.  They told me to “call us when the check arrives”. (In case your wondering it turns out the “check” was a facsimile made out of poster board which was to be awarded to the Dance Theater of Harlem reflecting the 10,000 Prince had raised for them from the two concerts.)

About 45 minutes later a huge package arrived for Karen.  She happened to call about 5 minutes after it came.  She asked if the check was there, and I told her “no, but a huge package” had shown up.  She exclaimed, “That’s the check! How long has it been there?!?”  As she was yelling at me I opened the box and confirmed her suspicions and I told her, “It just got here.” She said, “Well you get in a cab right now and bring it down here.”  I told her that there was no way I could fit it in a cab.  She told me that I could sit with on my lap in the back seat.  I told her again that there was no possible way I could fit it.  She didn’t believe me and told me to go downstairs and hail a cab anyway, and try to make it.

Even though I knew it was fruitless, I went downstairs to do just was she said, and as I had suspected, it didn’t fit.  Plus it was beginning to rain, and I didn’t want to futz around and end up ruining the thing and getting in worse trouble.  I called Karen from the hotel concierge.  She told me she would send a limo to pick up the check.  I waited and waited.  No limo.  I walked from one side of the hotel to another peeping out of both exits, making sure I didn’t miss the driver, all the while enduring everyone’s jokes.  I must have heard, “Hey is that check for me??” about 12,000 times!

Finally the guy arrived.  He could barely get it across the seat of the limo!  Karen obviously underestimated the size of the stupid thing!
thatdamnedcheck

I went back inside the hotel and realized that I didn’t have my key!  In my haste trying to get the stupid check to them, I had ran out of the room without it.  I knew I would get blasted by Karen and Sharon, so instead of calling them I begged the concierge to let me back into the room, and luckily they did.  I DID NOT wanna hear those bitches mouths!

I think this was the first time I started to really take a look at the situation with Prince in a different light.  After everything I had went through with Paisley Park, I had to ask myself if all this crap was REALLY worth it?  I had had enough.

After a few more hours I did take a cab down to the Palladium with the rest of the VIP passes.  When I saw Maria she said the it would be a easy evening, and that I would have definitely been able to watch the show.  Suddenly she hits me with “Listen, let me ask you a question.”  I said, “What’s up?” Maria said, “Your a big fan aren’t you?”  I shushed her and told her not to tell anyone.  She said, “It’s no big deal, everyone knows your a fan” I smiled nervously.  “Hmm, the ladies have been talking about me” I thought.

Maria continued, “I’ve been wondering why the don’t fans dance at the shows?  I’ve always noticed that you guys don’t dance or anything.”  I thought it was a bit of a weird question, but I answered it anyway.  I said “Well, I always dance a little, but I guess that he tours so little that most fans are probably in shock that they’re actually seeing him, so they stand there in awe.”  And we laughed it off.

While I was hanging around backstage, A very familiar face came up to me and extended his hand.  “Hi, I’m Vernon” he said.  I knew exactly who he was and I told him so.  It was Vernon Reed from Living Colour.  I couldn’t believe he was introducing himself to ME.

I asked him if he was going to be playing with Prince, and he said yes, that he and “Lenny were going to be playing ‘Mary Don’t You Weep’”.  He mentioned that he thought I was pretty cute, and I thanked him.  Wow, Vernon Reed was hitting on me!  Too bad he’s not at all attractive.

Soon it was show time.  There was practically no one up in the little section next to the DJ booth this time around.  I perched myself against the railing, and didn’t move for anything.  Rachael had to work, and would get to the show when she got off.  Mauri actually got her slow butt to the show early this time, and when I looked down onto the audience right before Prince came out, I was thrilled to see her and her friend Josephine standing directly under the microphone.  She looked up and saw me, and I smiled and waved, and I gave her the biggest thumbs up.

The show was basically the same as the night before, but this time around, Mauri had a different experience when he sang “Shhh”  instead of tears, she claims to have actually had an orgasm.  Yes, that’s right! Mauri climaxed as Prince sang the sexy tune to her, (and the rest of the audience).

We didn’t hang around too long after the show this time.  We went to the VIP room again, but Prince had left, and nothing was going on.  I got my things from the wardrobe girl, and we were on our merry way.

After about a week, I called Karen to ask her to send my check for helping out… it arrived within a few days.

 

Letterman and The Fashion Awards

In December of ‘94, Prince appeared on the David Letterman show.  Rachael of course had to work, but I was temping, and took the day off.  So did Mauri, and we met up at the Late Show studio’s hoping some kind soul would be giving away stand by tickets.  They let us wait inside until around lunch time.  It was freezing like a mother outside, but Mauri, another girl named Denise and I went and got some lunch and decided to hunt around for a florist to get some flowers for the man.  We split the cost of a huge bouquet of yellow and purple roses.  We went to a card shop and purchased 4 blank, gold gift cards, (one for each of us, and Rachael).  In my card I thanked him for asking 99 who I was, just to give him a hint as to who I was.  We also splashed a bit of poetry in it for him.

Of course, being the super sleuths that we are, we found out that Duane was indeed staying at the Rhiga.  We took our present over to the Rhiga, and left the flowers at the concierge, and told them that they were a gift for Duane Nelson.

Shortly after, while perusing the 54th street area, we saw this blond chick walking down the street with our flowers.  I said to Mauri and Denise, “Hey, those are our flowers! Where does she think she’s taking them!!!”  Mauri said, “Are you sure those are ours?”  I said, “They’re yellow and purple roses with a big yellow bow, of course they’re ours!!!”  I really wanted to go and say something to her, but before we could get close enough,  she got into a cab with them. We later discovered that Prince was actually staying at the Ritz, and I figured that the chick was taking the flowers to his hotel.

When we went back to the Letterman studio, we saw that the regular cast of characters were there.  Freddie, the big doofy guy, Robin, the redheaded heavy chick, Belinda, who brings her kid to every Prince event, our friend Steve, and the two drunk chicks with plastic cups in tow.

Soon before taping began at 5pm,  Rachael showed up.  Regardless, it was evident that we weren’t getting in.  Again, I was getting a little fed up.  Was it worth it to be standing outside in the freezing cold for a little motherfucker who could probably care less?  I had just gotten over the flu, and didn’t feel very well,  I thought, “If I died of pneumonia chasing after Prince, he wouldn’t even know it!” It seemed that once again our efforts resulted in NOTHING.

After the taping, we did get to see him run from the studio into his limo.  About a hundred people pounced on the car, and it sped off, leaving (either on purpose, or by accident) Mayte behind.

Rachael had gone back to work, but Mauri and I decided to walk up to the Ritz to see what we could see.  Parked out front was Prince‘s limo, along with the same limo driver who had told Mauri Prince had wanted to meet her that night at the Palladium.

Mauri went up to him, and voiced a few obscenities.  Limoboy confessed that Prince did really ask him to have her come up to his room that night, but assumed that fatbodyguardboy intercepted her date with destiny because he wanted to meet her too.  We were thrilled that he actually had wanted to meet her, but it only brought the disappointment of that night back home to us.

Mauri, and I agreed to go home, change, and meet Rachael later that night for a little chasing.  I really didn’t want too, but I didn’t let on.  When I got home I had a long talk with my mom about being frustrated and not wanting to go back out there to be disappointed again. Unless he was definitely gonna play somewhere, or if someone could guarantee that we were gonna meet him, it made little sense.  Of course she agreed.

At around 8pm Rachael called me, and at first I said I would go, but then she said something that triggered my hesitation about going, and turned it into full fledged “I ain’t going!!!”  We three-wayed Mauri, and I told her that I wasn’t going and they both tried to make me feel a little guilty, Rachael told me I was being selfish.  I didn’t care.  I didn’t even watch the broadcast of the Letterman show.

They followed him up to Nell’s, he stayed for awhile and then went to S.O.B’s, where they said he looked pissed about something the entire time.  He didn’t even socialize.  Denise and one of the drunk chicks decided to gyrate in front of him, which I’m sure annoyed him more.  These two are NOT exactly Mayte and Carmen.

Prince didn’t perform or hang out much in NY in 1995.  At least not until November at the VH-1 Fashion Awards.  Again, the girls wanted to chase him, but I didn’t want to, so I didn’t go out with him. The furthest they got was to see an irate looking Mayte leaving his hotel, and Left Eye and Chilli (from TLC) going inside.

Mauri really figured that Mayte’s days were numbered after that, because Mayte looked as if she had had enough of Prince and his bullshit.  Maybe she had, had enough.  From listening to certain songs on Emancipation, it sounds as if Mayte was ready to dump him at this point for cheating when he finally gave in and married her.  Maybe the face the girls witnessed was the face that got her the ring.

The next day we decided to pull a very clever prank.  We called the Rhiga and asked for Duane Nelson, and instead of hanging up like always, Mauri told the operator that it was “Mayte Garcia” calling.  They told us to hold on and they actually switched us up to his room!!!  A groggily sounding Duane answered the phone with, “Hey, you woke me up!”  We hung up and giggled like hyenas!  Damn, it’s far to easy to get to Prince and his people.  Thank God we weren’t REALLY stalking them….

 

WHAT TIME IS IT?!?

Way back in 1982, before I even knew anything about Prince, I became a fan of his protégé bands, The Time, and Vanity 6.  In fact, for Christmas of that year, my brother gave me both the ‘What Time Is It’ album, and the ‘Vanity 6’ albums as a gift.  They quickly became all I ever listen to.  Why? Well I don’t honestly know.  I mean, they both had fairly big hits at the time with ‘Nasty Girl’ and ‘777-9311’, but beyond that, I don’t know why I fell so in love with this music.  I like to think that even in those early days, my soul was subconsciously linking itself to Prince’s music.

I thought Vanity was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, and I wanted to be just like her.  I vowed to get my own stash of lingerie so that I could be just like my idol.  Three years later when I was 15, I bought my first teddy, complete with garter.  Whenever my mom went out for more than an hour I’d put it on, and play ‘Nasty Girl’ and pretend I was Vanity in the mirror.

I loved the guys in the Time, with all my heart.  I thought they were SOOOOO fucking awesome!!! They were like the epitome of what I thought it was like to be in your 20’s, going to clubs, hanging out, and being sexy.  Their music was as funky as well as it was humorous. Yet, I had no idea that they were associated with Prince. I mean, I knew who Prince was, and I liked his songs, but I didn’t make the connection that he was the one behind these songs until the days of Purple Rain.

As much as I wanted to be like Vanity when I listened to her, when I listened to the Time, all I wanted was to be a ‘Grace’.  Well wouldn’t you know it?  14 years later, I finally got my chance….

After a 6 year hiatus, the Time started doing reunion shows across the country.  In February of 1996, they played 3 shows over 2 dates.  The first being on February 10th at 8pm.  Rachael had to work that night, but she got a ticket for the second show that was to start at 10:00pm.

As always, Mauri got there at around 6pm, and we ended up being first on line.  Even though it was a sold out-standing room only show, we managed to get right up to the front, directly under mike.

First we had to suffer through Corey Glover’s (Living Colour)  wack ass band, before my babies hit the stage.  When they finally did, I was ecstatic.  This was TOTALLY reliving my child hood.  I was way to young to attend any of their concerts back in the days, so this was actually the first time I got to see them live.

They came out and the crowd went bonkers.  They started the show with all of the classics.  ‘Cool’, ‘Get It Up’, and my personal favorite, ‘777-9311’.

After awhile, I noticed that Morris kept looking in my face.  At first, I just thought he was impressed with the fact that I knew all of the words.  Then I figured that he just needed something to focus on, and I was standing right there,  but when he sang ‘Girl’, and fell to his knees at the end of the song, he looked RIGHT at me.  I couldn’t do anything else but look up at the ceiling.  I yelled in Mauri’s ear, “I think Morris was looking at me!”, and she replied, “Yeah, I saw it!!!”

Mr.  Morris continued this little game for most of the evening.  When he sang ‘Jungle Love’, he said, “Yeah, that’s right you in the middle, don’t be shy, let me see that ass!!”  Mauri, one of her friends who was at the show, and the guy behind them tried to turn me around to show him.  I was laughing hysterically!

We ran into Rachael on the way out.  At first we decided to leave,  but then we figured we’d wait around for her until the show ended.  Still on a high, I asked Mauri if she wanted to just get a ticket for the second go round, instead of just standing outside.  She didn’t have the cash, but being the noble soul that I am, I offered to pay for it, so we went inside and had another great time.

After the show, we were just “hanging by the back stage door” comparing notes with Rachael about both performances, and stuff like that when a guy came out and asked Mauri if he could “speak with her a moment.”  Turns out he was Morris’ personal assistant, JB (isn’t it a hokey coincidence that Jerome was “role” is that of the valet, and that his initials are JB, and Morris REAL assistant calls himself ‘JB’?)  Seems he thought Mauri was kinda cute.  He invited her to come back to Tuesday’s show, and of course I asked if I could tag along.

After  work, I rushed down to the venue, where Mauri was already waiting.  (Rachael couldn’t go because she was working that night). We ran into our friend Steve, and his friend Jay.  While I was talking to them Mauri disappeared.  Jay was to first to spot Mauri on the tour bus.  I was like, “She’s where?”  He said, “Look, through the window, she’s on the bus!”  I couldn’t believe it, but I did as he said, and there she was talking to Cory, the new (cute) guitarist, and I wanted to die!  When she got off the bus, she said “Don’t scream, but JB invited us to hang out and party with the band after the show tonight!”  I didn’t scream but my eyes welled with tears, and I squealed a little.

JB saw to it that we were let right into the club for free.  We stood off to the side of the stage this time instead of in the very front.  Right when the show was about to start, this blond chick and this big Barry White, looking MF (who had that funky cheese masked by cologne smell) parked directly in front of us!

The blond girl had what I like to call “bug music” fever.  When the band came out and started to perform she did this silly scream and wave thing.  Everytime Morris and/or Jerome came over to our side of the stage, she would do it again.  It was like she was completely calm until they came over to us and then all of a sudden she would scream.  Mostly she was in my way, but she annoyed everyone around her.

Once after one of her attacks, Mauri screamed, “Shut up bitch!” in a deep voice, and she looked around like “Who said that??!!”, but that still didn’t deter her hizzy fits.

Nevertheless, we had a good time.  After the show we waited for JB, and when he saw us, we  were let on the bus.  By this time, the bus was already crowded with the band, the girl they had picked that night to go on-stage and her friend on board and us. We were like two little kids in a candy store. We clung to each and whispered, “Oh my God, Oh my God, can you believe this shit???!!!”

We sat down and immediately noticed Jerome, who was walking back and forth cleaning up the bus. (Yes that’s right, cleaning up the bus!) He was picking up after everyone and was shouting that this was his “house and if people didn’t respect it and keep it clean we’d have to get the fuck off.”

We also noticed that someone was missing.  Morris.  Someone asked where he was, and they were told that Morris wasn’t there because he didn’t “party” anymore.

St. Paul Peterson, (whom I’d idolized when he was with “The Family”) and his brother Ricky were there too, and we were introduced to them.  What’s funny is that Tommy LiPuma who is President of the company I work for now, is good friend  of Ricky’s.  I wanted to mention the fact that I work for Tommy, but I hesitated because of the groupiesque nature of our meeting.

At one point we heard St. Paul ask Jellybean Johnson if  “shorty” had “been to any of the shows?”

Jellybean replied, “Yeah, he came to the Chicago show.”  Hehehe…

After awhile, Jerome comes up to us and says “Hi!”  We said “hi”, and he asked if he could “get us anything.”  We just asked for some soda.  As he searched through the cooler beside her, Mauri said to me,  “We should be serving HIM soda!”  He gave us both a Cherry 7up and we thanked him.

Before long he went back to cleaning up the bus.  I joked to Mauri that he cleans so well because that is probably his profession when the TIME aren’t on tour. We cracked up with laughter, attracting his attention again.  He came over and looked at me and said “What’s so funny littlebit?”  I said “Nothing” and he asked me how I stayed so thin, did I “have a tape-worm or something?”  We giggled.  He asked me to take off my glasses and I said “no”. He took them off for me, and just stared all up in my face.  I was suddenly struck with a case of teenage jitters,  so bad that I couldn’t even look back at him.  Again, I stared at the ceiling.

Jerome asked if I had a boyfriend and I said “no”.  He wanted to know why, and I told him it was “a long story”. He said “tell me, I have time”, and he grabbed my hand and led me toward the back of the bus. He started jimmying with this door, and I asked “What are you doing?” and he said “trying to get the door open” I said “I’m not going back there!!!” He said “I’m not gonna do anything to you girl.  What – you think I’m like Tupac or one of those idiots?” (This was right before Tupac’s shooting).  He claimed that there was a TV, and a stereo in the back, and he wanted to go back there with me and hang out.  All I knew was that I wasn’t going back there.

Eventually, gave up with the door since he couldn’t get it open, and asked me again why I didn’t have a boyfriend.  I tried explaining it to him but I was really nervous.  He said he didn’t like girls to be nervous around him, but all I could think of was being a teenage girl, and watching him, Morris, and the band in complete awe….

By this time Mauri got suspicious and came toward the back to see what was going on.  He asked her why I didn’t have a boyfriend, and she just told him that I had bad luck with men.  The three of us soon became like pees in a pod.  Mauri was obviously less nervous than I, and that sort of relaxed me, and I was soon alot less shy about conversing with him.

I got really nosy and asked lots of questions, everything from which of the little bunk beds was his, to,  could I have the pair of boxers that was laying on it as a souvenir.  He said no, by the way.  (Who’s drawers? My drawers!!:D)

He took off my glasses again, but this time he started wearing them.  This guy is a complete jokester, let me tell you.  He asked for a hug.  I hugged him, and he said something about me not hugging “black” enough. He started hugging and kissing Mauri on the cheek and whispered “lets’ make her jealous”. He grabbed her booty, and told her it was “pretty firm”, and he asked her if she worked out.  To even the score, she grabbed his back. When he did it again, she literally picked him up and spun him around.  Jellybean looked on in complete surprise saying, “Yo man, she looks like she could kick your ass”.

Jerome was gracious enough to continuously field our questions – to a point.  This is some of the info we go from him:  He’s 35 (at least he was at that time).  His birthday is September 18th, and he’s still married and has a teenage daughter.  Mauri asked him why he wasn’t going to Prince’s wedding (which was the next day).  He said “Because it’s only for close friends and family” She said “Well aren’t you a good friend?” and for the first time all evening, he got really flustered.  He said “Yeah, but I called him and wished him the best.”  After awhile he seemed to have gotten very uncomfortable with this topic, and he just walked away.

We went and sat next to Jellybean.  Every time I was next to Jellybean that night, I’d feel like I was one of those girls on the TIME’s albums that are always in the background talking about the band.  I sighed aloud, “Damn, I feel like one of those girls.” Jellybean asked me why, but I couldn’t even explain myself.

Then I looked around, at Jellybean, Jerome,  St. Paul,  and I suddenly felt like I was at a casting call for  Purple Rain.  I had to get up.

Mauri struck up a conversation with Cory, and he asked her to drive him down to the show in Washington the next day.  She told him that if she didn’t have to work the next day, she would have, that and the fact that her boyfriend would have KILLED her.  JB was also very friendly with her.  VERY friendly.  To the point that he was getting on her nerves, and she began to just ignore him.

I went back to talk to Jerome a little more, because I didn’t want him to be offended or mad at us because of what we had said.  Obviously he wasn’t because he asked for a kiss.  I couldn’t/wouldn’t kiss him so he snuck one.  Actually it wasn’t much of a kiss, it was more like he was sucking on my bottom lip.  I just stood there with my eyes wide open and my arms at my side thinking, “If someone had told me this was going to happen 10 years ago, I would never had believed it.”  Mauri was once again on stand by, which sort of interrupted him, and he stopped and told her I had soft lips… ?

By this time I think Jerome figured out that we weren’t “those” kind of girls.  In fact, I know it.  Despite the fact that he may have been a little disappointed that we weren’t, he seemed to have been pretty taken with us.  Nevertheless, I didn’t want him to think I was a big old nerd, for not kissing him back, so I gave him a picture I happened to have with me.  The picture was originally for this guy that I was, er, I guess you could say “involved” with at the time named Ron.  He took it, and was like “WWOOOWWW!”  I told him that the picture was for Ron, but he said, “fuck Ron”.  He asked if he could have my phone number and address, and I wrote it on the back.

Anyway, it was around this time that Morris finally came on board.  Turns out the mysterious door, was the door to Morris’ boudoir.  Yes there was a TV, and a stereo in there, but there was also a BIG OL’ BED! Morris spoke to a few band members, and went to his room.  I didn’t say anything to Morris when he first came in but he peeped out from his door when I was saying good-bye to Jerome.

Jerome kept trying to feel my butt, and I wouldn’t let him.  I smacked him on his instead and Morris saw it.  He said “Girl, does your mother know you go around smacking men’s butt’s like that?”  I just laughed.  As we were saying our last good-byes to Jerome, I turned around and saw Morris staring my way. He struck a curious pose against the doorway of his little room, and his smile turned into a grin.

I have a feeling he was remembering that I was the girl in the front row 3 nights before.  I started to say something to him, but I didn’t. I just smiled a knowing smile right back at, and we left….

 

 

The Land of Roses…The Final Experience???

On January 1st,  1997 I got a call from Steve, who said that tickets were going on sale in two days for a benefit concert at Roseland to take place on January 11. You know the routine.  I called Mauri and told her, and she told Rachael.

Lucky me, my other brother Howie works at Disco Rama and operates the Ticketmaster machine.   Mauri and I arrived that Friday morning around 9am.  (It’s a good thing too, tickets sold out in 19 minutes. The moment we left the store with our tickets, we began plotting, er, planning.  We would get a hotel, and wait on line from Friday night until the show on Saturday.   From her office, Mauri called and made reservations at the Howard Johnson’s.

Unfortunately, the pending weather forecasts predicted a major snow.  Rachael was undeterred. Neither was Mauri, but I was very concerned.  During the week, I visited several ski shop’s and Eddie Bauer’s and priced out ski gear just in case we had to spend the night in the snow.

I also took a walk down to the Howard Johnson’s, and was pleased to discover that the hotel was directly across the street from Roseland.  I cased Roseland and was equally pleased to discover that the spot where we would have to wait was under an awning, so we wouldn’t get drenched.  Everything seemed pretty good.

On the following Friday, I got up early, packed my bags, and went into the city to get my hair and nails done.  I got to the hotel around 4:30, and waited for Mauri until she arrived at 6:45pm.  We hung out talking and watching TV until Rachael arrived. We all agreed to get up around 4:00am to see if anyone was crazy enough (besides us) to be waiting on line at that hour.

We were out of the room and in front of Roseland by 5:00am, welcomed only by about 2 inches of snow.  I decided to inscribe, “we were here 1st, R.R.M” in the snow, while Mauri and Rachael decided to be funny and play hide and go seek.  They didn’t get far because Rachael busted her ass as they were running across the street.

Anyway, I was getting a little hungry, so we stopped so I could get some breakfast.  We went back to the room, and Rach and I fell asleep.  Mauri went back out around 9:00am.  She called and told us to get our butts back downstairs because there was one person waiting by the name of Eric.

Eric was cool.  He looked like a Prince fan, that’s for sure.  We humored the hell out of him with all of our stories.  I think he was a little spooked though when we told him about Caribbean and Southern Black culture and the holy ghost .  Around 10, two other girls showed up.  By 10:30, a European guy and his friends showed up.  Within no time there were at least 20 people out there with us.

Someone came up with a great idea of writing numbers on our hands to make sure the line was numbered fairly.  Even though (technically) Eric had been standing there before us, he let us be first because we had explained that we had roamed the streets that morning.   Mauri was number 1,  I was number 2, and Rachael was number 3.

After awhile, Eric had to leave for a session, (he’s a musician), and his friend Gabe came to cover for him until later that afternoon.  Gabe was also very nice, and very friendly.  It was during our conversations with him that the great “Iz dat cheatin’?” jokes were born. (Don’t worry, you’d have to have been there).

Rachael was the true comical genius that day though.  Mauri continuously told her that she “ought to be on-stage with Prince”.  Because she was “act 1” herself.

Every couple of hours we’d go over to another hotel across the street to warm up, and make phone calls, etc.  Around 3pm, the line was almost down the block.

By 5:30 we were all completely dressed and ready for the show.  While we had been upstairs changing, everyone had piled up against the barricade, but we managed to squeeze back to the front.  The line was set up a ways from the club, so we were concerned that people would try to bum rush the door when they announced that it was time to go in.  Mauri made sure to tell one of the bouncers that we had been waiting since 5am, and that we were first.

When 7pm hit, the same bouncer made sure that we got to the door first.  I was the first person inside the club.  I ran across the dancefloor to the stage with lightning speed.  Someone shouted for me to stop running.  I was like, “yeah right”.  When I got to the railing in front of the stage, I screamed bloody murder.  I almost hyperventilated.  I looked back and Mauri and Rachael were just coming through the door.  They took off running for the railing as well.

When they caught up to me we jumped for pure friggin’ joy!!!  I was so excited, I literally had to tell myself to calm down and take deep breaths before I passed out.

While we waited for the crew to finish setting up, an argument ensued nearby.  Two girls that Mauri and I had met when we bought our tickets at Howie’s store had showed up at 7pm, but finagled their way to the railing.  There were two other girls who had been waiting in line with us from 10am, but only got as far as the second row of people.  They were understandably pissed that these two chicks were in front of them.  They tried to ration with them, explaining that they had been waiting all day, and that what they had done wasn’t fair, but they two chicks didn’t budge.  They just kept saying, “I understand, I understand”, but stayed right where they were.  I personally thought they deserved an ass whoppin’ for cutting the line, but who am I to judge?

The crew nervously set up, took down, and re-set up, a huge…I guess you could call it a box, in the front of the stage, directly in front of us.  We asked if it was for the man, and the roadies said yes, it was for him to jump around on and be a little closer to the audience.  When I say it was right in front of us, I mean DIRECTLY in front of us.  We were like, “holy shit! If the man is gonna be singing on top of this thing he will literally be in our faces!!!”  This heightened the euphoria.

Finally at 9:15pm the show began. Prince came out in a white parka, a bright green sweater, and pants outfit with Versace shades.  He pounds on the piano like half a second, and then, wouldn’t you know it, he jumps down on the box!  He looks at us, and pulls down his shades, and lo and behold, he fixates his glance on ME!!!! Prince was looking right in my eyes, smiling this coy, sexy grin!!!!  I waved at him, but he kept staring, and smiling.  I got so nervous, I covered my face like a bashful little girl.  I looked up, and he was laughing and hopped back on the stage. We thought that was the highlight of the show, but what happened next  pales in comparision!! 😀

Rachael gives a full account…..

…Throughout the show Prince seemed happy.  At 1 point he had every’1 sing the lyrics 2 “RASPBERRY BERET,”  while he just listened.  I think he was impressed  2 C that we all knew the words so well.  But come on, that was an E-Z  1.  He also thanked us 4 helping him raise $1 million 4 his charity.  He noted that the $ would directly 2 the cause.  He also said that it’s not about the $ anymore, it’s about loving one another. Prince also instructed us 2 c the ways of GOD and follow the path 2 his lite.  I was very impressed.

He performed several classics like:  “17 DAYS,” “PURPLE RAIN,” “IF I WAS U’R GIRLFRIEND,” “DO ME BABY,” “HOW COME U DON’T CALL ME ANYMORE,” “SEXY MF,” “RASPBERRY BERET,” “SCANDALOUS,” “THE CROSS,” “IF GOD WAS 1 OF US,” and many more.   I never thought that “MR. HAPPY” from the “EMANCIPATION” album would turn our 2 B a song I would never 4 get!

[It was during this song that] he invited a couple of young ladies on stage.  He 1st picked a young lady who kind of had a Mayte look.  She was pretty.  She went on stage and did some old 1-2 step.  Kind of dull…I mean she didn’t even smile much.  Every’1 was like “AW MAN!” Prince  even tried 2 wake her up. He danced with her, shook his beloved butt and everything.  She was still on the 1-2 step!  He asked her name…then told her, “Girl, U look tired, U can get off the stage now” (in so many words).  Then he said who wants 2 B next?! So he comes by our side of the stage and looks at all 3 of us, points and says “HER.”  Now I couldn’t actually b’lieve HER, was me!

“OH MY GOD!”  “OH MY GOD!”  The man just asked me 2 come up on his stage!  As much as I couldn’t b’lieve it, I still knew he was talking about me.  So I wasted no time in trying 2 get my BIGGG BUTTTT over the barricade.  Not 2 mention I’m about 6 feet tall, with long legs.  Trying 2 get my body over a barricade was not E-Z.  But all of the people around me kinda pushed me over.  The security guards helped also.  Hey,  I didn’t want 2 give any’1 a hernia!  I jumped on stage and went off!  I rolled my hips up and down and all around. On down near the floor.  Shaking  my butt, like I never shook it B4!  I felt great!  I pulled up my shirt and showed my stomach.  I even rubbed my butt on the piano, I was in complete Euphoria. I waved 2 Mauri  and Robin  while Prince asked Chris Rock (the comedian) If I was the 1 who could freak it?!  While “MR. HAPPY”  rocked the house, I rolled my azz all over the stage. 

The stage was mine, 4 Prince  was on my left side shouting and singing 2 the crowd.  I wondered If it was a dream…watching the massive crowd, I still 1’dered if I’d wake up soon! Prince walked passed me.  It seemed like he was going off stage,  so I quickly said “THANK U”.  He suddenly  stopped and smiled at me.  I bowed 2 him and he surprisingly bowed back.  Then I bowed again and so did he.  Then I dropped on 1 knee… Almost using body language 2 show him how much I love him.  He smiled and pointed 2 his ring, and said he is married.  I started  jumping  up and down and screamed “NO!”  like a kid  having a temper tantrum.  But I smiled and walked off  stage.  I heard he stuck his tongue out at me!  But my back was turned. 

I felt X-tremely parched, thirsty, elated, and it was like everything that made me unhappy in my personal  life was gone.  I was high…and still am….very much so!  Every’1 said I danced my azz off!  Fans, stage crew, security–every’1.  I felt so good…4 I tend 2 B an insecure person sometimes, and if lthought I was pretty enough 2 B on his stage then I am eternally grateful 2 him.  (I’m even teary eyed now–with tears  of joy). I DANCED 4 NOT ONLY ME, BUT 4 EVERY’1 AND ALL OF THE NEW POWER GENERATION…

And there you have it.  A complete history of our experiences with him.  We consider them all to be special, enchanted interactions with an icon.  We are not sure why we are so much more continuously lucky than anyone else.  Mauri and I were talking the other day about it all.  We agreed that we have outgrown Prince in many ways, but when you wish for something so much for so long, things become willed to you.  You can’t escape it. Like look at what happened with us and the Roseland concert.  We did what we had to do to get to the concert, but instead of us chasing after him, he went after one of us.  The tables turned for a change!

Now I know it sounds crazy, but l was the one who taught me to believe in fate and destiny, and I am grateful for those beliefs.  One cannot dream without having a belief in destiny.  Perhaps these stories are the beginning of a larger tale, but to be honest, if nothing else happened with us and him, we can honestly say that some of our dreams came true in regards to Prince/O(+>.  (Well my REAL dream is to be making out with him in a gondola in Venice…but you get my drift!)  Nevertheless it was truly a Ryde Dyvine that I will forever be thankful for!….Welcome 2 The Dawn…..

Robin

Summer, 1997