What are your memories of the recording sessions?
I had a great time because a lot of the time I was here in Los Angeles and Paul was in Minneapolis. Paul and I were never together in the studio very often. I won’t say never but not very often. So Paul would do his vocals with David Z and I would do my vocals with David and then David would do his thing. He pre-produced that record; he made those sounds on the album. It was great because his brother Bobby Z had written ‘River Run Dry’ (which appeared on the first album). We had an outside track on that record, which was again something that was an indication that Prince was letting it be what it was going to be on another kind of level for him. He relinquished a lot of the control. He wrote the tracks, designed them for us and then we took them. When we had the string date and went in with Clare Fischer, Prince wasn’t actually there – it was all of us as a band and David. It was pretty nutritious. It felt really great and we knew that we were doing something really special. But then again we were also really young. I’d done sessions for other people but it was like ‘here we are, doing our own record’ and it was pretty great but no one really knew what was going to happen with it. Eric (Leeds) said that Prince wanted to write a hit record, that was his intention period. But Paul and I were not aware of any of that. We were just doing it.
Did you play any gigs together at all?
We played one big gig in Minneapolis (at the club First Avenue) when we’d released the record, We’d rehearsed for a year until our eyes were bloodshot. We knew how to do that stuff like the back of our hand.
What happened after that, because the band had a very short lifespan, didn’t it?
It was very, very short. We’d come out and done a video and we were about to do some more shows but there was a like a three-week break after ‘Purple Rain’ just before ‘Under The Cherry Moon’ (Prince’s second movie) came out. During that break I guess Paul had gotten a phone call from John McLean who was running A&R over at A&M Records at the time and called Paul and said “hey, we’re thinking that it would be great to fly you out here and meet with Janet Jackson. We want you to produce a couple of tracks for her; we’re going to play some of her stuff.” He was like “yeah, okay, I’ll come out, I have the time, let’s do it.” When he got out there, it wasn’t for that reason. They wanted to sign him. They got him out there and said: “here’s the deal: we have a lot of money to give you and we’ll make you a giant star.” When you’re 20 years old you go “okay, yeah. Okay let’s do it.” So nobody was totally surprised by that. He was the one who was getting the solo deal with tons of money up front. None of us were working for a lot of money. We were all getting paid a pay cheque and those paycheques were tiny. I kid you not: teeny. It was enough to sustain us as single people living in tiny little apartments but not, God forbid, should there be a family involved. So Paul went and did what was right for him and his family. There were some of us who were like “well, that’s a big fucking drag” but we all were musicians and just accepted it and moved on. It’s not like we were pulled off the street to get this opportunity and then never to see it again; that’s not who we’d ever been – we’ve all been players and singers and writers and producers so we just were like okay, on to the next.
Do you think that Paul felt a sense of guilt for pulling the rug from under your feet?
He did for a while yeah. It took a lot of convincing him not to feel that way. He felt obligated to really apologise for that and I was like “please, don’t.” But he’s one of those kinds of guys that’s just such an honest, loyal, person and I think he just carried that weight and wanted to apologise. And even apologise to Prince; he felt that Prince couldn’t really stand him for years. But I said to him Prince never thought twice about it after that. Prince was totally relieved that he didn’t have to deal with it. On one level he was like “okay, so what? They are my songs and I’ll just figure out something else with them” and then they went into the vault. He didn’t think twice about it and nor did he think that much about Paul. Prince is too self-involved to hold that many grudges.