for those that don't know, Uptown magazine is a Prince fanzine that does extensive research on Prince and has published several books on the little guy. (www.uptown.se)
D’Angelo and ?uestlove meet Prince
In UPTOWN #45, we reported that D’Angelo was invited to Paisley Park in August 2000 when he was in town with his Voodoo tour. We wrote that Prince was not present because he had left for Egypt. However, Prince was there and he did meet with D'Angelo and Roots/Soultronics drummer Ahmir ?uestlove (D'Angelo's drummer on the Voodoo tour). We received this letter from Alan Leeds, D'Angelo's personal manager, which clarifies what happened.
Congrats on your latest issue (#45). I particularly enjoyed revisiting the Madhouse story –- something always of obvious personal interest.
A few observations on relatively current topics: D'Angelo and Ahmir ?uestlove indeed visited Prince at Paisley Park the night before our show at the Orpheum Theatre -- late the night of August 15, 2000. It wasn't exactly"D'Angelo and entourage." The visit was originally conceived as a Paisley "party" and it was explained to us by a Prince staffer that the entire D'Angelo touring entourage was invited. But once Prince's trip to Egypt firmed up, the plan suddenly changed. In fact, even after word of the party cancellation spread in our camp, several additional potential "guests" were specifically disinvited at the last minute, including ?uestlove's drum tech, James "Magoo" McGregor -- coincidentally, an ex-Prince/Paisley employee.
At Paisley Park, D'angelo and Ahmir were ceremoniously received by Prince perched in his recording studio, and later on the Paisley soundstage. Evidently their conversation pretty much consisted of a lot of unsolicited "advice" on everything from the music business to music itself.
D'Angelo and Ahmir had clearly gone to Paisley with but one agenda -- to show love and props to their idol and admitted influence. They are both huge life-long Prince fans. To jam with Prince and his band again was like a dream for them. Unfortunately, Prince chose to play mostly recent material that neither of his guests was very familiar with. I suspect they would have more enjoyed jamming on some of Prince's funkier early material but it wasn't to be. After fiddling around on various keyboards for a couple of jams, D'Angelo felt kind of left out and excused himself to get some air while Ahmir dutifully drummed on as Prince explained the beats to some of the newer songs. I don't think either D'Angelo or Ahmir are in a hurry for a repeat visit. Despite retaining the proper composure of guests, they simply didn't feel comfortable being patronized and second-guessed for several hours. Before they left, around 5:00 am (they hadn't arrived until nearly 2:00 am), Prince explained his planned departure to Egypt would preclude him from attending the show the following night.
The D'Angelo Voodoo tour played its Minneapolis show at the Orpheum Theatre on August 16th. The audience included Larry Graham, Morris Hayes, Michael Bland, Ricky and Paul Peterson, Bobby Z. , several members of Mint Condition, and several members of Prince's current technical crew. My brother, saxist Eric Leeds, did a lengthy guest sax solo on D'Angelo's encore, "Lady." The show was sold out and Star Tribune music editor, Jon Bream, called it the best show of the year.
Several months later, I was in Richmond, VA (D'Angelo's home base) when Prince's latest tour came through (November 8). Billy Sparks made arrangements for us to attend the show but, unfortunately D'Angelo had a last-minute complication and couldn't make it. He called me during the show several times, excitedly asking, "How is it? How is it? What am I missing?" When I informed him the set list was entirely made up of older, classic Prince songs, D'Angelo was even more frustrated at missing it. Prince had sent word earlier in the day that D'Angelo was welcome to join him on stage but even had he attended, D'Angelo had no intention of "crashing" the show. (Too bad, because the "automatic pilot" nature of the medley-prone performances could have used a shot in the arm at times).