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Thread started 12/05/16 3:52pm

CherryMoon57

Tommy Barbarella on what it was like working for Prince


Here are a few interview extracts with Tommy Barbarella talking about what it was like working for Prince. (SoundCloud /Mpls St Paul magazine)

https://soundcloud.com/user-970089405

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Reply #1 posted 12/05/16 4:26pm

Latin

CherryMoon57 said:


Here are a few interview extracts with Tommy Barbarella talking about what it was like working for Prince. (SoundCloud /Mpls St Paul magazine)

https://soundcloud.com/user-970089405


Thank you for posting it.
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Reply #2 posted 12/05/16 5:08pm

purplerabbitho
le

I appreciate you posting this but I will avoid listening to it. I read the interview in print and his statement that anyone claiming to have been close to Prince is full of shit pissed me off. How the fuck would he know? How long did he know Prince--five years as an employee in Prince's most turbulent period? Maybe, many many people didn't know Prince deep down but he can't and shouldn't speak for everyone Prince ever interacted with.

[Edited 12/5/16 17:09pm]

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Reply #3 posted 12/05/16 8:58pm

wavesofbliss

purplerabbithole said:

I appreciate you posting this but I will avoid listening to it. I read the interview in print and his statement that anyone claiming to have been close to Prince is full of shit pissed me off. How the fuck would he know? How long did he know Prince--five years as an employee in Prince's most turbulent period? Maybe, many many people didn't know Prince deep down but he can't and shouldn't speak for everyone Prince ever interacted with.

[Edited 12/5/16 17:09pm]

where is it in print? i heard the soundbites and didn't hear TB say that. why does it make u angery? i tend to agree with him. with prince, it seemed to be which prince u delt with from one day to the next. TB didn't sound mean spirited to me. confused

Prince #MUSICIANICONLEGEND
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Reply #4 posted 12/05/16 11:14pm

purplerabbitho
le

Of course, he is not going to be mean-spirited. Prince died. I am not saying Tommy is evil. I am just saying he is being annoyingly presumptious about other people's relationships with Prince and their sincerity, especially later in life when Prince seemed to take some pains to work at connecting more to people (mostly through religion) but you get my drift. So Levi and others calling P a "brother" are just full of shit according to this expert on Prince's nature. I don't think Tommy is a bad guy and maybe Prince canning him felt like an indifferent move that hurt his feelings so the only way to make sense of it is presume that Prince was just indifferent. He was a hard man to know, but that doesn't prove that he didn't find connections with people throughout the years.

Tommy didn't know him long enough or recent enough to make those claims. He knew him then as an employee for approximately five years. Maybe he is right and Prince is some kind of detached loner or autistic savant (like some people are claiming) but even an autistic savant can learn to connect to people over time. Fleeting relationships don't mean they aren't real when they happen.

Tommy is not his wife, mother, sister, half-brother, or even long-time collaborator/employee like Morris Hays or Kim Berry or Kirk Johnson or Bobby Z (who claims to have remained close to P) or or the infamous Larry Graham.. Tommy knew him 20 years ago and their working relationship ended badly.

The following is all speculation... but I think a nuanced take on Prince is more fair than one as simplistic as Tommy's.

I don't think Prince was a shallow hit-and-quite-it womanizer with no human connections outside his abilities to use and manipulate musicians. I think he used music as a crutch, was genuinely shy so might have expressed himself through music, art, sex, and a hyperbolic image, had abandomment issues (which might be why he couldn't maintain his marriages and relationships and could be controlling). He was tough to know probably, but I do think eventually he found a way to connect with people (in his own way) using mentorship, spirituality, and humor later in life. People were calling him Uncle P on some facebook pages and that is kind of what he became.. Most people were not challenging him later in life (and maybe were a bit too in awe of him to see signs of illness etc) but there wasn't a need. He seemed kinder and more adjusted (despite the drug problem) and resigned to just being a good musician with admiring employees and a few friends that enjoyed his company most of the time (even if he could be challenging). And really who would have the heart to stop a guy from being pain free and doing what he loves? His life ended sadly and I wish he could have had a family. But I do think there was love in his life (given and received) and I do think most people if they really knew how sick he was would have helped him. We all keep a part of ourselves hidden but that doesn't mean there are not connections made from the common ground we share..

Elisa Fiorillo stated that P kept two things of hers at Paisley..a poem she wrote for him at 19 called "He" and it was in his apartnment and a painting her 11 year old daughter painted and it was in his office.. She said her daughter used to tease him about his afro and watched fireworks with him on Paisley's roof. Does this sound like someone who never had love in his life?

http://mspmag.com/arts-and-culture/qa-with-tommy-barbarella/

wavesofbliss said:

purplerabbithole said:

I appreciate you posting this but I will avoid listening to it. I read the interview in print and his statement that anyone claiming to have been close to Prince is full of shit pissed me off. How the fuck would he know? How long did he know Prince--five years as an employee in Prince's most turbulent period? Maybe, many many people didn't know Prince deep down but he can't and shouldn't speak for everyone Prince ever interacted with.

[Edited 12/5/16 17:09pm]

where is it in print? i heard the soundbites and didn't hear TB say that. why does it make u angery? i tend to agree with him. with prince, it seemed to be which prince u delt with from one day to the next. TB didn't sound mean spirited to me. confused

[Edited 12/5/16 23:18pm]

[Edited 12/5/16 23:23pm]

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Reply #5 posted 12/06/16 4:51am

CherryMoon57

^^Perhaps the written interview contained further information because from these recordings only, Tommy's recounts sound quite genuine. Do you have a link?

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Reply #6 posted 12/06/16 5:22am

purplerabbitho
le

CherryMoon57 said:

^^Perhaps the written interview contained further information because from these recordings only, Tommy's recounts sound quite genuine. Do you have a link?



It is in the written part of the article. Can't create link from phone. Go to the magazines site. My long ass previous post has the web address at the bottom.
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Reply #7 posted 12/06/16 5:28am

Latin

Here's the thread with the link for the 21 Prince related articles including the interview with Tommy published by MplsStPaul Magazine.

http://prince.org/msg/7/436024
[Edited 12/6/16 5:32am]
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Reply #8 posted 12/06/16 6:15am

CherryMoon57

^^Thank you!

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Reply #9 posted 12/06/16 8:13am

nyse

avatar

Thank you for posting.
I cant get enough of inside information like this from actual members of the band.

appreciate this greatly
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Reply #10 posted 12/08/16 1:41pm

Ottensen

purplerabbithole said:

I appreciate you posting this but I will avoid listening to it. I read the interview in print and his statement that anyone claiming to have been close to Prince is full of shit pissed me off. How the fuck would he know? How long did he know Prince--five years as an employee in Prince's most turbulent period? Maybe, many many people didn't know Prince deep down but he can't and shouldn't speak for everyone Prince ever interacted with.

[Edited 12/5/16 17:09pm]

When you work day in and day out for someone for 7 years, you know them. Musicians as band members are not just "employees", they are also collaborators, confidantes, & subsitute family members at any given period for an artist. They are privy to secret parts of a person the public will never know. That said, it appears that Barbarella is speaking of all the raggedy Johnnny come latelys coming out of the woodwork claiming close association after Prince's death . Sounds fair enough to me.

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Reply #11 posted 12/08/16 2:43pm

purplerabbitho
le

Ottensen said:



purplerabbithole said:


I appreciate you posting this but I will avoid listening to it. I read the interview in print and his statement that anyone claiming to have been close to Prince is full of shit pissed me off. How the fuck would he know? How long did he know Prince--five years as an employee in Prince's most turbulent period? Maybe, many many people didn't know Prince deep down but he can't and shouldn't speak for everyone Prince ever interacted with.




[Edited 12/5/16 17:09pm]




When you work day in and day out for someone for 7 years, you know them. Musicians as band members are not just "employees", they are also collaborators, confidantes, & subsitute family members at any given period for an artist. They are privy to secret parts of a person the public will never know. That said, it appears that Barbarella is speaking of all the raggedy Johnnny come latelys coming out of the woodwork claiming close association after Prince's death . Sounds fair enough to me.



So some one who knew him 20 years ago knows him better than someone who knows him recently and may have known him for a year. Prince compartmentalized himself it seems but Tommy's narrow definition of closeness and his presumptions about anyone who claims to have a bond with P are unfair. Not understanding someone is not the same as thing as distance. Didn't you imply that musicians that work together for that long will become close? But what if you are the boss? What about people who did not work for him? --Chaka, wives, sister? What about people like Shelby J and Kiran Sharma (his manager for five years and much more recently than Leeds). Do they not count? Are they Johnny Come-lately's because they happen to have more favorable and warmer accounts of their time with P. If Tommy meant that P was a puzzle that not one person was able to put together, then maybe he is right but closeness can still come in moments. He has no right to speak for everyone else--PERIOD.

[Edited 12/8/16 15:19pm]
[Edited 12/8/16 17:51pm]
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Reply #12 posted 12/08/16 8:23pm

wavesofbliss

purplerabbithole said:

Ottensen said:

When you work day in and day out for someone for 7 years, you know them. Musicians as band members are not just "employees", they are also collaborators, confidantes, & subsitute family members at any given period for an artist. They are privy to secret parts of a person the public will never know. That said, it appears that Barbarella is speaking of all the raggedy Johnnny come latelys coming out of the woodwork claiming close association after Prince's death . Sounds fair enough to me.

So some one who knew him 20 years ago knows him better than someone who knows him recently and may have known him for a year. Prince compartmentalized himself it seems but Tommy's narrow definition of closeness and his presumptions about anyone who claims to have a bond with P are unfair. Not understanding someone is not the same as thing as distance. Didn't you imply that musicians that work together for that long will become close? But what if you are the boss? What about people who did not work for him? --Chaka, wives, sister? What about people like Shelby J and Kiran Sharma (his manager for five years and much more recently than Leeds). Do they not count? Are they Johnny Come-lately's because they happen to have more favorable and warmer accounts of their time with P. If Tommy meant that P was a puzzle that not one person was able to put together, then maybe he is right but closeness can still come in moments. He has no right to speak for everyone else--PERIOD. [Edited 12/8/16 15:19pm] [Edited 12/8/16 17:51pm]

there there. comfort this is really under ur skin. don't blow a fuse. have u tried to contact tommy on his website and discuss it with him? that might give u a better understanding of what he meant.

Prince #MUSICIANICONLEGEND
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Reply #13 posted 12/08/16 9:26pm

purplerabbitho
le

No, that's okay. I will get over it. Maybe, he was unknowable and the compartmentalizing he did made it impossible to see how the puzzle pieces fit.. Tommy Barbarella is entitled to his opinion.

I sounded like a looney on this thread and I am a bit embarrassed. Maybe if Tommy had said, that in his opinion Prince had no close friends, I wouldn't be so irate... The recent oral history in GQ cheered me up because it seems like the pieces were starting to make sense to me. Prince wasn't necessarily cold; he was fleeting and self-protective..His music is cryptic at times but accounts like those in GQ coupled with his music (their juxtaposition) might be the avenue for understanding the dude. I am sure he had several bonding moments, but really how many people as famous and focused as Prince ever have truely 'close' friends in the sense of that most of us know for an extended period. The fame and talent get in the way. Madonna has her kids but even her son won't have anything to do with her. Did MJ have true friends or just admirers and users?

[Edited 12/8/16 21:32pm]

[Edited 12/8/16 21:33pm]

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Reply #14 posted 12/09/16 12:32am

rogifan

When did Tommy last work with Prince? 20 years ago? Did they keep in contact after they stopped working together?
Paisley Park is in your heart
#PrinceForever 💜
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Reply #15 posted 12/09/16 6:00am

BillieBalloon

I think he was being honest and was a fan and clearly had a lot of respect for Prince.
Baby, you're a star.

Meet me in another world, space and joy
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Reply #16 posted 12/09/16 6:52am

wavesofbliss

rogifan said:

When did Tommy last work with Prince? 20 years ago? Did they keep in contact after they stopped working together?

in the audio clips tommy said that prince used to see him in the bands he played in around mpls after they npg were fired. tommy said prince hung around after one of tommy's shows rigt after the JW thing happened and prince layed into him. tommy said prince broguht a "yes" man to back-up everything he said to tommy. tommy felt like prince just wanted to argue. it was miserable.--//-- the last time tommy and prince talked, prince called tommy to do a resendency in paris. tommy asked if the other NPG members were going to be there and prince said no. tommy chose to do the nick jonas project with sonny and micheal instead. i think that would have been around 2010-2011. i don't really keep up with nick jonas.

Prince #MUSICIANICONLEGEND
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Reply #17 posted 12/09/16 11:00am

babynoz

purplerabbithole said:

No, that's okay. I will get over it. Maybe, he was unknowable and the compartmentalizing he did made it impossible to see how the puzzle pieces fit.. Tommy Barbarella is entitled to his opinion.

I sounded like a looney on this thread and I am a bit embarrassed. Maybe if Tommy had said, that in his opinion Prince had no close friends, I wouldn't be so irate... The recent oral history in GQ cheered me up because it seems like the pieces were starting to make sense to me. Prince wasn't necessarily cold; he was fleeting and self-protective..His music is cryptic at times but accounts like those in GQ coupled with his music (their juxtaposition) might be the avenue for understanding the dude. I am sure he had several bonding moments, but really how many people as famous and focused as Prince ever have truely 'close' friends in the sense of that most of us know for an extended period. The fame and talent get in the way. Madonna has her kids but even her son won't have anything to do with her. Did MJ have true friends or just admirers and users?

[Edited 12/8/16 21:32pm]

[Edited 12/8/16 21:33pm]



No, I agree with you. People like Tommy should speak for themselves, especially if they have not had any meaningful contact with Prince for so many years. I have said the same about others from way back when who are crawling out of the woodwork.

Tommy is wrong to judge other people based on his experience. Maybe Prince just wasn't particularly fond of him. lol

Prince, in you I found a kindred spirit...Rest In Paradise.
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Reply #18 posted 12/09/16 1:38pm

rogifan

wavesofbliss said:



rogifan said:


When did Tommy last work with Prince? 20 years ago? Did they keep in contact after they stopped working together?

in the audio clips tommy said that prince used to see him in the bands he played in around mpls after they npg were fired. tommy said prince hung around after one of tommy's shows rigt after the JW thing happened and prince layed into him. tommy said prince broguht a "yes" man to back-up everything he said to tommy. tommy felt like prince just wanted to argue. it was miserable.--//-- the last time tommy and prince talked, prince called tommy to do a resendency in paris. tommy asked if the other NPG members were going to be there and prince said no. tommy chose to do the nick jonas project with sonny and micheal instead. i think that would have been around 2010-2011. i don't really keep up with nick jonas.


What does he mean when he says "other NPG members"? Wasn't the band Prince was performing with in 2010-2011 considered the NPG? Or does Tommy think only the orginal NPG from the early 90s qualifies?
Paisley Park is in your heart
#PrinceForever 💜
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Reply #19 posted 12/09/16 2:09pm

wavesofbliss

rogifan said:

wavesofbliss said:

in the audio clips tommy said that prince used to see him in the bands he played in around mpls after they npg were fired. tommy said prince hung around after one of tommy's shows rigt after the JW thing happened and prince layed into him. tommy said prince broguht a "yes" man to back-up everything he said to tommy. tommy felt like prince just wanted to argue. it was miserable.--//-- the last time tommy and prince talked, prince called tommy to do a resendency in paris. tommy asked if the other NPG members were going to be there and prince said no. tommy chose to do the nick jonas project with sonny and micheal instead. i think that would have been around 2010-2011. i don't really keep up with nick jonas.

What does he mean when he says "other NPG members"? Wasn't the band Prince was performing with in 2010-2011 considered the NPG? Or does Tommy think only the orginal NPG from the early 90s qualifies?

i don't know what tommy thinks but i definately think of sonny, tommy, micheal and morris as the npg. his most recent band members seem interchangable to me. the name NPG has meant different things over the years; prince's fan base, his online community and his actual band. to me it has never been as specfic as the revoultion or the rebels( his first band with dez and dre).

--//

anyway, tommy asked prince if those guys were going to be in the group and prince said no. so he did the jonas project with sonny and mike. it seemed that tommy didn't want to work with p w/out sonny and mike so he went with the gig that had those guys too. TB said that the record and tour went well, that they paid them well and "we knew what was going on." i was left with the impression that prince's way of working just didn't suit him anymore. he has a wife and children and he could do w/out all the extra. he did say that he was at prince and mayte's wedding and took a pic with p, mayte and john l.

Prince #MUSICIANICONLEGEND
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Reply #20 posted 12/09/16 3:00pm

purplerabbitho
le

He did work again with some of the other NPG players including longtime keyboardist Morris Hays.

Michael Bland posted on his facebook page before and after Prince died 2 pictures of Himself, Prince and Sonny playing together in 2009. So Prince must have reached out to them. Also, I recall him working P again around 2012 because I read an interview.

The 2011 configuration of NPG either didn't have room for those guys or they were already contracted to work with Jonas.

I theorize that P reached out to Tommy but Tommy wanted a simplier touring experience.

I also theorize that the story you told about Prince laying into Tommy at the club might havebeen an example of what Tommy was refering to in the Rolling Stone interview when he said that Prince would try to save face around his "boys" and pick on you, but that one-on-one, it was a different story. In other words, the bad encounter with Tommy, Prince and his supposed "yes" man was an example of this saving-face behavior.. . The behind-closed-doors reference was probably referring to when Prince was asking tommy to tour with him again (probably a more humble prince at that point)_.

I imagine Tommy didn't understand P but was able to recognize when a man was insecure.

I still don't agree with his generalization that no one really was 'close' to Prince.. and besides what is the line between a yes man and someone who is loyal. He is almost implying that all of Prince's later 'friends' were yes men. NOt sure he is being fair there but of course P wasn't always nice to him and fired him, so he might be saving a little face himself.

wavesofbliss said:

rogifan said:

wavesofbliss said: What does he mean when he says "other NPG members"? Wasn't the band Prince was performing with in 2010-2011 considered the NPG? Or does Tommy think only the orginal NPG from the early 90s qualifies?

i don't know what tommy thinks but i definately think of sonny, tommy, micheal and morris as the npg. his most recent band members seem interchangable to me. the name NPG has meant different things over the years; prince's fan base, his online community and his actual band. to me it has never been as specfic as the revoultion or the rebels( his first band with dez and dre).

--//

anyway, tommy asked prince if those guys were going to be in the group and prince said no. so he did the jonas project with sonny and mike. it seemed that tommy didn't want to work with p w/out sonny and mike so he went with the gig that had those guys too. TB said that the record and tour went well, that they paid them well and "we knew what was going on." i was left with the impression that prince's way of working just didn't suit him anymore. he has a wife and children and he could do w/out all the extra. he did say that he was at prince and mayte's wedding and took a pic with p, mayte and john l.

[Edited 12/9/16 15:06pm]

[Edited 12/9/16 15:10pm]

[Edited 12/9/16 15:13pm]

[Edited 12/9/16 15:15pm]

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