Prince was a genius in the studio and on stage, but apparently, he had a contentious relationship with many people in his life. The rock icon’s former bassist Mark Brown has published a new book, My Life in the Purple Kingdom, in which he claims he was cheated out of millions of dollars and songwriting credits while working with the late artist in the 1980s. In a new interview with the New York Post, Brown goes in depth about some of the instances.
Brown says he received a phone call from Prince, out of the blue in 1981, when he was 19 years old to play for the rising star’s Revolution band. In less than three months, Brown left his day job at 7-Eleven to start playing with one of the hottest musicians of the disco era, believing that he was well on his way to stardom.
The first sign of trouble was when Brown was cast in Purple Rain, Prince’s legendary movie musical, but never got to see himself on screen. “I took drama classes, joined SAG and acted in the movie,” he said. “Then all my scenes were cut. Prince came up with some lame excuse about having to make the movie shorter.”
Another time that Brown realized that he may have been in over his head was when Prince had a road manager tally up the band member’s mistakes when playing on stage so that the singer could charge him for them. “I once got fined $1,200 in one gig; that hurts when you make $2,000 per week, said Brown. “I didn’t think Prince would hold me to it but he did,”
He goes on to say that no matter what time of day that Prince reached out to Brown, he needed to be available. “It could be 4 o’clock in the morning and my Bat Phone would ring,” Brown said. “If I didn’t answer, one of Prince’s security guards knocked on my door and told me to come to the studio. Prince would be there, looking like a rock star ready for a photo shoot, and he’d have me jam with him on an idea for hours.”
The final straw for Brown was when he didn’t get any co-writing credits for Prince’s 1986 hit song, “Kiss.” That, alon with the mere $15,000 bonus he got for working on Prince’s Purple Rain tour that grossed over $100 million, Brown had enough of the disrespect and left the band.
Now, Brown is attempting to tell all with his new book. My Life in the Purple Kingdom is out now.