Prince’s former bassist Brownmark has accused the late music icon of cheating him out of millions during his career heyday through broken promises and crushing concert fines.
The musician, real name Mark Brown, shares the ups and downs of playing with the “Purple Rain” hitmaker in his new memoir, “My Life in the Purple Kingdom”, in which he recalls how Prince turned his life around by plucking him out of nowhere to join his backing band, the Revolution, back in 1981, when the singer was just starting to blow up in the U.S.
Brown was just 19 at the time, but he quickly learned that Prince was a tough boss, fining his bandmembers if they made a mistake onstage.
He describes being kicked from behind during his first show with the Revolution, as Prince whispered in his ear, “F**king play! Or I’ll find somebody who will play.”
“I once got fined $1,200 in one gig; that hurts when you make $2,000 per week,” he wrote. “I didn’t think Prince would hold me to it but he did.”
Brown, who was expected to make himself available at all hours of the day for his boss, soon developed a workaround to avoid the financial penalties, “I used a rumbling bass technique where he could never catch me in a mistake.”
By 1985, Brown was receiving job offers to play with the likes of George Michael and Miles Davis, but Prince convinced him to stay with the promise of a big payday from his lucrative “Purple Rain Tour” – only to be given a relatively small bonus of $15,000