Aussie music figures share Prince stories

Australian music industry figures have paid tribute to Prince, a reclusive and prolific musician who exuded warmth through his music.


Prince was found dead at his home at his Paisley Park Studios compound, in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen, on Thursday. He was 57.

The genre-defying artist was in Australia just two months ago for his intimate Piano and a Microphone tour, performing in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and then New Zealand.

Prince toured Australia four times in total. His previous Welcome 2 Australia tour brought him to arenas around the country.

Australian promoter, Michael Chugg, had the pleasure of touring Prince on that arena tour and remembered one quirky incident involving the reclusive artist.


“I’ll never forget one night I was standing at the Allphones Arena in the back walkway (from the) dressing room and four big security guys were pushing this roadcase through just before the show was due to start, and I said to one of Prince’s production people ‘What’s the road case all about?’ and they said ‘That’s him, he’s on his way to the stage’,” Chugg told AAP.

Paul Dainty, the tour promoter for the more recent Melbourne and Sydney shows, felt “honoured” to be associated with the music star.

“A true, true icon of the music business. Hard to imagine you were only with us in Australia a few weeks ago with those amazing piano and microphone shows,” Dainty said in a statement.

Some Aussie artists have had their own personal interactions with the great musician.

ARIA-award winning artist Jenny Morris toured as the support artist for Prince in Europe during his Diamonds and Pearls tour in 1992.

She remembered him on Friday as a recluse who exuded warmth through his eyes.

“He was very reclusive, especially at that time in his life, so we had this list of rules that we had to adhere to like ‘Don’t look Prince in the eye, don’t approach him and don’t talk to him’,” Morris told AAP.


Despite these directions, Morris said he was a giving man and even took time to play with her then two-year-old son, Hugh, who she had on tour with her.

Gotye, aka Wally De Backer, has spoken previously of Prince’s influence on his music and was in denial over his death, which has left a “great hole” in his heart.

“I refuse to believe it. I refuse to believe it. – Wally” he wrote on his band The Basics’ Facebook page.

De Backer, who is currently in New York putting the finishing touches together on the next Gotye album, described Prince as an “omnipotent force”.

Prince had been particularly influential to De Backer as a solo artist, according to bandmate Kris Schroeder, because he bucked a lot of trends and did his own thing.

Schroeder told AAP The Basics would “love” to do some sort of tribute to the late artist, but isn’t sure when or how that could happen.

Australian indie singer Sarah Blasko, former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes and pop star Guy Sebastian all expressed their sadness at Prince’s death on social media.

In Melbourne, the Arts Centre where Prince performed in February said its spire would be lit purple in his honour on Friday.

Despite lighting its famous sails in his favoured hue while he was here, the Sydney Opera House said they would not be following suit.

The venue, instead, released a social media tribute of the artist including a photo of him performing at the piano on the Opera House stage during his tour.

“Princes recent Concert Hall performances were masterclasses, electric and virtuosic,” the venue wrote.

Prince will be remembered by many in the Australian music industry for his talent and musical prowess.