When you run an empire, you have to fire someone from time to time. If you’re the late Prince, one of those people was The Roots band member Questlove.
Earlier this year, Questlove told the story of his strange and brief time under Prince’s employ on the Storyville video series.
It turns out the drummer was on a blind date with a big group of friends, and they had tickets to Prince’s “Musicology” concert tour in Philadelphia. But at the last minute, Questlove discovered he had failed to buy a ticket for himself. So he made arrangements to meet Prince’s assistant at the backstage door.
“All of a sudden, like speeding 40 miles per hour around the stadium hallway bend was Prince on a golf cart,” Questlove recalled. “He’s whipping this cart like it’s ‘Golf and the Furious.'”
Prince brought Questlove in, but he had to sit on the stage because the show was totally sold out — not one seat available. Then Prince’s assistant went over to Questlove and said The Purple One wanted him to throw Prince a party after the show. Oh, and Prince wanted to play pool, too. After some phone calls and wrangling, Questlove found a venue, got a pool table brought in, grabbed his records, and hustled to the party.
Questlove, who’s also a DJ, was excited to spin some tunes he believed Prince would surely appreciate. But that wouldn’t be the case, especially when he played Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti.
“Next thing I know, he came over to my booth and said, ‘Play something else.’ I was flabbergasted, because to that point nobody fronted on Fela,” Questlove said.
Before Questlove could recover, Prince’s assistant handed him a “Finding Nemo” DVD and told him to play it.
“OK, maybe they mean like background,” Questlove thought. “So I put on the DVD and she comes back again. ‘You can cut the music off’ … I was, like, wait, did I just get fired and replaced by a cartoon fish?”
And this isn’t the only unusual story of Prince firing someone that’s made the rounds. Vulture included another from a crew member in its list of outrageous Prince stories.
“No crew members were allowed to look at him or talk to him,” the source who worked for Prince told Vulture. “I literally saw him fire a guy for looking at him. He just said, ‘Why is that guy looking at me? Tell him to leave.'”
Listen to Questlove tell his firing story below: