Prince's fans love 'mystique' of the vault

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 9 July 2017


Tommy Barbarella - who toured with Prince from 1991 to 1996 - believes the 'Raspberry Beret' hitmaker's fans are fascinated with his vault of unreleased music because it sounds so "mysterious"

Prince's former keyboard player Tommy Barbarella believes the "mystique" surrounding the late music legend's vault of unreleased music is more interesting than the reality of it.

Tommy recorded and toured with the 'Purple Rain' hitmaker from 1991 to 1996 and saw what tapes and recordings the songwriter had stored away at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

The vault contains various demos, unheard songs, live recordings and footage of rehearsals and concerts that Prince never made public and since his death in April 2016 at the age of 57 his estate has been sorting through the material and planning releases.

As a friend and employee of Prince, Tommy can understand the intrigue around the music that exists but he isn't sure if the reality can live up to the fantasy of the vault.

Speaking to BANG Showbiz, the musician said: "What I think is, and I'm sure there's a lot of great stuff in the vault, but I think the idea of the vault - the mysterious mystique of it - is much more interesting to people than the content. I remember hearing about 'The Black Album' for years, and people had bootleg copies and there was all this hype. Then, when I finally heard it, I thought it was good but it can't live up to the hype. Then it was released and did nothing."

Tommy - who is touring Prince's music as part of a new line-up of The New Power Generation, which includes Morris Hayes and Andre Cymone among others - still finds it amusing that the vault is an actual physical entity filled with tapes, videos and DVDs.

He said: "What I will say is that it is actually a vault, I mean who has a vault? It's like an Egyptian crypt or something. It does need to be catalogued and preserved."

And Andre - who was part of Prince's first ever touring band before they parted ways in 1981 - isn't sure if all these unheard songs should be released.

He said: "Some things might be better left alone; these songs are in the vault for a reason."

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