ESC

So Many Awesome Prince Stories

Prince is gone, but will never be forgotten. Everyone has seen the Dave Chappelle sketch where Prince plays basketball, but there are thousands of Prince stories out there just waiting to be told. Fortunately, GQ talked to people willing to tell those stories.

What did Prince smell like?

Corey Tollefson (Minneapolis-based entrepreneur and fan; attended events at Paisley Park for over 20 years): The thing that was funny was you never saw Prince [first], you smelled him. He always smelled like lavender. And you knew when he was there because you’d turn around and go, “Holy shit, I smell Prince.” And then, ten seconds later, you’d see him.

Prince knew no one was going to steal his running car.

Morris Hayes (keyboard player; Prince’s longest-serving band member, 1992–2012): I remember taking him to the hardware store in my camping van. He wanted to go buy a lock. And we go to Ace Hardware—it’s snowing and freezing—and I say, “Okay, Prince, you stay in the car.” So I’m picking stuff up in the aisles, I look over, he just cruises by in a turtleneck sweater and his fuzzy boots, and people are looking like, “Oh my God, Prince is in the hardware store!” He comes and finds me and he’s got a handful of crap—like, “Can we buy this?” I’m, “What did you do with the car?” He says, “It’s out there—it’s just running.” I said, “Prince, you can’t leave the car running—somebody could just steal the car.” He said, “This is Chanhassen—nobody’s gonna steal the car.” So we get out to the car and sure enough it’s out there, just running, smoke coming out of the tailpipe. And he’s like, “I told you.”

Another fantastic story from Hayes.

Hayes: We have a thing called Caribou Coffee in Minnesota, which is like Starbucks. He’d go over there, and he didn’t have any pockets. He didn’t have a wallet or any credit cards. He just had cash he’d carry in his hand—like, a $100 bill. And whoever took his order, they’d have a good day, ’cause he’d buy his coffee drink and then just leave the whole hundred. He doesn’t wait for any change because he doesn’t have anywhere to put it.

I advise everyone to read the GQ stories. It may take you an hour to get through it all, but it’s well worth it.

Davison: The backstory to that was—and this is the part Charlie doesn’t tell—Eddie had wanted to play Prince his new album. So during that basketball game, Eddie’s music was playing, via boom box, on a cassette. After that game, Prince goes over and he tosses the cassette out of the boom box, and he says, “Let me ask you a question: Do you see me stop my show to do comedy?”

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