Sunday, April 24, 2016

Princely Encounters

In the fall of 1985, I moved to Minneapolis to pursue a career in the recording industry. One thing that inspired me to do so was a local musician who had become a superstar. Prince put the Twin Cities on the musical map by pioneering what was known as the “Minneapolis sound.” 

Although I never sought assistance from the Purple One, we had a very brief encounter in 1990 when I was cast as an extra in his movie “Graffiti Bridge.” Initially, I wore sunglasses on the set until Prince approached me in between takes and asked me to take them off. After I removed my sunglasses, Prince said, “You look better without them.”

There were other memorable encounters I had with individuals associated with Prince. The previous year I worked at a music store selling keyboards and other pieces of sound equipment. One day a pastor and his wife stopped in to buy a synthesizer. They mentioned Prince’s former bodyguard "Big Chick” Huntsberry attended their church and offered to introduce me to him.

The following Sunday I drove out to this church but Big Chick couldn’t be there. That night the church hosted a Peters Brothers seminar, which exposed the evils of secular rock music. Although I agreed with some of the things they said, I walked out near the end of the seminar. I was disturbed with the Peters Brothers quoting portions of song lyrics to where I thought they were taken out of context (years later I learned that was done to avoid lawsuits from record companies).

A few days later, I heard Big Chick speak at a different church. After former Prince guitarist Dez Dickerson sang a couple of Christian songs, Chick gave his testimony. I was pleased to hear he got delivered from drug addiction but couldn’t relate to his declarations of loving Jesus Christ. I thought, How could you love somebody you can’t even see? Back then I had a hard time believing in the supernatural. Fortunately, I recognized my need for the Lord in 1991 and committed my life to Him.

Then in February 1995, I attended a business presentation in downtown Minneapolis. Three men took turns describing a new software program being released. One of them was referred to as “Chris” and soon I recognized this man with a British accent. Chris Moon had previously owned a recording studio where Prince made a demo tape that eventually helped him land his first recording contract. When the presentation was over, I chatted with Chris who gave me his business card.

Two years later, I called Chris Moon to see if he would listen to a demo tape I had put together since becoming a Christian. To my surprise, Chris invited me over to his house. What I thought would be a brief meeting lasted 2½ hours. Because I didn’t know what Chris’ spiritual beliefs were, I originally planned on being quiet about mine and let my music do the ministering for me. However, Chris kept asking me questions and we talked for about 90 minutes before he would listen to my music.

After hearing my demo and giving me some suggestions, Chris said he always thought of himself as a godly person. I asked Chris, “Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”

He replied, “Well, I’d like to.”

So I offered to pray with Chris and he repeated the prayer of salvation with me in his living room. The next night at church, I shared this praise report with a friend of mine named Wendy. She dated Chris ten years before and since then had been praying for his salvation. Wendy was literally dancing around in circles when she found out her prayers were answered!

A few weeks later, I was doing volunteer work at a Christian nightclub called the New Union. Before the start of a new band tournament, Dez Dickerson (who was one of the judges) shared his testimony of coming to know the Lord in 1980. During the next three years, his performing Prince songs with sexual themes began to trouble his conscience. Dez left Prince after the “1999” tour and attempted a solo career before starting a Christian record company. I talked with Dez about my meeting with Chris Moon. He was pleased to hear Chris had become a brother in the Lord.

On his album covers and at awards shows, Prince gave thanks to God despite writing lyrics that were often profane (the Peter Brothers suggested the god Prince served was his genitals). After I got born again, I often prayed for Prince’s salvation. He did become a Jehovah’s Witness in 2001 and stopped performing his more explicit songs. Unfortunately, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society does not acknowledge the deity of Jesus Christ.

This past Thursday Prince died at the age of 57. His death surprised me since I heard he was very health conscious. Ironically one of Prince’s last tweets was “I am #transformed.” I hope he really knew the Prince of Peace.

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.” - Psalm 146:3 (NIV)

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