My informant is a 23 year old drummer from the suburbs of Cincinnati. He is a drummer in a band as well as an employee at one of the three major record labels left in America today.
“Okay, so I am going to tell you a story that isn’t actually my story – this didn’t happen to me, it happened to Questlove. And it is my favorite Questlove story because he’s led an incredibly interesting life and has lived more life than I’ve lived in like – will ever live. So one of Questlove’s biggest musical influences, as is the case for every right-thinking person, is Prince. And ever since he got his first Prince record, Questlove has always wanted to meet Prince. And the day it happened, he gets a text, not from Prince, but from Prince’s manager… out of nowhere. This was how Prince communicates with everybody. Um, out of nowhere, with no explanation of how he got Questlove’s number, he gets a text saying ‘Hey, Prince wants to hang out with you tonight. Meet at this place,” you know he’s in Minneapolis. It says “Come to Paisley Park. Bring cool people.” So Questlove rolls up at Paisley Park, brings most of the Roots, brings every cool person he knows. He brings like Jill Scott, a bunch of other people, a bunch of the Soulquarians. He gets to the place and Prince isn’t there. And they wait around for like two hours. This is also classic Prince. And Questlove gets another text being like, “Yo, Prince is ten minutes away. Be ready.” And then, Prince rolls up. It’s important to remember at this point, that like, Prince is like half Questlove’s size. Prince was a tiny, tiny man. And Questlove is a very, very large man. Questlove is huge – which I didn’t know until I saw him like, step away from a drumset. He is a giant man. Uh, but, um Prince rolls up. And the first thing he says is “Everyone give me your cell phones.” He collects everybody’s phone and he walks up to Questlove and the first words that Questlove hears from his idol, his lifelong musical hero, is like “Gimme your phone, I know you have it on you.” And Questlove gives him his phone. And then he’s like “Okay, come with me” and they all go together into the basement of Paisley Park … and there’s a roller rink. And Prince is like “Alright, we’re gonna rollerskate.” And Prince walks over to the jukebox, it’s like the perfect playlist, and they go rollerskating until five in the morning. And Prince had disco ball roller skates that lit up – it was the coolest shit ever.”
My informant learned this story from his father. It would be performed during a band practice or in conversation with fellow musicians or non-musician friends to prove his knowledge of musicians – particularly drummers.
Questlove is a modern-day legend when it comes to drumming. He is well-known and well-loved. It makes sense that a drummer who is aspiring success would tell legendary stories of a legendary drummer meeting his idol. It also makes sense that the informant told the story in a way to make Prince appear mysterious and aloof.