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MonoNeon on Playing with Prince

Dywane “MonoNeon” Thomas, Jr.When Prince died on April 21st, the world lost another legend. The Purple One touched so many lives through his music that he was more than a musician; he was a cultural icon.

Besides being a world-class bassist himself, Prince always kept top-notch low-enders by his side. Rhonda Smith, Mark Brown, André Cymone, Larry Graham, Ida Nielsen, Andrew Gouché and more. Most recently he was working with Dywane “MonoNeon” Thomas, Jr. The bassist shared what it took to prepare for Prince in October, and now a month after the Artist’s passing, he’s opening up about his experience.

“Prince gave me so much love and freedom while I was with him,” MonoNeon said. “I didn’t have to change nothing – he just let me play. Prince knew I didn’t talk much but he felt my vision and what I wanted to do. I remember him telling me, ‘I saw you before I heard you’… I’m always going to remember that. He saw my high-visibility colors, the sock on my bass… he allowed me to be MonoNeon with NO compromising.

“My musical interaction with Prince was sublime… the vibe was down-right funky and free. The last time I was with Prince was in February 2016 for a late night studio session recording stuff for an album he said he was going to release calling it, ‘Black Is The New Black’, with me on bass, Prince on guitar/keys, drummer Kirk Johnson and saxophonist Adrian Crutchfield. The only track that was released from the project was ‘RUFF ENUFF‘ – originally released on Tidal to promote his new band he was creating – somewhat similar to the Madhouse stuff from back in the day.

“My life since early 2015 was based on going back and forth from Memphis to Paisley Park, for it to come to an end… for something so magical and life-changing for me to come to a close definitely made me sad but I’m so thankful Prince embraced me and gave me a chance. I’m going to miss him dearly!”

Check out these clips of MonoNeon with Prince, including the bassist’s last recording sessions at Paisley Park: