Dr Cornel West pops up on the bonus features of the excellent movie documentary The Night James Brown Saved Boston (as part of a discussion panel at the film's premiere), and I saw him talking with Bill Withers in the Still Bill doco too. He's a fascinating gent, and here's yet more proof - a tale from when he hung out with Prince last year, in Montreaux...
PLAYBOY: What was it like to record a song with Prince?
WEST: Lord have mercy, that man is a genius of unparalleled vitality, and going into the studio to record something for him was an extraordinary blessing. But I just love hanging out with the man. We were together in Montreux last summer. He did two shows one night, two hours of jazz – Coltrane, Charlie Parker – and then came back with two hours of funk. Unbelievable. Afterward he said “Brother West, do you sleep?” I said, “Well, I try not to.” He doesn’t sleep at all.
He said, “Let’s spend some time talking.” First thing we did, we went on top of the hotel and watched some of Obama’s speeches. Then we had a dialogue for about an hour, then we started talking about music for another hour, and then we talked politics for another hour. We stayed up until 7:30, eight. He packed and jumped on his plane. Stayed up all night. And another time Michael Steele and I were at a Prince concert together.
PLAYBOY: You and the chairman of the Republican National Committee went to a Prince concert?
WEST: Oh yeah. Politics can’t stop you from rockin’ to a genius man! [laughs]