Q&A with C.J.: André Cymone a long way from Revolution, but music endures

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 30, 2013 - 5:42 PM
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André Cymone, bassist and songwriter

This summer André Cymone is scheduled to release “The Stone,” his first album in nearly 30 years.

Cymone has been jamming more than half his life. In fact, he was making music without and with Prince before “The Revolution” was born. The original bass guitarist for the Revolution, Cymone was recently at First Avenue to perform for Bobby Z’s “2nd Annual Benefit 2 Celebrate Life!” Bobby Z was the first drummer for the Revolution, and he also was joined at his fundraiser for the American Heart Association by other original members, Dez Dickerson and Dr. Fink.

Cymone answered a few questions during the sound check. The club was extremely noisy and Cymone was pressed for time, so we couldn’t relocate to a more quiet area. Since I could barely hear Cymone when I transcribed the video, there is no interview video. That’s a shame since there was funny footage of Cymone rating my “Purple Rain” squeal. I was much better once I removed my earplugs.

Cymone and I had another hiccup. I mention it so readers understand his response to a question to which he took umbrage regarding Arie, his son with ex-wife singer Jody Watley. Cymone has six children; the others are: Sheik, Valencia, Matisse, Frida and Sophia. After I explained that my question was not a slight of his other offspring but rather prompted by a curiosity about the career choices of the child of two very successful performers, Andre was cool.

As some know, Cymone is one of the musician friends who goes way back with Prince. During a rough patch in Prince’s home life, he lived with the brood of Fred L. Anderson Sr. and the now-late Bernadette Anderson, Cymone’s parents. As you will read, his dad, who still lives in the Twin Cities, has never taken to Andre’s stage name. André Simon Anderson dropped his last name and Francophiled his middle name for the stage.

 

Q You are one of the few former Prince associates who’s been extremely successful. Is that testament to your strong songwriting ability?

A Yeah. It’s also that [we] used to do a lot of great music.

Q When are you and Jody Watley coming back to Minneapolis to perform at the Dakota with my buddy Shaun LaBelle? Shaun tells me that’s going to happen.

A You know what? I hate to bust his bubble. I’d love for that to happen. Jody Watley is very underrated. I think she’s got a beautiful, amazing voice. If she ever said she wanted to do it, I’d say, “I’ll back you any day of the week.”

 

Q Did you make so much money off the “Real Love” album that you didn’t need to work because those royalties were that great?

A I don’t know if I’d go that far. You know, I did do “Days of Thunder,” “Beverly Hills Cop II,” the “Suddenly Susan” theme song. I did a lot of other stuff. But I think the accumulation isn’t bad. I’m just a musician.

 

Q Your roots are heavy R&B, but I hear you’re going in the rock direction on your upcoming album?

A Absolutely.

Q Is your son Arie following in his parents’ musical footsteps?

A Actually, I have other sons. I love all my sons. He’s awesome. He kind of does music, but he’s not into music right now. He’s doing some graphic artist design. My youngest son [Matisse, 7, has already played] at the world-famous House of Blues in Los Angeles.

 

Q Are you able the hook up your children to see any performer they want?

A I don’t know. I’ve never tried that. I don’t know what kind of clout I’ve got.

 

Q Last concert you paid to see?

A I went to Gary Clark Jr. and Lianne La Havas.

 

Q With a name like André Cymone, how many times have you been to Paris?

A A bunch — maybe 10 or 12.

 

Q Were your parents ever upset you didn’t use your family name as your stage name?

A Yes, my dad. He still wants me to go back [to my] original Anderson last name.

 

Q I understand Prince can be quite the clown. What are some funny memories you have of him living with your family?

A Every memory of him with my family is great. He’s a really funny, funny guy. Extremely talented. It was a blessing when we hooked up in Minneapolis.

 

Q When was the last time you had contact with Adam Ant?

A You know what? I tried to reach out to Adam about two months ago, ’cause he was playing in Los Angeles. That’s another amazingly talented human being.

 

Q What singers who are hot right now would be worth your putting up with the rigors of touring?

A I love Adele’s music and her as an artist. She’s amazing. Jack White and James Blake.

 

Interviews are edited for clarity. C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.”



 

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