Buffalo musician who played with Rick James recalls Prince opening for James

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2007 file photo, Prince performs during the halftime show at Super Bowl XLI in Miami. In recent weeks Prince has hosted late-night jam sessions where he has serenaded Madonna and celebrated the Minnesota Lynx's WNBA championship. Hundreds of fans descended on suburban Paisley Park Studios on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 paying $10 each to hear Prince and his band raise the roof until 3 a.m. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo musician detailed his experiences on tour with legend Rick James when Prince took the stage, calling the then up-and-coming musician the opposite of James.

Oscar Alston played bass for James in the 1980’s during many of James’ tours, and said Prince opened for James as he became more well-known and bolstered his popularity. Alston said James, who was flashy on and off the stage, acted in stark contrast to the short pop musician. Alston described Prince as always cool and collected.

According to Alston, Prince grappled with his popularity, noting it made him uncomfortable when fans began idolizing him. He said the musician always acted “as if his talent was a gift from God.”

“He made Rick work hard, there was never a night when we didn’t watch Prince perform — we loved it,” Alston said. “He was at that point he would wear the bikini pants and take the shirt off — the whole nine yards.”

Although Alston left James’ band in 1983 to part ways with the lifestyle associated with rock and roll, but said he’ll always cherish his memories of Prince, including when he tapped the artist’s hand, startling him and spilling his drink.

Alston said from knowing Prince, he knew he was a human, but his music ascended to a higher level.

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