TIR 79: When Gayle Chapman Was One of Prince’s Loyal Subjects


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 79 (2 Parts): Keyboardist-guitarist-singer-composer Gayle Chapman, who was among the very first band members Prince auditioned and hired back in 1978, following the release of his debut album, For You. As the only female group member, she toured with Prince into 1980. The band, which was the precursor to The Revolution, also included Andre Cymone, Dez Dickerson, Matt “Dr.” Fink and Bobby Z. These were important foundational years for Prince when he also released his self-titled sophomore album and the sexually charged and controversial Dirty Mind. Notable tracks from the period included “Soft and Wet,” “Just as Long as We’re Together,” “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad,” “I Feel for You,” “Bambi,” “Sexy Dancer,” “Uptown,” “When U Were Mine” and “Head.”

It was performing the final song that led to Chapman leaving the group as she felt uncomfortable with its sexually explicit language and theme. Before that took place, though, the lineup that included Chapman cut an unreleased studio project under the moniker of The Rebels in 1979. Two songs from those sessions were eventually released in re-recorded versions, “You,” by Paula Abdul, and “If I Love U Tonite,” by Mica Paris and later Prince’s wife, Mayte Garcia.

Chapman was replaced in Prince’s lineup by Lisa Coleman and went on to a lifetime mostly outside the mainstream music industry. She did continue writing and teaching music, as well as working with some other artists, and in 2003 released a self-titled, folk music-flavored album.

In this extensive interview, Chapman talks about being chosen by and working with one of the most creative forces music has ever known; stories from the road such as french-kissing on stage, sharing a bill with Rick James and appearing on American Bandstand; how and why she left Prince’s group before he rose to superstardom; what she did in the aftermath; how news of his death impacted her; and her current musical reawakening. So without further adieu, let’s travel back to a hard-to-fathom time when most of the world was still yet unaware of how a diminutive Minneapolis genius would forever change the face of music — and the classically trained white girl from neighboring Duluth, who would help send him on his way.



Scott Goldfine

As a fervid lifelong music & film enthusiast / student, I grew up in and around the Los Angeles entertainment industry. I have worked and held many positions in various media realms, since 1998 serving as Editor-in-Chief and now Associate Publisher for Security Sales & Integration, a trade publication serving the electronic security industry. I love several genres of music & film. The former includes funk (Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince, Ohio Players, etc.); blues (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Eric Gales, etc.); rock (Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, etc.); hard rock (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc.); jazz (Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Crusaders, etc.); R&B (Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Gil Scott-Heron, etc.); and more. I was a club disc jockey and ran a mobile DJ company (Musical Moods) for more than 15 years, which is where the name Dr. GX originates (Doctor Good Times). Fave film genres include horror (Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.); science fiction (Aliens, Terminator, 2001, etc.); action (Warriors, Road Warrior, Die Hard); westerns (Outlaw Josey Wales, Showdown at OK Corral; Wild Bunch, etc.); suspense (Jaws, Inception, Silence of the Lambs, etc.); drama (Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, etc.); and comedies (Life of Brian, Superbad, Ruthless People, etc.). I have attended many hundreds of concerts and movies (in theaters or screenings). I may as well also throw in a few favorite TV shows to give an even broader taste of my sensibilities. A handful would be Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Lost, Justified, Fargo, Seinfeld, Sopranos, South Park, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Key & Peele, Monty Python, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Last Man on Earth, Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family and The Office. Fave authors are Stephen King, Clive Barker and Michael Crichton. I am also a big sports fan and lifelong supporter of the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB). Also enjoy my family of course, electronics/computers/AV gear, and animals, nature and outdoor activities. Graduate of Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica College and California State University Northridge (Radio-TV-Film, Psychology minor). Also studied at UCLA for kinesiology/psychology and earned post-grad Certificate in Accounting from Santa Monica College. Present main occupation is as Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Security Sales & Integration (SSI), which I joined in 1998. I am responsible for overseeing all editorial content in print. online, electronic, in-person and any other media or products for the electronic security industry's leading business-to-business trade publication. SSI is part of Framingham, Mass.-based Emerald Expositions.