Alexander O’Neal Holds ‘No Grudges’ Against Prince
Alexander O’Neal, who briefly sang for the Time in the early '80s, says he holds "no grudges" against Prince for firing him before the band ever released an album.
Prince recruited O'Neal for the band around 1980, alongside musicians from both O'Neal's previous group, Flyte Tyme, and Prince's own high school group, Grand Central. However in short order Prince fired O'Neal as the Time's singer following some arguments, replacing him with Morris Day.
In a new interview with Music Radar O'Neal, who is currently performing in UK as part of the Giants of Soul tour, spoke about that period of his career. "There's a lot of controversy here. ... I got fired by Prince, Jimmy [Jam] and Terry [Lewis] got fired by Prince (years later, in 1983)," he said. "But I couldn’t hold no grudges because Prince was the one who kickstarted everything for us. He'd already had a couple of hits and he said, 'Look, it ain't just New York and L.A. and Chicago. We can do it here, too. We can put Minneapolis and the Twin Cities on the map.' He motivated us all." (After his firing, O'Neal went on to pursue his own solo career, releasing his self-titled debut album in 1985. Both Jam and Lewis served as producers on the album.)
Speaking with Music Radar, O'Neal noted that, especially in the studio, Prince certainly upheld his "reputation for being a perfectionist."
"He was from another planet," he said. "Whatever you can imagine musically and whatever you can imagine creatively, he could do it. No one was surprised when he turned into the Prince that we all got to know a couple of years later. Absolutely stellar...he was like nothing I'd seen before. He could do it all. Song after song after song. Some that I had the privilege of recording with him. I know that people are going through all those old tapes, so maybe we'll get to hear some of that stuff. What a shame he ain’t here with us."