PERFORMING ARTS

My Life in the Purple Kingdom

Univ. of Minnesota. Sept. 2020. 176p. ISBN 9781517909277. $22.95. MUSIC
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BrownMark, the bassist for Prince from 1981 to 1986, with writer producer Uhrich, takes readers on the roller-coaster ride that was the first part of his life. Raised by his hardworking mother, BrownMark grew up in a racially divided Minneapolis, where early on he became fascinated by music. The funkster performed with his hometown band, Phantasy, and enjoyed a meteoric rise as a 19-year-old from a local music talent to part of Prince’s band, which opened for the Rolling Stones on tour. He describes his transformation from Mark Brown to the flamboyant BrownMark under Prince’s guidance and the joys and tribulations of fame and life on the road during multiple tours and the filming of the influential Purple Rain (1984). BrownMark ends by discussing his band project Mazarati, his disenchantment with Prince after the Under the Cherry Moon film/tour (1986), and his signing with Motown Records. Throughout, the bassist treats Prince evenhandedly as a nattily dressed, hard-driving, charismatic, and sometimes duplicitous musical genius.
VERDICT This page-turning memoir, while focusing on the artist’s early days and ignoring the past 30 years of his life, will appeal to BrownMark’s fans and general music enthusiasts.

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