If Prince and Eddie Van Halen met briefly in passing, without much time to talk, what might they use those few seconds to talk about? It seems the answer is clothes – if the eyewitness account of former Prince drummer Michael Bland is to be believed.
Perhaps that sounds like a wasted opportunity, but considering how both were known for caution when it came to being themselves in public, maybe then it starts to make a little more sense.
Bland was asked during a recent episode of Podcast on Prince whether he preferred Van Halen live with David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar. “I met Sammy when we played the MTV Video Music Awards in ’91,” Bland replied. “Van Halen, they played ‘Poundcake,’” he continued before dropping his bombshell. “And one of my favorite moments working with Prince was watching Eddie Van Halen and Prince have a conversation.”
That led to an excited interruption from the hosts, eager to make sure they hadn’t misheard. “Prince and Eddie,” Bland confirmed. “It was only a couple of minutes. We’d finished our sound check and we’d hung around for theirs. Prince was kinda talking to Dick Clark or somebody, and Sammy and Eddie came walking around. And they both greeted Prince, and Sammy kept walking but Eddie stayed.”
Bland said he wasn’t close enough to listen in to the resulting chat, but confirmed the pair were “laughing a lot. Prince had this kinda outfit; it’s an outfit he’s been photographed in. It’s like a white pinstriped one-piece that was kinda like a vest on the top,” Bland remembered. “Eddie said something and he started smiling, and he went to touch Prince’s lapel, like, ‘I like that; it’s real sharp. I used to wear something like this.’ It’s like that sorta thing – and Eddie did used to wear something like that.”
He added that it was a conversation that he “would really like to have been in on,” before finally answering the original question. Bland said he preferred Roth as a frontman, but Hagar as a singer.
It seemed like an anticlimax since the hosts – and, presumably, many listeners – remained locked in a moment in 1991, imagining two of the world’s greatest-ever guitarists discussing, of all things, a white pinstriped jumpsuit.