A Memoir By The Man Who Discovered Prince
“Warner Bros. Record deal? Hold up! This was Minneapolis, not New York or LA. This was the sticks, the prairie —the frozen boondocks for god’s sake. Who’d ever even dreamed of scoring a major recording deal from outta this place? Well, a guy named Owen Husney did. Soon, I started hearing his name all around Minneapolis. People didn’t dare speak it too loud; Husney was a name uttered in hushed, reverential tones: “Look. Over there! That’s Owen Husney. He’s the one that went out to LA and got Prince a massive recording deal!” – Peter Himmelman
HOLLYWOOD (Perfect Music Today) 3/24/18/–Famous People Who’ve Met Me is an outrageous collection of true stories starring oddball characters, behind the scenes gurus, scoundrels, and brilliant superstars in the music business straight out of Minnesota. The unique memoir does more than just recount tales; it’s a true in-depth character study as told through the eyes of musician, agent, concert promoter, and manager Owen Husney. The stories reflect not only his crazy, sometimes dark experiences but also his contributions to the world of music — from Elvis to Al Jarreau, Richard Harris to Yanni, Hendrix to K-Tel, Prince to The Revolution.
“So, who’s the band?” “It’s not exactly a band,” Chris Moon shot back. “Shit, you mean it’s a bunch of studio musicians?” “No, not exactly.” “Then what is it?” Chris cocked a sly smile and looked directly in my eyes. “It’s one kid. He’s just turned eighteen, and he’s playing all the instruments and singing all the vocal parts. We co-wrote the lyrics and recorded it at Moonsound, my 8-track studio just down the road. Still in shock the only question I could muster was, “Does he have a name?” “Yeah, Prince Nelson.” “Really!!” I said, almost losing my big man cool. “You come in here telling me you’ve got a Stevie Wonder one man band, who writes the music, sings everything, and he’s the Prince of some country? How does the fairy tale end?” “No, he’s from North Minneapolis. He and his friend Andre both live in Andre’s mother’s basement — Prince is his real name.” — Owen Husney “Famous People Who’ve Met Me.”
From lying his way into major record labels to possibly solving a decades-long cold-case rock and roll murder Famous People Who’ve Met Me relates Husney’s hilarious and bizarre accounts that take place behind the music. Husney’s passion for music, his wild encounters, and his hilarious story telling ability make this book a must read. It’s not just for the curious but a great education for anyone entering the artist or industry side of the music business today.
Behind the scenes stories..
Jimi fuckin’ Hendrix stood in the doorway — a freshly lit cigarette in the corner of his mouth – a trail of smoke spiraling upward. He wore a pink and red paisley shirt open to his navel that presented us with a preview of the countless strands of red, turquoise, and black beads that encircled beneath. His wrists and fingers were adorned with silver bracelets and turquoise rings. I recognized the dark blue bellbottoms, the purple scarf across his forehead, and the trademark brown fringe jacket from his performance earlier that night. His neatly trimmed “fro” was backlit, illuminated by a lamp in the suite. I gave out a gasp at the sight of this album cover come to life and hoped he didn’t notice.
* * * *
“So, David tells me you’re the man who discovered and managed Prince,” came an East Coast accent that I didn’t quite recognize. And then he reached behind his desk and produced a large jar from a cabinet. Placing the jar on his desk he said, “This is what happens when people fuck with me.” The jar was filled with a cloudy liquid and I strained to see what was inside. I made out what looked like a few strands of hair floating in the substance and then – a nose and eyes; holy shit it was a human head!
* * * *
When the driver dropped Sly Stone at his dressing room I read him the riot act. “You almost got me killed. Get your ass on stage!” My idol only smirked at me as his band members climbed on stage to a huge cheer from the audience. Sly sauntered on to the stage and took his place as the crowd went wild. His first song was the hit, “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).” But this time, as I stood on the side of the stage, Sly stared directly at me and started singing, “Fuck You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).”
* * * *
“You guys fucking kill me. I signed 17-year-old Ritchie Valens and gave him a #1 hit record with ‘La Bamba.’ I signed and discovered Sam Cooke, Barry White and Frank Zappa. I invented the Los Angeles surf sound but all anyone wants to know about is the Bobby Fuller Four. How did Bobby die? Who killed him? It’s all a bunch of B.S.” Bob said, as his right hand nervously pushed through a thick head of perfectly white hair.. (But for more, you’ll just have to read the book…)
Meet Owen Husney (just as those Famous People did)
“I’d been working on a memoir for some time, but the discovery of my personal notes – and the letters Prince wrote me – gave me the impetus to finally complete the book of stories from my life.
In 2016, I returned to Minneapolis at the invitation of The Revolution for a memorial concert at First Avenue. Visiting a small storage space I had prior to my move to Los Angeles I discovered all my notes, documents, and various ephemerae from my time with the budding Superstar. The notes document the time we were together from 1976 to 1980. There was a four-page letter Prince wrote me explaining his goals, feelings, and desires, his handwritten outline for the first album, and a note to me as to why he should produce himself.
I also found a treasure trove of Minneapolis music history – from 1964 when my band had a large regional hit, to concert promoter, to personal time with Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Academy Award winning actor/singer Richard Harris, and so many more, as they passed through the Twin Cities – or when I was on the road with them.”
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