For those of us who remember MTV when they played music videos, one image we all still remember is that guy with the red bandana playing guitar with Prince. Well, in case you didn’t know, or perhaps forgot, that guy is Dez Dickerson. During his five-year tenure with the Purple One, Dez found fame through his vocal contributions to “1999” and “Little Red Corvette” and was later spotlighted for his playing on the latter song by Guitar World magazine ranking it #64 in their “100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time. Just after leaving the band, Dez did manage to make a brief appearance in the Purple Rain movie where he is shown performing his song “Modernaire” at the First Avenue night club with his band.
Leaving all this behind him, Dez came to Nashville to became involved in the Christian music business and several other media ventures, as well as record a solo record. After a long sabbatical from performing, things changed one night in 2007 when Dez saw the Long Players play Derek & the Dominos’ Layla record at the Mercy Lounge. He got the bug to perform again and now regularly joins both The Long Players and Mike Grime’s Guilty Pleasures as a guest vocalist. The vocals and guitar playing on Dez’s stunning version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” are something to be seen.
Dez has written an autobiography called “My Time with Prince,” in which he chronicles his involvement in the meteoric rise of the pop icon which you can get through firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a must read for any Prince fan.
An important part of Dez’s life is his Christian faith, and he is about to start a new non-denominational church this coming weekend. He had this to say about this undertaking: “’We Are Here’ is a new gathering for folks who are open to rethinking “church.” We feel strongly about a few simple, but profound, things-although some of it may be a bit different. It’s not because we’re trying to be different, we’re just really committed to doing what we believe with all our hearts God is directing us to do. We’re building on three simple Pillars: 1) We are God’s idea…not the other way around, 2) The Truth is not a concept, but a Person named Jesus, and 3) God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. We’re not out to build a program-just to build our lives around these principles.”
“We Are Here” meets at The High Watt at One Cannery Row, Nashville, Sunday mornings at 9:30 am.
With that, I am honored to present these 11 Questions from a man who I have been proud to call friend, pastor and musical soulmate!
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
St. Paul, MN. Although we already had lots of friends in town and felt a very strong leading to move here, the deal was sealed when a record label offered to create a VP/A&R position and move me and the family here back in 1990.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
First record was Vincibus Eruptum by Blue Cheer, purchased at Zayre’s Shoppers’ City, Maplewood, MN (vinyl was the only format around at the time). Last record purchased, haven’t a bloody clue! It may have been the first Imagine Dragons record at Best Buy (ages ago).
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
First concert was The Monkees at the St. Paul Civic Center. Last concert was my son Jordan’s band Bitter Pills at SXSW 2017.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Dez Dickerson (Ha ha!).
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
I don’t do the coffee shop thing much anymore, but I do like The Well and Barista Parlor. Five Points Pizza rules them all…
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
We Are Criminals by LENNY.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Believe it or not, I’ve never done one. If I did, I’d pick Phil Solem from The Rembrandts (who’s moving here next month), Tom Petersson, and Bill Lloyd.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
Cannery/Mercy/High Watt, and 3rd and Lindsley.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Making movies that visually/viscerally flow and move audiences like a great rock show.