Sign in to comment!

OTR Interviews

Prince's bass player: He was a genius and 'just a generous guy'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 21, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST:One of Prince's best friends, who played bass for him, Nik West, goes ON THE RECORD from Phoenix.

Nik, I know you are heartbroken tonight. How are you dealing with this? What are you thinking tonight?

NIK WEST, PRINCE'S CLOSE FRIEND: I just -- I mean, of course, I'm heartbroken and I just feel like -- I'm sorry.

I just feel like he was one of the last of his generation. One of the -- just a legend. I mean, he wanted to make sure that everyone was themselves. Like, he didn't ask you to come and join in with him. 

And for me, he didn't ask me to come and play bass and be my favorite bass player or Larry Graham. He just wanted me to be who I am, you know. And he was always trying to make sure that I passed the torch. He's like -- whenever you make it, make sure that you reach out and you help those that are under you. You know, help them. And that's what he did to me. That's what he did to so many other musicians and so many other people that were really close to him.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's sort of interesting, Nik, is that he had -- he was such a big star. I mean, 40 years. It's hard to stay on top for so long and be so successful as he was.

Why was he able to be a success so long? I mean, a lot of people sort of come and go, but he maintained it.

WEST: I think just from our conversations and everything, Prince was the type of person -- he never wanted to copy anyone else. He wanted to be himself. And that's why he was such an advocate of doing that.

He told me the story of where there are five great bands back in the day. The Ohio players -- Earth, Wind, and Fire, and you know, he said I had to do something that made me kind of stand out so that I could just break out be something completely different. And that's what he continued to do year after year, decade after decade. He just continue to be himself and just to do something different and break every rule.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of interesting. A lot of people can play one instrument or maybe can write songs or something. But what was so masterful about Prince is he played so many instruments. He wrote so much music. I mean, he is a prolific song writer. He had so many talents within the music industry, which is so remarkable.

WEST: Yes. I mean, he is a genius. That's as simple as I can put it. You know, people that don't know him coin him as a genius. But, when you do know him, you really realize that he was intelligent, extremely smart. Extremely smart.

You know, he told me, he said what is it that you do great? And I said, well, I think I play the bass OK. And he said, no, you are a calculus genius. You love to do calculus. So how about this summer you come out to Paisley Park and we just work with, K.C. (ph) and you teach him how to do calculus and you teach him some bass on the side.

I mean, he had all these dreams and things that he wanted to do for other people. You know, he wanted to reach out to other people. And he told me that he was planning on writing this book, I mean, back in February. He wanted to write this book.

So, I think he was so giving. Like he would give me his last bite of food. Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? What can I get for you? That's the type of guy he was.

VAN SUSTEREN: I love Minneapolis because I'm from the Midwest, but you don't see a lot of rock stars living in Minneapolis. More like Los Angeles, New York, London, or even Memphis or Nashville.

Why did he live in Minneapolis?

WEST: He said Minneapolis raised him. And I tried to convince him. I say why don't you move somewhere where it's not so cold. I don't want to come to Minneapolis in the winter time. It's way too cold.

He says, oh no, no, no. That will never happen. I'm never leaving Minneapolis. Minneapolis raised me. There is a legacy here for me. So he was just all about just being who he was and just being at home.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about family? Does he have siblings or parents living?

WEST: I believe his sister, his mother, and sister. But, yes. I mean, Paisley Park was his home. I mean, he had these concerts there, but it was also a place where he lived. It was his home. He opened his home doors to people, you know. He gave them tours and told stories about how he came to be who he is. And just such a generous guy. Just generous.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nik, I'm story for your loss this evening. Thank you very much for joining us.

WEST: Thank you for having me.