Top 9 Things I Learned on the Paisley Park VIP Experience

Prince’s legacy lives on at his Paisley Park abode. His expansive (and expensive) lair has been turned in to a museum that rivals Elvis’s Graceland mecca. Guests can expect to see a quirky-odd assortment of all things Prince Rogers Nelson and an even wider array of Prince memorabilia. Like any good Prince-tinged museum, there’s plenty of purple flourishes and even some fluttering doves in a massive—and I’m assuming Prince-approved—silver-laden cage.

Here’s what I gleaned on my VIP experience with my friend Jeff (which clocked in at a whopping $160—but was worth $100. #sorrynotsorry):

9) All of Prince’s detailed-to-the-nines ensembles were created in house, er, in his house. There’s a giant tailor shop located just inside the front lobby on the second floor. Prince would see a pattern or print in a magazine (or even a swath of fabric) and give it to his head seamstress/costumer. She would create sketches that Prince would initial if he approved the design. (PS. Prince is teeny-tiny. Like Lilliputian-tiny. 5’3” tall. 5’7” in his killer, oft-matching boots.)

8) There are thousands—literally, thousands—of semi-finished or completed Prince demo songs under lock and key at Paisley Park that almost no one has ever heard—well, save for Prince (who played every single instrument on most of these super-secret gems.)

7) It took Prince a mere five hours in the dead of night at Paisley Park to write and perform 1991’s “Cream.” This was after hearing Warner Brother executives didn’t think there was a solid lead single on his “Diamond & Pearls” album. Infuriated, the song was Prince’s response. (The tune shot to number one with a bullet.)

6) Prince built multiple state-of-the-art, 48-track (!!!) analog studios inside Paisley Park where countless acts recorded music. (Aretha Franklin! Kool and the Gang! Patti LaBelle!) He used granite, marble, concrete, cherry and ash wood to create perfect acoustics—and to keep them completely soundproof. During one particularly lively jam session, however, Prince managed to shatter tiles and unhinge a urinal off the wall of a nearby men’s bathroom with his reverberating bass. So much for soundproof—or, rather, Prince-proof.

5) Opened in 1987, the place is an homage to all things late 80s/early 90s. (Read that: plenty of pastels and strangely placed neon.) Hundreds of gold and multi-platinum records dot every inch of available wall space—including Prince-helmed albums by Sheena Easton and Celine Dion to name a few. Prince’s former full-sized basketball court has been turned in to a monstrous shrine to all things Purple Rain—complete with his Oscar and the film’s iconic motorcycle on display. There’s weird memorabilia too—like a Purple Rain vending machine that was carted along to each of his hotel rooms during that tour. (Apparently, his Holy Purple Majesty was a fan of old school candy bars.)

4) Bless his perfectionist heart, Prince would mandate his band, back-up singers and dancers watch each performance with him after the show to see what could’ve been improved upon, according to our tour guide. It was almost an obsessive ritual. Thus, there are hundreds upon hundreds of hours of recorded Prince concerts in Paisley Park’s elusive vault.

3) A little mini-diner—complete with a smattering of booths—sits just inside the lobby. The inexplicable décor is farmhouse chic. It’s said Prince would host and/or DJ all-night dance parties and whip up his famous pancakes in the wee hours of the morning for hungry guests.

2) Part of the $10 million structure includes a gigantic 12,000 foot commercial soundstage in the back of the building that was privy to plenty of plenty of music videos, films and commercials. There’s an adjoining live entertainment venue (natch!) where Prince would host elite parties with the Madonnas and Stevie Wonders of the world. The name? The New Power Generation Music Club.

1) Prince built a neighboring farmhouse across the street years before the construction of the multimedia arts facility. At one point, he shooed everyone out and began living exclusively out of Paisley Park—rendering the rehearsal and dance hall, editing suites, and dozens of production offices obsolete. Six months after his death, Paisley Park began offering tours of the estate to the general public.