Portland cover artist, concert promoter remember Prince - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland cover artist, concert promoter remember Prince

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Prince cover artist Julian Stefoni. Prince cover artist Julian Stefoni.
A poster from Prince's 2013 show, hanging at the Roseland Theater. A poster from Prince's 2013 show, hanging at the Roseland Theater.

In the wake of the passing of iconic music legend Prince Thursday, people in the Portland area – including a cover artist and a concert promoter – remembered him.

“I think he means a lot of things to a lot of people and it’s a shame that he’s gone,” said David Lieken, the owner of Portland’s Roseland Theater and the founder of Double Tee Concerts. “I think it’s way premature.”

Lieken met Prince when their music circles crossed in Los Angeles years ago, while Lieken was managing a band that was competing with Prince for a top spot in the music charts.

“The only thing he said was, ‘Hi, I’m Prince,’” Lieken said, laughing. “That was it!”

Prince did a midnight show at the Roseland Theater in the 1990’s after singing at a larger venue in the city, and returned to do two sold out shows in one night on April 21, 2013 – three years to the day before his death.

Lieken was in the audience that night.

“I’ve been in this business for 40 something years, it’s one of those things you get excited about,” he said. “We decided to paint our walls purple to honor him and we’re going to leave them that way now.”

The chart-topping superstar also inspired a popular Portland-based cover band called Erotic City.

Lead singer Julian Stefoni told Fox 12 that losing Prince is like losing a relative.

“I’ve seen him many times since 1980, I grew up with him, so it’s a sad day,” Stefoni said.

But the loss is also personal for him.

Stefoni met Prince for the first time when he was performing at the Riviera Theater in Chicaco. Stefoni said Prince pulled him up on stage, called him his nephew, and allowed him to sing “Kiss.”

Since then, he’s been on stage with him a number of times, most recently at a show last year.

“I got to meet him and his band members and his mom,” Stefoni recalled. “My favorite song of all time from the Prince catalog is “The Beautiful Ones.” There’s just something about that song I love.”

He said he’s not yet sure how Prince’s death will change his tribute shows, but he’s sure emotions will only run deeper – especially during iconic songs like “Purple Rain.”

“People are going to know that we’re singing songs to an artist who is no longer physically here,” he said. “We’ve done that song and people would be crying just because they felt it then, and to do it now, I can only imagine what it’s going to do to people.”

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