Did Prince Try to Steal Former Alice Cooper Guitarist Orianthi?
Orianthi is one of the most in-demand guitarists in rock, having worked alongside everybody from Richie Sambora, to Don Felder and even Michael Jackson. She notably spent several years as a member of Alice Cooper’s touring band, but, if things had gone a little differently, she could have worked with Prince.
“I knew Prince since 2007,” Orianthi explained in a recent interview with Ultimate Guitar. “He called me... I don't know how he got my number... the day after he played the Super Bowl. It was a call from a private number and it was Prince."
Initially, the guitarist thought she was being pranked. "I was about to hang up and he said it really was him. He said he had seen my YouTube videos and he was coming into L.A. to the Record Plant the next day and he was bringing Sheila E., and wanted to jam with me for a few hours.”
Stunned but excited, Orianthi attended the jam session, rocking out with Prince and Sheila E. A friendship quickly formed, with the guitarist suddenly sucked into the Purple One’s orbit. “It was a whirlwind - I got to hang out with him for four or five days. He went to the Roosevelt Hotel and jammed in the lobby at like 5 AM with all these people... it was like a celebrity fest. It was crazy. Honestly, it was such a wild time.”
Prince hoped to further mentor Orianthi, but record labels got in the way. “He wanted to produce my first album but the label said no,” the guitarist recalled, adding that executives "just didn't think that was the right idea at the time."
Still, the Purple One kept in contact with Orianthi, continually connecting with the rocker even after she became part of Cooper’s band.
“[Prince] would randomly call me from a private number two or three times a year, just to check in,” Orianthi recalled. “I'd be on the tour bus with Alice Cooper and he'd be like, 'Who was that?' and I'd tell him it was Prince and he'd say, 'What!?!'”
Though Orianthi ultimately never worked with Prince, she remembers the iconic musician fondly. “He just had the greatest sense of humor. He was just such an inspirational musician and he always kept this childlike energy and enthusiasm for music and he just never stopped creating. I knew a lot of people who knew him, too, and it's just unfortunate that we've now lost Bowie, we've lost Prince, we've lost so many innovators."