You were musical director and drummer of Prince’s Sign o’ the Times Tour in 1987. Most now consider that album to be even greater than Purple Rain. How did that come about?
“I was performing with my band, opening for Lionel Richie at the time. I told Prince, management and everyone else that I was tired of being a solo artist. I wanted to take a break. I just wanted to play as a musician and not have the responsibility of being a solo artist, because I had hit a wall. I was done for a minute. I just wanted to stop for a while, go play some other music and just play drums and percussion. So he said, “Oh, okay. Well, I’m gonna disband my band, so you wanna come play with me?” And I was like, “Oh, cool.”
So when I disbanded my band, I’d brought with me Boni Boyer, Miko Weaver and Levi Seacer. And the other half of that band ended up starting their own band: Tony Toni Toné. The process for Prince was really just putting together music, and the idea of a line-up of songs for the show.
“You’ve got 18 black athletes, they have ‘America’ on their back, they’re wearing ‘Team USA,’” Draper said. “But when they get back to the USA, they’re still not quite Americans yet, they still don’t have all the rights of Americans, they don’t have the respect of Americans.”