For as long as any Twin City scenester recalls, Andre Cymone and Prince Nelson had been inseparable. They’d lived together; they’d hung out together; their musical styles and tastes- even their personalities- had complemented one another’s: Anderson, personable and outgoing; Nelson, shy and introverted. But they’d never been your average Minneapolis teens. As individuals, Andre and Prince were binary stars of equal luminescence, holding one another in orbit. Still, it’s what they might have achieved as a pair that remains the Minneapolis Sound’s central “What if?”
In demo incarnations, Andre Cymone compositions were revealing his infatuations with punk and electronic music beyond anything hinted at by Prince, his chief collaborator. Minneapolis’s punk scene was flying in formation with its funk, and Cymone frequented Suburbs and Replacements sets, plus stray engagements with Husker DÜ and the Suicide Commandos. Meanwhile, records by Devo, Kraftwerk, and Yellow Magic Orchestra were making their own impact on the multi-instrumentalist. Whereas bass was an afterthought in most Prince recordings, Andre’s plunky versatility on the instrument took front-and-center in Cymone’s arrangements.