Pittsburgh musician recalls years he spent playing with Prince

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh musician who performed in one of Prince’s bands spoke with Channel 11 News Friday about his days performing with the pop icon.

“He came dancing into rehearsal the second day I was hired. He was playing air trumpet. He says, ‘Atlanta Bliss plays like this,’” Matt Blistan said about how Prince gave him his nickname. “I'm not one to say I'm not going by that name.”

Blistan played trumpet for the musician’s band “The Revolution” from 1985 to 1991.


“(It was) just an incredible challenge to work with this guy every day,” Blistan said.

He said Prince put on the pressure, never writing down the music for the band.

“He’d sing them to us,” Blistan said. “It was just incredible to be with him and see the creativity sparking just right there.”

Blistan’s basement is packed full of memorabilia, including posters, instruments, framed records and his Grammy, which he won for Prince’s song “Kiss.”%



Blistan said that despite Prince’s persona, the musician was very private and quiet.

“He kept to himself,” Blistan said.

Blistan said he was stunned to learn of Prince’s death Thursday at age 57.

“I guess all things come to an end someday, and, uh, this came to an end yesterday,” he said. “He won't be replaced.”

Blistan left Prince’s band and moved back to Pennsylvania in 1991. He said he last saw Prince at his final Pittsburgh performance in 2004.

“The opportunity Prince gave me, it was amazing, just incredible,” he said.