|Birth name||Desmond D'andrea Dickerson|
August 7, 1955 |
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
|Genres||Funk rock, Pop rock, R&B|
|Associated acts||Prince, The Revolution|
A veteran of numerous Minneapolis rock bands, Dickerson answered Prince's call for a touring musician in the Twin Cities Reader, a local entertainment paper, in 1979. After a 15 minute audition in the back of Del's Tire Mart, Dickerson was picked as guitarist. He became a fan-favorite in concert. He was soon recognized as much for his trademark "Rising Sun" headband as for his blistering guitar work. In 1980 when off the road for Christmas break, Dickerson had a profound conversion experience and became a born-again Christian. Afterwards, performing songs with sexual themes began to trouble his conscience. Even though Dickerson's and Prince's popularity were growing, he desired more and more to quit the band. He contributed songs for Prince's side projects, writing "He's So Dull" for Vanity 6, and co-writing "Wild And Loose", "After Hi School", and "Cool" for The Time. Dickerson contributed vocals to "Little Red Corvette" and "1999" on the 1999 album, as well as the guitar solo for "Little Red Corvette" that ranked #64 on Guitar World's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.
However, following the 1999 tour, Dickerson left the band to pursue other options. He was replaced by Wendy Melvoin.
After leaving the Revolution, Dickerson formed his own short-lived band, the Modernaires and toured in support of Billy Idol on his 1984 Rebel Yell tour, frequently joining Idol onstage. Dickerson appeared in the movie Purple Rain with the Modernaires, but their song was not released as a single nor on the Purple Rain soundtrack. A solo recording deal failed to materialize, however, and in 1987, Dickerson relocated to Nashville to back singer Judson Spence. He also kept busy with session work and producing other artists.
In 1990, Dickerson was named Vice President of A&R with the CCM label Starsong Communications. Four years later he founded his own label, Absolute Records, a Christian-rock record company. Artists on his label included Squirt, These 5 Down and Metropolis aka Metropolis America. He released a solo album in the late 1990s entitled Oneman. He recently released a book, My Time with Prince-Confessions of a Former Revolutionary, which tells of his time with Prince and the Revolution from his first audition in 1978 until his departure in 1983. Many fans agree that Dickerson never got the music industry break that he deserved as a black rock artist in the 80s.
In 2005, Dickerson released a double CD retrospective collection of his work from 1982 to 1987. It marked the long-awaited official release of the complete version of the classic "Modernaire". Taken from the film Purple Rain and featuring Prince on guitars, keyboards and backing vocals, this track was released on vinyl in 2008 by the UK label, Citinite.
Also in 2005, a 3-CD set was released entitled "Rock of Ages – Where Classic Hymns Meet Classic Rock!". This was produced, arranged, recorded and mixed by Dez Dickerson. Featuring trademark powerful guitar riffs, it presented 32 well-known hymns in a rock format, with Dez playing many of the instruments. Joining Dez on this project was his son, Jordan Dickerson, who contributed drums to many of the tracks and bass guitar on some. Jordan also arranged "Agnus Dei".
Currently Dickerson manages record label and branding companies Pavilion Entertainment and Pavilion Synergies in Nashville. He has been seen moderating panels at music conferences such as South by Southwest. He appeared as a keynote speaker at Brooklyn's Northside Festival in June 2012 where he coined the phrase "ROA" (Return on Audience). In that same year, he also joined his former band mates at a full scale Revolution reunion which was set up by drummer Robert "Bobby Z" Rivkin to raise money and awareness for heart disease. Since Rivkin nearly died of a heart attack the prior year. Prince attended the performances but didn't participate.
- Oneman (1999), Absolute
- Rock of Ages – Where Classic Hymns Meet Classic Rock! (2005) Madacy
- A Retrospective 1982–1987 (2006)
- "Modernaire" (2008), Citinite
- "Dez Dickerson". IMDB.com. Retrieved 2011-03-11. External link in
- Nilsen, Per (2003). Dance Music Sex Romance: Prince: The First Decade. SAF Publishing, p. 315 ISBN 0-946719-64-0
- Kitts, Jeff & Tolinski, Brad (2002). Guitar World Presents the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Hal Leonard, p. 164 ISBN 0-634-04619-5
-  "It Takes a Village to Break an Artist"