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Posted: April 20, 2017

Members of The Revolution reflect on Prince's death, talk tour


By Melissa Ruggieri, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

MINNEAPOLIS —

Throughout his genre-bending career, Prince worked with a dazzling array of musicians.

His New Power Generation rolled with him through the '90s and the female trio 3rdeyegirl shared his space in the most recent years of his musical creations.

But his 1980s-era crew The Revolution, their star cemented in 1984’s “Purple Rain,” remain the definitive Prince backing band.

>> For more Prince coverage, head to Ruggieri’s Atlanta Music Scene blog on AJC.com

Shortly after Prince’s death last year from an accidental opioid overdose, original band members Bobby Z (drums), “Doctor” Matt Fink (keyboards), Mark “BrownMark” Brown (bass), Lisa Coleman (keyboards) and Wendy Melvoin (guitar) convened in a Minneapolis hotel to share their grief with fans via a heartfelt video.

In September, The Revolution reunited for a trifecta of sold-out shows at the fabled First Avenue club in Minneapolis, and after their planned performance at this weekend’s Celebration 2017 at Prince’s Paisley Park compound, will embark on a tour of about two dozen dates through July.

>> Prince’s estate halts release of new EP, ‘Deliverance,’ report says

Atlanta – the new residence of bassist Brown – isn’t on the itinerary yet, but fans will likely be sated during a second run of shows this fall.

Earlier this week, Brown and Fink – clad in his trademark scrubs – sat inside the band’s rehearsal space near downtown Minneapolis to discuss the loss of their leader, as well as what can be expected on this Revolution return.

Their feelings about the one-year anniversary of Prince’s death

Matt Fink: The sting of that happening has not really left any of us. We still think about it a lot. Almost every day I’ve thought about it. The mourning process for him is still there. Who knows how long that will take before you really start to not think about it as much? But now that we’re doing this (tour), it’s there in your face no matter what you do. We’re just going to do our best to help the fans heal. ... I thought by now I’d be doing better, but it’s still very emotional. It’s like losing a family member, a parent, even.

>> PHOTOS: Prince’s Paisley Park prepares to celebrate a shining star

Mark Brown: We hit this jam the other night, and it was like, he’s not there. Emotionally, when we were finished I was like, (that was just) like the old days. Then you start reminiscing and a sadness comes over you. ... He lives inside of us now. He was our mentor, our leader, our purple funky Yoda. The force was with him.

Fink: He was such a spiritual person to begin with and believed in the afterlife. In our hearts we know that he’s watching over all of this.

On The Revolution’s decision to reunite after Prince’s death

Fink: Let’s go back to 2012 when we did the (American) Heart Association event for Bobby Z. He was working with the heart association (after surviving a heart attack the year before) and asked us to help him out. We hadn’t played together since 2003 with Sheila E. and (before that) show we hadn’t worked together in 17 years. ... When Prince passed, the immediate reaction is, we’ve got to get together. We made the decision to get together in L.A. because Wendy and Lisa were working on soundtrack work. It was at that time that we said maybe we should get out and play again just to keep the legacy alive and give fans something to hold onto as well.

>> PHOTOS: Prince through the years

Brown: When we came out to Minneapolis right after he died, we were in a hotel room and ... you could look in the streets and see the pain. We all just said, ‘We should make a video right now and let the fans know that we feel that pain, too, and we’re gonna play.’ I never felt it was impulsive or the wrong thing to do. Some of us have different opinions. For me, I felt like, I’m there with them, I feel their pain. I was there in the beginning when we created that stuff, (so) let me give some of that back. Then later on we decided at the right time, we need to get back on the road and start the healing process. By playing the music, it helped us. I know it helped me.

Fink: My last meeting with Prince (in fall 2014), he expressed quite a bit of interest in reuniting with the group. Who knows? It might have been coming, anyway. To me, that still made sense; he was wishing that to happen.

On whether they had witnessed Prince in any kind of pain or in the throes of addiction

Fink: No, not at all. During that meeting he seemed just fine. I had not hint of it at that time.

>> Honoring Prince: 6 memorable tributes

Brown: For me, I thought he was a little thin. I even said to him, ‘Losing a little weight there, bro?’ and he said, ‘You getting a little belly, bro?’ (laughs). But it was fun, so I didn’t sense anything. When it all went down, I was like, that just blew me away. But even the piano tour, I was watching some of the clips and I was like, hmmm, as well as we know him, something’s not right there.

On The Revolution playing Atlanta at some point on the tour

Brown: They’ll see us, that’s all I can say. This first leg, it’s set, but the second one is being worked on. We can’t say anything until it’s contracted, but we’re on the move.

>> Prince remembered throughout Minneapolis 1 year after death

Why Brown recently relocated to the Atlanta area

Brown: I got tired of the city life. San Francisco is a beautiful, lovely city, but I’ve always been a country boy. Always lived in the suburbs, I always liked the quietness. Atlanta always seemed like a spot that I’d like to check out. The music scene, it’s like a second Hollywood. I plan to tap big time into the scene once things start to settle. I know a few musicians down there already, but would love to tap into that scene and really be a part of it, like I was in the Minnesota scene.

>> New Prince music appears ahead of anniversary of death

On the Prince that the public didn’t always see

Fink: He was very gregarious. When he wasn’t embroiled in music creation, there were days he’d be very businesslike, but he’d interject funny things and quips. But then there were moments if you were just relaxing, everybody liked to be funny and use their own sense of humor. He had a very infectious laugh as well. He was very good at doing voices, too, and imitating people. Go on YouTube and watch his appearance on ‘Muppets Tonight’ (in 1997) – that’s the real Prince.

>> Purple reign: Remembering how world mourned Prince’s death

On what fans can expect from The Revolution’s live shows

Fink: There are songs from the catalog starting from ‘Dirty Mind’ through ‘Parade’ and a few numbers that they’ve never heard, things that have been sitting in the vault.

>> Read more trending news

Brown (laughs): We’ve got some junk up in there!


Related

ABC Photo Archives/ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

Prince and The Revolution

ABC Photo Archives/ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

Prince and The Revolution

Prince and The Revolution circa 1985. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
Photos: Prince’s Paisley Park prepares to celebrate a shining star

RYON HORNE

Photos: Prince’s Paisley Park prepares to celebrate a shining star

On April 21, 2017, Prince’s Paisley Park will host a celebration of Prince’s life on the first anniversary of his death. The commemorative gathering is expected to attract about 2,000 fans from 28 countries, and offer musical performances from The Revolution, Morris Day & The Time and New Power Generation. It’s a collective hug to honor the memory of the musical titan who died of an accidental opioid overdose at 57 in April 2016.

Honoring Prince: 6 memorable tributes

Nearly a year after the death of Prince, fans across the world continue to celebrate the legacy of the fallen musician. 

Just one week before his death on April 14, 2016, the legendary singer performed his last show at Atlanta's Fox Theatre, and the venue has plans to honor The Purple One in a grand way for the one-year anniversary of his death.

>> Read more trending stories

From 9 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 21, the Fox will post a rolling rotation of lyrics from Prince’s iconic song “Purple Rain” on its marquee, said Cindy Stoltz, spokeswoman for the Fox. 

The concert hall isn’t the only one singing his praises. Many Atlanta admirers and Prince lovers from all over have paid tribute to the icon since he died. From shrines to musical performances to social media dedications, here are some of the most memorable Prince tributes.

Prince's estate halts release of new EP, 'Deliverance,' report says

Prince fans were expecting a drop of previously unreleased material on April 21, the one-year anniversary of the singer’s death.

But Prince’s estate said otherwise.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: New Prince music appears ahead of anniversary of death

One day after it was announced that the EP, “Deliverance,” would arrive to streaming outlets in conjunction with the commemoration of Prince’s passing, the estate reportedly won a restraining order to halt the release.

>> Read more trending news

The six songs on the EP were co-written and co-produced by Prince and George Ian Boxill, who compiled the material for release. But Wednesday evening, a judge ruled that Boxill has no right to distribute the music to the public and referenced a confidentiality agreement that Boxill signed when he recorded with Prince in the mid-2000s.

According to TMZ, the restraining order expires on May 3; a hearing is expected prior to that date.

Upon the announcement of the new material, “Deliverance” hit No. 1 on the iTunes Pre-Order chart. Those who pre-ordered the album prior to the restraining order were granted the immediate download of the title track.

New Prince music appears ahead of anniversary of death

Fans of the late music icon Prince have new music to look forward to.

According to a Tuesday news release, Rogue Music Alliance is releasing an EP of music from the singer April 21.

Prince died April 21, 2016 of an accidental drug overdose at age 57.

>> Read more trending news

The songs contain previously unreleased music that, according to the release, are “new, undiscovered studio recordings from 2006-2008.”

song called “Deliverance” is already available for purchase from the six-song EP.

Related: Search warrants unsealed in Prince death investigation

"I believe 'Deliverance' is a timely release with everything going on in the world today, and in light of the one-year anniversary of his passing,” Ian Boxill, who co-wrote and produced all of the songs on the EP with Prince, said in a statement. “I hope when people hear Prince singing these songs it will bring comfort to many. Prince once told me that he would go to bed every night thinking of ways to bypass major labels and get his music directly to the public. When considering how to release this important work, we decided to go independent because that's what Prince would have wanted.”

RMA is an independent group that, according to the release, “operates as a hub of label-esque services partnering with artists to form their own micro label.”

The “Deliverance” EP can be pre-ordered on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. It will be released in physical form June 2.

 

Prince remembered throughout Minneapolis 1 year after death

www.accessatlanta.com

Prince remembered throughout Minneapolis 1 year after death

A lone jogger sprinted down the pathway between the hulking white Paisley Park compound and Minnesota Highway 5, indifferent to the history living on the other side of the sagging chain-link fence.

A purple makeshift wall on the property – the Prince4Ever Tribute Fence – cluttered with fan-donated mementos and photos, remained off limits Tuesday as Paisley Park closed to prepare for Celebration 2017, a four-day event launching Thursday.

The first anniversary of Prince’s still incomprehensible death arrives Friday, and the commemorative gathering is expected to attract about 2,000 fans from 28 countries, as well as offering musical performances from The Revolution, Morris Day & The Time and New Power Generation – a collective hug to honor the memory of the musical titan who died of an accidental opioid overdose at 57.

>> Read more trending news

Although Paisley Park, located about 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis in the suburban enclave of Chanhassen, now functions as a museum – a quick turnaround from studio to tourist attraction by the same folks who manage Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee – many fans have chosen to contribute to a “Graffiti Bridge” of sorts a few steps from the property.

The Riley Creek underpass, which connects Lake Ann Park and Paisley Park, was, before April 21, 2016, a naked slab of curved concrete.

Now, spray-painted R.I.P.s and messages of sadness, hope and gratitude are etched on the walls.

“Purple rain is what we bleed,” read one, while another also invoked a Prince lyric: “There’s something else…the afterlife.”

While Prince spent his later years in his Chanhassen hideaway – an area that was devoid of commercialism when he built it in the ‘80s but now resides less than a mile from a Target and across the street from a day care center – his loss is hardly relegated to the city of about 25,000.

In nearby St. Paul, the Minnesota History Center retrieved one of its treasured artifacts – the purple coat and white, ruffled shirt Prince wore in his 1984 career-making “Purple Rain” movie – to put on display this week.

The outfit, which Prince gave to the Minnesota Historical Society in 1992, is in danger of fading, so it can make only brief public appearances.

St. Paul residents Jason and Rachel Gorski donned purple attire Tuesday evening specifically to visit the small exhibit at the History Center.

“He and I were born the same year,” Jason Gorski said. “I’m trying to maintain just a tenth of his coolness.”

Rachel Gorski, 50, said she and her friends became Prince fans in high school.

“It was wild to be here (in Minnesota) when he died. The entire energy of the city was just down. People would cry spontaneously,” she said.

But, like many of Prince’s fans, the Gorskis eventually found a way to combat the sadness – they attended a Prince tribute show with Morris Day & The Time at the famed First Avenue music club in downtown Minneapolis and “danced the night away.”

Jason Gorski is confident that Prince’s legacy is solidified for generations.

“He will beat time because he has 100 more years of music (in the vault),” Gorski said. “It’s just too bad he won’t be here to spread it.”

It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that everyone who lives in Minneapolis has some sort of Prince story.

But it makes sense that the staff at the Electric Fetus, a funky independent record shop that has been a musical mainstay in this city since 1968, would have much to say about one of the shop’s most famous, and most loyal, customers.

Fans might recall that Prince visited the store on Record Store Day 2016, five days before he died. He tweeted his thanks on April 16, and noted that he “rocked” a Stevie Wonder album on the way home (he also scooped up albums by Santana and Missing Persons).

Despite his obvious feelings of nostalgia that day, Prince was renowned for his interest in new artists.

“He would always be on top of the new music,” said David “Chilly” Caufman, who has worked at Electric Fetus for 18 years. “He really supported the scene here. He loved supporting local businesses.”

The store, unsurprisingly, has created a Prince sales display of books, candles and T-shirts, as well as a mug with the inscription from that final tweet.

 

  New Prince music appears ahead of anniversary of death
  Search warrants unsealed in Prince death investigation
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