Last week, The Shadow League was invited down to the legendary Webster Hall concert venue in downtown New York City to see The Revolution perform hits from the classic Purple Rain album, and to interview the collective as well.
I sat down with band members Brownmark (bass guitar), Doctor Fink (keyboards) and Wendy (lead guitar) to discuss their tour and to reflect on life a year after the death of Prince.
The Shadow League: What was it like working with a genius like Prince?
Doctor Fink: He would be like ‘Here’s the cassette you guys. You have to learn it like the back of your hand and have it right when you show up at rehearsal.’ Unless we already knew it, but a lot of times it was songs we didn’t know yet because he had done them in the studio all by himself.
Brownmark: It was like that for Controversy and 1999 was a lot like that. Purple Rain, not so much. We contributed to 99 percent of that stuff. We already knew the songs. He would make minor changes. Before Purple Rain came out, we were working on that stuff for a year, year and a half. Prince touched a lot of lives. When we came up in the ’80s, we touched a lot of lives. It was Prince AND the Revolution. When he passed away, a lot of the older fans, those fans were crushed. We were crushed. The only way I knew how to deal with that was to play. When we started playing the fans felt better, we felt better.
TSL: It seems that everyone loves Prince. What was it like being on stage a year after his death?
Brownmark: The emotions are already there but we didn’t want to get bogged down and gloomy. Prince, that’s not how he would do it. He would be on the stage doing splits, with a bad hip doing splits. It didn’t matter to him. It was entertainer and that’s what he would expect from any one of us.
TSL: What’s something about Prince that you feel people really didn’t know about the man?
Brownmark: Prince wasn’t only a musician, an artist and a superstar. That was a funny man. I mean straight up, he could have been a comedian. He was just funny by nature. Prince had a hairdresser named Olis. Prince had him down pact. When I sat in the chair Olis would be like ‘Oh lord, what am I going to do with the cockle beads, Prince?’ Prince would mimic that.
Wendy: He should have been in a buddy movie with Eddie Murphy. He was that funny.
Brownmark: Then I realized that’s where Morris Day gets it from. He gets it from Prince. Morris Day was a caricature of Prince. So, when you see Morris Day you see Prince.
The Revolution is currently on a 20 city U.S. tour with Smokey Williams of Mint Condition providing vocals on a few selections. Though the orchestrator is gone, the music still remains. No one is more qualified to play that music than the Revolution.