By: Renee Grant
Fans of Prince may still be mourning the loss of the icon a year later, but take comfort. Former backing bands of His Purple Majesty are touring this year, playing some of his most iconic music the way it was meant to be heard.
While his original band The Revolution are heading out on tour this spring and stopping in our area on April 29th and April 30th at the TLA, so will New Power Generation. Both bands will begin their tours at Celebration 2017, a show that will mark the one year anniversary of Prince’s passing. That show takes place at Prince’s Paisley Park mansion, now a museum dedicated to Prince’s music and artistry.
Musical director Morris Hayes says the band will play songs from The Revolution era, as well as the 90’s hits they once played alongside their leader. “It’s celebrating Prince; the fan is key,” Hayes says. “That’s the music they want to hear. It was a big family and the family has a lot of kids in it. The songs are the kids and we do them in service of the fans.”
New Power Generation, also known as NPG, made their debut on Prince’s Graffiti Bridge soundtrack, later backing him on his Nude tour in 1990. Some of those band members went on to record in the studio with Prince on his Diamonds and Pearls album. The line-up for the album included drummer Michael Bland, guitarist Levi Seacer, Jr., singer and keyboardist Rosie Gaines, rapper Tony M., percussionist Kirk Johnson, bassist Sonny T., and keyboardist Tommy Barbarella.
For the upcoming tour, the line-up will be Hayes, Barbarella, Johnson, and Seacer playing alongside singers Andre Cymone, Kip Blackshire and Marva King, guitarist Tony Mosley, and bassist Sonny Thompson. The band was with him before his untimely death, playing on his final studio album Hit N Run: Phase Two.
Once their run of tour dates ends, Hayes says the band intends to write new music, and possibly produce a new LP.