‘Purple Rain’ Turns 30: The Revolution’s Dr. Fink Breaks Down Prince’s Classic Track-By-Track


/ June 25, 2014

Doctor Fink has a message for Prince: it’s time for another Revolution.

“For me, personally, I feel sad that he has kind of segregated himself from us,” he says of his former boss, the groundbreaking music visionary who shook up (and turned out) the world with his landmark 1984 release Purple Rain.

As a former member of His Royal Badness’ backing band the Revolution, keyboardist Matthew Robert Fink still marvels at the cultural impact of the bombshell soundtrack. Indeed, as you shake your head in disbelief that today (June 25) marks the 30th anniversary of the classic rock-funk soundtrack to the Academy Award-winning film—a ballsy project that transformed Prince Rogers Nelson from platinum rude boy to global superstar—it should be noted that Fink was by the Minneapolis’ genius’ side almost from the beginning of his genre-blurring career. But he’s not looking for a nostalgic payday.

“I just think it would be great for the Revolution to get back together much like how the E. Street Band did at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” he says of a possible reunion of Prince’s talented outfit that included Fink, drummer Bobby Z, guitarist Wendy Melvoin, fellow keyboardist Lisa Coleman, and bassist Brown Mark. “Bruce Springsteen got up there and admitted, ‘Yeah, we had some rough moments and yeah I disbanded the group for a long time.’ But yet Bruce had the balls to put it back together with those guys for one night and give them their recognition. Prince doesn’t have to go on a big reunion tour with the Revolution. But it would be cool if he reached out to the band or even thought about doing a special show to commemorate the release of Purple Rain.”

Today, Doctor Fink, who still rocks his trademark quirky doctor’s scrubs as the frontman of the Prince tribute band the Purple Xperience, preaches the gospel of Prince. On any given night, the gregarious musician/producer can be seen performing many of the hits he played on record and on tour during his decade run with the Purple One. There’s a June 28 gig that’s set for Minneapolis’ First Avenue (the famed club featured in Purple Rain) as part of Bobby Z’s third annual Benefit 2 Celebrate Life, as well as dates in Dayton, Ohio (July 24), Detroit (July 25), and Indianapolis (July 26). And while it’s true that Prince is not much for looking back (it was a pleasant shock to witness the reinvigorated star invite Bobby onstage May of last year during a blazing hometown Minneapolis gig with his bruising female power trio 3RDEYEGIRL), he recognizes the 18 million-selling album’s importance to his storied career.

It’s the reason why the man has revisited the populace fervor of Purple Rain during some of his most recent performances. For much of this year, a dramatically slowed down, riff-heavy version of “Let’s Go Crazy” has kicked off the setlist for his acclaimed live shows. And both “When Doves Cry” and “The Beautiful Ones” have also popped up during various dates. There’s no way to get around it. Purple Rain is the project that not only propelled the multi-instrumentalist to major stadium act, it gave him the licensed freedom to promptly wild-out artistically on subsequent statements like Around The World In A Day, Parade, and Sign ‘O The Times.

Prince recently re-upped with longtime estranged record label Warner Bros. for a partnership to reissue many of those classic LP’s from his acclaimed ’80s run, headlined by a deluxe remaster of Purple Rain, reportedly due out later this year.

With the anniversary of the release of the Kid’s greatest commercial triumph on hand, VIBE has recruited Doctor Fink to breakdown the making of Purple Rain track by track. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to salute greatness! —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)