Guitarist Wendy Melvoin, keyboardist-pianist Lisa Coleman, bassist BrownMark, drummer Bobby Z. and keyboardist “Doctor” Matt Fink, known to music fans around the world as The Revolution, divulged on their legacy, their current tour and their fearless leader during a town hall at Sirius XM Radio.
On Monday (May 1), the group, whose prowess with instruments under the guidance of frontman, the late-great Prince, brought them international stardom, first discussed their reaction to the Purple One’s untimely passing in 2016 with the event’s hosts, Alan Light and Mark Goodman. “It still doesn’t make sense,” Bobby explained of his longtime friend’s unexpected death. He said that he last spoke to Prince to check up on him after his private jet made an emergency landing just days before he died. “When you suffer a tremendous loss that comes unexpectedly, it’s phantom limb syndrome for a very long time,” Melvoin said solemnly to a room of writers, photographers and bonafide Prince fans.
However, the quintet, who have always kept in touch, came together shortly after to “commiserate” as well as work together to figure out how and when to honor their friend and their fans during the difficult period. “[The real motivation] to go out [on tour] was to literally face a world that’s grieving like we are, and say to them in true honesty and authenticity, ’our commander-in-chief is not here…but you guys can take these songs and sing them. We’ll be the band,’” Melvoin said of The Revolution’s decision to tour and perform some of their most famous cuts, including hits from their iconic 1984 album, Purple Rain.
“We’re playing for a higher power,” Bobby said. As for what they took from Prince’s tutelage, the group said that he taught them how to push forward and stay true to themselves. Many fans at the event called the first few nights of the tour “unbelievable,” while a fan in the audience said that meeting the band was “a dream come true.”
As for their fans being able to hear their major hits on tour, The Revolution gives props to Prince for curating their well-known tunes and for teaching them how to become a well-oiled musical machine. “Prince created in us a unique sound,” BrownMark said of The Revolution’s distinctive style. “He always likened us to a locomotive. When we got back together, it was a freight train with even more explosive freedom… Now, we play with an energy that if he was here, it would be phenomenal.”
As Light pointed out, during their heyday, The Revolution amassed stardom that was like the “Beatlemania” of that moment. Lisa Coleman said that it was a “dream come true” to have “overnight stardom” thanks to the classic LP, and things could only go up from there, especially with the success of the film Purple Rain. Doctor Fink said he was “excited about the prospect” of the film, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Score. “Going into Purple Rain, the quality of the work changed in intensity,” Coleman explained. “[Our sound] got more vast, wider, taller…it was incredible.”
Bobby told the audience that during this time period, Prince knew that the band had something special on their hands, and in a way, he foresaw their legacy through his leadership skills.
“[Prince said] ‘we’re making history, we’re making history,’” he recalled. “He conjured up that we gave a performance that is etched in stone forever…his skill as a leader and a motivator, to get people to do things beyond their skill level…he made you feel bigger than life.”
Remaining Tour Dates:
May 12 – Madison, WI @ Barrymore Theatre
May 14 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue
May 16 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
May 18 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
May 20 – Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theater
May 21 – Toronto, Ont @ Phoenix Theatre
June 14 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
June 15 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
June 16 – San Antonio, TX @ The Aztec Theater
June 17 – Austin, TX @ ACL Live
June 21 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
June 22 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
June 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern
July 12 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
July 13 – Reno, NV @ Artown
July 14 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
July 15 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox