Bobby Z, the original drummer for Prince and The Revolution, calls the band’s reunion tour “surreal.”
The Revolution re-formed after the death of its legendary founder and leader Prince, who died at age 57 on April 21, 2016, and embarked on a major tour this year.
“It’s obviously mixed emotions on a lot of levels and still kind of surreal,” says Bobby Z, who performs 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11, at the Superstar Theater at Resorts Casino Hotel. “It feels like we’re playing for him. If we make a mistake, it’s not that big of a deal for each other, but he would have hated it.”
The tour brings together Wendy Melvoin (guitar), Lisa Coleman (keyboards), Brownmark (bass) and Dr. Fink (keyboards), who backed Prince when he become a global superstar, following the “Purple Rain” album and movie. The Revolution broke up in late 1986 following the “Parade” tour.
Bobby Z talks about how the band is dealing with the loss of their musical mentor, meeting Prince for the first time and how their friendship endured over more than four decades.
Q: How do you handle Prince’s absence with the audience — do you make references to him?
A: Depending on the night and the show, there can be several references. We’re doing “Paisley Park,” and referring to his message of inclusion. You can see it in the faces of the audience. The fans are all colors and all races — everybody from a heavy metal fan to a polka fan are Prince fans.
Q: How is the band coping without him on stage?
A: We’re trying to trudge through the mud of living in a world without the maestro and his music. We’re playing on — we have his chip in our brains. We know what his intentions were musically.
People are still fighting over Mozart and Beethoven and what those notes meant. With us, we know what Prince intended, but future generations might not. When you play Prince live, we’re giving back the energy we gave to him when The Revolution was formed.
Q: Take us back to what it was like when you first met Prince in Minneapolis in the 1970s.
A: When I met him, we were really un-famous together — he had been in bands with Morris Day and he knew all the musicians. Andre (Cymone) was his bass player. I met those two, and we were a trio for a long time, as we were looking for other people. There were a lot of jams and amazing music.