The music Prince made with the Revolution from roughly 1982 to 1987 is some of the most innovative, beloved and popular music ever produced. The band is now back in action, paying tribute to its creator and giving new life to its old material on stage. And there’s still a lot of life in that music, at witnessed by the band’s ability to transform a huge crowd into a single, boogieing mass.
Following a powerful and emotional performance on the Arroyo Seco’s Sycamore stage, keyboardist “Dr.” Matt Fink of the Revolution took a few minutes to talk with the LA Beat about what he’s been doing lately, who he’s been doing it with, and the pleasures of playing Prince music to young festival crowds.
That was a really exciting show today. I know you play a variety of different situations, do you approach a festival gig like this any different from the way you approach a headlining show where the whole crowd is there to see you?
We don’t really approach it differently, but normally the sets are a bit shorter. You know, we usually play for 90 minutes, maybe an hour-forty, and today was a fifty minute set. So you have to create a new set list for it.
What are some of the things you get into that we didn’t get to hear today, in case we have a chance to see you down the road?
We’re doing a song called “All Day All Night”, which was released on the Purple Rain special edition, that came out last year but (prior to that) unreleased, never really been out before. And we’re doing a couple more album tracks off of Around The World In A Day, you know, a few other things. Songs that weren’t hits but are deep cuts off of records.
I remember that song from a recording of you guys playing Prince’s birthday party at First Avenue where almost the entire set is songs that nobody had heard at that point.
Yeah, those were songs that we were debuting for the first time, to sort of test them out to the audience.
Are you looking into playing any more of that material?
Yeah, we hope to have some meetings with the people in charge of the vault, who are overseeing the material that’s sitting in there, and see what we can perform out of that, stuff that’s never been heard before, and also hopefully release some records. Either remix what’s in there, do more updated versions of the mixes, or that kind of stuff. And we’re also planning on doing some new original material in the near future, as well,.
I was curious about that, whether you and the group are approached by the estate or by Warner Brothers to have in put into any of the things that are going to come out.
Definitely. There’s definitely going to be input from the group.
What other music are you working on where your fans might be able to find you?
Right now I’m working with a new artist based in Minneapolis, female singer named Michelle Berg. She has a couple of things posted on Youtube with some other producers. But she started working with me several months ago, I’m co-writing most of this material, producing it and I’d like to say, it’s turning out really well. In fact we’re going to be shooting a video for one of the songs, probably the first single. It’ll probably be late July when we get underway with that. She’s an up and coming young gal, just turned nineteen.
What kind of music is it?
It’s pop! Poppy, fun, upbeat, positive lyrics – dancey stuff, some darker, more emotional moods. A real mixture.
When you’re hearing up and coming musicians today, do you still hear echoes of the music you guys made?
All the time. There’s definitely a lot of respect for Prince in the younger artist community, and they’ve taken a lot of influence from Prince. You definitely hear it. They’re even bringing back some of the sounds that we used in the 80s and 90s.
And does that go the other way, when you’re thinking about these sets of your own music, are there things that come in from outside your own experience?
Yeah! Definitely. I especially take heed of the new styles that are being put out and have tried to emulate some of that in my production style. Definitely. Try to keep up with all the great popular artists, of any time.
When people see you in a festival situation like this, who might not be overly familiar with your music before they see you, what do you hope they take away from it?
We get extremely positive feedback from parents who are fans, who are older, who bring their kids, the kids discover Prince’s music, and they love it. We’re finding that everywhere we go. It’s a great thing.