The Time is known for such funky hits as “Jungle Love,” “The Bird” and “777-9311,” songs that feature Day’s spirited singing plus grooves courtesy of Day’s childhood friend Prince. The band’s association with Prince also led to their role as the rival band to Prince’s band in the film Purple Rain.
Morris Day answered the following questions about the upcoming show in a phone interview. The full interview is available by clicking here.
Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at your upcoming show?
Morris Day: You can look forward to being entertained. We are a show band, we bring music, we bring entertainment. We bring the pimp suits and all the good stuff. It’s gonna be off the chain.
JM: Will any of the other original members of The Time be joining you?
JM: If we can go back in time a bit, what was the music scene like in Minneapolis back in the early 1980s?
MD: The music scene was really great because, just like everywhere else in the world back in the ‘80s, bands ruled. In Minnesota where we grew up, Northside Minnesota, there was just like a band on every block. There was a lot of competition, which was good because that forced us, if we wanted to be good, to work harder, which we did. We rehearsed a lot and became good musicians because of it.
JM: Could you comment on the contributions of Prince to the first few albums by The Time, and how his role evolved over time?
MD: Oh, it was major. He was instrumental in the whole putting the band together, conceptualizing … pretty much everything.
JM: By the time of the Pandemonium album, was his role diminished?
MD: Absolutely. It was down to pretty much not being in the studio, and just dropping in from time to time to hear what was going on.
JM: Back when The Time would open for Prince, was there a rivalry?
MD: Yeah, absolutely. Early on, when it all came together and we started going out and doing dates, I don’t think Prince had any idea that the show that we had put together for us would start to rival his own show. So in that sense it definitely did become rivalry.
JM: Mostly friendly rivalry?
MD: I mean, it was just him versus us. We had a short, tight set. We’d do 30, 35 minutes. We’d do hits, we had some great arrangements. We’d come on and hit hard and then leave, and then he’d come on and do like a two-hour show. It was hard to outshine what we had done in that 30, 35 minutes. I think his show sometimes would come across as long-winded. Then we were starting to get good reports, like good write-ups and reviews, to the point where we started being left out of certain major markets. We weren’t invited in on the tour anymore [laughs].
JM: It’s hard to believe, but the movie Purple Rain is almost 30 years old. What are your reflections on that movie?
MD: Well, it was just an honest effort on everybody’s part, I believe. You know, we didn’t have any powerhouse directors or writers. We had no reason to believe that the movie was going to do what it did. I think we were just all having fun, and just trying our hand at being in a movie. I ain’t even going to call it acting; I just say we were trying our hand at being in a movie, that’s all.
JM: Another movie I want to ask you about is Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. How did you get involved with that movie?
MD: Well, Kevin Smith is just a big fan from what I understand. He did tell me that. Apparently he had written the movie, and really he went out on a limb because he included us in the script and used our name throughout the movie, which the grand finale was finally getting to see Morris Day and The Motherf***ing Time. That was all done before they even contacted us and asked us if we were available and wanted to be in the movie. Of course we agreed, obviously. But I think that was pretty bold for him to go ahead and just say, “I’m gonna write it like this.” He didn’t write it and say, “A band goes here.” He specifically put us, so that was cool.
JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything about your career?
MD: No, man. It is what it is. Everybody has their own perception, you know. I kind of like to hear people talk, especially the ones that don’t know what the hell they’re talking about [laughs]. I get a kick out of it. I ain’t trying to straighten anybody out.
JM: People like me are curious, to what extent are you still friends with Prince? Do you guys talk to each other every once in awhile?
MD: Not really. It’s weird how life … you know, people who are good friends as kids, and even do the same thing and have some of the same aspirations … but life has a way of happening man, then you just look up and you don’t talk that much anymore. We’re always cool when we see each other, but it ain’t like it used to be.
— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.