Members of The Revolution reflect on Prince's death, talk tour

Published: Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 5:21 AM

Throughout his genre-bending career, Prince worked with a dazzling array of musicians.

His New Power Generation rolled with him through the '90s and the female trio 3rdeyegirl shared his space in the most recent years of his musical creations.

But his 1980s-era crew The Revolution, their star cemented in 1984’s “Purple Rain,” remain the definitive Prince backing band.

>> For more Prince coverage, head to Ruggieri’s Atlanta Music Scene blog on AJC.com

Shortly after Prince’s death last year from an accidental opioid overdose, original band members Bobby Z (drums), “Doctor” Matt Fink (keyboards), Mark “BrownMark” Brown (bass), Lisa Coleman (keyboards) and Wendy Melvoin (guitar) convened in a Minneapolis hotel to share their grief with fans via a heartfelt video.

In September, The Revolution reunited for a trifecta of sold-out shows at the fabled First Avenue club in Minneapolis, and after their planned performance at this weekend’s Celebration 2017 at Prince’s Paisley Park compound, will embark on a tour of about two dozen dates through July.

>> Prince’s estate halts release of new EP, ‘Deliverance,’ report says

Atlanta – the new residence of bassist Brown – isn’t on the itinerary yet, but fans will likely be sated during a second run of shows this fall.

Earlier this week, Brown and Fink – clad in his trademark scrubs – sat inside the band’s rehearsal space near downtown Minneapolis to discuss the loss of their leader, as well as what can be expected on this Revolution return.

Their feelings about the one-year anniversary of Prince’s death

Matt Fink: The sting of that happening has not really left any of us. We still think about it a lot. Almost every day I’ve thought about it. The mourning process for him is still there. Who knows how long that will take before you really start to not think about it as much? But now that we’re doing this (tour), it’s there in your face no matter what you do. We’re just going to do our best to help the fans heal. ... I thought by now I’d be doing better, but it’s still very emotional. It’s like losing a family member, a parent, even.

>> PHOTOS: Prince’s Paisley Park prepares to celebrate a shining star

Mark Brown: We hit this jam the other night, and it was like, he’s not there. Emotionally, when we were finished I was like, (that was just) like the old days. Then you start reminiscing and a sadness comes over you. ... He lives inside of us now. He was our mentor, our leader, our purple funky Yoda. The force was with him.

Fink: He was such a spiritual person to begin with and believed in the afterlife. In our hearts we know that he’s watching over all of this.

On The Revolution’s decision to reunite after Prince’s death

Fink: Let’s go back to 2012 when we did the (American) Heart Association event for Bobby Z. He was working with the heart association (after surviving a heart attack the year before) and asked us to help him out. We hadn’t played together since 2003 with Sheila E. and (before that) show we hadn’t worked together in 17 years. ... When Prince passed, the immediate reaction is, we’ve got to get together. We made the decision to get together in L.A. because Wendy and Lisa were working on soundtrack work. It was at that time that we said maybe we should get out and play again just to keep the legacy alive and give fans something to hold onto as well.

>> PHOTOS: Prince through the years

Brown: When we came out to Minneapolis right after he died, we were in a hotel room and ... you could look in the streets and see the pain. We all just said, ‘We should make a video right now and let the fans know that we feel that pain, too, and we’re gonna play.’ I never felt it was impulsive or the wrong thing to do. Some of us have different opinions. For me, I felt like, I’m there with them, I feel their pain. I was there in the beginning when we created that stuff, (so) let me give some of that back. Then later on we decided at the right time, we need to get back on the road and start the healing process. By playing the music, it helped us. I know it helped me.

Fink: My last meeting with Prince (in fall 2014), he expressed quite a bit of interest in reuniting with the group. Who knows? It might have been coming, anyway. To me, that still made sense; he was wishing that to happen.

On whether they had witnessed Prince in any kind of pain or in the throes of addiction

Fink: No, not at all. During that meeting he seemed just fine. I had not hint of it at that time.

>> Honoring Prince: 6 memorable tributes

Brown: For me, I thought he was a little thin. I even said to him, ‘Losing a little weight there, bro?’ and he said, ‘You getting a little belly, bro?’ (laughs). But it was fun, so I didn’t sense anything. When it all went down, I was like, that just blew me away. But even the piano tour, I was watching some of the clips and I was like, hmmm, as well as we know him, something’s not right there.

On The Revolution playing Atlanta at some point on the tour

Brown: They’ll see us, that’s all I can say. This first leg, it’s set, but the second one is being worked on. We can’t say anything until it’s contracted, but we’re on the move.

>> Prince remembered throughout Minneapolis 1 year after death

Why Brown recently relocated to the Atlanta area

Brown: I got tired of the city life. San Francisco is a beautiful, lovely city, but I’ve always been a country boy. Always lived in the suburbs, I always liked the quietness. Atlanta always seemed like a spot that I’d like to check out. The music scene, it’s like a second Hollywood. I plan to tap big time into the scene once things start to settle. I know a few musicians down there already, but would love to tap into that scene and really be a part of it, like I was in the Minnesota scene.

>> New Prince music appears ahead of anniversary of death

On the Prince that the public didn’t always see

Fink: He was very gregarious. When he wasn’t embroiled in music creation, there were days he’d be very businesslike, but he’d interject funny things and quips. But then there were moments if you were just relaxing, everybody liked to be funny and use their own sense of humor. He had a very infectious laugh as well. He was very good at doing voices, too, and imitating people. Go on YouTube and watch his appearance on ‘Muppets Tonight’ (in 1997) – that’s the real Prince.

>> Purple reign: Remembering how world mourned Prince’s death

On what fans can expect from The Revolution’s live shows

Fink: There are songs from the catalog starting from ‘Dirty Mind’ through ‘Parade’ and a few numbers that they’ve never heard, things that have been sitting in the vault.

>> Read more trending news

Brown (laughs): We’ve got some junk up in there!

Bristol Palin shares her excitement about welcoming baby no. 3 any day now

Published: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 @ 9:52 PM

(2012 Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)
Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

Bristol Palin says she just can’t wait to meet her third child, and she’s due any day now. The daughter of former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin took to Instagram Tuesday to share her excitement.

My world!!! I can't believe we'll be a family of 5 in a matter of days 🙈😍❤️

A post shared by Bristol Meyer (@bsmp2) on

>> Read more trending news

“My world!!! I can’t believe we’ll be a family of 5 in a matter of days,” Palin wrote as the caption for a photo album featuring sweet pictures of her family, which includes husband Dakota Meyer, son Tripp (whom she shares with ex-fiance Levi Johnston) and daughter Sailor Grace (whom she shares with Meyer).

The proud mom announced her pregnancy back in December and found out that she was expecting a girl in March. She and Meyer are looking forward to expanding their family and welcoming their second child together. The dad of one also took time to share a family photo on Instagram on Tuesday, writing, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”

Family is not an important thing. It's everything.

A post shared by Dakota Meyer (@dakotameyer0317) on

WATCH: Adam Levine shares emotional tribute to Christina Grimmie on 'The Voice'

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 6:32 AM

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Singer Christina Grimmie performs in concert at Irving Plaza on March 10, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Adam Levine will always miss his mentee Christina Grimmie.

On Tuesday night, Levine and his current team on “The Voice,” Jesse Larson, Lilli Passero and Mark Isaiah, performed the Beatles hit “Hey Jude” in Grimmie’s honor.

>> Watch the video here

Before taking the stage, Levine addressed Grimmie’s parents and brother Marcus in the audience.

“I loved her so much,” he started. “I miss her. It’s unfair that’s she’s not here. And, we’re going to sing her a little song tonight and I am going to sing every word to her in her honor. Thank you guys for being here. Christina, we love you.”

>> Read more trending news

Team Adam then took the stage for a stunning and emotional performance. By the end of the performance, the audience and fellow coaches were on their feet applauding the number.

After the performance, Levine and host Carson Daly announced a new foundation that has been set up in her honor.

The foundation will work to provide assistance – both emotional and financial – for families and individuals who suffer from the devastating effects of gun violence and will support families facing breast cancer diagnosis.

Grimmie was killed in June 2016 after a man approached her after a concert in Orlando, Florida, and shot her. She was 22 years old. Levine was her coach on season 6 of “The Voice” and reportedly paid for her funeral.

Related

New study says country music mentions drugs more than any other genre

Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 11:21 PM

NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 04:  Legendary Recording Artist Willie Nelson speaks onstage at his album premier on April 4, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Jason Davis/Getty Images for SiriusXM

According to a recent study by Addictions.com, country music mentions drugs more than any other musical genre, with the most-referenced drug being marijuana.

>> Read more trending news

Those results may come as a shock to some listeners who assumed that rap or hip-hop music might reference drugs more, but 1.6 percent of all country music surveyed by Addictions.com’s Song Meanings Application Programming Interface (API) references drugs on average, compared to less than 1.3 percent on average in hip-hop music.

Jazz music came in second place, although the study does not disclose the average percentage.

But what constitutes a drug reference? And what counts as “country” music for Addictions.com? For starters, alcoholic beverages are not classified as drugs in the study (or else, country music would win this by a landslide). According to the methodology of the study, Addictions.com “scraped song lyrics from Song Meanings API and analyzed drug mentions, what drugs were involved, and how it changed over time, and grouped drug slang words together in their respected drug categories.”

After going over the data from songs from country, rock, jazz, rap/hip-hop, pop, folk and electronic genres from 1933 until now, the drug references were grouped into seven categories: 

Pills (which includes all Opiates except Heroin, Benzodiazepines, Sleep medication, and ADHD medication), Heroin, Marijuana, LSD, Cocaine (which includes both crack cocaine and cocaine), Ecstasy (This includes MDMA and molly), and Meth.

After all that, country music came out on top, with 1.6 percent of all songs studied since 1933 referencing some sort of drug. According to the study, the top three drugs referenced in country music were marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. 

It should be noted that most country songs decry drug consumption (with the exception of alcohol, and, very recently, marijuana). No country artists were mentioned in the study, but artists like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jamey Johnson, John Prine and many others have referenced marijuana, pills, cocaine or heroin in their songs as hazardous and not recreational.

However, once the study results are broken down into the musicians that reference drugs the most, country artists don’t even crack the Top 10. That honor goes to all hip-hop artists, most notably Kottonmouth Kings, Eminem, The Game, Lil’ Wayne and Jay-Z.

If you want to see just how many country music songs reference drugs, take a listen to the playlist below (though we would never condone the use of recreational drugs).

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/125317395/playlist/2cMMAkvNMruYpFDQk0KMfK

'Call of Duty’ reveal set for Wednesday

Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 9:39 AM

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 18:  A visitor plays a video game

The next installment of the video game “Call of Duty” is set to be revealed on Wednesday.

While there have been leaks about many of the new game's features, details from the game’s developers have been few. What is known today is that the latest version will return to its original setting, World War II. 

The “worldwide reveal” for the game is set for Wednesday at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET), according to Activision Blizzard.

GameStop is reporting that the game will likely be released on Nov. 3. Actor Josh Duhamel will reportedly star in the new game which will feature iconic WWII locations.

“Call of Duty” has been the top-selling PC and console game in the United States for the past seven years. The game was set in WWII when it first hit the market, then developers moved it to the modern era and a futuristic world.

You can see more information about the game and watch the reveal at the Call of Duty website.