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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.

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

Michelle Obama appeared at the BET Awards and Twitter can't handle it

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 7:58 AM

ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 27:  Former United States first lady Michelle Obama smiles during the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 on April 27, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Former first lady Michelle Obama made a cameo appearance via video message at Sunday night’s BET Awards and Twitter is still overflowing with feelings.

>> BET Awards 2017: Show photos

“Barack and I are so sorry that we can’t be there tonight in person,” she said as Chance The Rapper was honored with the Humanitarian Award, recognizing his activism and philanthropic work in Chicago. “But please know we are there with you in spirit and we are so incredibly proud of you, Chance.

>> BET Awards 2017: Red carpet arrivals

“We have known Chance and his family since he was a wee little baby rapper. It has been a thrill watching him come into his own in so many ways,” she continued. “In addition to making some really amazing music Chance has been taking that big, bright spotlight that follows him around and he’s shining it on young people in our hometown of Chicago.”

>> Read more trending news

The video clip, which highlights Chance’s work with the young people of Chicago and concludes with Obama’s remarks, is online here.

>> Watch the clip here

Twitter users working to process their emotions turned to GIF therapy:

“Time and again he has been standing up, speaking out and doing the work to get kids in our community the education they deserve,” the former first lady concluded. “With these passionate efforts, Chance is showing our young people that they matter, that they have something inside of them that is worthy of being expressed and that they have so much to contribute to their communities and to our country. Chance, you are an outstanding role model and an inspiration to all of us who care about our next generation. Because of you, countless young people will grow up believing in themselves, fulfilling their God-given potential and then reaching back and lifting up other people along the way.

>> BET Awards 2017: Complete winners list

“I can think of no greater legacy to leave. And I am thrilled to celebrate you here tonight and honored to call you my friend.”

BET Awards 2017: Complete winners list

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 8:34 PM
Updated: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 11:54 PM

The 2017 BET Awards was star studded and filled with appearances from the biggest names in R&B, pop, hip hop and rap.

>> Read more trending news

Bruno Mars, Remy Ma, Cardi B, Fat Joe, Migos and more artists hit the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. 

Related: BET Awards 2017: Red carpet arrivals

Related: BET Awards 2017: Show photos

Here is the full list of winners from the show.

WATCH: Xscape reunites for performance at BET Awards

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 2:33 AM

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25:  (L-R) Kandi Burruss, Tamika Scott, Tameka Cottle, and LaTocha Scott of Xscape perform onstage at 2017 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

Consider the Xscape reunion launched.

>> BET Awards 2017: Show photos

>> BET Awards 2017: Red carpet arrivals

Performing for the first time in 18 years, the original quartet of Kandi Burruss, LaTocha Scott, Tamika Scott and Tameka “Tiny” Harris hit the stage at the 2017 BET Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.

>> Watch the performance here

Wearing various forms of sequins and sparkles, the ladies thrilled the crowd with a throwback medley of their '90s-era hits “Understanding,” “Who Can I Run To” and “Just Kickin’ It.”

>> BET Awards 2017: Complete winners list

The public return is the first step of the Xscape reunion roll-out.

>> Read more trending news

Prince Philip leaves hospital

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 6:03 AM
Updated: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 5:07 AM

5:07 a.m. ET June 22: Britain’s Prince Philip has left a London hospital after a two-night stay, a Buckingham Palace representative said, according to The Associated Press.

ORIGINAL STORY: Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has been hospitalized with an infection, multiple news outlets are reporting.

>> PHOTOS: Prince Philip through the years

>> Click here or scroll down for more

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