The Revolution are back after almost 30 yrs! AXS was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak with keyboardist Matt Fink and bass player Mark Brown (aka BrownMark) on Thursday to talk about what the last year has been for them and why they feel now is the right time to help everyone, and themselves, heal after the loss of Prince.
AXS: As soon as word got out that we were doing an interview, fans have been asking a lot of questions; mostly wondering who is taking lead? Prince’s shoes are pretty much impossible to fill…
Matt Fink: Well the lineup is going to change depending on where we are. We have a long list of people that are going to work with us. We used Stokley from Mint Condition on our last show and he worked out really well.
M.F.: Ha! Well, that’s the problem, most of the singers worry about filling the shoes. What we tried to explain is they don’t have to fill his shoes, they just have to represent the music and have fun. We are not trying to replace him.
AXS: How did the idea to reunite come about? Why was the time right now?
M.F.: Well we had already been discussing it for the past few years. We wanted to do it with Prince and there had been some communication going on. As far back as the fall of 2014, he expressed an interest in doing a few reunion shows with the group but it just never worked out because of his scheduling. I really believe it would have happened sometime this year the way things were going. And then well…you know…no one saw this coming. And so, unfortunately, it didn’t. That was a reason why we wanted to do it now. We wanted to help the fans heal and we wanted to help ourselves as well. It seemed the best thing to do is just get out there and keep his legacy moving forward and try to bring back the truly unique, original nature of what we did.
M.B.: We all had discussions with Prince at different times about getting together, the question was how to do it. Discussions were ongoing until his death. It was tragic when it happened, I mean we all were in shock; we were devastated. The only way we know how to heal through such a tragedy is play because that’s what we do. We’re musicians, we play. There are a million tribute bands but there is only one Revolution that helped him create that sound and those songs. We thought it would be good to come together.
AXS: When you think of Prince what is the first thing that pops into mind?
M.B.: For me, one of my fondest memories was his sense of humor. He was the kind of person, if Hollywood had tapped into it more, could really do that type of thing. He could have done some great comedy films with the likes of Eddie Murphy and such. He really had great comic timing, he was one of the funniest guys I ever met. He would give you this look and do this thing with his eyes, it cracked me up. But then the next moment he was as cool as could be. Everybody copied him, his sense of humor.
M.F.: He also enjoyed a good practical joke too.
M.B.: He got me on a good one. I was two minutes late getting on the bus as we were leaving a city. I came downstairs and they were gone; I mean gone. I’m standing there with my guitar in one hand and my luggage in the other. Fans were looking at me like, “Oooo, they left you!” About 45 minutes later he comes pulling up and he’s laughing, he thinks it’s all so funny. He would pull a joke on you very quickly.
AXS: You mentioned Eddie Murphy. Years ago on Dave Chapelle’s show Charlie Murphy told a story about his crew getting their ass kicked in basketball by Prince and The Revolution and then Prince making everyone pancakes. Is that a true story?
M.F.: Ha, ha! Well, I wasn’t there. Not much of The Revolution was actually there that night but the bodyguards told me the story. Mickey Free was there. Charlie and Eddie were there, and there were a few bodyguards present. The way the story was conveyed to me is that most of the story was true. Charlie did a little comedic embellishment but Prince did like to make pancakes and he was an excellent basketball player.
AXS: Were there times you were watching him just sort of playing around with instruments and got kind of stunned by his genius…when you realized you were in the presence of someone very special?
M.F.: All the time. The day I auditioned for the group, in late Oct. of ’78, I knew I was in the presence of a “wunderkind” as they say. You just knew that he was something special and you understood why Warner Bros. signed him to an unprecedented deal where he could produce himself; he could play all those instruments. I was just highly impressed with him and when I first heard the album, even before I met him, I was taken back by how gifted he was.
M.B.: I joined in 1981 right before the Controversy album. I knew he was talented but it didn’t really hit me as to how talented he truly was until one day on the tour bus he picked up this acoustic guitar. I watched him just wail on this thing; he was doing scales and effortlessly running up and down the neck. I looked at him and thought, “Holy cow! This dude is bad!” That is when I really started to zone in on his talent. I was just absolutely blown away watching him have fun with that old acoustic guitar. I had never seen anyone play like that. He was thumping it, plucking it, doing things I had never seen people do with a guitar. It sounded so cool; the guy was clearly a genius. He had a way of approaching instruments that was very organic.