Industry Weekly

[Legend Status]

Morris Day keeps the legacy of funk alive

Morris Day & The Time headline the Old School Party Jam at the Orleans Arena.
Matt Sayles/AP

The music-loving public has been fascinated with all things Prince since the iconic artist passed away last year, but at least one related act has been rocking steady since forming in Minneapolis in 1981.

Morris Day, the charismatic frontman of legendary Prince-formed funk outfit The Time, says increased interest is “double-edged.” The one-time Las Vegas resident—he now lives with his family in Florida—was one of Prince’s closest collaborators in the Purple Rain days, and the two of them recorded The Time’s debut album before the band was even put together. “Things have picked up considerably, and it is for that reason that we are one of the closest things to his legacy musically,” Day says. “But we’ve been doing our thing since day one, and people realize that. We’ve added a couple little things to give tribute to Prince without oversaturating our show with it. The people that want to come to see us know we’re still one of the baddest bands on the planet.”

They proved it when they took to the Grammy stage this year for a tribute with Bruno Mars, whose recent hits sound a whole lot like The Time. “He’s a real cool cat,” Day says of Mars. “He was real easy to work with, and I thought it was pretty cool. He’s a talented guy, and I like the fact that he’s taking the essence of what we did and bringing it back to the table. That made [the tribute] very appropriate in my opinion. We wouldn’t want to do it with just anyone.”

The Time still frequents Vegas and will headline this weekend’s Old School Party Jam at the Orleans Arena, but back in 2008 the original members—including legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis—reunited for a limited engagement at the Flamingo. Could a new Vegas residency be in the works?

“I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it, but that’s the only way I would want to do Vegas,” Day says. “If I try to sit in one place for a year or two, it feels too much like a job.” Old School Party Jam with Morris Day & The Time, Club Nouveau, Midnight Star, The Sugarhill Gang & more at Orleans Arena, October 21.

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Brock is an award-winning writer and reporter who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently ...

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