Morris Day, the charismatic frontman of the legendary ’80s funk group The Time, is set to bring his signature flair, fashion, and funk to Las Vegas. The highly anticipated performances have been rescheduled for Friday, September 29, and Saturday, September 30 at The STRAT Hotel, Casino & Tower. Having been childhood friends with the incomparable Prince, Day’s musical journey began as he sang in Prince’s first band, Grand Central. Chosen by Prince to lead The Time, Day created the band as his alter ego, infusing a cool, streetwise funk sound to contrast Prince and the Revolution.
Morris Day and The Time gained widespread recognition – in part – through their appearances in “Purple Rain,” the iconic film that captured the explosive Minneapolis music scene at its peak. Their unforgettable scenes in the movie solidified their place in pop culture, and “Purple Rain” is hailed as one of the greatest music movies ever made. Following the film’s success, Day burst onto the public scene with The Time’s self-titled 1981 album and a slew of hit songs. Day also embarked on a solo career, with Color Of Success, Daydreaming Guaranteed, which secure his place in history.
Now, the icon has presumably bid farewell to his solo career with the release of his ultimate album, “Last Call. The album boasts remarkable collaborations with acclaimed artists such as Snoop Dogg, Jazze Pha, E-40, Tech N9ne, Daddy O from Stetsasonic, Big Daddy Kane, Flo Rida, Trinidad James, and the legendary Billy Gibbons. What does he really think of Hip-Hop? Did he and Prince really have a fierce rivalry? How did Prince change his thinking? And will he actually retire? These questions and more are answered in this interview.
For more information, go to http://tickets.thestrat.com/MorrisDay.
AllHipHop: AllHipHop.com is in the building with a special, special, special guest, Morris Day.
Morris Day: What’s up?
AllHipHop: What’s going on, my brother?
Morris Day: Hey, it’s all good, man.
AllHipHop: How you doing?
Morris Day: Hey, we chilling in Wilmington. Yeah, Delaware in the house.
AllHipHop: Man, let me say this, man. Let me just give you the flowers. Growing up and having myself and my brother and all my friends, we were glued to the TV, and we came up in the Hip-Hop era. So there weren’t too many people that were cooler than the rappers, but you were one of those people that stood out as super-duper, extra cool in a time when we were coming up on Hip-Hop.
Morris Day: Appreciate it.
AllHipHop: You have this tour, The Last Call. So I’m hearing different things, but first I want to get it from you. What does “The Last Call” mean as a tour?
Morris Day: Well, The Last Call is really, I’m feeling like it’s going to be my last album. And so quite naturally we’re going to do the follow-up tour, and we’re calling it The Last Call Tour because this album took the better part of 20 years to make. And I don’t know if I have another 20 years in me to get another one out, unless I just microwave one. And so I don’t do it like that. So right now I’m feeling like it’s the last call.
AllHipHop: That last song on the album it’s a little sad. I’m like, yo, what are you doing here?
Morris Day: Yeah. It kind of hit me like that too, but it wasn’t meant like that, but it just kind of came across-
AllHipHop: A little somber.
Morris Day: Oh, okay. Yeah. It kind of came across like that. We kind of put it together and we were just trying to really talk about the last call, but then we got done with it. We was listening, and I was, “Man, I’m getting a little emotional behind this.” That was not the intention, but it did come out like that.
AllHipHop: Now, the other thing on this album, you do in fact work with a lot of rappers. You got heroes like Big Daddy Kane on there. Then you got your Snoop Doggs and Jazzy Phae. You got a bunch of people on there. What made you go that route?
Morris Day: Well, my manager, Courtney Benson, kept coming up with these names. He said, man, we ought to try Kane. We ought to try. And I was like, “Okay.” And we kept sending these guys the tracks, and man, they kept nailing it. So they just kept coming back. So we just went with it, man, and the names kept popping up, and we kept reaching out to people and they were like, yeah, man, let’s do it. So it just kind of all came together
AllHipHop: And I’m quite sure they obviously came up on you as well, so it was like a no-brainer.
Morris Day: Yeah, it was real cool.
AllHipHop: You even had Daddy-O on there, which I was like, whoa. Okay, Daddy-O from Stetsasonic, that’s…
Morris Day: Well, it’s kind of like you said, you know, you said you came up in the Hip-Hop era, but there’s just a lot of love out there for what I’ve done, for what we’ve done, the whole Minneapolis thing. But for some reason, we were just getting a lot of love and everybody was really giving us the same response, and it was a cool thing to experience.
AllHipHop: So I have to ask you, how much of what we saw was you and how much was a character?
Morris Day: Well, it’s all me, but it’s just “switch on, switch off.” I kick it into high gear and sometimes I put it on energy-save mode, right?
AllHipHop: So when people see you live, what can they expect to see? What will they see?
Morris Day: Well, we’re all about the live performance. That’s what we grew up doing. That’s how I met Prince, 13-years old, 14-years old. These guys were in a band that I saw, went to go to this high school dance, and they was in there, man, just playing amazing to be 14, 13-year-olds is playing Santana and all kind of really grown up music to be youngsters like that. And I forgot why I was there. I just stood at the edge of this. It wasn’t a stage, it was just like the floor of the lunchroom. But I just stood there all night, man, and just watched him.
And I said, I got to be a part of this. So anyway, I ended up in the band. I know I’m kind of giving you a long answer here, but we started out like that. And if you think about it, The Bird was a live recording, one of the few hit records on a radio that was actually a live recording. So we all about the live performance. So what you can expect is us to sound much like the record, if not better. And we going rip it up and we bring a little flavor to it, little pimp suits and s### like that.
So we’re just going to do what we do, man.
AllHipHop: Well, we recently celebrated Prince’s birthday. I wouldn’t be doing a good job if I didn’t ask you how that was working with Prince. I mean, doing iconic movies like “Purple Rain” with Prince and beyond. I mean, just growing up with him. I mean, you know, guys went to school together.
Morris Day: Yeah. And actually, we didn’t go to school together. He went to South Central. Which was in South Side. And I went to North High, North Side. But we played in the same band.
Morris Day: We lived in the same neighborhood. But no, Prince, man was, he was like a meteorite or something, just passing through here, man, to just shine his light. And it feels like he came through here really fast. But to be able to say this about someone that and grew up with is really, it’s really a compliment. But he was a special individual when it came to music. I’ve never met anyone as talented or as dedicated to music as he was. And it taught me a lot, about work ethic and it changed my way of thinking because I just always knew I wanted to play instruments and do music. But I never thought about being a star or thinking like that. But that’s how he talked. He didn’t say :”If I make it,” he said, “When I make it.” And that’s how I started to talk. I said, “Well, when I make it,” right? “When we make it.” And that became the way we talked about it. So working with him and knowing him was really something special, man. Yeah.
AllHipHop:: And what about the whole collective? I mean, I used to be into all of you guys, Wendy and Lisa. I mean, just everything mean. It was really a cultural, incredibly fertile ground.
Morris Day: It really was.
Morris Day: It really was. There was a band on every block. I mean, we did battle of the bands on the regular, and we all competed for the same little gigs around town and like that. So when we did start to break some ground, there was a pool, a plethora of musicians to choose from, and everybody was good, man. So we just started pulling some of the people that we liked a little better. And he had his list of people. I had my list of people and we just started pulling people in.
AllHipHop: So what are your thoughts on music is in a weird space right now. I mean, it’s kind of probably always in a weird space. I mean, if we really think about it, but from your perspective, how do you feel about the state of music?
Morris Day: I couldn’t put it better. Weird is a good word. I’m kind of a song person. I hear a song every now and then. I be, who’s that? And I download that and I mean, that’s pretty much it. Back in the day, I had my bands that I looked forward to them dropping and I would get the whole album. And that’s how I was. And that’s how the industry was. But now, like I said, it’s just in a really different place. And the whole download situation, the streaming situation has just got the whole thing all f##### up. The artists are really getting ripped off. The streaming companies are the only ones really making any money, and it’s just in a really, really weird space right now.
AllHipHop: Do you think we need more instruments, more instruments being involved?
Morris Day: I think we need a class action movement to make these streaming companies back off and instead of a fraction of a penny for a stream or a download. Now we need to get back to where artists actually make a little bit of money. It’s ridiculous that you have to have billions of streams, billions to even see a real check. It’s ridiculous.
AllHipHop: Okay. Talk to us about the Purple Legacy in Vegas.
Morris Day: Well, that encompasses a lot of what we already talked about, the whole Minneapolis thing, the movement with Prince being gone and everything. I kind of feel like it’s my job to carry the torch, if you will. And so we’re going to do this two nights and call it the Purple Legacy.
And just see how that goes. And we want to be in one place where everybody can come and see us for a couple of nights. And that way we ain’t got to run to see everybody. But now we still going to run and see everybody, but we going to do that. And I just kind of feel like it’s something that we just kind of need to do.
AllHipHop: Who will be involved?
Morris Day: It’s a secret. That’s the secret sauce right there, but we’re not exactly sure right now, but we’re going to have some special guests and stuff like that.
AllHipHop: Do you think it’s important to carry on the legacy? I mean, you just said it is your duty, but how important is it to do that for you?
Morris Day: Well, for me, carrying on the Legacy is really just doing what I do. It’s not a concentrated effort necessarily. So just me continuing to do what I do, which it was all born out of that, of Minneapolis, out of Prince, and a lot of his ideas and talent. So just me being here and still doing it, that’s carrying it on, man. Yeah.
AllHipHop: You had a little bit of a situation with the estate. Is everything cleared up now or are you all good?
Morris Day: Yeah, we’re all good. What that was really was when the lawyers came in. Because as protective as Prince was about his music and his empire, it’s just kind of strange to me that he didn’t have something more in place and like a will or some kind of something like that. And so it just kind of all fell apart and went to probate. Probate is just all lawyers and they don’t give a sh#t about nobody or nothing. Just the money and what the contract says. And that’s how they handled it. But we got it all straight.
AllHipHop: So I’m going to have a fan moment and ask you how true was Purple Rain? Because I kind of was mad at y’all in that movie. Ain’t going to lie.
Morris Day: You know what, it was very true because maybe not as much of a rivalry as it was depicted on the screen, but it was very true because Prince’s very competitive. I’m competitive. He had no idea what, he knew he was putting a good band together. He just didn’t know how good the band was. So we started getting in that sometime and we were on stage and we knew that we was out firing him some nights. But then when the headlines came back the next day, The Time kicked Prince’s ass. He didn’t like that s###. So we had it quite, I mean, there was nights where he served us up too, so I ain’t trying to say that, but it was a serious rivalry and it was embellished for the screen, but it was alive and well.
Morris Day: Yeah. Yeah.
AllHipHop: All right. And Jerome, where is Jerome?
Morris Day: Well, I think Jerome is at home.
Speaker 3: 15 minutes.
AllHipHop: Well, on that note, thank you for having us.
Morris Day: Appreciate it.
AllHipHop: AllHipHop loves you. Hip-Hop actually loves you, as you already know.
Morris Day: I love Hip-Hop, man. It’s all good. Especially Old-School Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop: Yeah. Yeah. So weren’t one of those anti-Hip-Hop people?
Morris Day: No. Well, no, I wasn’t. I’m not. But I got to say I’m a bigger fan of the old school than the new school. But I ain’t hating.
AllHipHop: Okay. Understood. Thank you very much.
Morris Day: Yeah, appreciate you, man.