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Thread started 02/17/12 2:41pm

PurpleLove7

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Bobby Z on Revolution reunion [Concert Preview]

Bobby Z on Revolution reunion: We'll know if Prince is coming when he's onstage

BOBBY Z-thumb-560x496.jpg

Last year, Prince & the Revolution drummer Robert Rivkin, AKA Bobby Z was hospitalized ...art attack, and his survival was uncertain. After a year of rehabilitation, Z is healthy, and has started a foundation, My Purple Heart, to benefit heart health education and working in conjunction with the American Heart Association.

To celebrate his recovery, the Revolution is staging a reunion concert benefit Sunday at First Avenue. As rumors swirl that his Purple Badness will be in attendance, his most iconic band, Z and the rest of the Revolution (Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Brown Mark, Dr. Fink) will reform to celebrate their drummer's health, and the music that put First Avenue and Minneapolis music on the map -- for a fantastic cause.

Here's a portion of Bobby Z's recent phone conversation with Gimme Noise. He sounded healthy, on top of his game, and invigorated about the big show.

Gimme Noise: What are you feeling about getting everyone together and being back on that stage?


Bobby Z: I think it's interesting to people because of the film. That place, First Avenue, Minneapolis and where the movie was made. Everybody has their opinions. Everyone has a Prince story, a Purple Rain story. There's a real affection and ownership of Purple Rain here. Our whole nature and our political state in Minnesota is Purple. We're liberal minded but we're mixed blue and red. We carried our MN flag very proudly when we were marching back then. We were warriors. Wendy and Lisa were transplants, nice girls from LA, but they became proud Minnesotans at that time and they are coming home as victorious warriors for this thing. It's going to be a big thing for them.

Tell me more about Purple Rain. It's thought of as being somewhat autobiographical for Prince. Was it that way within the band too? I mean you were sort of playing yourselves, yes?


We were in a picture that I got off a drum stool and into a character somewhat. But everybody's character was no more no less as crazy as Morris Day there. The characters that developed out of touring were real. There was a real animosity between the Revolution and the Time. It's definitely real in Purple Rain. There was a real tension there and it comes through in the movie.

I agree. It seemed to be a real peak for the band as the Revolution. You had a lot of momentum and steam and then it really exploded like a powder keg with that film.

It was a real masterwork. I mean the guy's a genius. I love him. Prince developed some amazing talents. He would really bring out the best in you and make you go beyond anything you knew you were capable of. With Purple Rain, it was risky. Making a movie is thousands of people and it was a dangerous feat.

I always go back to the concert clip of you guys in Paris, "I Would Die 4 U" and into the marathon version of "Baby, I'm a Star." You guys are firing on all cylinders, and in James Brown kind of style Prince is really pushing the band and the audience. What was it like pulling that off?


Being behind such a powerful machine it was thrilling and exciting and beyond belief. Being able to groove with them was the greatest feeling anyone who wanted to play drums before could have. As the time keeper it was like being a professional offensive lineman. You hike the ball and block the guy and charge on. It was a super high show business level. You had to kick ass. That was his mandate. Kicking ass, taking no prisoners. There was no wasted time. No added fat. We were a powerhouse, ripping off the audience's faces and then leaving the building.

He really pushed you guys each night.

There's no off with Prince. There is only on. He makes you reach levels you've never been. Someone like Prince is born as a natural band leader. He's got DNA of James Brown and different people that influenced him. But with him you have the greatest workings of others but then you have the best instrumentalist of all time. To be the drummer behind a leader like that was a serious job. There's no coffee breaks with Prince.

I can imagine. I'm surprised you didn't have a heart attack back then!

I mean, you're getting my sermon here. I got to say Prince taught me what to do in life. But you know, we toured with Rick James and I realized watching him it taught me what not to do. I've been pretty straight with people in Minneapolis. I love this guy. I fuckin' love this guy. And that's why this show is happening, whether he's coming or not.

So that's what I think a lot of people are wondering since you're getting The Revolution together is Prince going to show up?

He's certainly invited but you never know with him. We'll know if he's coming when and if he's on stage with us. But he is the true benefactor of this show. He's allowing it to happen with us as the Revolution. I can't be thankful enough.

Well, so he's down. That's encouraging for sure. Tell me more about playing in that band. Because especially when you started off as the drummer, you were basically playing Prince's parts that he recorded in the studio. How did he direct you to play those beats?

It's like what they did with the classical guys. Musicians were payed to play things how the composer envisioned it. My job was to play it the way the composer, Prince, essentially composed it. You were always bringing your own style to it and add your own elements to the show. He always challenged you to improve what he did on the records and challenge yourself to bring things up a notch.

You also were playing to some programmed beats and playing different sound effects with the drum pads. That was somewhat new at the time?

Oh yeah, I wish I'd had the technology there is today. We were really pioneering things in that regard. I had the "Model T" of drum interfacing. This was happening on our watch, we basically invented the technology interfacing the drum triggers from the pads and into direct boxes and mixed with real drums. Simmons was just developing their pads too. They came up with some of the same ideas simultaneously. Mine were the prototypes and the first real drum machine and those famous purple drum pads. We routed this kit through many devices. It was really Prince's brainchild. I knew how to execute it but it was that guy's ideas that were overflowing.

REVOLUTION.jpg


That's awesome. Well that brings us to today. How you been the past year since you went to the hospital?

They did a really good job with cardiac rehab. I mean, they asked me if I wanted to run, I said "I just had a heart attack", but they wanted to know where I wanted to get to. They were confident in rebuilding me. I was really affected by it. I thought I wouldn't be able to play the drums again.

Wow, that's scary. It was a real alarm for everyone. What's been different for you since you got back on your feet?

I cut out beef until just recently. For the first six months I was a marine. I am not scared as much now. But I lost weight. Losing weight is the most important thing for people to do. Two things in Bobby Z.'s heart disease awareness lesson: lose weight and don't use the salt shaker. We're ridiculous with the food portions we get and what people eat. What we're forced to see with fast food commercials, we don't eat well.

Certainly diet is always an issue for people who are prone to heart disease I imagine. You been exercising too?

The psychological aspect of it is the driving force. I watch everything I do. I eat healthy and exercise more. I been on the treadmill. I been playing a lot of drums, that's always good exercise. I think people need to realise it's ok if you just go to the gym once a month. You start slow, but once a week can buy you five years. And well, I've cut out martinis.

Haha, I suppose you got to make some of those kind of sacrifices. You seem to be back up to speed now though. Playing again has had to really helped your body and mind?

Definitely, what they fixed is working. Hallelujah! Baruch Hashem, my brother!

Indeed. You've had a lot of support, not just from family and friends but it seemed a lot fans took notice?

I was overwhelmed by the energy and people making a fuss about it. From Prince at Madison Square Garden when he dedicated "Nothing Compares to U" to me when I went into the hospital. I got out and read all the facebook stuff. So many fans. I had to thank them. So what do I do? I got The Revolution! Booked it and worked it. Rehearsals are getting going and it's not just the band, there's some of the same crew from back in the day doing technical work. Rob "Cubby" Colby our old soundman is on board, Matt Larson, our production manager, Roy Bennet is doing lights and my old drum tech, Brad Marsh. He is like my caddy!

How's your feeling going into the show Sunday?

How am I feeling? I am feeling the more I get to share the experience of bringing all these talented people together and put on an amazing show the better I feel! It should be a lot fun.

The Benefit 2 Celebrate Life featuring The Revolution is happening Sunday, February 19 at First Avenue. 18+ 7pm. Check out mypurpleheart.org For more information.


Peace ... & Stay Funky ...

~* The only love there is, is the love "we" make *~

www.facebook.com/purplefunklover
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Reply #1 posted 02/17/12 3:05pm

V10LETBLUES

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Beautiful! Simply Beautiful. As a long time fan this brings a tear to my eye with his loving uplifting attitude and positivity. Bobby Z is too cool.

innocent
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Reply #2 posted 02/17/12 4:09pm

electricberet

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The headline gets it exactly right. We'll know when we know, and it will be a great time either way.

The Census Bureau estimates that there are 2,518 American Indians and Alaska Natives currently living in the city of Long Beach.
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Reply #3 posted 02/17/12 4:32pm

Elle85n09

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We love you Bobby! love2 Stay well friend.

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Reply #4 posted 02/17/12 4:50pm

frenchylatina

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i am now starting to regret about not purchasing ticket to attend this weekend gigs doh!

it does seem likely that prince will attend and probably join his former band on stage for a song or two, if that does happen and let's say they plan to continue this mini reunion, then i am so there

i always wanted to see prince and the revolution live but unfortunately i became a fan in late 90s and i envy those ol' school fans who had the opportunity seeing them live back in the 80s.

Don't need no reefer, don't need cocaine..Purple music does the same 2 my brain
..and I'm high
music cloud9
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Reply #5 posted 02/17/12 6:48pm

Genesia

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Oh, he'll totally be there - just because I didn't buy a ticker.
I mean if he did have sex he would break every rule Jehova's have regarding premarital sex so Prince is really just friends with them all anyway.
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Reply #6 posted 02/17/12 7:03pm

jonylawson

roadhouse garden?

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Reply #7 posted 02/17/12 9:06pm

OldFriends4Sal
e

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Rehearsals are getting going and it's not just the band, there's some of the same crew from back in the day doing technical work. Rob "Cubby" Colby our old soundman is on board, Matt Larson, our production manager, Roy Bennet is doing lights and my old drum tech, Brad Marsh. He is like my caddy!

Wow this is even more interesting, Susan Rogers? Do I hear Susan Rogers ? lol

Roy Bennet (Brenda Bennet's husband) maybe she'll be there(are they still married)

Brad Marsh wow, I first rememeber his name from playing the tamborine on ... Around the World in a Day:America

Now where I come from
We don't let society tell us how it's supposed 2 be
Our clothes, our hair, we don't care
It's all about being there...
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Reply #8 posted 02/17/12 9:44pm

dandeeland

We need an album from The Revolution!! Lets try and push for them to make one on their own!! That would be hot

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Reply #9 posted 02/18/12 12:52am

langebleu

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OldFriends4Sale said:

Roy Bennet (Brenda Bennet's husband) maybe she'll be there(are they still married)

I don't believe so

ALT+PLS+RTN: Pure as a pane of ice. It's a gift.
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Reply #10 posted 02/18/12 6:48am

OldFriends4Sal
e

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dandeeland said:

We need an album from The Revolution!! Lets try and push for them to make one on their own!! That would be hot

Plus Dez Dickerson is going to be with them too

It's would be cool for a 'Revolution' album like a 'Family' Jamm

Having Eric & Atlanta Bliss, Jill Jones, Sheila E, Eddie M Morris Day Brenda Bennett that would be hot

Now where I come from
We don't let society tell us how it's supposed 2 be
Our clothes, our hair, we don't care
It's all about being there...
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Reply #11 posted 02/18/12 7:49am

funkmunki

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Genesia said:

Oh, he'll totally be there - just because I didn't buy a ticker.

Questloves afterparty still has tickets available for $10, free entry for Revolution ticket holders.....now thats were the serious party could be wink

http://first-avenue.com/p.../questlove

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Reply #12 posted 02/18/12 8:18am

mplsmike

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BobbyZ Said :

He's allowing it to happen with us as the Revolution. I can't be thankful enough

hmmm Sounds like Prince might not allow them to use the name "The Revolution" so freely

Maybe they could call the selfs "The Original 5ivee or 6ix"

lol

Love Life,
Love God,
And Only Do Drugs You Need
smoker

... wave
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Reply #13 posted 02/18/12 8:50am

dalsh327

mplsmike said:

BobbyZ Said :

He's allowing it to happen with us as the Revolution. I can't be thankful enough

hmmm Sounds like Prince might not allow them to use the name "The Revolution" so freely

Maybe they could call the selfs "The Original 5ivee or 6ix"

lol

It would only be an issue if they were recording & touring, or went ahead and billed it without keeping him in the loop. It's a one-off benefit and getting people aware of their own "condition of the heart", and even though he hasn't worked with most of them in years, they're still an important part of his own history.

They weren't just hired hands, otherwise they never would've been in the movie or in the videos, or credited along with his own name. He loves being part of a band, we all know that, and there's some things he needs other people to do that he either can't or hasn't had the training to take songs in directions you'd need a specific type of musician to take them in. He'd even say he's still a journeyman guitarist, if you're not, you're going to be a one trick pony, stuck in repeat & rehash. Even Clapton is still a journeyman, always learning new things.

Who knows, maybe he'll show,but if you see someone pull a piece of paper out, you'll hear the audience go "awww, dang". But if he showed up out of the blue, expect a frenzy.

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Reply #14 posted 02/18/12 8:56am

catpark

Bobby Z is cool...and love warmth and appreciation he shows for Prince. So glad hes doing really well and is back kicking that base drum! cool

FUNKNROLL! dancing jig "February 2014, wow". 'dre. nod
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Reply #15 posted 02/18/12 10:30am

Digifuwill

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I think it would be cool if he showed up on his bike and drive around the front of First Ave!
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Reply #16 posted 02/18/12 5:42pm

Sexymf77

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Digifuwill said:

I think it would be cool if he showed up on his bike and drive around the front of First Ave!

nod

Shut up already...Damn!
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Reply #17 posted 02/19/12 1:48pm

jpnyc

I think 99% of the people at that show will be recording it…just in case.

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Reply #18 posted 02/19/12 5:27pm

Pomade

For all the acrimony here surrounding Prince's decision to disband the band, Bobby Z's comments about loving Prince really provide some perspective.

Awesome interview. thanks for posting.

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Reply #19 posted 02/19/12 6:11pm

LovesexyIsThe1

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Just saw the cloud guitar and the hoehner placed onstage!
Lovesexy Funkateer
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Reply #20 posted 02/19/12 6:16pm

dalsh327

Someone sent out a Tweet that Larry Graham's there.

[Edited 2/19/12 18:18pm]

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Reply #21 posted 02/19/12 6:21pm

dalsh327

[Edited 2/19/12 18:24pm]

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Reply #22 posted 02/19/12 6:23pm

CannibalMan

Is that Morris or Prince?

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Reply #23 posted 02/19/12 6:27pm

dalsh327

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Reply #24 posted 02/19/12 6:28pm

rdhull

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CannibalMan said:

Is that Morris or Prince?

please...that's Marcus

Roger Ebert:rest in peace
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Reply #25 posted 02/19/12 6:30pm

dalsh327

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Reply #26 posted 02/19/12 6:32pm

dalsh327

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Reply #27 posted 02/19/12 6:38pm

smoothcriminal
12

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So Prince is a no show?

My new album is available HERE: http://itunes.apple.com/a...mpt=uo%3D1
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Reply #28 posted 02/19/12 6:41pm

dalsh327

smoothcriminal12 said:

So Prince is a no show?

We'll only know that when the show's over. Keeping tabs on it.

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Reply #29 posted 02/19/12 6:45pm

PoorLonelyComp
uter

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smoothcriminal12 said:

So Prince is a no show?

They placed his guitars onstage so you never know.

"Do you really know what love is?"
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