Ex-Prince Calls The Revolution To His Court For New LP

The Purple One announces plans for another record with seminal funk-pop band via his website.

Prince and the Revolution have rejoined forces.

That's according to The Artist, at least, the man formerly known as Prince and the leader

of the seminal Minneapolis funk-pop group that, in no uncertain terms, changed the face

of rock in the '80s and hence.

Although fans of The Artist have long been accustomed to his habit of unleashing

surprising batches of work at a moment's notice, few were prepared for the

announcement the Purple One made Wednesday that he is gearing up to release a new

album of material with his 1980s backing band, the Revolution.

The Artist revealed the news about the forthcoming release, tentatively titled

Roadhouse Garden, in a nonchalant posting to his official "Love 4 One Another"

website.

"Prince and the Revolution R releasing a new album on NPG [Records]," the notice read,

referring to his record label. "Songs include things left unfinished when the band broke

up in the '80s and several new cuts that The Artist is putting 2gether using parts from

many tunes."

Word of fresh tracks from the band with which Prince recorded his seminal Purple

Rain (1984) -- the album that included songs from The Artist's first movie -- surprised even those who at times have been close to the reclusive musician.

"That's news to me," said Alan Leeds, Prince's tour manager for the 1999 (1982)

through Lovesexy (1988) albums and the manager of Paisley Park Records, the

label Prince founded in the mid-'80s, through 1992. "As legend has it, he's got a vault full

of wonderful old material," Leeds said Thursday (Oct. 1), "and any classic-era Prince

material is interesting to hear."

"Roadhouse Garden," the proposed title track of the album, is just one of scores of tracks

that never made it out, Leeds said.

The Revolution -- Wendy and Lisa (Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, guitar and

keyboards, respectively), Bobby Z (percussion), Brown Mark (bass) and Matt Fink

(keyboards), plus occasional collaborators Sheila E. on drums and Eric Leeds (Alan's

brother) on sax -- accompanied Prince during the peak of the Minneapolis musician's

fame and appear on Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day (1985), which

featured the song

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Prince/Paisley_Park.ram">"Paisley Park"

(RealAudio excerpt), and Parade (1986). The group split up in '86 as Prince went

on to experiment with sounds other than the funk-rock mix he took to the top of the charts.

"I know there was a lot of material that he recorded with them that has never seen the

light of day," said Sam Jennings, the 27-year-old operator of the "Chicago Prince Nation"

website. "The idea of being able to hear that finally is pretty exciting."

Among the most popular Revolution-era songs that have circulated as bootlegs are

tracks such as "In All My Dreams," "Old Friends For Sale" and "Large Room With No

Light."

In recent years, The Artist has often hit fans with heavy doses of new and unreleased

tracks. His latest album, Newpower Soul (recorded with his current backing band,

the New Power Generation), was released only months after The Artist issued Crystal

Ball, a three-CD set of material from his fabled vaults. Two songs on that collection,

"Movie Star" and

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Prince/Sexual_Suicide.ram">"Sexual

Suicide" (RealAudio excerpt), were taken from the Revolution's unreleased

catalog.

Of course, the Prince of 12 years ago is a different musician than today's Artist, Leeds

said. During his time with the Revolution, the prolific singer born Prince Rogers Nelson

was a young creator, soaking up musical knowledge and influences at every turn, he

said.

"In the course of a jam, someone might play a lick, and he would turn around and say,

'Hey, where did that idea come from?' and Eric or Sheila or Wendy would say, 'Oh, that's

a line from an old Joni Mitchell song, or an old Tito Puente song,' " Leeds recalled. "That

was the atmosphere that existed back in those days. I'm not so sure that same

atmosphere exists today. This is a grown man now who has had the benefit of playing

and listening to many kinds of music. He's not as unspoiled as [he was] back then."

The Artist, who recently canceled several tour dates due to an injured ankle, included in

his announcement-post an open call for members of the Revolution to accompany him

on upcoming tours with the New Power Generation.

It also mentioned an invitation to Wendy and Lisa to help produce Roadhouse

Garden. On Thursday, publicists for the duo -- which is preparing for a self-titled

release as the Girl Bros. later this month -- said they had no knowledge of Wendy and

Lisa's involvement in a Revolution album.

Matthew Peterson, a 23-year-old Prince fan from Chicago, said that he hopes any

release will include contributions from Wendy and Lisa, who were widely known to have

split from his Purple Highness on unfriendly terms. "If they weren't involved, it wouldn't sit

well with me, but I would probably check it out," Peterson said.

Although no release date or tour plans have been scheduled, an album by the ex-Prince

and the Revolution would undoubtedly spark wide interest, according to 30-year-old

Pierre Igot of Nova Scotia, Canada. "There are still a lot of people who go to see him in

concert because of the Revolution period, people who don't necessarily buy the latest

album," said Igot, who maintains the "Le Grind" Artist fan-site.

"It will be interesting to see whether he's gonna release this 'new' old material through

his own independent channels or [if] he's going to try to reach a wider audience," he

said. "Obviously a lot of people are still in love with that Prince and the Revolution

period."