What Time Is It?

In the early 1980s, black music was undergoing a serious metamorphosis. There was less home for the funky sounds of the '70s and a new style of popular music needed to be created. Prince and his sexy synthed-out R&B was like the yin to Michael Jackson's yang, and if you weren't into the gloved one in the early '80s, chances are you were a Prince fan.

If that's the case, then you inevitably know all about the Time. Based in Minneapolis and headed by Morris Day, the group had a string of hits including "Jungle Love," "Jerk Out," and the always popular "777-9311." Most of the group had roles in Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge and were probably unfairly viewed as Prince's underlings. But musically speaking, the Time were a great band; when the group disbanded in 1990, Day kept their songs alive and motored on as Morris Day and the Time, which tours to this day.

New Times recently caught up with Day while he was preparing for an impromptu set at the Coachella Music Festival and picked his brain about music and the future of the Time.

New Times:So what's new with you musically?

Morris Day: I've been recording stuff on the Morris Day trip. But lately, the original members of the Time, we've been together working on some new stuff. The whole crew. Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, everyone. We're gonna be doing three weeks in Las Vegas at the Flamingo this summer. We're gonna start with a short run and see where that takes us.

Logistically speaking, is this going to be Morris Day and the Time — or the Time?

The Time. We're back together.

Holy shit... that's big news. How did this happen?

What happened is... it's a strange current of events. Jimmy Jam is the chairman of NARIS, the organization that puts on the Grammys. When he told NARIS that we were thinking of getting back together, they had us play the Grammys this past February. Ever since then, the phone has been ringing off the hook. The timing feels right, so we're doing it.

Did you have any apprehensions about putting the Time back together?

Yeah man, I did. But people are hungry for real music. The last time we did something was in 1990. So I think it's time to hit folks again. Plus, at our age, it makes sense for us to do a residency in Vegas and let people get on a plane and fly to us rather than us getting on a plane and flying to them.

And exactly how old are you?

I'm ha ha (laughs)! Times two.

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Jonathan Cunningham