by Scarlet Waters
We cannot have an adequate tribute to funk music without a feature on The Time. Popularly known as one of Prince’s protege’s, The Time, which is now known as Morris Day and the Time and The Original 7ven, are the most successful of those protege’s. The fact that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were actually IN the band could be a big reason why …. just sayin!
Many of us are also familiar with three of the other members Jerome Benton, Jellybean Johnson, and Jesse Johnson, all of whom worked with Prince for many years and are prolific musicians. A little known fact is that Prince actually played all the instruments himself on The Time's debut album, giving credit to Jamie Starr which is his alter ego. Such a genius … Anyhoo, it is a well-known fact in the music world that many of Prince’s protege’s had major disagreements and falling-out’s with him, and this is true for The Time as well.
Food fights, fines, and being hand-cuffed to a wall during the Controversy tour are part of these stories, and eventually most members of the original line-up of The Time left the band with remaining members formed into a new band known as The Family (Screams of Passion) which consisted of Jerome Benton, Jellybean Johnson, and St.Paul Peterson. The Time had served as the backing band for Vanity 6, and they enjoyed a quick flight to fame as a result of the the movie Purple Rain which featured 2 of their smash hits The Bird and Jungle Love.
The Time has disbanded and reunited off and on over the years with original and new members, and will probably always find some success with live performances because they produced some timeless Funk hits. These include Gigolos Get Lonely Too, 777-9311, The Walk, and Cool (ceeeeeeeee, oh oh L - What’s that spell?) — but my all-time favorite is Get It Up. Good Lord that is some straight-up 9 minutes of mouth twisting, booty shakin, head-tiltin, ripe-ass-FUNK. That melody line is so smoove; ooooh and that guitar intro solo! And the keyboard solo in the middle!
Every instrument played by the great Purple One. But The Time gives it to you so good on stage with a smoking hot performance that keeps you laughing and groovin.
I remember one time around 12 years ago, I saw Morris Day in the parking lot of Beautiful Restaurant here in ATL with a scarf on his head tied with the knot at the top just like out of a movie, and all those freckles on his face! I smiled and said “Hey!” and he said, “Hey baby girl.” Funky.