Morris Day Reflects on The Time, and Getting Away From Prince's Grip on His Band's Name
There may be no cooler place to be in San Francisco at 11:11 p.m. this Friday (11/11/11) than watching Morris Day and the Time perform at Mezzanine for the 10-year anniversary of Funk Fest. Original dance craze perpetrators (and Purple Rain villains) Day, Jellybean Johnson, and Monte Moir will instruct on the finer points of "The Bird," "The Oak Tree," and, of course, "Jungle Love."
After 21 years, Day reunited with the Time's original members (including the hit-making producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis), and recently released the album Condensate under the moniker the Original 7ven, a tribute to the Jackson 5ive spelling. The sound is classic, but the topics are contemporary, as in the Twitter-referencing single "#Trendin."
Prince owns the name the Time and won't release it. You might expect that to irritate or even anger Day, but he's trying to be positive about it.
"At first it was frustrating, but then it became a challenge, and we realized that if we set it up properly, it gives us more of a story to tell, and makes it a little bit more interesting in the long run," he says by phone from Minneapolis.
With a fresh name came a fresh spirit and new energy. "It changed the parameters of what we would have been expected to do if we were the Time. It's all good." Not being called the Time on the album allowed for new stretches like the song "Hey Yo," which felt too youthful to Day, until they put what he calls their brand on it.
Buoyed by the response to the album and by their consistent chemistry, Day expects that the group will work on even more music together. "It's been good to be back in the room rehearsing and reminiscing about back in the day. We spend more time talking some days than rehearsing!" In the meantime, how ironic that the artist formerly known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince would willingly imprison the band's original name. He must not realize that you can't stop the Time.