The Time Metamorphs Into The Original 7ven; Releases New Album
Eighties funk band reunites for new album/tour, but with new name
One of the hottest synth-funk bands to blaze R&B and pop charts in the Eighties are back at it again. It’s been a long time coming since Morris Day and the original members of Flyte Tyme united for something this big, but it’s long overdue. To prove that point, The Time‘s last album, Pandemonium, was recorded in 1991. By that time, bandmates Jam & Lewis had moved on to produce hit records for Cheryl Lynn, the S.O.S. Band, The Human League and Janet Jackson.
The Minneapolis band was formed under the auspice of the Purple One, yes Prince, back in 1980 and went on to perform alongside him during his Revolution days. Mostly all of the albums were produced, arranged and written by Maurice Starr, a nickname used by Prince to cover up the rumors of Prince’s controlling ways. But the Time was far from a record label fantasy band. Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, along with accomplished guitarist Jesse Johnson, drummer Jellybean Johnson and songwriter and keyboard player Monte Moir (Janet Jackson’s “The Pleasure Principle”) and stage guy Jerome Benton, all played their part during live performances and finally were able to prove their skills on the 1984 single “The Bird” and on 1990’s Pandemonium. Along with their “time” with Prince, the band amassed eight Top 40 R&B hits, two Top 40 pop hits and have sold over
Now with a new album loaded with new material on the horizon, the group is eager to reunite and finish up old business. But don’t expect to see them as The Time. Prince denied the group the rights to use the name, but it’s not going to hold them back.
“We took it as a chance to be free and liberated…and that was sort of the approach we took to making the album,” keyboardist and co-producer Jimmy Jam (nee Harris) told Billboard.com. “We sound like ourselves because we have a sound, for sure, when we get together, but we certainly didn’t have the constraints of the name, and therefore we felt we could do music that represented where we’re at right now. So we just kind of embraced it rather than getting all involved in legal stuff.”
Guitarist Jesse Johnson adds that taking on a new identity also ends any confusion between The Time — the original lineup that includes Jam and Terry Lewis, who were kicked out of the band by Prince in 1983 — and Morris Day & the Time, which tours regularly and includes Johnson, hype man Jerome Benton, keyboardist Monte Moir and drummer Jellybean Johnson. “It got confusing for people — there’s not enough of a distinction between the two acts to make a difference,” Johnson explains. “I think (the change) is more of a good thing than a bad thing. We are the original guys, so people will know who we are when they hear the Original 7ven.”
The band doesn’t mind being called The Time by their fans, and will occasionally call themselves “The Band formerly known as The Time.”We don’t have any problems with that,” Jam says. “We don’t mind that at all. We can’t call ourselves that, but the fans are certainly welcome to.”
The new album, Condensate, hits stores October 18. A special CD/DVD fan pack, including a 30-minute “Making Of” documentary video of the album, will be on sale at Best Buy. Their first single, “#Trendin,” is now available digitally at iTunes, Amazon.com and other digital online outlets.
According to Original 7ven members, tour plans are to be expected, along with major dates during the 2012 summer season at major music festivals. The logistics of the touring calendar have not been confirmed at press date.
Video above: Morris Day & the Time performing at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, NYC
So what do you think?
Happy about the reunion?
Are you gonna pick up the album?
Mad at Prince?
Speak your thoughts.