The Revolution (from left) “Dr.” Matt Fink (keyboard), Mark “BrownMark” Brown, (bass), Robert “Bobby Z” Rivkin (drums), Lisa Coleman (keyboard) and Wendy Melvoin (guitar) will perform in concert on New Year’s Eve at the Paragon Casino Resort’s Mari Showroom. The band was with Prince during his Purple Rain album and film, earningt two Grammy’s and an Oscar. {Photo by Nancy Bundt}

Prince (front right) and the Revolution band members Wendy Melvoin, Robert “Bobby Z” Rivkin, Lisa Coleman, Mark “BrownMark” Brown and “Dr.” Matt Fink as they appeared in 1985 for “Purple Rain.” {Photo by Nancy Bundt}

The Revolution to help say good-bye to 2017

Prince’s band plays the Paragon-Marksville on Dec. 31

In the early 1980s, a petite singer wearing a style mimicking that of Louis XVI’s France burst onto the music scene.

The artist known as Prince -- then as the artist formerly known as Prince and then as Prince again -- had a unique sound. Some dubbed it the “Minneapolis Sound.”

Backing up the singer who become a legend were several talented musicians. Together, they were Prince and the Revolution.

Prince Rogers Nelson died unexpectedly on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57. The Revolution, as a band, ceased to exist in 1986 -- but not before helping to launch Prince’s career and secure his place in rock music’s pantheon of stars.

“We kept in touch,” drummer Robert “Bobby Z” Rivkin said.

Rivkin -- the “Z” in his stage name is derived from his family nickname of “Butzie” -- was one of the original band members for Prince in the late 1970s. He grew up in Minneapolis, as did Prince.

“Losing Prince was such a big deal to all of us -- to the whole world, really -- that we decided it is important that his music continue to be played and enjoyed,” Bobby Z said.

While there may be other musicians and singers who could do a good tribute to Prince, Bobby Z said he and the other Revolution members believe they are the right ones for that job.


“We have Prince’s music in our DNA,” he said. “It feels good to play it and people enjoy hearing it the way we play it.”

In late 2016 the band reunited to honor Prince with three concerts. In early 2017, the band members decided to go on a multi-city tour.

It began in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis on April 21 -- the one year anniversary of his death -- and ended with a sold-out concert in Los Angeles on Labor Day.

After taking a Fall break, the Revolution decided to play a few more winter concerts -- two in December and three in February.

On New Year’s Eve, those attending the Mari Showroom at Paragon Casino Resort will be able to “party like it’s 1999” as the Revolution sends 2017 packing and gets Avoyelles Parish ready for 2018. Tickets for this event start at $30.

“Yes, we will be spending New Year’s Eve in Marksville -- which will be a lot warmer than up here in Minneapolis,” Bobby Z said with a chuckle. He said he has never been to this part of the state and is looking forward to it.


The other band members who backed up Prince on his Purple Rain, Around the World In A Day and Parade albums are “Dr.” Matt Fink (keyboard), Mark “BrownMark” Brown (bass), Wendy Melvoin (guitar) and Lisa Coleman (keyboard/ piano).

They earned multiple No. 1 hits. Purple Rain won two Grammy’s and the Oscar for Best Original Song Score in 1985.

The band will bring special guest Stokley Williams, from Mint Condition, to provide vocals on some Prince classics while band members will also take a turn at the mike on others.

The band members went their separate ways after leaving Prince. They came together for a concert in 2011, one year after Rivkin had a heart attack, to raise public awareness of warning signs and risk factors of heart disease.

After taking January and most of February off, the Revolution will perform in New Orleans on Feb. 22, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Feb. 23 and Atlanta, Ga., on Feb. 24.

Bobby Z said the band will have a large concert in Philadelphia on March 9 and then another slate of concerts during the summer.

“We are happy,” Bobby Z said. “We are basically starting from nothing again and hitting the road.”


Rivkin’s voice is still touched with emotion when he speaks about his friend.

“Prince knew how to be a band leader, to get the most out of any piece of music. He was gifted as a singer, musician, songwriter. His music became a part of his soul.

“To be able to watch someone with such an other-worldly talent was something to behold,” Rivkin said. “He was a wizard.”

Bobby Z said the band strives to bring that experience to its audiences.

“We want to bring the music to the people and let them relive the excitement that was Prince,” Bobby Z said. “As long as we are alive, we have to keep bringing it back to the public so they will not forget.

“One thing losing such a friend really brings home,” Rivkin continued, “is that we have to appreciate each moment we have with our friends. Appreciate each moment.”


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