Prince’s Bandmates: Where Are They Now?
From his earliest bands to the vaunted Revolution, from the many variations of the New Power Generation to the all-female 3rdeyegirl, Prince counted dozens upon dozens of musicians as his bandmates. We’re taking a look at those many players’ contributions, and where they are today.
Prince could do it all – literally. As far back as his 1978 debut LP, the music legend proved that he could make an entire album all by himself. Prince sang and played guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and just about anything else you could throw at him. Through his nearly four-decade career, he often worked solo in the studio. The only outside help that was absolutely necessary for Prince was for woodwind, brass or string parts, since he couldn’t offer the same mastery of those instruments.
But playing live was another story, and as Prince’s fame began to grow as the ’80s approached, so did his backing band. In a few years, he proclaimed his group the Revolution, a diverse group of personalities that joined him in the spotlight with Purple Rain – the album and the movie. The sidemen (and women such as Wendy and Lisa) became stars in their own right, weaving themselves into the mythology of Prince even after he disbanded the group to lead alternate lineups.
After a couple of years spent with an ever-evolving band (which, at one point, included Sheila E.), he formed the New Power Generation. The group, which would dominate ’90s and ’00s Prince performances, included an incredible array of talents. The ever-evolving collective included players from his home state of Minnesota, musicians from Europe and South America and a couple of Prince’s own musical heroes: Sly and the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham and James Brown sax player Maceo Parker. In the last few years of his life, the Purple One decided to strip it all back, favoring the prodigious trio of 3rdeyegirl as his backing ensemble.
Since Prince’s death in 2016, both the Revolution and a new version of the New Power Generation have reunited to pay tribute to their late bandleader and celebrate his rich musical legacy. And many of the other musicians in this gallery have honored the late star, either at one-off events or as a standing fixture in their own, separate live performances. That doesn’t only provide testimony to the lasting power of Prince’s music, but to the strengths of the myriad players who helped him showcase it around the world.