/ ’ We rst gathered for an o - cial tribute concert that was organised to bid farewell to Princein2016.Weperformed for a full ve hours and it was amazing. We were joinedbynumerousmusiciansandthe eveningwasunforgettable, almost historic. People said that the concert was just what they needed, now that Prince is no longer here~saysMorrisHayes, Prince’s right-hand man and the band’s music director, speaking at the beginning of this interview for Elevate and explaining how he came up with the idea of launching the Celebrating Prince tour, which pays homage to this unsurpassed artist. That’sbecause thereare fewmusicians whohavede ned and rede nedpop, rock, R&B, funk, soul and just about every other genre in theway Prince did, fromhis debut album in 1978 to the last, 39th, which was released in two parts in 2015. He was kind of a ghter against establishedmusic ideals and the dictatorship of the music industry. He rejectednewways of distributingmusic likeonline streaming, sellingalbums alongside concert tickets... “Some days it was wonderful to work with him, other days it was very di cult. Sometimes I just wanted to cry. Prince alwaysworkedveryhard.Hewasaperfectionist. Still, I thinkmost ofmy days spent working with himwere exciting and wonderful. That’s an adventure that you don’t forget. He wanted everything to be the best that it could be. We often practised all day and night. He transferred his desire to be at the top onto us. We still play as though he’s on stage.We will always miss him,”says Hayes, who isbringingTheNewPowerGeneration to Bitefartcafe on 16th and 17th December. Devotees describe their performances as therapeutic because they celebrate Prince’s life and music. Colleagues, followers and students have united to preserve a music legend from oblivion by playing as though he’s still here. “The thing is that Prince is irreplaceable. He is an anomaly. Michael Jackson is an anomaly.Thesepeoplecannotbe repeated. Theyhavedeparted, andwehavewhat they left us: music. We want to be careful with that legacy, to respect it and to perform in suchaway that if Princewereherehewould jumponstageanddohis thing,”saysHayes. After they were joined by di erent vocalists during the rst year of the tour, NPG found what they were lacking in their current singer, the charismatic MacKenzie. By not tryingtoimitatethelegend, rathershowinghimrespectandhonourthroughauthentic performances, he also earned respect. “WesawMacKenzie’sappearancesomewhere on the internet and thought hewas a great entertainer. Our manager contacted him, and he thought it was a joke. We brought him to Minneapolis prior to the Super Bowl, where we performed together, and we fell in love with him instantly when he started singing at the rehearsal,” recalls Hayes. Princewasaperformerwhowouldtake every tiny bit of attention from the live audience and redirect it to his own performance. NPG continues to play as though their boss is still on stage, with a musical kaleidoscopeof themost famous hits from all periodsof Prince’s career.That’sbecause when Prince formed the band in 1990, he personally wrote a press release to introduceNPGto theworld, stating that hisnew bandwas“thebestever”.NPGis tryingtorepay himby placinghimon a pedestal even now, when he is – at least physically – no longer present… “Lay down your funky weapon, come join us on the oor. Making love and music’s the only things worth ghting for. We are the newpower generation, wewant to change the world. The only thing that’s in our way is you. Your old fashioned music, your old ideas. We’re sick and tired of you telling us what to do… ”(Prince) PROMO