Tuesday, July 21, 2020

On Time: A Princely Life In Funk by Morris Day with David Ritz

(Da Capo, 2019) Morris Day fronting the Time, stealing scenes in Purple Rain, and during his solo career was a consistent delight, but that does not mean his book will be good. David Ritz came out swinging with his amazing 1985 Marvin Gaye book, but over the years his visible-ghostwriter co-sign has not been a consistent mark of quality (the Don Rickles book was just jokes from the stand up act with no revelations and was a bore; his R. Kelly book was inconsistent and chock full of semi-truths and craziness, though it proved to be kinda fascinating). But this book has a secret weapon: an All-Star imaginary co-author! Yes, Morris Day has included a running commentary by his mentor Prince, with Morris crafting Prince's sassy, troll-like refutations of Day's version of events. So that is insane, obviously, but very compelling. Day's chronicle's of the early days of Prince's groundbreaking Minneapolis music scene includes details on some of the infamous rumors, including Morris bartering his creative contributions (so Prince could claim to be sole creator of his early albums) for a record deal. Not everything seems 100% accurate (hard to believe that the name "The Time" was not derived from the band Flyte Tyme, whose members became The Time, but that's how Morris remembers it, and Faux Prince doesn't disagree), but it all seems truthful. Morris cops to years of addictions (even introducing mid-book a less successful co-narrator, a drugged out bad boy version of his stage persona) and does not portray himself as the perfect father or spouse. But he is very proud that his band could keep Prince's band on its toes, and despite some bitterness about music projects Prince shelved and concert appearances where Prince pulled the rug out under him, he is not out to paint a poor portrait of his purple preceptor. And even if he tried to, Ghost Prince would set him straight.

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