Here’s why it’s good to tape record interviews:
“What is is built on what was, and what will be is built on what was and what is. And we’ll just go from there.”
That moment of Zen is from Terry Lewis, talking about The Time, the party-funk band from the Prince school whose original lineup has reunited this summer for three engagements at the Flamingo Las Vegas. The first started Tuesday and continues through July 5.
Morris Day and comic foil Jerome Benton have kept The Time and ’80s dance hits such as “Jungle Love” and “The Bird” alive for 10 years on the locals casino circuit. What’s unusual about this reunion is that Lewis and business partner Jimmy Jam went on to be the producer team behind a number of pop and R&B stars, most notably Janet Jackson’s mega-selling “Control” and “Rhythm Nation” albums.
Suffice it to say that unless they’ve been using Ed McMahon or Mike Tyson as their financial advisers, Jam and Lewis aren’t doing the Flamingo gig for the money.
“There’s no other reason to do it other than just wanting to do it,” Lewis says of the reunion that began in February with a performance on the Grammy Awards telecast. Jam is president of the presenting organization, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
“We’ve been producing records for 30 years and that’s been a fun thing too,” Lewis says. “But there’s nothing like the feeling I felt when we started rehearsing for the Grammys. For that period of time, I’m just a bass player. That’s all I have to think about. That’s a great feeling.”
The band — which also includes Monte Moir, Jellybean Johnson and Jesse Johnson — also is about three-fourths done with a new album, and may preview some of the new songs in the live sets.
“People are starved for good music, people are starved for musicianship, people are starved for fun,” Lewis believes. “That’s all the things we bring. We’re going to make a really good, fun, fun record.”
And in the process of finishing it, “We bring something to Vegas that it doesn’t have. While we are a band from the ’80s, we bring a lot of youth and fun to that town that it hasn’t seen (since) Prince came to town,” he says.
“We’ll make ’em dance in the aisles.” …
Cancellation of a deal to sell The Hooters Hotel — the investment group that tried to buy it failed to make a $500,000 payment earlier this month — was good news for the casino’s resident performers.
Comedian Bobby Slayton and mentalist Gerry McCambridge both now have new commitments from management. McCambridge recently marked one year and 500 shows there. He has been extended another year and now does six shows per week, after starting with two.
Slayton, who originally planned to wrap up his residency on Labor Day, now has extended to March. …
Entertainment Weekly recently did a themed issue of “The New Classics,” compiling lists of the best movies, TV shows, etc. of the past 25 years. “Stomp” was ranked No. 35 and “O” was No. 41 on the Stage list, which is curious considering their comparative status on the Strip. “Stomp,” while relatively new to Las Vegas in its “Stomp Out Loud” incarnation, belongs more on the Strip’s endangered species list, while “O” continues to do capacity business as it nears its 10th anniversary in October.
It’s great that both shows were included alongside “legitimate” stage shows; “Angels in America” was No. 1. But what happened to the Blue Man Group?
The Blue guys are missing from the list but going strong at The Venetian. Starting July 9, Blue Man Group goes from nine to 14 shows per week, two each night.
This is remarkable in light of other shows scaling back ticket prices and treading water to hang on through a tough summer. Blue Man Group is either doing booming business, or this is a blue-faced gamble that giving consumers additional ticket availability and flexibility in choosing their show times will boost overall sales.
Mike Weatherford’s entertainment column appears Thursdays and Sundays. Contact him at 702-383-0288 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.