Imagine it: It’s 1970s Minneapolis. A 15-year-old Morris Day is skipping school to go hang out with this band his friend André Cymone formed called Grand Central. (When retelling this story, Day peeped his eyes over his dark sunglasses and said, “Kids, don’t follow my lead on that!”)
His friend Cymone invited Day to come check out the band and even had him play the drums. Cymone was blown away by Day’s skills. The feeling was mutual. “They were, like, 14-, 15-year-olds and they played like they were in their 20s,” Day said of the band.
Cymone invited Day to join the band, and their other drummer, Charles Smith—Prince’s cousin—was kicked out. Prince was also in Grand Central and didn’t give Day the warmest reception, however.
Day says that Prince gave him his signature side eye and Day tried to figure him out, but he couldn’t. Day also says that Prince wasn’t the easiest person to get along with. However, eventually the two became the best of friends and Day was able to anticipate Prince’s swinging “Gemini” moods.
Day told The Root that when Prince would get in a mood, he “was on the ‘I’m not feeling you and that shit today.’” Day goes on to say, “Later on in life, he had (I think) a bunch of people who were terrified with that side of him.” It’s part of the mystifying aura of what Prince became.
Cymone, Prince and Day continued making beautiful music together, and Day says that Prince was responsible for formulating the Minneapolis sound. “A lot of bands were into horn sections, so we ended up using the keyboards to do the lead lines the horns would normally do,” he says. “And that kinda created a sound that I think people relate to as a Minneapolis sound. Prince was definitely responsible for that.”
Check out the above video to hear Day talk about his friendship with Prince and the shade that was thrown when they met.
Editor’s note: Morris Day and the Time released a new single and video, “Over That Rainbow,” on April 21 in honor of the late legend Prince. Check out the song