The New Power Generation, a.k.a. The NPG, was the backing band of the artist Prince, from 1990 to 2013. Although the phrase “Welcome to the New Power Generation” was first mentioned on the opening track of Prince’s 1988’s “Lovesexy” album, the NPG was first used as a band name in Prince’s 1990 movie “Graffiti Bridge”, and the song “New Power Generation” appeared on the accompanying soundtrack album. The NPG was formally introduced as Prince’s new backing band in the summer of 1990 on the “Nude Tour”. The band made its recording debut in 1991 on the wildly successful and critically acclaimed, “Diamonds and Pearls” album – which spawned more hits on the Billboard charts than any other Prince album released since 1984’s “Purple Rain”. Most reviews pointed to the musical synergy between Prince and his new band.
Over the years the NPG’s line-up has had different configurations of the NPG. (For the full detailed band history: www.princevault.com/index.php?title=Band:_New_Power_Generation)
Fast forward to October of 2016 at the acclaimed official Prince Tribute Concert in Minnesota when Morris Hayes – who was the longest-running member of the NPG after playing keyboards with Prince off and on for 20 years – was tapped as the MD for the event. He brought in the original members of the NPG to serve as the house band but also expanded the group to include a number of other former members who played in later configurations of the band over the years. The feedback from the fans was that the official tribute concert was both exhilarating and healing. “Exactly what we needed” was a typical comment from the fans. As a result, Morris had a meeting with some of the original members of the NPG about a month after the show to discuss an ‘official’ reunion in order to perform a series of tribute concerts. The premise was to bring the live music to Prince’s ‘fams’ throughout the world in order to allow them the opportunity to take part in a celebration of Prince and his music. Their intent: to honor their boss, their mentor and his music. Thus, the birth of “Celebrating Prince,” a musical performance with alumni of the NPG was born.
Today’s configuration of the NPG consists of a number of long-time alumni of the band and varies somewhat with each segment of the “Celebrating Prince” tour. At the core is Morris Hayes (MD and keyboards), Tony Mosley (guitar and vocals), Kirk Johnson (drums) and Damon Dickson(percussion, background vocals and dancer). Others like Tommy Barbarella (keyboards), Levi Seacer Jr. (guitar), Sonny Thompson (bass), Michael Bland (drums), Chance Howard (keyboards and vocals), Mono Neon (bass), Mike Scott (guitar), Ida Nielsen (bass), Donna Grantis (guitar), Rhonda Smith (bass), Lynn Grissett (trumpet), Keith Anderson (sax) and the Hornheadz have all joined them on live performances in the past year. When work schedules have not allowed for other NPG guitarists to perform on a particular date or tour Homer O’Dell, the guitarist for the Grammy-nominated Mint Condition, has joined them as well.
Special guest vocalists for the “Celebrating Prince” tour will vary subject to availability. Last summer the NPG was joined by Prince’s life-long friend and musical collaborator, Andre Cymone, along with former NPG vocalist and keyboard player, Kip Blackshire. Other former NPG vocalists – such as Shelby J., Marva King, and Liv Warfield – have joined them for special performances and the Grammy-nominated, former NPG singer, Tamar Davis, will tour with the band in 2018. Just as the very talented artists Bilal, Candy Dulfer, and Ana Moura did last summer, other “special guest” artists may occasionally join them.