Make us your home page
Instagram

Prince tribute Purple Xperience honors Purple One's memory around Tampa Bay this week

The Purple Xperience features Marshall Charloff as Prince and Matt “Doctor” Fink, Prince’s keyboardist in the Revolution (wearing surgical scrubs). 
KMA Management

The Purple Xperience features Marshall Charloff as Prince and Matt “Doctor” Fink, Prince’s keyboardist in the Revolution (wearing surgical scrubs). KMA Management

The first time Marshall Charloff met Prince, the singer had a question.

"Do you lie?"

"I'm sorry," Charloff responded, "say that again?"

"Do you lie?"

"Well, I try not to lie. I try to be a good person and be as truthful as I can."

"That's good. I'm glad. You should never lie."

Charloff didn't know it, but Prince was sort of teasing him. At the time, he was working on a song called Do U Lie? for his 1986 album Parade.

"He had a couple of French girls with him, and they were giggling when he asked me that," Charloff said in a recent phone interview, recounting the moment for, he said, the first time. "I'm assuming they were recording that song that would come out two albums later."

Back then, Charloff was just a teenager who happened to be in a band with Prince's cousin. More than 30 years later, he performs as Prince in the Purple Xperience, a tribute act led by Matt "Doctor" Fink, Prince's scrubs-wearing keyboardist in the Revolution. The group hits Tampa Bay for shows this week, starting Thursday at the Tampa Theatre.

Fink has led the Purple Xperience since 2011, touring sporadically, but interest in the band has exploded since Prince's sudden death on April 21. At first, Charloff thought performing would be "inappropriate" — Prince died on a Thursday, and the Purple Xperience was booked for a concert the next night — but Fink insisted the show go on.

"We hit the stage, and all I can tell you is it was one of those moments where it felt right," he said. "If it didn't feel right, I wouldn't be doing this. It felt right, it felt cathartic, it felt purposeful — more so than it did the previous four and a half years, where we were just having fun. It felt like a calling."

Charloff, who grew up in Minnesota, had played in bands for decades before officially embodying Prince in the Purple Xperience — though as he said, doing so wasn't much of a stretch.

"I'm his stature; there's nothing I can do about that," he laughed. "I have his falsetto, and I have a natural affinity for his vocal styling. … I don't have to try that hard to personify him. Even in the way I play, I'm a multi-instrumentalist, and I get to be myself, which is a thrill for me."

In true Prince fashion, Charloff was a little cagey about a few topics related to the Purple One. For example, what did Prince think of the Purple Xperience?

"I better leave that one alone," he said. "Of course he (knew) what we were doing and who we were and all of that, but I've got to leave it there."

What about Fink's future with Purple Xperience, after the keyboardist rejoined the rest of the Revolution for a few reunion shows at Minneapolis' First Avenue earlier this month?

"Can't really tell you with 100 percent certainty what that looks like," he said. "I can tell you that wherever Matt is called, of course, we're all behind him."

But he does say the Purple Xperience is all about honoring Prince's legacy, and that's what fans these days embrace.

"Children are starting to come to the show because parents want to expose their children to what they grew up on, and the legacy that Prince left behind," Charloff said. "They're still trying to heal, and we're offering a little bit of healing at the same time."

Contact Jay Cridlin at cridlin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.

. if you go

The Purple Xperience

The band has two shows this week in Tampa Bay. Organizers on Tuesday canceled a third concert scheduled for Saturday at the Polk Theatre in Lakeland. Tickets will be automatically refunded. For info on them all, see

chilloungenight.com.

• 8 p.m. Thursday at the Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Clearwater. $32 and up. (813) 274-8286.

• 8 p.m. Friday at the Coliseum, 535 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. $25 and up. (727) 892-5202.

Prince tribute Purple Xperience honors Purple One's memory around Tampa Bay this week 09/20/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 12:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Recipe for Chicken Wings with Coconut Sweet Potato Puree

    Cooking

    This dish is an homage to one of my favorite Epcot International Food and Wine Festival dishes: Grilled Beef Skewer With Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree from the Patagonia kiosk. A boniato is a sweet potato with whiter flesh and a typically sweeter flavor. I use standard sweet potatoes in this recipe, plus a little …

    Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Puree. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.
  2. The 'Total Eclipse' song from the '80s you never knew you loved

    Blogs

    Depending on when you read this, you are eagerly awaiting the eclipse or have seen all the commotion come and go for the first total solar eclipse across America since 1918. Without any doubts, sometime today you will probably have a chance to hear Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse Of The Heart, but here at Stuck in …

  3. Hollywood lost a serious filmmaker in Jerry Lewis

    Movies

    The day the clown died, Hollywood lost a serious filmmaker in Jerry Lewis.

    Jerry Lewis in 2005. Lewis, the comedian and filmmaker who was adored by many, disdained by others, but unquestionably a defining figure of American entertainment in the 20th century, died on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91 (New York Times)
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 22

    Events

    Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market: With live music, vegetables, fruit, baked goods, herbs, teas, plants, crafts and handmade jewelry. 9 a.m., Gulfport, along Beach Boulevard, Gulfport. Free. (727) 902-2326.

    SP_347707_KEEL_NAYMARKETS_SCOTT KEELER (12/20/2011 GULFPORT) 1. Shoppers choose various produce items recently at the Gulfport Fresh Market. The market is held on Tuesday mornings.      TIMES PHOTO SCOTT KEELER
  5. My plan for the #solareclipse at 2:51 pm today

    Blogs

    "Marion, don't look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don't look at it, no matter what happens!"