Prince in tribute via The Purple Xperience
DEARDRA SHULER | 5/19/2017, 2:31 p.m.
Vocalist and frontman for The Purple Xperience, Marshall Charloff, was a teenager when he first met Prince. Little did he know that 30 years later he would perform as Prince in The Purple Xperience, a tribute act fostered by Matt “Doctor” Fink, Prince’s scrubs-wearing keyboardist from the band The Revolution.
Charloff explained, “I was in a band with Prince’s cousin, but I didn’t believe Prince was really his cousin. So his cousin decided to prove it. He took me a private personal recording space where Prince was recording. I met Prince and also Matt Fink there and later performed with him, but I never was a member of The Revolution. I am the frontman of The Purple Xperience, a band that came together in 2010. I saw Prince several times and did recordings at the Paisley Park studio. In fact, I was on the recordings with Prince for the 94 East series. I performed with Matt Fink on several occasions, and later Matt and I talked about whether we wanted to perform the Prince catalogue. In 2011, we put together the rest of The Purple Xperience band, consisting of Cory Eischen on keys, Tracey Blake on guitar, Ron Long on bass who also worked with Prince’s father, John Nelson and Ron Caron on drums. At first we did infrequent shows with the emphasis being that when performing Prince’s music, it would be with a high level of musical execution. We determined that it would be done with a great deal of respect, thus our presentation would not be corny or cheesy. And also, that we would perform Prince’s music with
the blessing of Prince.”
After Prince died April 21, 2016, interest in the band exploded, and the band began to perform more frequently. The Purple Xperience has performed all around the country and in Canada. Because the band consists of family men, they have remained mostly in the U.S. but might contemplate overseas tours in the future.
Charloff resembles Prince in stature, looks and vocals. Like Prince, Charloff plays all the instruments in his band. He described, “In Prince’s case, he was music! If you understand the language of music it does not matter what instrument you pick up because if you have something to say, you just communicate and interpret the music through that instrument. I am unaffected, so try not to put on an affect, since my vocals are very similar to Prince. It is such a blessing because I can sing as myself, which happens to sound like Prince and thus come off respectful while emulating Prince.”
“The Purple One” sold more than 100 million records. A consummate and flamboyant showman, Prince was a prolific songwriter, producer, singer and virtuoso self-taught instrumentalist. He was an innovator whose music combined a variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia and pop.
“Prince was all-encompassing. His image and music was always cutting-edge and unique. At this point it’s almost iconic—when you think of the color purple, you think of it in association with Prince. Prince owns the color purple,” stated Charloff.
The Purple Xperience is on tour presently and will be appearing at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West, in the Bronx, Saturday, May 20, at 8 p.m. Interested parties can go online at www.LehmanCenter.org or call 718-960-8833 to secure tickets.