The New Power Generation
The New Power Generation, also known as The NPG, was the backing band of musician Prince from 1990 to 2013. They were replaced by 3rdeyegirl as his backing band in 2013. In 2015, the New Power Generation reunited as Prince’s backing band for his final studio album before his death, Hit n Run Phase Two. They reunited once again in 2017 for a US and European tour.
The phrase “Welcome to the New Power Generation” was mentioned on the opening track of 1988’s Lovesexy. New Power Generation was used for the first time as a band name in the 1990 film Graffiti Bridge, and a song entitled “New Power Generation” appeared on the accompanying soundtrack album.
The New Power Generation debuted live during the Nude Tour in 1990 and on record on the 1991 album Diamonds and Pearls. The band consisted of holdovers from the Nude Tour: Michael Bland (drums), Levi Seacer, Jr. (guitar), Rosie Gaines (keyboards and backing vocals), Tony M. (lead raps and dancing), Kirk Johnson (percussion and dancing) and Damon Dickson (dancing), along with two new members Tommy Barbarella (keyboards) and Sonny T. (bass). Rosie Gaines left the band after the Diamonds and Pearls Tour and was replaced by keyboardist Morris Hayes.
When Prince began his formal dispute with Warner Bros. and changed his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol in 1993, the NPG became a side-project for Prince, allowing him to release music outside of his contract. The NPG was intended to appeal to a more urban audience than Prince’s mainstream material.
The NPG’s debut album, Goldnigga, featured Tony M. as lead vocalist/rapper. The album relied heavily on rap, while the music itself was reminiscent of the 1970s funk. Prince participated heavily in writing and performing the music, while Tony wrote and performed raps. Prince provided co-lead vocals on two songs, “Black M.F. in the House” and “Johnny”, and the two were often performed by him in his own concerts and after shows.