The Time’s Guitarist Jesse Johnson’s Interview with Donnie Simpson on Video Soul “It was Hell Working for Prince.”

By Ron Worthy

In this very in-depth interview with original The Time guitarist Jesse Johnson, Donnie Simpson explores Jesse’s career and relationship with Prince as well as his experiences as a ground-breaking musician.  He discusses in-depth some of the behind the scenes dramas that lead to the firing of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis from The Time. This really provides rare insight into the inner workings of the bands and people responsible for the Minneapolis Sound.   Growing up in D.C. and listening to Donnie Simpson since I was a kid, this footage really took me back.   I’ve been a huuuuge fan of Jesse since the 80’s and it is incredible to watch this since we were not able to afford cable when this first aired.

“It Was Hell Working for Prince.”  – Jesse Johnson



More about Jesse Johnson from All Music:

Illinois-born funk/soul guitarist Jesse Johnson began playing guitar when he was 15, honing his chops in local rock bands throughout his teens and early twenties. On a friend’s recommendation, he moved to Minneapolis, MN, where he became the lead guitarist and a primary songwriter for the city’s extraordinairy funk-rock group, the Time. After writing “Jungle Love,” the group’s most memorable and highest-charting single, Johnson signed a solo deal with A&M in 1984 and released Jesse Johnson’s Revue the following year. Shockadelica and Every Shade of Love followed, building on the inventive, elaborate sound he forged with the Time. By 1990 the group reformed and issued Pandemonium, which once again showcased his songwriting and guitar skills. The highlights of his solo albums were collected on 2000’s Jesse Johnson: The Ultimate Collection.

More about Video Soul from Wikipedia:

Video Soul premiered in June 1981 and was originally a half hour show. It was devoted to helping showcase new R&B/soul recording artists and performers. The show was created after MTV refused to play videos by most African American musicians[1], as MTV made the De Facto Colour policy effective. Both BET and Video Soul served as the place of refuge for new African American musical talent. The expanded 2-hour long Primetime version debuted on June 26, 1983 and aired from 9-11 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Thursdays. A top 20 countdown aired Friday nights, 9-11 p.m. Eastern Time as well. Throughout the early-mid 1990s, until the show ended, it aired from 8-10 PM eastern time.

Virgil Hemphill was the original first host of the series, dubbing himself as the “Reverend Eldorado”. After Hemphill left the series, Donnie Simpson became the show’s most prominent veejay although he joined the show a few years after it premiered. Sherry Carter (who was also hosted BET’s Video LP, a half-hour long video program) and Sheila Banks were the other hosts.

Throughout its run, it was responsible for surprise guests, bringing groups/bands back together, memorable interviews, etc. A number of up-and coming artists had their first interview on Video Soul.

Video Soul Top-20 aired on Fridays, it showcased the hottest top-20 videos of the week. It would also be known as The Coca-Cola Video Soul Top-20 Countdown, as Coca-Cola became a sponsor of the show.

Video Soul By Request was a two-hour long video block on Saturdays. This edition premiered in mid 1992. It showcased videos that were requested by viewers, who called a 1-900 number to request the video they wanted to hear. Throughout its run, Sherry Carter hosted unseen when she became a host for Video Soul in 1992.

Here are some of our favorite Jesse Johnson moments:

The Time – Gigolos Get Lonely Too (written by Jesse Johnson)

Jesse Johnson – Can You Help Me

Jesse Johnson – Get to Know Ya (From Pretty in Pink Soundtrack)

Jesse Johnson – Be Your Man

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