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What time is it? Time for the Time

Morris Day and the Time bringing '80s hits to Pompano Beach.

There was a time when Morris Day — the dandified dervish who recently brought the house down leading a mash-up of the Time and indie-pop trio Haim in a rendition of "Jungle Love" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" — had no clue how to behave in front of a band.

That ended the day that Prince, future pop genius and then the teenage multi-instrumentalist leading a Minneapolis pop band called Grand Central, asked its drummer to be the new lead singer. Day was dubious, for several reasons. After all, Prince was the guy who had not spoken to him for several weeks after Day joined the band.

"He was a weird dude back then — he's not faking it," Day says, more than 40 years later. Day explained that he had no idea how to front a band, but Prince was not to be denied.

"Prince was like, 'Walk, put your hand in your pocket, and be cool,'" Day says, laughing. "And I said, 'I could do that. I could do that.' And it all mushroomed from there."

Day was soon fronting a Prince spinoff project, Morris Day and the Time, which hit it big with the 1984 singles "Jungle Love" and "The Bird," and a featured role that year in the Prince film "Purple Rain."

Speaking by phone from his home in Las Vegas, in advance of a May 29 double bill with Morris Day and the Time and Cameo at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater, an effervescent Day seems happy to reflect, but that's the last time Day laughs in a sentence with Prince in it.

Day's one-time champion and the owner of the name "the Time" will not allow its use on recorded material, which forced the band's 2011 reunion album, "Condensate," to be released under the name the Original 7ven. The Time can still call itself by that name for live performances.

"This is somebody who would shut me down completely if he could," Day says. "Now, I don't know why, but I'll tell you this: I use the name live because, legally, I can. There's nothing he can do about it, or he probably would have tried.

"I can't say we're good buddies like we used to be. But we've still got the music in common. That ain't going nowhere," Day says. "If we don't hang [out together] another day, I'm OK with that. We did a lot of hanging back in the day."

Day, 57, is more enthusiastic when looking forward. He's recording new music, and his name has been on the lips of contemporary pop-music arbiters recently with the popularity of the Mark Ronson-Bruno Mars hit "Uptown Funk," a brassy, slide-across-the-floor dance number straight out of the Time playbook.

Day hears the influence of "Jungle Love" on the song, but never thought to call a lawyer. (Ronson and Mars settled one suit with the writers of the Gap Band's "Oops Upside Your Head.")

"I don't feel like we were directly ripped off at all," Day says. "At the Brit Awards [where the song was 2015 single of the year], Mark Ronson straight up gave us a plug, by name, Morris Day and the Time, when he accepted the award. That's really cool stuff. It's all good with me."

Morris Day and the Time and Cameo will perform 7:30 p.m. May 29 at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater, 1806 NE Sixth St. Tickets cost $30-$75. Call 954-284-0141 or go to PompanoBeachArts.com.

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