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Summer is almost over, but you can close it out with good food and music from one of the world’s smoothest (or, depending on your point of view, outrageous) performers.

Popular 80s band Morris Day & The Time will appear in Indianapolis during the annual Rib America Festival, which takes place over Labor Day weekend Sept. 4-7 at Military Park in downtown Indianapolis. The group is scheduled to close out Rib America Festival with a concert on Monday, Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Rib America is a family event that tours the nation and features award-winning food and live entertainment. Barbecue vendors from across the country offer ribs and other items made with some of their signature sauces and recipes.

“We’re happy to offer all types of different barbecue selections from over 10 of the best cooks in the nation,” said Andy Wilson, Director of Communications for Live 360, which takes Rib America to over 20 cities each year.

Morris Day & The Time is among a unique variety of artists booked for the four-day event, including various rock, country and jazz groups.

“We definitely believe everyone will have fun seeing the The Time,” Wilson said. “We try to bring in artists who we think will be fun for everyone.”

The Time was formed in Minneapolis 1981 by music superstar Prince, who was looking for a band to perform streetwise R&B/funk songs he had written while he explored other styles of music on his own albums.

With a high energy blend of R&B flavored party music, funny lyrics and catchy choruses, The Time topped the charts with club favorites such as “Cool” (1981), “777-9311” (1982), “Jungle Love” (1984) and “Jerk Out” (1990).

Day, the lead singer, kept fans engaged with his flashy suits and egotistical remarks he shouted to assistant Jerome Benton (“Get my mirror, Jerome. I’m so cool!”)

The Time also had a reputation for extremely tight musicianship, and two of its famous members, keyboardist Jimmy Jam and bass Terry Lewis, have produced major hits for artists such as Janet Jackson, The SOS Band, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Usher.

Fans best remember Morris Day & The Time as rivals to Prince and his band in the 1984 film “Purple Rain,” which was released in 1984.

During a recent interview Day noted that the band and Prince were having fun; they didn’t think the movie would become a classic.

“It was such an innocent time,” Day reminisced. “Prince said ‘Let’s do a movie,’ and we were like ‘OK.’ We were just doing our thing, and bringing our personalities to the record and screen. It was just us being us.”

When The Time broke up during the late 80s, Day pursued a modestly successful solo career on the strength of radio favorites like 1987’s “Fishnet (Black Pantyhose).” Since the early 90s, Day and various lineups of The Time have performed across the United States, Canada and Europe.

To the cheers of fans worldwide, all six original members of The Time reunited for several concerts in 2008, including an appearance at the 50th Grammy Awards performing “Jungle Love” with Rhianna.

Day confirmed that the reunited band is completing songs for a new album, but did not commit to a release date.

“We’re not on any schedule,” Day said. “We kind of come up with stuff, get together and have a little listening session, pick some things and put them down. But we are really close to having the project completed.”

Day joked that fans might be disappointed to know his private persona does not alawys match his stage image as an entertainer bragging to fans, delivering pick-up lines to ladies and doing crazy dances.

“I like to think the onstage image is the side of me that is the up side and the side that likes to have a good time,” Day said. “When a lot of people see me in pubic they’re disappointed because I’m not skidding sideways into the room or doing ‘The Bird.’ That’s the person they want to see. They don’t want to see a person who’s got something on their mind and on a mission to get the car serviced.”

Rib America Festival

Where: Military Park, 801 W. Washington St.

When: Sept. 4-7; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday

Admission: $5, but free from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

Children 12 and under always free. Lawn chairs are welcome.

For information about artists and specific show times visit www.ribamerica.com. To order reserved seating call Ticketmaster at (317) 239-5151.

Did you know…

Morris Day was not The Time’s first lead singer. Singer Sue Ann Carwell initially led the group and Alexander O’Neal turned down the position due to “not enough money.” Prince gave the job to Day as a reward for contributing to the song “Partyup” on Prince’s “Dirty Mind” album.

Although rivals in “Purple Rain,” Prince and Morris Day were actually childhood friends.

Morris Day & The Time have sold over 10 million albums.

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