Little Rock, AR (September 23, 2019)—Morris Hayes, keyboardist and musical director of Prince’s backing band, New Power Generation, was on the road with the group on September 14, when his home and studio were consumed by fire outside Little Rock, AR.
No one was hurt by the fire. What incited the blaze is currently unknown, but the damage is evident in photos Hayes posted to social media on September 19, showing his workstation before and after the fire. Hayes noted online, “I appreciate the prayers and positive energy. Be safe and love on everyone close to you. You never know,” adding a hashtag #getinsurancenow.
At the time of the fire, Hayes was in Minneapolis with the NPG, performing at the Concert on the Lawn Series in Maple Grove. The group reformed for a Prince Tribute concert in October, 2016 and has performed regularly since.
Hayes himself worked with Prince on and off for 20-plus years, including playing keyboards for the artist’s Super Bowl performance in 2006 and contributing to a dozen albums in the Prince catalog.
In the wake of the fire, fellow NPG member Tony Mosley has started a GoFundMe page for Hayes to “help him bring the funk back.”