Episode 6: Pierre Lewis (The Lewis Connection / Commodores)

MacEagon Voyce
July 17, 2020

“They don’t really know that much about me…they have no idea about my Prince history or nothing, you know. I just try to keep it low-key and not say too much.”

Pierre Lewis is a keyboardist who came up in the Twin Cities in the ’70s. It was one of the most important and under-appreciated scenes for funk music, and that spirit was aptly captured in the compilation record, Purple Snow, named for Prince, the Purple One, who hailed from the Twin Cities himself. The album chronicles the history of the scene and features many Prince collaborators, one of whom being Pierre and his band The Lewis Connection. Pierre appears on that compilation more times than any other person — a testament to his skill as a collaborator. He’d later play with KC and the Sunshine Band and Joss Stone, and today he’s still a member of the Commodores. We chatted about his many collaborations, as well as his relationship with Prince, and the rare record he made that includes Prince’s earliest recorded playing.

Listen on SoundCloud below or on Spotify here.

Support Pierre:
When not in a pandemic, he plays at the Lux every Sunday and Shaw’s every Monday, so check him out next time you’re in the Twin Cities — and you can also find him on keys at every Commodores show.

Music in this episode, used with permission from Pierre:
“Get Up” — The Lewis Connection
“Dynamic Duo” — The Lewis Connection
“Got to Be Something Here” — The Lewis Connection
“Mr. G” — The Lewis Connection

Special thanks to Grace Rubin and Alexander Frieden for the editing support!

Want to sample the Twin Cities funk scene? We can help with that. Grey Matter is a community platform with new ways to discover music and support creators. Learn more and join the community here.

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