Pittsburgh-area drummer to play in Prince tribute, ‘Celebration 2019’ at Paisley Park
Brian Edwards of Bellevue has been playing drums since he was 3 years old.
He’s played sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium with the British royal family in attendance, and he’s recorded and toured with Jesse Johnson, the original guitarist for funk-rock group The Time.
In late April, he’ll travel to Paisley Park, the estate of funk and R&B pioneer Prince, to perform with Johnson as part of a Prince tribute at the Minneapolis complex.
It’s a long way from his original childhood dream.
“I wanted to be a veterinarian!” said Edwards, 52.
That changed when he became part of the second incoming class at Pittsburgh’s original Creative and Performing Arts High School, and drumming went from a fun hobby to a full-time passion.
“They were looking for students in that second year, and it was all music from then on,” he said.
Today, Edwards teaches percussion at Bentley & Romito, with locations in Penn Township and Irwin. He has two full-length albums under his belt and recently released his first instruction book, “Rhythm Basics, Vol. 1,” all of which are available through his website, BrianEEdwards.com.
In 1988, Edwards moved to Minneapolis and got involved in its music scene, eventually auditioning and securing a spot as the touring drummer for R&B group DeBarge. He also played on Johnson’s record “Bare My Naked Soul,” recording tracks at Prince’s home studio at Paisley Park.
Edwards will fly to Los Angeles in early April to rehearse for “Celebration 2019” — set for April 25-28 at Paisley Park, where he’ll perform alongside Johnson.
While he is excited to return to Paisley Park, he’s a little nervous as well.
“It won’t sink in until I’m on the plane and start to realize just how big this will be,” he said. “I’ll fly in (to Minneapolis) two days before and see a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a long time.”
Edwards said there’s a special feeling that seems to encompass Paisley Park.
“It’s really something,” he said. “There’s a good energy there.”
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .