JIMI Love first came across the music of Prince while riding in his uncle’s car when Purple Rain came on the radio.

It was a pivotal moment in the young musician’s life that was to have a far reaching influence.

“I did so many chores to raise the £10 to buy the album on vinyl,” said Jimi, who will be bringing his celebration of Prince’s music, Purple Rain, to Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre next month.

Despite his deep admiration for the super star, the theatre show came about by chance when Jimi was challenged to pull together a Prince tribute in just six weeks.

“I had been singing in a covers band, playing functions and corporate events, and a couple of people from that band joined the project. Then mates who were fans joined, and we put it together. We had so much fun,” said Jimi. “I didn’t do research as such, I am not impersonating him. There was only one Prince! I listened to the songs and the lyrics. Every musician in the nine-piece band is a fan. It grew from an organic, talented, like-minded group of people.”

Prince also heard their music through his fan club.

“Prince’s manager showed him a clip of us and he said he liked it. I was thrilled as he was quite particular about his music.”

When Prince died last year it made a huge difference to Jimi’s theatre show.

“It is really sad we will never get another album. It is a massive loss to the music industry and bittersweet that we are now more in demand,” said Jimi.

Alongside touring with Purple Rain, Jimi works with comedian/musician Bill Bailey as sound engineer, technical overseer and looking after his instruments.

Jimi said: “When he played at Knebworth I was his techie and he pulled me into the band to play lead guitar. We went on after Limp Bizkit, and Motorhead were waiting in the wings. It was a surreal experience, absolutely brilliant and it was recorded as an album.”

The third string to Jimi’s bow is a collaboration with Emma Black who plays keyboards and percussion on a album of their own songs.

“I enjoy arranging stuff and getting our own sound,” said the Sussex-born singer.

Jimi says that touring with Purple Rain is just a joy and that even though they are on the bus for two weeks at a time and in each other’s pockets, they do not have a cross word.

“We are all jokers in the pack, mind you, and enjoy getting one over on each other.”

When they come to Swindon as part of the autumn tour the band will be performing all the Prince favourites such as 1999, Little Red Courvette, Kiss, Diamond and Pearls, When Doves Cry and many more, from 7.30pm on Saturday September 2. Tickets are £24.50 from 01793 524481 or visit www.swindontheatres.co.uk.

— Flicky Harrison