Numero Group: By The Numbers

Minneapolis Battle of the Brands
August 6, 2013, 11:12 am
Filed under: Purple Snow

While our apparel game has always been just shy of serviceable, we at least talk a good T-shirt game. It’s almost daily that we encounter a grainy photo of some musical upstart in custom garments that warrants the declaration, “That would make an AMAZING T-shirt!” Below are some of the strongest contenders in the Purple Snow Battle of the Brands.

Back to Black:




Drummer Joe Lewis fashions a lovely Black Magic logo T (in the ultra rare red-sleeved, softball variation) while keyboardist Pierre Lewis dons the more common plain-white version for the group’s performance at the St. Paul Mechanic Arts High School Prom. Back to Black beget Black Magic beget the Family beget Music, Love & Funk, whose “Stone Lover” is featured prominently on our compilation.

Flyte Tyme

Although eventually conceding that Flyt Tyme would be “more” grammatically correct with the extra “e,” these T-shirts were manufactured prior to that revelation.


Guitarist Tom Lund wore his custom “guitar” T to the group’s videotaped performance for Reginald Buckner’s ¬†Contemporary Youth Music in Education course at the University of Minnesota in 1975.


Garry “Jellybean” Johnson was the only crew member wearing his “drums” version for this rare Flyte Tyme group photo.

Quiet Storm:


While the Quiet Storm T-shirt being worn by Michael Barber in this photo looks promising, we were more intrigued by the assortment of off-brand T-shirts being worn by his bandmates in this snap shot:





Robert “Bird” Martin’s Tutankhamun’s T, the unidentified music that graces Charles Berry’s, the “DISCO” shirt of brother Donald, and the incriminating “Smoke the Best Columbian” shirts worn by Harold Stevenson and other brother John Berry. No clue what magic Maurice “Mo” Stevenson’s T contains, but it has at least 3 stars on it, which is a good start for any garment, circa 1981.

Honorable Mentions:

Andre Cymone:


This shirt says “Let’s Talk Dirty,” and Andre has no idea where it came from. But what else do we really need to know? Do they make these in a medium?

94 East:


When the established Minneapolis studio Mic-Side changed their name to Cookhouse in 1973, this steamy logo accompanied their re-branding efforts in advertisements and on T-shirts, apparently. In Prince mythology “The Cookhouse 5” is shorthand for five unique recordings by Pepe Willie (pictured) and 94 East, which featured the young, relatively unknown Prince Rogers Nelson on lead guitar.

Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound is available for pre-order now, and includes a bonus 45 of “Twin Cities Rapp.” The entire 4LP/2CD box set will fall 11/12/13.

2 Comments so far
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I’m loving the sound of this set. Now I need something I didn’t know it even existed. Will start saving up.

Comment by a

Lets Talk Dirty. MInneappolis.

Comment by Sound Verite

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