Musical Director of the Black Eyed Peas-Printz Board
Debuts His New Album at Secret Live Show at the Roxy in Hollywood
And Shares His Thoughts About His New Music Direction
L. Paul Mann
Printz Board is a multi talented American pop musician, singer and songwriter. He is best known for his Grammy award winning work as the musical director of the Black Eyed Peas. For anyone who has ever been to one of the riveting live performances by that dance music super group, they know that it is their incredible live back up band that separates them from most all other Hip Hop recording stars.
Printz brought his musical skills, including his hypnotic trumpet playing rhythms, to a special hour long showcase set at the Roxy on Sunset Strip in Hollywood on a cold fall evening. The show was a private event attended only by press, family, friends and musical collaborators, and one of the finest looking multi ethnic audiences to grace a Hollywood nightclub in recent memory. The occasion was a coming out party for the well known musical collaborator to debut his own band and his first album, “Board Games”, set to be released this spring. The smiling Board went all out to entertain his special audience, singing and dancing at a frenzied pace throughout the set. The performer also played keyboards and his signature trumpet, fronting a four piece band that featured a Hip Hop singer and dancer, an extraordinary guitar player, who also alternated as the bass player, and a smoking female drummer, and keyboardist. While the band exhibited some elements that make up the well known sound of the Black Eyed Peas, the band also exhibited their own unique sound, drawing inspiration from the hard rock, funk, and R&B, genres. The result was an explosive dance inducing power pop sound that had the crowd responding emphatically. A surprise duet with guest singer, Natasha Bedingfield, half way through the set, only served to heighten the energy levels for the already euphoric audience. Printz has collaborated with Bedingfield on recordings in the past. The striking blonde English pop star, brought her own style of R&B vocals to the duet, in a perfect compliment to Printz's vocals. The show ended on a high note with the groups' cover version of the Steve Miller classic 1982 hit song “Abracadabra”. Printz's hip hop version features a more modern dance friendly synth take on the song, with a strong back beat from his sensational drummer. It was a short but sweet sixty minute show that had the gorgeous crowd beaming at the end.
I caught up with Printz after the show to ask him a few questions about his new music, band and his musical roots.
• You have won several Grammy awards for your work with Black Eyed Peas. One of the best things about their live show that sets them apart from other Hip Hop artists, is their exceptional live band. What exactly do you do for the band besides being an awesome trumpet player? How did you get involved with the band?
I'm the keyboard player, bass player, and musical director. I got involved in the band in the very beginning when I merged my band, Gravy, with Ap, Tab and Will.
• You are a multi instrument musician, singer, keyboardist, producer, songwriter, and recording artist. How do you find a balance in your work wearing all of these different hats?
Its fairly simple to find the balance, because all I am is music, real music. I live eat, breathe, sleep music - and whatever needs to be done I do it, whether is producing, playing on someones song, or rocking a show for my solo project.
• Your list of collaborations with successful musicians over the last fifteen years is endless. How did you get involved in so many successful projects?
Obviously when you're a band that is successful, a songwriter that is successful, you get inquiries and requests from people to work together so fortunately because of what we've built from the start, a lot of people want that energy and that sound as a part of their projects. And, it's actually added to what I do by getting in the studio with all these different artists and people.
• Who are some of your favorite performers and biggest influences on your music?
My favorite performers are Stone Temple Pilots, Prince, Bruno Mars, Rolling Stones, Kid Rock….
My biggest influences are Quincy Jones, Sarah Vaughn, Rick Reuben, Freddie Hubbard, James Brown...
• What are some of your most memorable recording and live music experiences?
Working with James Brown, recording the Thriller 25th anniversary album, and working with Katy Perry and then watching her blow the Fuck Up.
• Can you talk about your new recording project? Who is helping out? When will it be released? Inspiration for some of the songs?
New project is a diary of my life. Ups and downs, but not really too many downs…closer to a romantic comedy. I've got Slash on a song called "Rockstar Moments" and obviously who better to get on it then Slash, when it's called that and it's about touring life?! There's also "Number One", which is a song about sticking with that one special girl through the trials and tribulations, although it sounds like it's written from the perspective of a player. "Hey You" - Anthemic!!! I was thinking with this song to bring together that energy we always get with festivals, college shows, etc. "Mountains" is inspired by me and my Mom's journey from the beginning. Will be released Spring of this year.
• Your show at the Roxy was awesome. Your band is much more rock oriented than I expected. The other four members are all exceptional musicians. Are they your regular core band? Could you talk about them individually and how you came to put the band together?
Thank you. Yes this band was hand picked. I started off with the drummer, Patty Miller, who Lucy Graves connected me with, who I absolutely fell in love with. We really dug into the songs initially, and then I brought in Lucy Graves who is a phenomenal keyboardist and vocalist from New Zealand, and from there we rehearsed and figured it was time to step it up a level and get somebody who plays bass and guitar to add to it all. And so we found Derek Brassel somewhere hiding in the forest and brought him in and he was the perfect compliment. And of course, I couldn't leave out my boy Tex who is my co-host and he just adds to the excitement, and hype and everything that makes the show what it is.
It was quite a surprise that you were joined by Natasha Bedingfield at your show. You have collaborated with her before. Could you talk about your relationship with Natasha and how she ended up at the Roxy for your show?
Honestly, Natasha is like my sister. sometimes I feel like I could have been born a Bedingfield. I just love the whole family, and Natasha called me up the day of my show, I wasn't even sure she was in town, and she said I'm coming to your show I just have to hear your song "Mountains" that I love! And then she just decided last minute to hop up on stage with us and perform it. She showed up a little bit early, we ran through it once, and then we performed it. It's really nice when your peers, and people you respect, respect your music also.
Are you planning a tour with your new band?
Yes. I'm planning to start touring in the spring as well. I figured with the launch of a new project, you've gotta go out and let people see it, right?.
• Would you like to do any shout outs to your fan base or anybody in particular or add anything you would like to talk about.
I would like to give a shout out to the Board Memeberz, which is my band. Primary Wave, my management. And, my whole team at Beets and Produce. Universal music publishing. My attorney Helen Yu, and my Mom. Be sure to check out Printzboard.com and beetsandproduce.com for new artists that will be coming up under me.
• Your name is unusual Priese Prince Lamont Board. How did you become Printz?
I changed it to Printz, in high school when I got annoyed with people saying "Oh you do music? Are you named after the artist Prince?" So I thought, how could I flip this and spell it, or make it way where people won't ask me that question. So I just changed that shit.