The Velveteen Playboys are a throwback to old Hollywood or a modern day presentation of a retro sound. Their music is rock, pop and swing and their popularity carries beyond their hometown of Boston. Lead vocalist Paul Souza has all the right moves with style, swagger and a powerful set of pipes.
The band has a regular rotating gig at the historic Birdland Nightclub off of Broadway in New York City, they were the featured musical guest at the 104th Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden and their performance was lauded as one of the highlights of the Games on the ESPN2 live television broadcast.
Recently the band opened for Karmin in Providence, Rhode Island as part of the Rock n Roll Marathon Tour. Karmin has a number 18 hit on Billboard and appeared on the cover of the October issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. In June of 2012 the Velveteen Playboys headlined the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, OR with international recording artists Eve 6. Their recently released CD titled, “Shakin’ Not Stirred” engineered and mixed by 3 time Grammy Award winning producer Bob St. John (Extreme, Collective Soul, Duran Duran, etc…) has gained critical acclaim.
St. John describes the band, "You guys sound like everybody, but you don't sound like anybody." Which is a nice way of saying "you sound like yourselves."
Members of the band:
Examiner sat down with Paul Souza, lead vocalist and entertainer of The Velveteen Playboys.
Examiner: Who have you been compared to over the years?
Souza: "We've been compared to everyone from INXS to the Brian Setzer Orchestra to Cherry Poppin' Daddys. Comparisons are for the masses. People don't feel comfortable with anything new unless they can put it into a category that makes sense to them. We just take different styles of music that aren't usually blended together and PUT them together to create a hybrid sound. And we're a lot of fun!"
Examiner: What made you get in to the music business?
Souza: "My mother always wanted me to be a singer. Who am I to disappoint my mother? The fact of the matter is, I don't consider us IN the music business. I consider us more on the outskirts. We are not with a major label thank God! And the whole paradigm of the industry has shifted completely around. It used to be "put out a record and tour to promote your record." But now it's, "give your record away and use it to promote your tour." Which is good for us because we are a LIVE band. LIVE music will always sell. If you can play and perform live, you can sustain yourself in this business. I am fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best live musicians in the world. Just look at their resumes'."
Examiner: Does the band have any recent recordings?
Souza: "I have just finished writing the songs for our next record which we will be recording in the next few months. In fact, we are running a Facebook campaign where people can go to our website www.velveteenplayboys.com and buy merchandise or donate money to help us pay for the recording. There are all kinds of perks and mercy packages associated with each significant donation. Friends and fans will also have a say in the title of the record. In fact, there is one package where you can get your name on the CD as an executive producer!"
Examiner: How far does your fan base go? I see that you play in Manhattan quite a bit.
Souza: "We have a wonderful and loyal fan base that extends to the far reaches of the universe! LOL. We have been fortunate over the last two summers to be part of some pretty significant tours that have taken us around the country and, hopefully soon, around the world. And yes, New York City is always a favorite stop in our travels. Two of our band members reside there so it is a homecoming for them when we play NYC."
Examiner: Upcoming shows?
Souza: "We are currently on break from the ATL Tour, but we will be starting up again in August. The tour is a pretty interesting concept. It's an athletic event featuring Olympic athletes that is centered around a live concert. We were selected to be the house band for the tour which is exciting and puts in front of anywhere from 2000 to 10,000 people per night. We opened the tour on May 2nd in Bloomington, IN and have been to Virginia, Atlanta, GA, Austin and Houston, TX. The three remaining August events are in Santa Barbara, CA, Myrtle Beach, SC, and Jacksonville, FL. We are also working with an agent who is trying to get us into Las Vegas and another who is working on a tour of Europe. And, of course, we are always working to get some shows in our beloved hometown of Boston. The Outside The Box Festival on Boston Common last summer was a highlight of our summer schedule."
Examiner: Who are the guys in the band?
Souza: "On sax is Bob Gay who is formerly of New Man. Arguably the best alto sax player in the world. Written music, toured and recorded with David Bowie, Chaka Khan, The Bee Gees, Thomas Dolby, Culture Club and others. Albert "Duke" Jones on trumpet who is a founding member of Atlantic Starr and was also in Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Produced multi-platinum albums for George Benson and Peabo Bryson. Lenny Bradford on bass and vocals is formerly of Entrain and the James Montgomery Band. Bradford is currently touring the world with Blues Hall of Famer Joe Louis Walker. Darin Whittington on keyboards has toured the world extensively playing mainly gospel music. Mike Null on guitar and vocals is a master bluesman who has toured extensively through China with his band the Soulcasters. Anthony Steele is on drums He is a sensational live drummer who has played with Winton Marsalis, The Gershwin Orchestra, Esperanza Spaulding and Brian McKnight. And me on lead vocals!"