Louis Prima Jr

Louis Prima Jr. is an incredible singer, songwriter, trumpeter and bandleader. Louis Jr.’s father is the legendary Louis Prima, The King of Swing, who performed for Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the rest of the rat pack. We chat to Louis about his career, starting out in music and that famous song from 'The Jungle Book'. Scroll down for more..

Thank you for taking the time to chat to me it’s much appreciated. You’ve been extremely busy with a spring tour. How have the shows gone and are there any plans for you and the band to come over to the UK?

 

We have been working very hard to put together a European tour, and had several dates scheduled in 2020 that were derailed by the pandemic. We are thankful to be on the road now, as the touring climate still has not recovered. Rest assured, we WILL be in the UK as soon as we can organize enough dates to allow us to make the trip.  We always have a great time across the pond and look forward to returning.

 

It must be great to be back out on the road after what has been a tough couple of years due to covid?

                

Tough doesn’t quite describe it… :) We are having a blast playing again. Admittedly, I LOVE the road, but I didn’t realize how much until it was taken from us. Being able to connect with crowds again, being able to make music with the amazing people I share the road with, being able to spread a little happiness again — we are blessed.

"My father’s music was a stepping stone for us to create music and a sound of our own.  There are four of us that write all of our original music."

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I understand there may be a new album on the horizon. What can we expect to hear on the new release?

 

Yes, we had just walked out of the recording studio (at Capitol Records) recording material for our third release on Warrior Records when the world shut down. Without touring, you can’t put an album out. We’ve been patiently waiting for the guidelines we must follow through the label’s distribution system for everything to come together. The album is done, and is another step in the direction we want this band to go. When I started out, I didn’t want to be a tribute act, or play music that has been done before. My father’s music was a stepping stone for us to create music and a sound of our own.  There are four of us that write all of our original music. We come from different backgrounds and different music tastes and paths. I think it gives us a unique sound all our own and this album is another step in that direction.  It is all original save for a couple of surprises…oh and a Christmas song that we release this past December called, "Hey Skinny Santa."  We can’t wait to get the rest of the music out there to see what y’all think.

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When did you get the nickname ’The Crown Prince of Swing’, who gave it to you, and is that because your father was known as the ‘King of Swing’?

                

Now, I don’t really know if they ever called my father the King of Swing. I think that came up because of the movie Jungle Book's “Oh, I’m the king of the swingers, ohh, the jungle VIP” lyric. I got the name in a review of our first album "Return of the Wildest," and it stuck.

 

For those who aren’t aware, you are the son of Louis Prima who is a legendary singer, songwriter, bandleader, and trumpeter. What are your earliest memories of music and was there always music being played at home while growing up?

                

There was ALWAYS music. I had a drum kit when I was five, there was a piano in the house always, and on my mother’s side of the family…my grandfather had a Hammond organ behind the counter in the bar he owned in Seaside Heights, NJ where he would play all the time. Music was everywhere. I was on stage from very young, singing and telling jokes. But, it was all just normal to me. We traveled with my father over the summers and went to his shows all the time.

"When the Live Action version of the movie was coming out, we were trying to get me in there, or at least a song."

…and of course, he was the voice of King Louie in the 1967 Disney film The Jungle Book. How many times have you watched the film, and would you ever consider playing the role yourself if a new version was created?

One of my earliest memories is sitting in the theatre next to my dad, trying to figure out how his voice was coming out of the monkey!! I watch it all the time. The song is actually the first song we recorded as a band, and it is very rare that we don’t play it live. EVERYONE knows that song! When the Live Action version of the movie was coming out, we were trying to get me in there, or at least a song. I would always be up for it, if the opportunity arose again.

Is it right that you only became a full time musician in your 40’s? How big a step was it to give up the job and go all in with your music?

 

Not quite. I graduated high school with no desire to get into the music business, for a lot of reasons. But, I had begun sitting in with friend’s bands and singing and I quickly got the bug to be a front man. I played rock music for 10 years, fronting a band called Problem Child. We were chasing the elusive “record deal” and fell millimetres short. As the band fizzled, I started a family. I raised two boys on my own and only sang part time, just for fun. I was running Food and Beverage at the airport in Vegas when the opportunity to dive back into music arose, in 2004. It took me 6 years to handpick the right set of musician/performers. When I did, I felt at the time, that my kids were old enough to thrive if I was traveling, so I quit the job and hit the road. That was 2010, and I was 45, and two years later I finally got the elusive record deal (there’s a song in there somewhere). Never give up on what you love, as you never know when it’ll all work out.

 

How big a thrill was it to receive your father's posthumous star was put on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

                

My family had been trying for YEARS to get him a star (and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). My management team was instrumental in making it happen and we got to perform live at the event in front of the whole world. It was magical and truly an honor.

 

Finally, how can readers keep up-to-date with your music and the potential for a UK tour?

              

www.LouisPrimaJr.com has all the good stuff, including links to our social media, tour schedule, and more. Thank you so much for your time and we’ll see ya soon!