From the windy desert town of Victorville, California, Phil Clevinger. Born and raised in neighboring Apple Valley, famed as the home of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Phil often jokes that he was born in the high desert, raised there, and most likely will die there. But he could do a lot worse. It was in elementary school that he picked up the trombone for the first time; it was something of a fluke that led him to it. Originally hoping to play the saxophone in the school band, he recalls the day that he and his mom, Vicki went to the local music store to see about renting one. It turned out due to the high cost of sax rental, the question had to be asked about a possible alternative instrument. Call it destiny, call it kismet, or as he likes to think of it, The Plan. He picked up that brass horn with the long slide, which was longer than his 9-year-old arms could reach, and has never put it down.
Not really knowing where his life would lead him, a career aptitude test in high school suggested he pursue a career as, of all things, a clown. A close second place was a musician/performer. If you have seen Phil play, you know that these, especially the former, were spot-on assessments. After following, and hating, a handful of more financially secure career paths, The Plan led Phil to join a band 90’s style neo-swing group in his hometown called Phat Cat Swinger. It was here that Phil was exposed to the music of Louis Prima. Enthralled by this discovery, Louis Prima became a personal hero; his music, performance style, and legend changed Phil’s life. After many years of playing with Phat Cat Swinger, and even creating and leading his own band, the High-D Boys, formed after Prima’s Vegas combos, a very special call came from a longtime friend and fellow Phat Cat, Marco Palos. A chance to audition for Louis Prima, Jr’s band. Phil recalls the excitement and anxiety it was leading up to that audition, but through a lot of help and just a bit of practice, he landed the opportunity to play with the son of his hero.
These days, Phil resides in a little house in Victorville with his wife Kara, and many pets. It is here that he lies in wait for the call to get on a plane and join Louis Prima Jr’s “Most Dangerous Band in the Land” for their next musical conquest. The Plan continues to unfold, but the rest, as they say, is history.
Louis Prima Jr.’s recent debut release, Return of the Wildest on Warrior Records/Universal Music, is garnering five-star reviews worldwide. The band recently made their national debut TV appearance on Access Hollywood Live at the NBC Studios in Burbank. For more, please visit www.louisprimajr.com.
“From the moment I picked this horn up, I knew great things were in store. The clarity and range are unlike anything I’ve ever played. I have never had a horn that tests me like this one. After I’ve given 100% of myself at a performance, this trombone seems to say, “is that all you’ve got?” There are endless miles of road with this Edwards Trombone, and I intend to let this horn bring me the whole way.”