Lloyd Price on the Virtues of Accounting and Why His Future Looks Bright

October 13, 2015

Tell us about your tour vehicle.

I used to travel by bus but now we fly everywhere.  If a job is close enough, I have an H2 Hummer which I love. It has one hundred thirty seven thousand miles and still runs like new. If the job in within driving distance that’s the way I go.

How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?

Well in a sense you could say that I’m very careful about what I eat. No meats!

Where do you rehearse? Any crazy experiences there?

With a big band there’s always some crazy experience dealing with a lot of people.

What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?

“Lawdy Miss Clawdy” was my first song. It’s been recorded 178 times — you’ve had to have heard it by me or someone else.  It started what we now know as rock and roll.

Describe your first gig.

The Apollo Theater.  Thousands and thousands of people came to see me, I don’t need to tell you about being first.

What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?

Actually I had one night job at the New Orleans Airport in my early teens. I’ve been in music all my life — my first global hit was when I was a teen.

How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?

Luckily I learned the business early and got to publish all my music as an artist and producer.  I’ve been on the charts thirty times so the future looks bright.

What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?

Accounting – in business you must know how to count.

Lloyd Price is a rock and roll legend. Born in Kenner, Louisiana on March 9, 1933, Price was discovered when Dave Bartholomew, a producer and talent scout for Specialty Records, stopped into the restaurant that Price’s mother ran and overheard the singer working on “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” That song went on to spend seven weeks on top of the charts, the first of dozens of Price compositions to climb the charts. His songs have been covered nearly 600 times by artists as diverse as the Beatles, (plus Paul McCartney and John Lennon on solo albums), Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Joe Cocker and Elvis Costello. Price was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Price has just released a memoir titled sumdumhonky. The book chronicles his life in music and business with a personal view on race and civil rights in America. Even as he was bridging the pop and R&B charts with his music — and he doesn’t stint on stories about his career, including the early days of New Orleans R&B — he found his skin color was an issue.

In sharply detailed prose, as energetic and stylish as his music, Lloyd writes of the racist citizens of his hometown of Kenner, Louisiana, the bigoted police officers, salesmen and record industry executives who figured they could take advantage of him simply because he was black and from the South, and of his eye-opening trip to Africa.

You can connect with Price online.