The Ravens' defensive end has long had a passion for music

Pryce likes the sound of mixing it up

Off the Field

September 07, 2006|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Reporter

Jammin'?

Absolutely, Trevor Pryce nods, an acknowledgement that works on multiple levels.

Pryce is entering his first season with the Ravens and his 10th as a defensive end in the NFL, where he jams tight ends and attempts to jam the helmets of quarterbacks into their shoulder pads.

Long before Pryce earned two Super Bowl rings and went to four Pro Bowls, however, there was a handshake with reggae legend Bob Marley, source of "Jammin' " and other island anthems.

Pryce carried the memory of that chance encounter in the Caribbean to the Rocky Mountains, where his Denver home includes a recording studio of 500 square feet and the base of his own record label, Outlook Music Co.

"When we made the decision to come east, some of his music equipment came here with Trevor," said Mike Anderson, a Broncos teammate of Pryce's for the past six seasons. "We roomed together during training camp [in Westminster], and Trevor said, `As long as I've got my equipment, I'm good.'

"That's his thing. The way he described it to me, besides his family, him alone with his equipment, that's like heaven to Trevor. He takes that real serious."

The bond between family and music was apparent during a recent interview, when Pryce became animated only when the talk turned to one of the prodigies under his roof.

"One of my little girls [Khary] is taking piano lessons, and she was further along as a player at 6 than I am at 31," said Pryce, ever the talent scout, who also has a younger daughter named Kamryn. "She can read some sheet music. I do everything by ear, which is amazing. I figure I should have taken a piano lesson at some point in my life, but I never did."

Pryce was younger than Khary when he met his muse.

Born in New York to parents who are citizens of Jamaica, Pryce was on a boyhood visit there when an uncle spied an old friend from Trench Town, the ghetto in Kingston. Marley died of cancer in May 1981, so Pryce couldn't have been older than 5 when he met reggae's most influential figure. "I remember shaking his hand when I was a kid," Pryce said.

Pryce's roots led to some eclectic interests, as he is not your standard 6-foot-5, 286-pound defensive lineman with 64 career sacks.

He briefly attended school in Jamaica and played soccer while there.

Pryce was in middle school in Florida when he first picked up a guitar, then moved on to making mix tapes and working as a DJ. He knew the University of Miami as much for its thug mystique being linked to the rap of 2 Live Crew, as for the Hurricanes' national championships.

He spent three college seasons at Michigan and one at Clemson, but wherever Pryce went, he scoured the music stores. Hum your favorite jazz, hip-hop, pop or rap number, and chances are Pryce can recall it. He estimates his record collection at 5,000 discs, and puts the number of cuts on his iTunes at 30,000.

Those samples are stored on a Macintosh G5 computer, which made it to Baltimore. Where does Pryce store all that vinyl and keep the remaining technology that allows him to "scratch" his albums and create his own music?

"If you ask me where I'm from, I'm from Florida. If you ask me where's my home, Denver is my home. I've spent most of my adult life there," said Pryce, who built a substantial studio in the basement of the home that he and his wife, Sonya, made there.

"It's a real studio. Got the plans from Sony Music; the acoustics are as good as any in the country," Pryce said. "It's not made for a live drummer, but there's no reason for that. The music I like to fool around with comes from sampling. Most of the work is done at the mixing board."

Pryce has completed work on The Turntable Club, a CD in which he plays guitar, keyboard and bass. His label has released albums by groups named Roman Candle and 33Hz.

The music industry, like the NFL, requires perseverance, talent and luck.

Denver won the Super Bowl in Pryce's first two seasons, but the Broncos since have won one playoff game. Part of a salary cap purge, Pryce followed the advice of Shannon Sharpe, who was on the winning side in three Super Bowls and made a similar move from Denver to Baltimore.

"When he first came back to Denver, Shannon told me that if you ever get the chance to play for Brian Billick, go," Pryce said. "The reasons are between me and him, but Shannon told me, `You would love Baltimore.' "

Famous for taking it easy on veterans in practice, Billick is counting on Pryce, who had a quiet preseason.

"The leadership on and off the field, that inside pass rush that we've talked about," Billick said, "he's going to be a great addition for us."

Pryce has his library of music and the technology that helps him track it, but he relies on a radio tuner on his commute to work, finding a local groove on the lower end of the FM dial.

"Driving around here," Pryce said, "I listen to jazz, get that East Coast cool."

paul.mcmullen@baltsun.com

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