In the bottom of the I-29 truck stop there is a sweaty little hole in the wall gym that you may picture in a movie like Rocky or Million Dollar Baby.Â It’s basically a barren, concrete box in the basement that has one single poster on the wall of Virgil Hill.Â Â I had determined that I was going to fight in the ring before I turned 30 and lose some weight doing it.Â This gym was the perfect place for me to learn the sport with real fighters.
In between punches to a salty Everlast body bag, former Grand Forks Police Chief Chet Paschke walked into the gym.Â An avid amateur boxing fan, he was a regular in the gym and would come down to watch the guys of Forks Fighters get ready for the next fight at the EGF Legion. Â He started making conversation and telling me about his son Brent who he had just seen in concert.Â Brent is ‘touring with the Black Eyed Peas’ he said.Â I stopped punching, thinking I had heard him wrong.
“Really? THE Black Eyed Peas? Like, the Black Eyed Peas.” I said matter of factly.
Chet proudly reached into his pocket and pulled out the photo proof.Â I believe it was a picture of him and his wife Sharon and Will.I.Am.Â He pulled out another one with Pharrell Williams. And a picture of his son, Brent.Â He was beaming, and I knew this was a story I wanted to do.
Unfortunately, when you are a big-time guitar player for bands like the Black Eyed Peas, N.E.R.D., Keri Hilson, Ne-Yo, Katy Perry, Taylor Dayne, Cassie, Chrisette Michele, Ryan Leslie... you don’t get a lot of time to come back to Grand Forks.Â My attempts to set up an on-camera interview with Brent Paschke came and went each year because we have never seemed to be in Grand Forks at the same time.Â So I figured this blog, and The Grand Forks Herald may be perfect for his story (until I can get him on camera.)
Paschke first got his interest in music when he saw his brother Kevin and friends jamming out in high school.Â Brent saw one of Kevin’s friends playing guitar and started taking lessons.Â After graduating from Red River High School in 1990 he headed to Minneapolis to the Musicians Tech School, and shortly thereafter formed his first band, Spymob.Â I did a Q & A with Brent about his successes and where he came from to get there.
JH: When did you form/join Spymob?Â How did the connection with Star Trak Entertainment come about?
BP: Man spacing out the exact year but I think Spymob was formed in 1993. We were grinding out like every band does. We eventually got a lawyer when we started getting interest from record companies. It turned out that our lawyer was also Pharrells lawyer. This all came to light in the first meeting Pharrell had with the president of Epic records who had just dropped us from her label. It was beautiful cause she just dropped us and we were really bummed. Pharrell went in there telling her he loved Epic records and his favorite band Spymob is on her label. She than had to break the news to him that she just dropped us. Pharrell was like o.k. that’s fine than I’ll sign them! That’s where it all started.
JH: In 2002 Spymob did backing on N.E.R.D.’s album In Search Of… What was that experience like?
BP: Amazing! We recorded that album early in the stages of Hip Hop mixing with rock. That was a dream come true for me to record that record. Working next to Pharrell & Chad is amazing. It was really fun blending those elements. Remember this was just the beginning stages for Pharrell & Chad. We were seeing all these people coming up around them (The Clipse, Kenna, Kelis, etc..) Really exciting times.
That is your taste for today; watch for part 2 from my interview tomorrow on Jukebox Hero.Â BTW, you can catch a full article on Brent in the Grand Forks Herald Friday.Â Collaboration is cool.
But not as cool as this:Â Brent and Ryan Leslie Doing “Real Love” for an Addidas commercial.Â Let it fully load and then appreciate it full screen.Â Wow and awesome.