In the 1980’s The Sunset Strip was the center of a musical revolution. This revolution was led by bands like Motley Crue, W.A.S.P., Guns N’ Roses and Cinderella. But the in the seedy underbelly of the Strip was the band that gave birth to it all…London. Formed in 1978 by Lizzy Grey (Spiders & Snakes) and Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue), throughout it’s history, the band also featured Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P.), Izzy Stradlin’ (GNR), Fred Coury (Cinderella) and a host of other Sunset Strip legends. Since 1984 one man has been the voice of London, Nadir D’Priest. London is back with a new record and a show at the famed Whisky A Go Go on October 12.
Nadir took some time to talk about not only the band’s sordid history but its next steps. Misplaced Straws is proud to present a Feature Interview with Nadir D’Priest.
MS – You have a new record with London, Call That Girl, coming out in October. It’s been over 28 years since the last official London record, Why does this feel like the right time to make a return?
ND – Thank you so much Jeff for your question I would like to clarify that LONDON has released several records. Few years back we released the first LONDON Live album ever. The album was recorded Live at 12th&PORTER in Nashville TN. We also recorded two studio Tracks at PLAYBACK studios in Santa Barbara California. The first 2 studio songs since LONDON’s Playa Del Rock album. So its been 25 years. The album was mixed by none other than Michael Wagener (Ozzy Osborne,Motley Crue,Alice Cooper. Additional mixes where done by our amigo Roy Z Ramirez (Halford,Bruce Dickinson). I pressed both on cd and vinyl which we have available on EbayNow!. Also Cleopatra Records had release LONDON The Metal Years album on cd and vinyl on a limited run. Here we are August 19th, 2018 with a NEW LONDON album titled “Call That Girl” named after a Great song that is bound to get your booty going! We are very excited about this album its been 3 years and finally! OH! It Feels Good to be Done!
MS – Music has changed a lot since Playa Del Rock was released, can you describe a bit what the London of 2018 sounds like?
ND – Music business has changed a bit and do not like all the adds to sell you music or “Promos” Apps it’s confusing mind draining no interaction. That takes it to another level of complacency on laptop or cell phone. A Sad world we live in might as well leave your phone on “Vibrate” and get off in your panties! Other than that I am still same with music and my band is as strong as ever. I miss the promoting on the strip venues and events you can talk to people. The whole thing is based on “Likes” “Trending” not on talent and or longevity of the band. Its like you have to start All over again and all the work in the past means nothing to the “Industry”. Pay to play is what continues to control it not the talent.
MS – You joined London around 1984-85 in their second incarnation, did you feel any added pressure due to the success that some of the former members found after the original band split?
ND – I was actually the 3rd re incarnation! LOL! The Best one for sure!. The only pressure I felt was the need to succeed and get the job done.
Meaning get our stages and props lights wardrobe pyro dancers video everything taken care of! The Sunset Strip was very competitive.
I was younger than the past LONDON lineups so I was very young naive. Unstoppable! that would be the best way to define my mind at that time. I did not have the best reputation back in 1985. Lots of feuds with many bands back then for not letting them beat us to the Punch. Some of our X LONDON members Still to this day wont even mention the name of this band LONDON!.
We had a loyal following and had lots of fun doing each and every one of our shows. The former lineups did not have the songs like I did when I joined. The band got a record deal offer from Shrapnel Records the same year I joined LONDON.
We also did our 1st Music video for the song No Tel Motel which none of the past lineups had accomplished before. I believe that I set the pace and changed the Lollipop sound from LONDON. I came in 1984 and nothing was moving in the band. The British T Rex sound Lizzie liked was and had been done over and over. I was a screamer Heavy Metal guy so that was Not for me. I have Large lungs which came handy for our 1st LONDON album ever :).
MS – Don’t Cry Wolf, the second London record, was produced by Kim Fowley. There have been a lot of stories and accusations about Kim over the years, what were your impressions of him?
ND – LONDON’s Don’t Cry Wolf album was Produced by LONDON and KIM FOWLEY under our supervision. We had an interesting time with KIM and got to know his multiple personalities a little. We had a business relationship with him and we paid him quite a large amount of money to “Get Us There”. The only stories I heard came from KIM and nothing raunchy other than his one liners “Hollywood Urine” “You Have To Pay Me” and many more. He loved to get on the floor of the studio cutting magazine quotes or news paper lines. I learned what Not to be when I get old.
MS – Lizzy Grey, one of London’s founding members, left in 1988 leaving you as the de facto leader of the band. What led to Lizzy’s departure and the decision that you would carry on using the name?
ND – Lizzie Grey left on his own and basically made a choice to give up the ship. I was personally was not very happy about him leaving. I had no choice in the matter so I moved on with Brian West and new players. The albums got better and so did the $$ coming in so we had a chance to put more music out. I believe that the Hard Rock Heavy Metal tone was the key to LONDON’s new tone in music. Lizzie and I sat down each and every time to workout guitar parts. I showed him some things that he could tap into on his own riffs and solos things he did not realize sounded Great!. . We had finally found a personality so to speak we had a Heavy Sound on the LONDON Non Stop Rock album.
The reason I kept the band name is that I have a responsibility to my band the ship that I have invested 34 years plus.
I am the only singer in all the LONDON albums movies and music videos.I cant watch it sink just because I should let it die.That’s Not me! I am not done yet and I have more songs to record god willing.
MS – What happened after Play Del Rock that brought about the end of London? Was it the change in the music scene, record company issues?
ND – What happened is that we had a record deal with a budget set to tour and unfortunately we fucked up by choosing the wrong tour manager. We got stuck on an expensive tour bus in Denver Colorado after some dates. We basically ended up on our tour managers home in Colorado. In the meantime the band is going to the Mile High Club Strip Clubs in Willie Nelson’s Tour Bus.We did this for two weeks! LOL!! Yup! After two weeks we are off on the road to AZ NM TX NO FL etc. While in New Mexico at Sr.Buckets our bus was broken into and about $15,000.00 in guitars.This happened while onstage so we had obviously been had!. Luckily we had some friends in town and by 5 am the next day we had our guitars back. A former LONDON the band guitar tech tweaker had taken the guitars from the bus and onto his home.
The other part was the label stopped the money and we basically got stuck in New Orleans at the flooded lobby of the old LANDMARK hotel. Our bus had been confiscated for the lack of payment. All our possessions in the bus in a gated storage facility. Our tour manager took of in the middle of the night/morning to airport and flew back to Denver Colorado. Basically leaving us in shambles without any warning or arrangements. At this point the band goes into “Abandon Ship” Lol!. Everyone tries to make arrangements to get home safely. Mind you one of your tour bus drivers was killed after dropping off our bus heading home from first leg of the tour on the old MC Hammers bus. So much happened that we had nothing left but our bags and an old van I drove back to Texas til it ran out of gas. Then 2 roadies and myself in a cube truck drove to Flagstaff AZ. At the 4 corners crossing in Flagstaff I got out of the truck. I told them thank you and god bless you guys waved goodbye and waited for a ride from my good friend Steve. That is not all so much more!.
MS – You had a few bands and projects in the music industry since the last London record. Looking back, which of those really stand out to you?
ND – Projects would be working for The Rolling Stones as project director of the Voodoo Lounge CD Rom. This blew away any project or record I had done with LONDON or anyone. Watching the Rolling Stones money machine gives you a whole different perspective on your dreams. The band was spot on each show from UK to US to South America Brazil just an amazing shows. Nothing has topped it except the birth of my kids. :))
The New Project would be the filming of the LARRY FLYNT documentary directed by NADIA SZOLD on 35 mm film. This is the Real Deal on Larry Flynt with some amazing footage from his runing for president to the shooting. I was interviewed for the documentary as you know we shot the LONDON Dont Cry Wolf album at Larry Flynt studio back in 1986. LFP staff photographer CLIVE McClean was the one who captured those great photos with real wolves. We hired Animal Actors of Hollywood with wolves from the motion picture movie “The Company Of Wolves”. Two Siberian Timberwolves which required 3 handlers a wired electrical cage with sensors and meat punch with stick across. It was amazing working with them up close and personal.
Producing albums for others is also something I very proud of.
MS – Around 2010 you began to perform under the name London again, what led to that? Was tehre any talk about Lizzy Grey or any of the earlier alum joining in?
ND – It was actually 2012 and in 2013 we did ROCKLAHOMA LONDON Live! (G&R, Alice In Chains,Korn) https://youtu.be/UwVESTexIa0 among other shows in Florida, Texas, Nevada, AZ and Hollywood Switzerland, Germany.
What lead to it? I can play anytime I do what I want with shows and I don’t believe anything has changed. The band changes faces and that’s just the way it is since everyone has their own priorities. Lizzie and I got together for 2 rehearsal few years back and that was it. Lizzie is ill and cannot perform from what I was told so I wish him a speedy recovery.
MS – Everyone knows about London’s legendary former members but you have a pretty great band now with Eric Ragno (Joe Lynn Turner, The Babies) and Alan Krigger (Giuffria). what’s it like working with these guys? What have they brought to both writing and performing live?
ND – Well Alan Krigger has been playing with me since 1989 and continues to do so in 2018. Krigger has a solid backbeat that works for the LONDON songs and keeps the band on lockdown. He knows what I am going to do even without me looking at anyone just hand signals or moves and even some phrasing. Its important that the bass and drums stay on that solid back beat. The bass and drums make my moves stay in synch at all times. Eric Ragno has been playing with LONDON now for about 4 years. Eric is also playing on the New LONDON album. Very happy with his work in the studio. Eric is solid player and we are looking forward to playing with him on Oct 12th, 2018 @TheWhiskyAGOGO. We invited a few friends to the studio the likes of former Shrapnel Records President Mr.Mike Varney. Mike hammered the guitar on the song METAL NATION and I AM NOT AFRAID which are Monster tunes! I also invited bassist Mr.Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot). Chuck played on two tracks on the song in Spanglish titled “Ayer Te Soñé Aquí” (Yesterday I Dreamt You Here) and the song “I Am Not Afraid”. Additional keyboards by our friend Mr.Teddy Andreadis (G&R,The BoxMasters) Teddy played on 3 songs on the New album always excellent delivery. Teddy also plays on my New NADIR solo album both in English and Spanish. We also had our friend Marco Zavala on drums on 2 songs entitled “Ayer Te Soñé Aquí” (Yesterday I Dreamt You Here) and the song “I Am Not Afraid” tracks # 9&10. I also have Ronee Peña on guitar who has been playing for me around 3 years now. Very happy with his playing continues to deliver. Also on guitar my Pasadena High School days friend Eddie St. James who co wrote the songs “You Are Still The One For Me” “Call That Girl” “Reach Up To The Sky”.Eddie and I known each other since high school and here we are now! I have Billy The FIST on bass which also did an excellent job delivering the low end. Billy has been playing for me since 2007 in D’Priest and now in LONDON. Billy is a solid player which continues to blowing us away. Mona Fishman, JT Longoria and I wrote the song titled “I Am Not Afraid” which now became part of our new album . Mona also sang backgrounds vocals on the songs “I Fell In Love With A Rebel” “Reach Up To The Sky” both strong tunes. My youngest daughter Jolie Claire sang on the on the song “I Am Not Afraid” her 1st album debut. It was a lot of fun while recording her beautiful voice and looking forward to her solo record in the near future.
MS – You’re kicking off the new record with a show at the Whisky on October 12, what are your plans after that? Will there be a full tour or promotion for the record?
ND – Yes! LONDON Live @ The Whisky A GoGo on Friday October 12th, 2018
We are kicking off the New LONDON “Call That Girl” album which I which our 1st run of 500 Cds is available Now on EBay.
The plans are to put this album out to the masses and get the music video done asap. The album took 3 years and I expect to work it for a while with No expectations. No deals in place not attachment to label or pressures and that’s how we like it. Radio is great promotional campaigns included. The music business requires you to Pay and choose from a catalog to whom to trust with promo $$$$. Tours are nice when we get gig offers especially like we did in Germany and Switzerland.Lots of gigs just need more. We have played many gigs and really enjoy doing it we are fun to watch.
MS – Thank you so much for your time! What can we expect from Nadir D’Priest and London going forward? Will there continue to be new music and live shows? Any chance of seeing London at some of the 80’s rock festivals or cruises?
ND – The shows are sporadic and the cruise you are talking about has not asked us to be part of it. We take shows as we get them. Most shows offered we don’t make money barely break even but we love every minute of what we do onstage. Lots of people enjoy LONDON the band and we can sure rattle the fucking stage!! 🙂
Stay tuned for more from LONDON music.
Thank you for the interview it was fun.