*Originally published in Sin City Presents Magazine
Interview with Nadir D’Priest of London
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
There is definitely a lot of history behind London, and a lot of great stories! Most people are familiar with London from the “Sunset Strip days” and know about past members who have moved on to play with bands like Motley Crue, WASP, Guns N’ Roses, and Cinderella. Nadir D’Priest, who has been the vocalist of London for over thirty years, and I managed to escape the craziness of the Backyard Bash at the Rainbow Bar & Grill September 4th to find somewhere quiet to talk before their set. Nadir filled me in about the band, what they have in the works, their upcoming shows, and their new CD.
ALISON “METALBABE” COHEN: It’s great to have the chance to do this interview with you, and I’m looking forward to the show today too. So, first of all, tell me who is currently in the band and how long have you had this line-up?
NADIR D’PRIEST: Currently in the band is Alan Krigger… He’s been with me since 1989/1990. As you all know, he played in Guiffria, Ike and Tina Turner, and with Carl Wilson and The Beach Boys. He’s one of the last of the dinosaurs. I have a bass player named “Billy the Fist,” who is from Huntington Beach. He’s been with me since 2007, and actually came out of my D’Priest lineup. And I have Eric Ragno on keyboards. He just got off the road with Graham Bonnet, and recently played with The Baby’s. He’s been with me for the last three years. I also have Ronee Peña on guitar. I met him through my Latin band I had in Las Vegas. He’s been with me almost three years now.
And me. The guy that’s been on all the albums… So how much more can you handle? It’s great band; it’s a great line-up. We sound better than ever. It’s a really exciting time. We’re releasing an album coming up this year. We’re almost done with it.
METAL BABE: That’s one thing I wanted to ask you about. Where are you at in the process of recording your new album and what can fans expect from it?
NADIR: We recorded the drums and all the basics at Desert Moon Productions. Danny “The Count” Koker from Counting Cars is the owner, and Stoney Curtis is the studio manager there. He has a great studio where we recorded a lot of material. We used a large drum room, which was really important for us to be able to get that vintage sound, yet have the real space, instead of doing it through software.
The only thing missing on the album is basically to finalize the keyboards. Michael T. Ross did a song on there, and we’re gonna have Eric do a few songs too. That’ll be out 2017.
METAL BABE: That’s great. Do you have a working title or anything else?
NADIR: No, that’s the thing. The title has not yet popped up. It has to be natural. It can’t be manufactured.
METAL BABE: Gotcha. I’ve been researching the history of the band, and it looks like you reformed in 2009?
NADIR: No, I didn’t reform… London never broke up. It was on hiatus. The only thing was that, you know, people get older and life changes. You get married, you have kids. You have to do your life. Unless you really wanna drown yourself in the party scene and not do anything. The people that decided that they wanted to make a life went off and did their own thing. We just went on hiatus and took a break of twenty years.
METAL BABE: When was your first show back after the hiatus?
NADIR: It was at The Roxy actually, in 2012. I was doing D’Priest prior to that. I was playing with Metal Skool at the Key Club, and doing some other types of shows, not just London. I’ve been there, just not necessarily flying that flag at that time.
METAL BABE: What can you tell us about your live London CD?
NADIR: ‘London Live’ is our latest album that we have managed to put together after twenty years. It was recorded in Nashville at a venue called 12th & Porter and partly mixed by Michael Wagener, who did Ozzy, Metallica, and all that. The rest of it was done in Los Angeles with Roy “Z” Ramirez, who worked with Halford and Bruce Dickinson, and myself.
The album includes “Drop The Bomb,” “Killing Time,” and “Fast As Light” from our ‘Don’t Cry Wolf’ album. It also has “Heart Beat,” “It’s So Easy,” “Ride You Through the Night” from the ‘Playa Del Rock’ album. We have two new studio tracks on the album too. The first one is “Get Back Home,” and “Tu Cultura Y Tu Nación,” which means, ‘Your Culture and Your Nation’ in English. This is our first Rock En Español song, which is really cool for everyone.
Check it out. It’s free if you buy one of our ‘Don’t Cry Wolf’ albums on eBay. We don’t sell it, we give it away, so enjoy.
METAL BABE: That’s a great deal!
NADIR: Yeah, it’s definitely a great deal. I don’t make any money on it. I’m just trying to get people to listen to the music.
METAL BABE: Definitely. So, you’re about to take the stage at the Rainbow for the Labor Day Weekend Backyard Bash, with Buckcherry, Hirax, and Iron Butterfy. I’m sure you have some stories about the Rainbow throughout the years. What comes to mind that you can share with us?
NADIR: I’ve been coming here since I was nineteen or twenty year’s old. I used to live with Mario Junior. We were roommates, and we were pretty happening in the party scene here. I just talked to Mario Senior tonight and he remembers me clearly. He was my godfather in a sense. He was always protecting me from being thrown out of the Rainbow, getting into fights, and sh*t like that. So it’s great to come back now in a completely different sense and watch everyone. All the new faces… It’s not the same people anymore.
I’m dedicating my set tonight to Mario Junior and Miguel, the chef. He was a good friend of mine. He got to meet my father. He was a really cool guy, and he loved the song that I’m playing tonight… But I won’t tell you what it is.
METAL BABE: That’s a really nice tribute. Speaking of your set, what can fans expect from a live London show?
NADIR: Well, it’s not gonna be an 80’s show. It’s gonna be a mixture of songs from the old ones to the new ones. I have Roberta Freeman on vocals, who used to sing with Guns N’ Roses on the road, which is ironic, since three members of Guns N’ Roses have been in London. We have a percussionist too.
It seems like this is a whole new deal for a lot of people who have not seen us. I have fans here who know and request songs, but tonight it’s a mixed crowd, and it’s gonna be a mixture of really good things.
METAL BABE: That sounds fun. You just played at 80’s in the Park in Melbourne, FL at the end of August with Quiet Riot, Ted Poley, Quiet Riot, Tuff, Great White… How was that?
NADIR: That was a great show in Florida. It was outstanding. We were asked to go back again, so we’ll be back next year for that. We’re looking forward to it.
METAL BABE: Can you talk about how the scene has changed since ‘back in the day.’ Obviously, the music scene has changed a lot since the 80’s. What are your thoughts on the scene today?
NADIR: Well, there’s not that many people on the Strip anymore. There’s nothing really left other than “crumbs” from that era. Even the buildings… The people are gone, and now it’s people from other countries who never experienced that time who are trying to do it now, who don’t know how to exclude their 80’s fanship. They come here with a dream, and it’s not like it used to be. It’s great that it’s changed. It’s grown. It’s modern, busier, flossy, more shiny and bigger… And more expensive. [LAUGHS]
But you know, it’s for the better, I guess. The music has gotta stay alive because this medium can easily disappear.
METAL BABE: True. You’ve been living in Vegas now for two years. What’s your Latin band like?
NADIR: I have a solo band… A Spanish and English funk band. I sing in Spanish, and I do percussion. Different things… But that’s more like a Vegas thing. I play a midnight show, you know. I had a residency, but I’m busy now with London so I can’t commit to anything. I may be jumping more, so we’ll see.
METAL BABE: What’s it like living in Vegas compared to L.A.? People have been calling it the ‘new Sunset Strip.’
NADIR: It’s not. It’s not the same. It will never be that. You’re f*cking dreaming. It’s just a bunch of people from L.A., who were there back in the day, and there are a couple places to hang. That’s it. [LAUGHS] Other than that, it’s casinos. They’re there to take your money. They’re not there to f*ckin’ party it up for you. It’s not like Hollywood, where you can go to someone’s house and you f*cking party. Unless you know the right people that are partying every night… You know what I mean. I guess they can try, if they have the money for it.
METAL BABE: That makes sense. What last words would you like to say to your fans?
NADIR: I’d like to say that London is here, and London never left. We are the original Sunset Strip Players, before G N’R, Poison, or any of them….
So people need to recognize who was in this band and how many multi-platinum people we have. Follow the trail and you will find so many cool f*cking stories from everyone. But people have to kind of dig into it. It’s a whole new breed of kids who like this medium of music. Especially Europeans and Asians. I hope Americans continue to push for this kind of music because it’s phasing out, and we gotta keep it alive. And go to LondonTheBand.net
METAL BABE: Thank you. It’s gonna be great. I’m looking forward to the show. (Click HERE to read “Backyard Bash at The Bow.”)
NADIR: Awesome. Thank you very much.
METAL BABE: You’re welcome! And, for anyone in the Los Angeles area, make sure to catch London October 5th at The Whisky!
London Lineup 2016:
NADIR D’PRIEST (Vocals)
RONEE PEÑA (Guitar)
BILLY The FIST (Bass)
ALAN KRIGGER (Drums)
ERIC RAGNO (Keyboards)