Nadir D’Priest the frontman of legendary Hollywood rockers London
A Metal Sludge exclusive with London singer Nadir D’Priest, who is still going strong after all these years
By Gerry Gittelson
Metal Sludge Editor at Large
HOLLYWOOD– Like the Anvil of the Hollywood rock scene, the band London keeps going and going, continuing to reach for that pot of gold against all odds.
London started on the Sunset Strip in 1978, and lots of members have come and gone through the years, some of whom would became famous – names like Nikki Sixx and Slash who used London as a spring board for international success beyond their wildest platinum dreams.
Longtime singer Nadir D’Priest still has that dream. He has never given up on London, and the decades (not just years) of persistence are paying off, evidenced by a scheduled appearance with Guns N’ Roses as Rocklahoma this coming summer.
There’s more to London than the graduating classes through the seasons and an appearance in movie “Decline of Western Civilization,” and the whole world is about to find out.
The band now includes D’Priest and longtime London vets Sean Lewis (guitar) and Brian West (bass) in addition to legendary drummer Alan Krigger (Giuffria, Tina Tuner, Carl Wilson). There is a live CD coming soon that was mixed by Michael Wagener, and London is hoping the record will be their “Budokan.”
The past is well-documented, and there have been more heartbreaks than highlights, but like any great American story, there has to be happy ending. D’Priest, still the mod one after all these years, was only too happy to give Metal Sludge an exclusive on where things go from here.
Nadir rocks the RIP tee in a classic London shot
METAL SLUDGE: The band is making a great comeback, Nadir. So you’re doing Rocklahoma? That’s big.
NADIR D’PRIEST: That’s correct. We’re not just appearing at Rocklahoma – we have plans to tour Europe in July, and we’re doing Rock Harvest No.2 with a lot of huge groups, just slamming away shows. We have a live album coming out with two new tracks, and it’s been crazy. The whole process has been crazy.
SLUDGE: The band has been around a long time, and you took a break to raise a family and to establish yourself in business, but obviously there was something that kept you believing in London.
D’PRIEST: I think it’s just a mission. I had a mission as a lead singer, as a writer, as a human being, as a person. I was not going to just let it lay there and die. There have been all kinds of negative vibes around, and within the industry, just a lot of political shit in Hollywood, but I was not going to let it die. London was always on my mind.
SLUDGE: The band was actually signed to a major label. I remember the CD, but it was called D’Priest, not London.
D’PRIEST: That’s true. We were signed with Noise Records BMG in Berlin. We were signed out of Germany. We always seemed to do really well in Europe, and that’s been a blessing. Also, we played on top of the BMG building in Hollywood, right across from the CNN building. BMG threw a big party for us with Thai food. I still remember that.
SLUDGE: Did you ever do a big tour?
D’PRIEST: We did do a tour but I don’t consider it big, not at all. It was fun, and there was a lot of drama and joy and hormones and music and a lot of people. It was quite a circus act, people just grasping the band and the name London, and everything that went with all of that. I was expected to be this certain kind of person, and some might not have liked that, but we always drew a lot of people to our shows.
SLUDGE: It’s been well-documented about the future rock stars that started out in London.
D’PRIEST: Yeah, I know.
SLUDGE: People like Nikki Sixx, Slash and Izzy, Steven Adler, Blackie Lawless from WASP. A lot of them went on to make millions of dollars, Nadir. Are you resentful about that?
D’PRIEST: That’s the million-dollar question that everyone always wants to know, and the answer is of course not. Not at all. I’m a fuckin’ fighter, and I don’t lay down for no one, and I’m resentful of nothing. If anything, it’s great because it’s a part of my starship. As soon as Lizzie Grey left, we took London to the next level, and we gave our lives to the studio for nine months in a row, for “Playa Del Rock” and more.
A still of London from "The Metal Years" with Nadir & Lizzie Grey
Watch a clip HERE of London from "Decline of Western Civilazation Part 2 The Metal Years"
SLUDGE: You’ve got Alan Krigger on drums now, and he’s a legendary player. But he was actually in the band for a short time way before, right? Was this before Giuffria?
D’PRIEST: No, this was right after Giuffria. There was a point where we needed a drummer to do some session work, and that’s when Krigger would have card games at his house, and I was there, and Randy Castillo (ex-Ozzy) was there, too, and Randy was like, “I’ll do it. I have nothing else going on right now,” and then Krigger, you know how he is, he was like, “Wait, wait, wait a minute.” (laughs). I had just gotten rid of the other drummer.
SLUDGE: What does Krigger bring to the band?
D’PRIEST: You really want me to answer that? (laughs). Well, let’s go for the high points. I was actually a drummer myself before being a singer, and as far as London is concerned, the record shows there have been a lot of drummers, and everyone knows all the names, and there have even been a few that no one knows about, and Krigger just has a certain funk and feel, a laid-backness, and Brian West, our bass player, they just move in unison on things, so that’s what Krigger brings. We locked really well with that, and that’s the biggest worth that a drummer can have – that feel, that being right there on the clock, that locking in. That’s the most important thing for any drummer, plus Krigger still looks good, and he’s animated and comical even though his clothes kind of look like he got them from a thrift shop!
Alan Krigger, Sean Lewis, Brian West & Nadir D’Priest – London 2012
SLUDGE: As for you image, Nadir, you were kind of a pioneer for the Glam movement in Hollywood, a lipstick-rock kind of guy.
D’PRIEST: I don’t want to call myself a pioneer, but if someone else calls me that, I’m good with that. I just took something that was really natural to do, and I mastered it really well, and I saw a lot of multi-platinum singers wearing the same makeup, but for me, it’s evolved. That was so early, so long ago.
SLUDGE: You were very Glam, but you were actually a tough guy.
D’PRIEST: I want to be clear. I never considered myself a tough guy. I was 6-foot-2 and 138 pounds, a stick. You would look at me, and all people would see was my dick, my hair and my lips. That was the whole personality, and that caused me a lot of problems with other bands that would get a little hot with me because they would have girlfriends in the front row of my shows, not just one show but continuously.
SLUDGE: Interesting. What about yourself. What was your record for having the most girlfriends at the same time?
D’PRIEST. Ten. Ten that didn’t know each other, I’d say.
SLUDGE: Ten? That sounds like a lot, Nadir. There are only seven days in a week.
D’PRIEST: It wasn’t too rough to handle because we were always busy, always doing stuff. It was very easy. A collection. Plus, who knows? Each one of them might have been doing 10 other guys, but I was OK with that.
Lita Ford, Ronnie Dio, Nadir D’Priest & Bruce Dickinson
SLUDGE: You came along in the wrong decade. You would have loved the 60s with free love and all that, you know?
D’PRIEST: I don’t know about that era. But you’re right, I might have been nicer back then.
SLUDGE: You don’t drink and party like you used to, right?
D’PRIEST: Oh definitely not. I don’t have to. I’m no spring chicken, so you don’t see me hanging out unless it’s a red-carpet event or something like that, like the Sunset Music Festival that we did last summer. That was a great time.
SLUDGE: Going back to Nikki Sixx. You actually weren’t in London at the same time, but were you good friends? And do you still keep in touch?
D’PRIEST: We were acquainted with each but not good friends in a buddy-buddy way where I would call him and say let’s get some bitches and hang out. But I did have a great time with him one night at his old home in Laurel Canyon. We hung out for a bit, an all-nighter, and at some point everyone had gone home and it was just me and Nikki. I don’t remember too well, but we sat around and talked about London, talked about everything. I looked at his gun collection, and I remember he had a really cool bunch of toys. I left at like 7 or 8 in the morning, and that’s the last time I ever hung out with him.
A old skool concert flyer for the "Troubadour" in West Hollywood
SLUDGE: What about Steven Adler?
D’PRIEST: Steven just got too big with Guns N’ Roses, so there was nothing there. We did hang out at a studio where Guitar Center is now, and we both rehearsed there. I remember seeing him there hangin’ out with Bob Welch, who died of a self-inflicted gun shot. Adler playing drums, in those days those were the heroin days.
SLUDGE: London is making quite a comeback. Are you enjoying the resurgence?
D’PRIEST: I am enjoying it. It’s been a blast, working with Michael Wagener on mixes. I’m very happy with that, and working with Roy Z. It’s been great, the whole process has been great.
SLUDGE: And this live record, recorded at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. When is it coming out?
D’PRIEST: It’s supposed to be coming out soon. (laughs) We’ve just been inundated. I also just found the master tapes for “Don’t Cry Wolf,” and that one is being re-released on vinyl with a new cover and a lyric sheet. It went through the digital process at Capitol Records, and it sounds beautiful.
SLUDGE: You had such nice hair back in the day. Who had better hair, you or Punky Meadows?
D’PRIEST: Definitely me. I had a shitload of hair. I had to cut some off between gigs, there was so much. I hate to say it, but between Punky and I, it was me. That’s the truth. You can put it up to a vote.
SLUDGE: Well, the hair, is that what the girls liked most?
D’PRIEST: I have no fuckin’ idea.
SLUDGE: You look back now, do you have any regrets? Would have done anything different?
D’PRIEST: No regrets, definitely not. Everything that happened has been a learning experience, so there are no regrets. I might be a little sad, though, that I didn’t see more of my oldest daughter, my first born, but it was cool.
SLUDGE: Did you see the documentary film about Anvil?
D’PRIEST: No, I didn’t see it.
SLUDGE: It’s about Anvil, that Canadian metal band that kept going for years and years, on and on, without ever giving up. Can you relate to that?
D’PRIEST: That’s us. Why do you think we’re always filming everything we do. We’ve been doing this a long time. We were even filming when I got detained by the FBI.
SLUDGE: What? What happened?
D’PRIEST: You don’t remember that?
SLUDGE: I don’t think so, no.
D’PRIEST: Do you remember the Mason Jar club in Pheonix?
SLUDGE: Yeah, I do. It was kind of the Roxy of Arizona.
D’PRIEST: Well, we were there sound-checking one afternoon for a show that night, on tour with our tour bus. I think it was Willie Nelson’s tour bus before us. But anyway, some random guy comes in during sound check and asks if there any t-shirts for sale? That wasn’t too uncommon back then, and we were like, “Yeah, we have t-shirts, 10 bucks or whatever,” and the guy buys a D’Priest t-shirt, blah blah blah. Larry Moran was there. He was our manager back then.
Anyway, about two hours later, a bunch of FBI cars come storm the place with the black tinted windows, and all these FBI guys come jumping out of their cars with UZIs. They surround the whole club and come barging in, and we’re all like what the fuck is going on? So one of the FBI guys yells out: “Which one of you guys is D’Priest!” And every one of my band members,, the ones who had been so loyal to me all throughout Hollywood all these years, they all look at each other and point right at me and together they say: “That’s him!”
SLUDGE: That’s funny.
D’PRIEST: I am like, “Jesus, thanks guys.” So I am like, “What do you want?” And they’re pointing their machine guns and yelling at me, “Where’s the money!” I swear, I have all of this on video, though I haven’t seen it in a long time. And the FBI guys,, they’re like, “I swear, we’ll take you out right here!” and I’m like, “What fucking money?” They pulled out a Polaroid picture, which is what they used to do in those days I guess, and it’s a picture of the guy who bought the D’Priest shirt. He’s wearing the shirt, and he’s robbing a bank with a “D’Priest” spelled out in big letters across his shirt, and he fuckin’ ran off with the money. The detectives drove by the club and saw “D’Priest” on the marquee at the club, and they called in the FBI. Eventually, they let me go.
Only the foxiest guys play "Gazzarri’s" on the Sunset Strip
SLUDGE: What an incredible story. Did they ever arrest the guy?
D’PRIEST: I don’t know. I never heard. I have no idea. I just remember this was at the start of our tour, and I remember just thinking to myself, “Why me?”
Nadir D’Priest "20 Questions" with Metal Sludge from October 13th 2003
Check out a London press release from 2009
Nadir D’Priest @ Facebook
Gerry Gittelson can be reached @ [email protected]