London May

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London May
Born (1967-07-20) July 20, 1967 (age 47)
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
Genres Punk rock, hardcore punk, gothic rock
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums, bass guitar, guitar
Associated acts Reptile House
Samhain
Dag Nasty
Son of Sam
Tiger Army
Danzig Legacy
Cold Cave

London May (born 20 July), is a rock musician best known for playing drums in Glenn Danzig's post-Misfits/pre-Danzig punk/goth band Samhain, which he joined in the summer of 1985. May played on the group's best known release, November-Coming-Fire as well as Samhain Live '85–'86 and the bonus tracks on the 2001 re-release of the band's last album Final Descent.

Previously, May (who was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, but raised in Baltimore, MD) was the drummer for Dischord Records band, Reptile House,[1] which later became Dischord Records band Lungfish. Daniel Higgs (aka Daniel V. Strasser) sang and wrote all lyrics for both bands and is now considered an underground icon/visionary of art, poetry, mysticism, and experimental music.

London May remained with Samhain until February 1987, when he was replaced by Chuck Biscuits.

Later, May performed briefly with Dain Bramage (replacing a pre-Nirvana Dave Grohl), Voice of Doom, Dag Nasty[2] (with Minor Threat's Brian Baker and Doug Carrion of The Descendents), and remained for longer stints in Lunchbox (with T.S.O.L.'s Ron Emory), Dead, White, and Blue, Distorted Pony (recorded/produced by Steve Albini), Sheppard Pratt (on drums and guitar, produced by The Cramps/Nick Cave's Kid Congo Powers), The Amazing Chan Clan (on guitar), and Carbonation (on guitar with producer Paul Stacy of Oasis/The Black Crows).

London re-joined Samhain for their 1999 reunion tour, switching off on bass and drums with Steve Zing. He later drummed for Tiger Army[3] and recorded their classic "Tiger Army II: Power of Moonlite" CD along with Son of Sam's first album, "Songs From The Earth", which featured vocalist Davey Havok of AFI and a guest appearance by Glenn Danzig.[4]

In 2003 London joined The Hunns (featuring skateboarding legend Duane Peters) for a blitzkrieg 35 date tour of Europe. While on tour London met the German born FrankEEE and together they formed the rock "melancholia" band The Foul and the Fragrant and have released two albums in the US and Australia. The Foul and The Fragrant is an international project in which the members use internet file sharing to write and record material.[5]

In 2008 May founded the Los Angeles-based hardcore punk rock tribute band Millions Of Dead Comps. with Chris Bratton (ex-Chain Of Strength, Inside Out, Drive Like Jehu) and all proceeds from their performances are donated to charity. To date, the group has raised over $2000 for various charities in and around Los Angeles.[6]

In 2009 Metallica selected Samhain to appear as a special guest artist on their Guitar Hero: Metallica video game and May's original drum track from "Mother Of Mercy," a song from the 1986 album, "November-Coming-Fire", is featured. The game has sold over 1.5 million copies and has been nominated for 2010 music video game of the year.[7]

London and his former band Distorted Pony re-convened in 2010 for their 20th anniversary and have been rehearsing and recording new material in preparation for a new release and European tour. In May, the band played three consecutive nights in Los Angeles to celebrate their return to the stage after disbanding 17 years ago.

Also in 2010, Minor Threat/Fugazi/Dischord Records front man Ian Mackaye and London worked on the 25th anniversary re-release of Reptile House's first Dischord 7" from 1985 (which Mackaye also produced.)

May has also traveled the globe as a solo performer and fund raiser, recently performing in Cairo, Egypt and Beijing, China where he helped raise money for animal welfare by performing in a Misfits tribute band.[8]

In March 2010 London (also a part-time ER nurse) spent a week in earthquake ravaged Haiti where he volunteered as part of an emergency medical team.

Branching out even further, London recently starred in the Ron Howard produced TV pilot, The Great Escape, for TNT/FOX network.

Later that year May was featured in two popular YouTube videos: A career retrospective interview with TV personality Eric Blair, and an appearance with indie superstars Superchunk playing the Misfits classic "Horror Business."

2011 remained busy for May as he traveled to Cuba as part of a humanitarian/cultural aid mission to bring medicine, music, and skateboards to the people of Havana. The trip was highlighted by a special benefit concert featuring a blistering set by May and his close friends, Jackass/Wildboyz stars Chris Pontius and Scott Manning. They were the first U.S. punk band to ever play in Cuba.

In the Fall of 2011 May was cast as a "Court Room Thug" for Christopher Nolan's third Batman blockbuster, "The Dark Knight Rises" and spent a day filming with Nolan and the cast. Though May's foreground scenes with Gary Oldman did not make the final cut, he is heard yelling "DEATH!" during a raucous court room scene. May, a self professed "lifelong Batfan" even sports a Batman tattoo he got as a teenager.

May also rejoined Glenn Danzig and Samhain at this time for a special "Legacy" tour which featured songs and members from all of Glenn Danzig's past and present musical incarnations: The Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig. May (now having adopted the blood drenched "Initium" look for the tour) again played bass and drums for Samhain, switching off with co-alumnus Steve Zing. Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein also joined the tour for the Misfits portion of the set. On Halloween night the sold-out crowd at L.A.'s Gibson Amphitheater witnessed a special Legacy finale when all members joined in for a rousing version of "Skulls" with London and Glenn sharing lead vocals.

After the tour London made a brief cameo as a feverish street preacher in the music video for "City Lights" by the L.A. band "Strung Out"

In 2012, May and L.A. theater maven Amit Itleman's avant-blues harmonica and drum duo "Oogly Boogly" joined X's legendary vocalist Exene Cervenka for a string of West Coast solo shows, performing X favorites and originals with her. A short documentary featuring the collaboration was produced by PBS affiliate KCET-TV. Oogly Boogly later went on to open for X on their 35th anniversary tour.

May also sat in with Ramones bassist CJ Ramone, performing favorite tunes from the pioneering punk band's repertoire during a concert in Long Beach, CA in Spring 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, London returned to The Danzig Legacy tour which was rebooted for a short run of concerts including stops at the famous Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre (now Verizon Wireless) and The Bonnaroo festival—where Samhain played to its biggest audience ever. Working with Mark Brooks (director of the hit show Metalocalypse) The Danzig Legacy TV show was also filmed before a live fan audience at a sound stage in Los Angeles. A release/broadcast date has not been set.

In June 2012, May re-united with Lunchbox singer/songwriter Tim Swenson. They were joined by guest musicians Jonny "2 Bags" Wickersham (Social Distortion) and Steve Soto (Adolescents) for a special performance of Lunchbox classics in Long Beach, CA.

In September 2012, London teamed up with AFI bassist Hunter Burgan to comprise the new rhythm section for Synth/Dark Wave heroes Cold Cave. Along with singer/songwriter Wesley Eisold (American Nightmare), guitarist Cody Votolato (Blood Brothers) and keyboardist Jessie Nelson (Head Automatica) the re-tooled "super group" lineup of Cold Cave hit the road immediately where they played to capacity crowds across the US (including a headlining concert for 3000 at the historic Getty Center Museum in Los Angeles.) The band is now working on Cold Cave's third record with a release and world tour planned for 2013.

Instrument/Gear: London May exclusively plays and is proudly endorsed by the "best of the best"; Gretsch Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Gibraltar Hardware, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Evans Drumheads, and Fender Bass Guitars.

Featured Releases[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Reptile House biography". All Music Guide. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  2. ^ "Interview: Peter Cortner". The Big Takeover zine. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  3. ^ "Tiger Army News Archive 2001". Tiger Army official website. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  4. ^ "Son of Sam "Songs of the Earth"". Punk News. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  5. ^ "MUSIC WITHOUT BOUNDARIES". THE FOUL & THE FRAGRANT official site. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  6. ^ "Millions of Dead Comps". Los Angeles times. Retrieved 2009-08-13. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Sneak Peek: 'Guitar Hero: Metallica'". Spin Magazine. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  8. ^ "Beijing Babylon". Weliveinbeijing.com. Retrieved 2012-05-30.