Todd Griffin Interview
Will L.A. continue to produce ttee "hottest" bands in the nation? The answer is without a doubt, yes. One of the more promising groups to come out of the L.A. area (San Bernardino, in fact) is a quartet known as "NRG." In just a year and a half, they've secured top management, a real "name" on the L.A. club circuit with the drawing power to back it up, and a quality demo so hot, it's "sizzling."
NRG's lead singer Todd Griffin fills us in.
Q. Does the group's name mean something?
A. It stands for energy - NRG, kind of like INXS or U2.
Q. Are all the band members native Californians?
A. Yeah, we're all from California. We're all from San Bernardino. We're just rocking and rolling, getting ready to deal with it.
Q. Record companies have stopped signing "glam" acts and are now looking for something different. Realizing that "NRG" is not a glam act, what's different about your band?
A. The one thing about our band is we're for real. We're kind of just like how we are, like John Cougar Mellencamp. He's just what he is. He's himself. We have our own image. We're not trying to play it up like we're the pretty boys. We're all good looking guys, and everybody's a real talented musician.
Q. When you play the L.A. clubs, do record company executives come out to see the group?
A. Yeah, we've gotten a few labels out to see us, Geffen, Elektra, CBS, Virgin, Atlantic have all come down to see us. Metal Blade and Capitol are real interested in us right now.
Q. How did you get the money to afford studio time, to make your demo?
A. We did a show in Riverside, believe it or not, and there was this wealthy businesswoman there who happened to see the show and believed we were a good investment. She took it from there. When Carmine (Appice - who produced the demo) heard our little 4 track recording that helped. We got the studio time paid for, and everything was taken care of.
Q. Does your financial backer know the business?
A. Right now she understands a lot about the business, probably more than I do I'm sure. She was also married to a musician for 23 or 24 years. Anything she touches seems to turn to gold. So, I guess she thought she was gonna put the magic touch on us too, and I'm not gonna argue with that (Laughs.)
Q. So this band is being run like a business.
A. It's a total, total, total business". There's no drugs in our organization. It's total business. From 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. we're in rehearsal. On the weekends we've been doing our shows. We've been playing the Roxy a real lot.
Q. Is it true that more and more clubs are closing down, and the groups far out-number the clubs?
A. Yeah, there's so many groups you wouldn't believe it. In fact, it's hard to find a good club where you can get a label to go to down in Hollywood.
Q. Is it still the policy of clubs to make a group "pay to play?
A. I was waiting for that question. Yeah, that's pretty much the policy. We don't 'pay to play.' We have in the past. We've paid our dues. All the other bands do 'pay to play." It's hard lo get to that point where you don't have to 'pay to play' Usually you sign a contract, it's a one-sided contract, you're gonna sell 75-100 pre-sale tickets at $10 a piece. If you only sell 35 of them, then you have to cover the rest’ of the amount, which usually comes out of your pocket. That happens to most bands down here.
Q. That means you gotta be wealthy lo start a band, doesn't it?
A. You gotta be wealthy or you gotta have a helluva following to get the right shows. You gotta be good. You gotta book the right shows. That's a lot of it too.
Q. How much longer do you think it will take before “NRG” is signed?
A. The labels have been coming to see us for about 2-3 months. I was involved in an accident and I injured my arm so we had to lay off 2 months, no shows. Were going to wait till probably April 29th to see what happens, and hopefully they will have signed us within the next few months. If they don’t sign us then were going to produce ourselves.
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