London LeGrand talks fast. He talks a lot. And by the time he has peppered every other phrase with "like," "you know what I mean," and "dude," it's hard to keep up.
As lead singer of Brides of Destruction, an L.A. hard rock band formed by Motley Crue bass player Nikki Sixx and guitarist Tracii Guns (the "Guns" in the original Guns N' Roses lineup), LeGrand had better be noisy and outspoken.
It's his job to front a band that will bring its unholy marriage of '80s metal, classic hard rock, and punk to Toledo Tuesday. The 36-year-old's slacker conversational tics mask an inner smart dude who is given grief from his fellow band mates for throwing out words like "unobtrusive" in radio interviews. He's also a strong lyricist who possesses a broad, if somewhat skewed, understanding of pop culture.
When he described how disheveled he could be for job interviews in his pre-rocker days, LeGrand said in a phone interview he was "Bill Bixbying around." Huh? "You know, Bill Bixby from the TV show, Incredible Hulk?"
The Brides were formed in 2002 by Sixx, who at the time was on a Crue hiatus and had nothing else to do, and Guns, who left GNR early on and had played in any number of other bands, including Motorhead, WASP, and Poison.
LeGrand, who grew up in North Carolina until moving in his teen years to Gainesville, Ga., was brought to the group by Adam Hamilton, a mutual friend of Sixx and Guns.
Given the chance to audition with the Brides, LeGrand, a relative unknown, threw all his considerable energy and enthusiasm into the work. "I said if I get into this, I'm going to give this guy my eyeteeth," he said.
Now on tour behind their second release, "Runaway Brides," Sixx is no longer in the group, deciding instead to cash the fat pay checks that come with reuniting the Crue. LeGrand has no hard feelings, sort of.
"That's his baby. He put years and years into that, and he's got loyal fans," LeGrand said. "You've got to do what you've got to do. It threw us for a loop a little bit, but then we just kind of regrouped..."
At which point he launched into a funny, obscenity-laced comparison to being in a relationship with a girlfriend who bolts just when things seem to be going well. In this case Sixx is the woman and the Brides are the guys.
LeGrand's lyrics are vivid depictions of edgy scenes of depravity, desperation, and a sharply critical look at society from the perspective of people who find themselves on the fringes. He said Guns worked out the music and then he went off to write.
"I just went and hermited out at my place and turned it into like a toxic wasteland," he said. "I get in this mode where I can't concentrate on anything but writing, day and night, day and night."
Lacking a muse - LeGrand thought "muse" was another band when the issue came up - he taps into the spiritual world when he's working.
"I think there's a lot of help that I get from somewhere else, man. A lot of times I'm writing and it's like I'm in a trance, seriously," he said. "I've got a lot of people that have passed away in my family and then in California there's all these apartments where all these artists lived and have passed away and it's just like, you never know, man.
"Hollywood is like a vast spirit realm for artists."
From there he launched into a long, circuitous analysis of how punk and metal were fused to make bands such as Brides of Destruction.
The point seemed to be that metal came along and killed "college rock." But then college rock morphed into alternative rock, which was based on the punk ethos, except that "punk is a little too tough to be invited into people's living rooms."
So then the new breed of punks grew up listening to bands such as Black Sabbath and AC/DC and they wanted to rock out. And, of course, "fashion repeats itself every 10 or 12 years..."
Then "little punk rock kids started reaching back to their roots" and somehow this led to the Brides.
"Boom! It's a pop culture thing, you know what I mean?"
At which point LeGrand's cell phone went dead and the interview was concluded. But I think we all know what he means.
The Brides of Destruction play Tuesday at Club Bijou, 209 North Superior St., with the doors opening at 7 p.m. Also on the bill are Adema, Chelsea Smiles, Saturnine Hello, and After Trust is Betrayed. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at RamaLama Records, 3151 West Central Ave., or Mad Hatter Music in Bowling Green. Information: 419-243-4446.
Contact Rod Lockwood at: firstname.lastname@example.org