I’ve just had one of the most amazing experience’s since my days as a professional musician in the 1980’s with a with a beautifully Transsexual called Lora G and GG Nikki Lunden and their Band, although Lora and everyone are now back in LAI will be returning to the UK next year, and hopefully I will be playing with the band then
It is funny how things work, if it hadn't been for Beckie running Transtastic which I joined a few years ago, and last year Fiona Cole accepted me as one of the DJ’s on Transtastic radio which reached worldwide and I invited people to send in their own music and had response from Columbia, the UK and the USA, which is when a friend of the Lora G band JONIE VOIX got in touch asking me to play Lora G’s music on the radio
Shortly afterwards Lora introduced herself in the hope that I could help to put her in contact others able to give the band work, or if I was able to help get them work. I haven’t been active in the scene she needed for many years and was unable to help. They came from the States on a promotion tour with just two London gig’s and one gig in Edinburgh
Although well-known on LA scene with the original singer being Nate Tao who was a top 40 male contestant on America Idol.
It would be easier to say who Lora G hasn’t been in contact with, she has 5 Emmy Awards, 3 Edward R. Murrow Awards, Scripps Howard Award, NAPTE IRIS Award, Community & Government Service honors.
Nikki Lunden merged with Lora G replacing Nate Tao as lead singer: Nikki Lunden opened for David Lowry and Johnny Hickman of Cracker, Devon Allman’s Honeytribe, Melissa Ferrick, Pieta Brown and Bo Ramsey, sharing festival bills with Spin Doctors, Gin Blossoms, 7 Mary Three, and has recently performed with Micki Free of Shalamar.)
Although I didn’t have a lot of time to find out much about Kimberley Smith, who is an extremely good backing vocalist, again was such a great person to be with one couldn’t help but feel love all for those that made up the band
The Lora G drummer is Gerry Doot who was in a British Punk band back in 1977 called Animal Games and released an album by the same name, which was then included on the compilation album called ‘London The Punk Rock collection’
Andy Catt The bass player with the Lora G band is Norwegian living in the States and what a talented bassist, Joco, Stanly, Na Andy Catt and very cool
Description of the Lora G band
The Lora G and Nikki Lunden Band is comprised of a group of incredibly talent musicians and singers—all who have their own bands and/or solo albums or individual recording projects. These core members come together because of their love of creating original music, love of each other and belief in the band. Because their material is so varied, they call it: Alternative Eclectic Rock The members of Lora G Band and Nikki Lunden who played in the UK are: Lora G—Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Songwriter, Co-Producer Nikki Lunden -Lead Singer, Songwriter, Guitar Kimberley Smith—Vocals Andy Catt—Bass, Vocals, Guitar
Gerry Doot-drums and percussion
Business Manager: Dennis Kennelly
On arrival at Heathrow Airport they spent 30 hours trying to get through custom’s being held because they were here to promote the band instead of to earn loads of money from the gig’s No one would believe them which is when they first made contact with me, but again I was not in a position to help them, and all I could do was suggest they get in contact with one of the gig’s they were playing at to see if they would stand as guarantor, and they were fortunate the Landlord from the Patricks Bar Crystal Palace was able to help
Although it was slow going for them when they first arrived, and only had two gigs when they first touched down, through their own determination and hard work spending hours searching the net, managed to achieve more than many bands resident in London and the UK. They were here for 18 days and ended up doing 17 gigs, by the time they left, 2 of these on the same day. They played at the Edinburgh Fringe festival the world's largest arts festival, all the time staying in contact with the bands followers back in LA,
Nikki Lunden knackered still found time to smile whilst making a video of their arrival to Edinburgh, ‘after a 12 hour drive on the wrong side of the road in the rain, narrow roads, oncoming traffic, ugghh what a night!! Way to go Andy for getting us here and not knocking me out for my back seat driving!! – Nikki’
Returning to London, they played the New Cross Inn which was my chance to meet up with them. But before the band arrived this much taller person than I (being only 5’8”) introduced themselves, who was our very own Beckie Cannon in drab, who I didn’t recognise, never seen before lol I was also in drab, and Lora later in the week would asked where are all the TG’s in the UK not having met a single one the whole time she was here? and I had to agree with her that the Transgender scene in the States seems a lot more open than here.
Shortly after the Lora G and Nikki Lunden band turned up, which gave me a very brief moment to introduce Beckie who Lora thought was really handsome, and I introduced myself as Jady from Transtastic. Lora G was pleased to meet us, then went to work organising and setting up to play, and asked me to video the show which was a 40 minutes set which although not a Hugh audience went down really well, however I missed saying goodbye to Beckie when she left, becoming very involved with the band
Once the band had completed the set, I mentioned that I would really enjoy playing with the band and Lora knowing I was a sax playing through my profile on Transtastic said ‘what would you play’ Having played her music on Transtastic radio I knew one of the songs that rocked called ‘Hear Me’ which I suggested to Lora who turned to bass player Andy Catt, who had joined us, both said he knows the number, and Lora replied ‘yeah come on down to Patricks Bar in Crystal Palace on Saturday
Being a 67 OAP and at times feeling my age I almost didn’t bother to go but thought why not go along even if I didn’t play but as I walked into Patrick’s Bar Lora came forward making me feel part of what was happening by giving me a hug and straight away introduced me to everyone saying here’s our sax player.
They played 3 numbers before inviting me to play their song ‘Here Me’, and partly to cover themselves because they didn’t know me but were confident in themselves to give me a chance to prove myself Nikki Lunden introduce me by saying give Jady a big welcome it’s his first time playing with us so we don’t know what’s going to happen.
After the song finished which went down really well, she was full of praise and having been introduced to their finance manager who come up giving praise saying ‘wow you rock you really took the roof off’ and everyone made me feel so good, that when Lora invited to play their next gig in East London I was more than happy
Although I didn’t have too much time to ask Lora questions I asked her had she transitioned and she said ‘yes completely’ and was a woman, and the only thing she was unable to do was give birth, although she does have 3 grown up daughters, one of which is at University here in the UK
Lora G is such an amazing person I don’t think there was anyone she didn’t touch, who didn’t end up thinking they were sharing a very special moment. The next gig was at the George Tavern, which Pauline Forster an English artist, performer, musician, designer and landlady of The Tavern in the East End of London, and where Jamie Lovatt a singer and frontman of the band Romance works running the bar, was to meet Lora G and Nikki Lunden then join the Abbey Road session backing vocals on Nikki Lunden’s new release ‘Where Love Lie’s’
Although I wasn’t asked at this time to go into the Abbey studio, I was invited to play at the club Proud in Camden which was the first of two gigs’ in one evening about 4 miles apart, so I decided to use my car to get to the first gig which is about 7 miles from me, to start at 8 pm, and then onto the 12 Bar Club in Denmark Street with some of the bands gear to originally start at 10,20 pm
We got to the 12 Bar club (2nd gig) at 10pm when as I pulled up to unload my car, an African traffic warden moved in and said ‘you cannot park there’ but I said 'I am only going to be a couple of minutes' his reply 'well make sure you are' we unloaded and went in the club just after 10 pm expecting to play at 10.20 but didn’t go on until gone 11..25 pm because another act was booked and Lora G was the main act of the evening
At 11.22 the c--- of a warden put a parking ticket on the car stating I was unlawfully parked in a disabled bay for 2 minutes until 11.24, however I’ve appealed against the ticket because 1/ there is no disabled bay in Denmark Street the bay I had pulled into was a Permit Holders Only bay and 2/ at 11.22 I took a photo with my mobile phone of the act performing before Lora G went on stage.
Then at 11.25 took another photo of the Lora G bands first number and then shortly after was playing with the band which the whole club could prove, that I was in the club taking photos of the band before performing the numbers that I was playing, and even have the time of the shot’s on the phone lol
The gig went great and Lora said are you coming to the Abbey Road studios? And thinking only vocals were being recorded for their new song said ‘I don’t know maybe if I can get there, but it would be later than they started. I decided to go and give support to the band
I thought I can’t walk into the most famous studio in the world without my instrument, you never know there may be a band that wants some sax, and even when I got to the reception desk I wasn’t sure if my name had been left, or if I would even get in and meekly said I’m with the Lora G band
She replied ‘oh yes you are expected’ (which made me feel really chuffed) ‘I will call them and get one of the studio staff to take you through’ when they came I said ‘Is there any where I can leave my sax cause I don’t think I am playing’ and he replied ‘You can leave it there but I thought they said that you are recording’, which made me perk even up more then said ‘oh alright I will bring it with me’.
The last time I stood in a studio at Abbey Road was about 1972 with a band called ‘The Soul Stars’ given a chance with a free recording session by EMI, but messed it up and lost out. So by now I am feeling really good, here I was having just meet this band, had played 4 gig’s and in the most famous studio’s in the world, All in just one week
By now my feelings for Lora G had grown so much for this very special person, I really can’t say enough about her or the whole band, and when I walked into the studio everyone who respected her automatically accepted me, and I was made to feel very welcomed by Lora who gave me with a hug
When I went down to play I had no idea what was expected. The bass player and second vocalist Kimberly had left the UK early, who’s parts were to be added at a later date once back in LA, so first Lora G and Gerry Doot the drummer had laid down a guide for the vocals to sing over, then Nikki Lunden and Jamie Lovatt had laid down their parts and finally I went down to play.
Being a Nikki Lunden composition I asked her to go down into the studio booth and conduct where she wanted me to play then it was 1, 2, 3, 4, blow, I think most artist are their own worst critics and I really didn’t think I played good, but we played through the song about 4 times and everyone said ok that’s sounds good, and that was it
Then Tony Billings Station Manager & Presenter at Exosphere Radio, Gerry, Jamie, Lora plus the two recording engineers, then came down into the studio and Nikki Lunden then got down on one knee and proposed to Lora G who accepted with the rest of us applauding and congratulating,
Lora then took us all out for a slap up meal with a magnum of Champaign, when I was able to learn a little bit about her past, those that she’s played with, plus some of the missions, beliefs, and the things that matter to her
She has an Amy of loyal followers, and helpers and although I’ve meet many ‘STARS’ during my 40 years of playing none have been as beautiful a person as Lora G. Her trails have given her strength without the nastiness that often ambitious people become and everyone agreed that we had shared a very special moment in time
It wasn’t to be the total end of my involvement with Lora G, on the Saturday I had gone to Denmark Street in the West End to take some photo evidence for the parking ticket Had I gone into the street the way I normally do which is from the other end; what happened next was so unbelievable it questioned my belief regards fate, I had cycled up to the street in the West End, and as I went into that end of the street I just about heard a voice call out Jady
Something made me look around and standing on the corner with a load of band gear was Lora G, Nikki Lunden and Gerry Doot, who should have flown to Paris but because they had so much gear had to rebook a flight from Luton Airport instead of Heathrow, and were in the process of selling gear unable to take it with having received sponsored from Hiwatt amplifiers who had given Lora a whole new bass stack, so I looking after the gear they couldn’t take back for them
I’ve never been one for fate but a string of coincidence or what? I do know my feelings well up inside when I think that I’ve had this amazing ride with very beautiful TS, and a great band, witnessed an engagement and just keep thinking wow, what a ride every time I think about having played 4 gigs and recorded in the most famous studio’s in the world, all in one week.