Prophets of Addiction singer coming back to Hollywood clean and sober.
Lesli Sanders has battled booze, drugs & seemingly cheated death.
The singer has had numerous friends overdose. Now sober, he is on top of the world!
The Prophets of Addicition play "Bar Sinister" in Hollywood Nov. 10th 2012
TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE
Here’s the story of Lesli Sanders, who has scratched and clawed his way from a Hollywood tragedy to the cusp of a dramatic comeback with a promising new Seattle band called Prophets of Addiction.
By Gerry Gittelson
Metal Sludge Editor at Large
HOLLYWOOD – For all we know, it was Lesli Sanders who came up with the phrase “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.
He sure got them in the right order.
No one has ever questioned Sanders’ musical talent, as it was evident early as the founding bassist/songwriter for Hollywood sensations Queeny Blast Pop — a glittery band that could have been gigantic in the ‘90s with the right marketing machine – and later with cult favs City Girls Boys and national acts Pretty Boy Floyd and Marky Ramone.
But Sanders, the funnest guy you would ever want to meet, was a wild horse, a loud and proud beer-guzzlin’, cigarette-smokin’, coke-snortin’ party animal who, like other pretty boys from the post-Poison Sunset Strip, somehow lived like a rock star without ever actually signing a record deal.
Through the years, Sanders, a Rainbow regular who has fucked more hot blondes with fake tits than even Ron Jeremy could imagine, left a trail of ashes in Hollywood before moving back to hometown Seattle. He cleared the cob webs by getting sober – very sober — and going back to college where he is an honor student at Evergreen State College, but Sanders never let go of his rock n’ roll dreams.
Still with an affinity for eyeliner and lipstick, Sanders is making a comeback, a miraculous one at that, signing a European record deal with his new band, Prophets of Addiction – yes, we get the joke with the band name, Les – and touring successfully in Europe and Australia the past couple of summers. (Getting a plane ticket home was another story, but we wont get into that.)
Sanders has taken over lead singer duties in addition to playing bass, and the resulting CD, “Babylon Boulevard,” is filled with catchy songs and crafty production very much in the vein of Faster Pussycat, Hanoi Rocks and a bit of psychedelic Beatles. It’s as compelling a CD as most of the best sellers in the record racks these days, and if God is looking down on lanky Lesli, then he just might make it big in the very nick of time.
Nothing is a cruel as the calendar. There aren’t many second chances in life, and Sanders plans to make the most of the one he’s got.
Prophets of Addiction is on tour with a stop in Hollywood on Saturday, Nov. 10 at Bar Sinister in support of Prima Donna, and Sanders was more than willing to tell Sludge what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now.
METAL SLUDGE: You’re coming back to Hollywood, Lesli. You don’t come back too often, but you’re playing November 10 at Sinister Bar. Will it be nice to be back?
Sanders: It’ll be good, but we’re mostly just there to play. We’ll be there just that day.
METAL SLUDGE: That’s too bad. You’re still a legend in Hollywood, Lesli.
Sanders: Yeah, but for all the wrong reasons (laughs)
METAL SLUDGE: Do you want to talk about why you left?
Sanders: I guess I went back home to Seattle, to where I grew up, because of my family. They’re my strongest support group, and it was my final option if I didn’t change things around. It turned out to be a good choice. It worked.
METAL SLUDGE: I bet you would have been friends with Kurt Cobain back in the day. You’re both from Seattle, but you were here when he was up there.
Sanders: Yeah, I never really knew him. I have some friends that knew him, and from what I understand he was pretty mellow back in the day, but I really don’t know much about him. But I did know all the Alice in Chains guys. I was friends with all of them.
METAL SLUDGE: That’s true. You’re the one who introduced me to Mike Starr. Do you remember that night at Bordello club? We were drinking endless Long Islands.
Sanders: Yeah, but that was a long time ago, Gerry.
METAL SLUDGE: It’s weird looking back. You were from Seattle, and you came here, but ironically it was the Seattle scene that eventually killed the Hollywood glam scene, you included.
Sanders: The way I look at it, I don’t think the music scene in Seattle killed the L.A. scene. It just happened so fast overnight. It was more like, the bands and the songs, everything that was programmed for radio and MTV, the songs that stuck in your head so you’d buy the record, all of sudden the powers that be decided, “Let’s play something completely different and not like all the other bands anymore.”
Pop rock all of sudden was taboo. They just all changed all of sudden. We didn’t even have a chance to think about it, at least that’s the way I remember it. I just don’t remember there ever being a transition. It just changed instantly overnight.
METAL SLUDGE: You always loved the ladies, Lesli. When grunge set it, did that affect your sex life?
Sanders: I don’t know. (laughs) The scene was dead, so there were fewer opportunities because less people were going out. Let’s put it this way: It’s a numbers game, and if there are 200 people in a club, you like your odds better than if there were 30 people in a club. The odds are better if you’re looking for girls. (laughs)
METAL SLUDGE: You were a big part of the scene when it was at its peak in the late 80s, more early 90s. It was really bustling, every night in on Sunset Strip or whatever was going on in those days.
Sanders: I have a lot of good memories, a lot of fun. But when the fun outweighs the business side of things, like it did for a lot of bands, then the partying becomes more important than your responsibilities. There were a lot of good bands from that time, and unfortunately that was what transpired with a lot of them.
With drugs and alcohol, there comes inner-turmoil, and bands self-destruct. The drugs cause a lack of songwriting and just a lack of what the band was about in the first place. It’s hard to write songs with people you can’t stand being in the same room with.
METAL SLUDGE: You joined Pretty Boy Floyd for a couple of albums including “Size Really Does Matter.” You wrote most of that record, so I’ve always wanted to ask you: Is it true?
Sanders: I guess not (laughs)
METAL SLUDGE: Ask Pepper, right?
METAL SLUDGE: It was not a very good record, Lesli.
Sanders: The production is not very good. Something weird happened. It was sounding really good in the studio, then we left to go out on tour, and everything was done and sent out and mastered, and then it seemed like something changed (sound-wise). It was weird-sounding. Every other recording I’ve been involved with, Queeny Blast Pop, City Girls Boys, they all sounded good. But this one was fucked up or whatever. But I do agree with you 100 percent.
METAL SLUDGE: You’re very honest. I appreciate that.
Sanders: Yeah, I don’t know why but something happened to it.
METAL SLUDGE: You were in Pretty Boy Floyd for years. Have you been following the feud between Kristy Majors and Steve Summers?
Sanders: No, just what pop ups on Facebook, I guess. I just think it’s unfortunate because Pretty Boy Floyd didn’t sell that many records in the first place, so they should be thankful to be in the position they’re in – to tour the world, make a little money, have fun. It’s a great opportunity and most bands would kill for that chance, including myself. But because of my behavior, it didn’t work out for me in Pretty Boy Floyd.
METAL SLUDGE: I understand.
Sanders: It was amazing time for me with Pretty Boy Floyd. I wish I could experience it now, go on tour now, and just be able to go places during the day like walking around the city or going to the zoo or whatever – not in the hotel room with the curtains closed all sketched out from the night before.
Now with Prophets of Addiction, I roll around during the day, I feel great. Now I appreciate it instead of being drunk and played out. In Pretty Boy Floyd, the only sights I would see in a new city would be through a car window going in or going out.
Things are happening for us now. We’ve got some important names coming to the Hollywood show, and we’ve just been named the band of the week in Seattle by the big rock station up here, so they’re playing us all day long for a week straight.
METAL SLUDGE: You’re gone from being a bass player to be a bass player who sings, too. You never sang before. Did you think your ego couldn’t handle it?
Sanders: Nah, that’s not the reason. I’m singing now, for one, because it’s hard enough to find musicians around here, so if another person is doing the singing, then that’s just one person who can quit on me, and I know I’ll never quit. (laughs). For two, I write the songs.
METAL SLUDGE: You’ve got the rough-sounding rock voice. Still smoking cigarettes?
Sanders: Yeah, that’s my final vice, but I’m winding down on that. It’s time for that to go, too. I guess I smoke when I’m stressed, and I always say to myself, ‘OK, after the next show I won’t be so stressed, so I’ll stop,’ but it’s hard.
METAL SLUDGE: What else is planned?
Sanders: Well, the record is out in Europe, and in March we’re heading to Europe.
METAL SLUDGE: Try to buy a round-trip plane ticket so you don’t get stranded again.
Sanders: That was Australia.
METAL SLUDGE: And what exactly happened. You got stuck in the country trying to get home?
Sanders; To tell you the truth, it was embarrassing. But I wasn’t stressed out one bit even though it was pretty fucked up. Before, I would have gone straight to the bar and said, “Hey, let’s get high, and the problem will miraculously fix itself,” and I would have gotten drunk instead of fixing it myself. Basically, it took three days to figure out how to get home, but I knew I would figure it out. Everyone on our end handled it the right way, but we had these tickets that were only good if the flight wasn’t full, so we kept getting bumped. It was stressful, but I got on the internet and made things happen. I know back in the day there would have been a lot of fighting and screaming and arguing.
METAL SLUDGE: Well, it must have been nice to finally get back home.
Sanders: Of course it was. Things happen. In Europe, they went through my guitar case and throw it back in all crazy, and it got jacked up and broke. I did all the paperwork in England and fixed it. I took the proper steps and submitted paperwork that proved the bass had devalued, so they wrote me a check for $1,100 or $1,200. One thing about me and my guitars, all through the drug period, I never, ever lost any guitars.
METAL SLUDGE: I remember at one point you moved in with J.B. Frank from Kingdom Come. He was crazy as hell back then, what were you thinking?
Sanders: He didn’t seem that bad at first. We started partying a lot. At one point, I was doing a lot of studio work and make good money. I had thousands in the bank, and we just started partying crazier than ever.
METAL SLUDGE: But J.B. is sober and doing really well, too, right?
Sanders: Yeah, he is like the head of these meetings in Hollywood. These church meetings, he’s the one with the key to the place. He is a leader.
METAL SLUDGE: Interesting. You’re both survivors but a lot of your old friends from back in the day have all died, like Mike Starr plus so many others, everyone from Jani Lane to Layne Staley. Add to this several Hollywood local heroes like Traci Michaelz of Peppermint Creeps, Dizzy Damage from Glamour Punks and Rustee Casanova of Hate Junkies. The list goes on and on. You’re an inspiration, my friend.
Sanders: Well, one thing I’ve gotten great pleasure out of once I got sober is I’ve met all these people over the years, and they’re really proud and amazed that I did this. I get tons of messages of support and also from people asking for advice. If I can do it, anyone can do it, and I’m always happy to help and offer suggestions. I like to help. It makes me feel good.