Prescott Niles – The Knack

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prescott niles on bassPrescott Niles was born in New York City & later moved to Brooklyn where his musical aspirations began to take shape. As a boy, his house was filled with music – Ricky Nelson, Bobby Darin, Chuck Berry, and The Ronettes. After “The Beatles took the stage on The Ed Sullivan Show his life was changed and sealed his fate as a musician.

Prescott’s bass playing was inspired by the music and bands from the British Invasion, especially (The Who), plus music of Motown, the California sound of the Beach Boys, Jefferson Airplane being among the foremost of his favorites.

He started playing the bass guitar as a teenager, picking up quick lessons with his friends or whoever happened to know any Beatles, Who, or Yardbirds songs. Prescott knew that music was his sole passion and the destiny that awaited him. His father was wise enough to know that Prescott was serious about his new path and helped purchase his beloved 1962 Fender Precision Bass which he still plays to this day.

prescott niles studioA fateful meeting with a singer guitarist named Velvert Turner, was a turning point in his musical career. After auditioning Velvert for a Blues Band that Prescott was in, Velvert shared that he knew Jimi Hendrix, and that Hendrix was interested in backing a band that Velvert had put together. As a result Prescott not only met Jimi Hendrix but also jammed with him at the famous club, Ungano’s in Manhattan. After Jimi Hendrix died, Velvert and Precott secured a recording contract form Sunshine Records which was formed by Michael Lang ( founder and organizer for the Woodstock Festival).Prescott and Velvert moved to Los Angeles to record an album produced by Tom Wilson. They recorded at Record Plant studios with Jimi Hendix’s engineer Gary Kelgrin.

After finishing the album with Velvert, he soon hooked up with Arthur Lee ( Love ) and did TV appearances with Him on His solo album. Prescott also played and recorded with Randy California ( Spirit ). Through another quirk of fate, Prescott was flown to England to do session work. He lived in London for two years. Whilst in England he played with and befriended Jeff Beck, Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones) and other London notables. In 1975 Prescott moved back to Los Angeles.

In April of 1978 Prescott got a call from Bruce Gary, his good friend and the best drummer on the L.A. Music scene. Bruce said that the band that he was working with needed ‘a bass player with the looks of Paul McCartney and the chops of John Entwistle. After the audition Prescott got the gig and ‘The Knack’ was launched upon the L.A. music scene.

prescott niles portraitThe charisma and musical talents of ‘The Knack’ was obvious to all in L.A. The band was hot and were joined on stage by rock notables such as Bruce Springsteen, Eddy Money, Tom Petty, Stephen Stills, and Ray Manzarek .

After becoming the top band in L.A., The Knack’ promptly signed a major record deal and released their first album ‘ Get The Knack’ produced by Mike Chapman on Capitol records. The smash hit single ‘My Sharona’ and album ‘Get The Knack’ held the record at that time of being No.1 in the most countries in the world at the same time.

‘The Knack’ toured worldwide for many years , recorded 7 more albums including a live concert at Carnegie Hall and their music has been featured in many soundtracks, most noteworthy, ‘Reality Bites’.

Prescott was lucky to have had the rare privilege to work with George Harrison for the soundtrack ‘Shanghai Surprise’ (starring Madonna and Sean Penn) , He will never forget working with such a fine man and brilliant musician, ( let alone that he was a Beatle ). Prescott also played with and did an album with Josie Cotton and was in the movie and soundtrack’ Valley Girl’, which became a cult classic for many rock music fans. In addition to this, Prescott continued to write songs, teach, compose and has fathered three wonderful and talented 3 children, Noah, Liv and Gabe. There band ‘Gateway Drugs’ is fast becoming a favorite in the LA Club circuit.

Prescott is presently gigging with the group ‘Missing Persons’ & The Classic Rock All Stars & Micki Free as well as session work in Los Angeles. Prescott also has worked as a Screener at Taxi Music for 10 years where he critiques up & coming bands and song-writers.

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