Kim Crawford reunites New London with new name and familiar faces

Grove City native Kim Crawford moved to New York City in 1985 with one goal in mind: to become a rock star.

“The '80s were pretty spectacular in New York City,” said Crawford, who formed the band New London to chase down her rock 'n' roll dreams. But nearly 10 years of gigging in the city took its toll, and in 1994 Crawford decided it was time to return home.

In 1995, she briefly joined renowned local punk-rock act Screaming Urge, then re-formed a Columbus version of New London with drummer Steven Day Carter and an array of bassists, including Screaming Urge's Myke Rock. In 2006, New London released the album Oblivious in Oblivion.

Since then, Crawford, Rock and Carter have all logged time in Willie Phoenix's band, and Rock currently tours with Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers. But the three musicians wanted to play together again in an official capacity, so they re-formed New London with a new name, 10AHEAD; the rock trio will make its live debut at Woodlands Tavern on Friday, Aug. 4.

Crawford also decided to add three bonus tracks to the original Oblivious in Oblivion album and re-release it as A Decade. Two of the bonus tracks were recorded in New York in 1992, and the third is a Screaming Urge song recorded in Columbus in 1995.

In an interview Downtown, Rock and Crawford said that after playing together on and off for 22 years, they feel a deep sense of musical chemistry. “There's a beautiful simplicity to her songs,” Rock said.

And even though the blues-driven, classic-rock songs date back a decade or more, the tunes still resonate with Crawford, who turned 58 in May and grew up listening to the Beatles, Jim Croce and the Pretenders. Somber track “Soloman Francis,” for instance, recalls both a former friend and a turning point in Crawford's life.

“[Francis] worked in the same building as I did for years. He was the freight elevator operator,” Crawford said. “A few of us used to get together after work on Fridays, and we'd take the freight elevator down to the basement and smoke pot and drink. … I was 26 or 27, and he was 42. I looked at him like a father figure.”

One night, Francis and two of his friends were shot execution-style in his apartment. “When he passed away I felt like I lost a dad. It was a life-altering moment for me,” Crawford said. “The whole thing was over cocaine. That's what everybody did back then in New York. Everybody did cocaine. That was the last time I thought about doing it ever again. … There are things you do that you know are reckless, but you still do them because you're young. That was the time when I said, ‘This stuff has to stop.'”

Years ago, both Crawford and Rock were convinced they'd be dead before they hit 30. But 30 has come and gone, and the musicians in 10AHEAD are not only alive, but still pursuing a dream.