Private Domain

Photo of Private Domain

Paul Shaffer: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals | Jim Reeves: Bass guitar | Gregg LaRocco: Drums | Jack Butler: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric)

Genre: Pop, Rock

RIYL: Bratz, the Knack, Glory

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Inception: San Diego, 1977

Ex-Band Members: Larry Dent, Drums

Influences: Bratz, the Knack, the Polics, Nick Lowe and Rockpile


Founded in 1977 by frontman Paul Shaffer, Bratz were a late 1970s/1980s/early 1990s pop band that opened for many major touring acts. “I was a student teacher at the time,” says Shaffer, who gave up his teaching career after one year to sing rock. “Our first gig was at Dick’s at the Beach in Solana Beach,” he says about the long defunct biker-friendly bar on Coast Highway.

They later evolved into the band Private Domain and recorded with reggae star Pato Banton, as well as playing local venues for the next several decades, including over 20 years of weekly gigs at the Gaslamp bar Dick's Last Resort. Lead guitarist Jack Butler joined in 1978, while he was working at Guitar Center (he had already left Glory, which included Beat Farmers guitarist Jerry Raney).

The 1981 Private Domain lineup included Butler with bassist Lee Knight, along with drummer Paul Nichols (Jo Baker and the Boys, Neon Vanilla), Paul Shaffer (vocals, guitar), and Keith Loveland (keyboards). After Mike Jacobs became their manager, the group replaced Nichols with Mark Spriggs on drums, and other latterday members included John Lusitana (guitar) and Mike Peters (keyboards).

Singer/guitarist Paul Shaffer and guitarist Jack Butler fronted the transition from Bratz to Private Domain. They were signed to Gold Mountain/A&M Records, which never put out their record. They eventually signed with Priority/Universal, which resulted in the single “Absolute Perfection,” recorded with reggae star Pato Banton.

“We hired Pato Banton as a session musician,” says Shaffer, who alleges that Banton commandeered the song and the royalties as if it was his. Private Domain sued and won. “We had him served at the Greek Theatre,” says Shaffer. “We got, like, $1500.”

Mark Spriggs later passed away from cancer at the age of 52. Mike Peters has also passed away. As of 2016, guitarist Jack Butler was also playing with Mother Grundy. Butler and Shaffer celebrated 40 years of nonstop playing together in 2018. Larry Dent, who also played with Comanche Moon, lost his battle with prostate cancer in February 2019.


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