Sunday, August 2, 2015

Leather Leone, part 3

This is the final part of the interview with Leather Leone, the traditional metal singer best knows as the voice of the band Chastain.
Metal singer Leather Leone is known for her work with traditional heavy metal/shredder band Chastain in the 80s, early 90s, and Leather is back on vocals with Chastain. She has worked with other bands and projects, like Sledge Leather, Malibu Barbi and Rude Girl, and has done some solo work, too. This in-depth interview seeks to shed light on the various phases of Leather’s participation in music.
QUESTION: In a way, "For Those Who Dare" (1990) seems like a culmination of your 80s work. The songs are more memorable; the pace is more varied; the songs breather more; the melodies and the singing shine more. Was Chastain gaining ground? In terms of the working relationship between David and yourself, were you clicking at this point?
Working with David T Chastain, material is never an issue. He is a writing machine. I could and still just give him an idea and he creates a story. I appreciate that you found the songs enjoyable on "For Those Who Dare." As I always say, it is hard for me to judge. I create music, then leave it for a long while. "For Those Who Dare" was released on Road Racer, which later became Roadrunner. So the distribution was enormous for us; our first MTV video. It was quite exciting, and in my mind well deserved. And to all of that, yes it seemed we were gaining a ton of ground.
And yes, you are correct. At this point DTC and myself were certainly in the groove. I had actually began feeling that way on "Voice of the Cult." The creative process was incredibly simple. Although I must say DTC (David T Chastain) was always very respectful and trusting of my vocal ability. I never felt a lack of respect with him, although I'm sure I drove him crazy much of the time. Though at this point it became two fold. I started to feel that DTC opinions and mine regarding the push forward and touring were different. Leviathan (which was DTC's label) had been suffering the financial struggle of having a band and a crew on the road for years. Leviathan wasn't very excited to take on bigger ventures. I still hear stories of larger offers that DTC turned down. He says not, and I guess we were a bit burnt out from the club circuit. The crowds weren't growing, we did seem to be in a slump not taking on a bigger tours.
QUESTION: In 1989 you had the solo album "Shock Waves." How did the solo album come about? Did you know the album’s guitarist Michael Harris very well?
As far as "Shock Waves,” DTC tells me, I was a bit discouraged back then not getting enough recognition. So he suggested a solo record. It was a very uncomfortable suggestion, but, hey, I took it. He had tons of music just sitting around. I hooked up with Mark Shelton (Manilla Road) and Pat O'Brien who had been touring with us before Cannibal Corpse and wrote some material. Looking back, it was basically just a Chastain record with me writing most of it. But I was and still am into what is now considered that classic metal sound. I am extraordinarily proud of it. Especially "Something in This Life" which was written about a conversation I had with Ronnie Dio. I never actually met Michael Harris. We did our parts separately. To this day I'm not sure I thanked him for his work. It was exquisite. I believe he is on the new Veronica Freeman solo record "Now or Never" as I am. It was great to hear his name again
QUESTION: In 1993 you left the music industry. What can you tell us about this? Did you stay in contact with David?
As far as my departure from the business, it's not a very interesting story. After Chastain had come to an amicable end, which I always thought would be temporary! I gave myself 6 months to decompress. I then started having meetings in L.A., and calling in for auditions. The response was not what I expected. I had little respect, or any offers that held up to my integrity. I did some demos for a larger band in L.A. In that process I realized I was grabbing at something that had nothing to do with me; nothing to do with my voice or my belief.
I was extremely proud of what I had accomplished, so I went back (as Lita says) I went back to the cave. It was not easy, it was frustrating, it was years of mental change. I got into animals. I got into Pit bulls. As soon as I met the breed I was hooked. My passions in life have always been music and animals. So I am a blessed person, able to experience both.
I was in touch with DTC occasionally. He would constantly tell me to get back into the studio. But at that time in my life it was not in the cards
QUESTION: You returned with Sledge Leather around 2011 and then to Chastain for the 2013 album, "Surrender to No One." What finally did it for you?!
The reason I came back was the death of my father, Peter Leone In 2009 and Ronnie Dio in 2010. They both told me to never stop, that I was good enough, that I inspired people. And as you can imagine, my friend inspiration came back banging at my door. Unfortunately, I had been so out of then scene, I didn't know Ronnie was ill until the end. I never had the chance to be in touch.
QUESTION: Your other band, Sledge Leather seems to have become active around 2010? What can you tell us about Sledge Leather and returning to music?
So I took small steps. I had very kind people who allowed me to go in and out of L.A. studios. To get it back together. I had re connected with Sandy Sledge from "Rude Girl" and we wrote. We had the privilege of connecting with Scott Warren, and Jimmy Page from the Dio family. We then hooked up with an incredible guitar player from Germany, Matt Weishart. We did a cd in 2012. "Imagine Me Alive," played a few shows. It was very cool. The response had been indescribable. Chastain metal friends are everywhere. I am extremely thankful and will kick ass for all of you, as long as you will have me.
Through this whole process I have reconnected with DTC. We decided we were not done yet. We released "Surrender to No One" in 2013. Our new music "We Bleed Metal" will be out in November of this year. Unfortunately DTC is not interested in touring still. So it is a frustrating situation from me. I have been blessed enough to get some interest as the Voice of Chastain. I played Brazil last year and have hooked up with a promoter who is behind me. We are trying to get out again soon.
QUESTIONS: What are the plans for 2016?
There is a lot of talk but nothing in cement yet. I am older and wiser. I understand my place in metal, so there is no drama. I don't accept it any longer. I have been very blessed. I became friends with Veronica Freeman from "Benedictum," and Jimmy Durkin from "Dark Angel". I hooked up with Debbie Gun from Sentinel Beast, celebrated Doro's 30 anniversary with her on stage in NY. Life is good.
QUESTION: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
Thanks so much for your interest.
Love and Dio
Find me at Xoxoxo
Chastain - Save me tonight (2013)
CHASTAIN - For Those Who Dare (MUSIC VIDEO Remastered)
Imagine Me Alive

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