Tuesday, July 21, 2015

LEATHER LEONE (Chastain, Sledge Leather, Leather, Malibu Barbie, Rude Girl)

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:What are some of your earliest memories of music playing in the house when you were a child?
There was always music in my house as a child. I recently had this conversation with my Mamma about how she was always singing. I am not sure exactly what, but she was constantly smiling and carrying a tune. Even as I think of it now it makes me feel peace. Growing up there was always a stereo blasting, Glen Campbell, Al Martino, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley. My Pappa loved country music, Buck Owens, George Strait, lots of Johnny Cash! My brother had quite eclectic tastes from the Spinners to the Beatles. How cool is that!!
So absolute music throughout my kid days. I never took any music lessons. I just don't remember ever not singing. Going to a small Catholic school I was the one who would volunteer to sing anything, anywhere. Being raised Italian Catholic, I of course went to weekly mass. The church had a 10:30 mass with a choir that I had joined very young. We would sing vital music of that time, Eagles, Led Zeppelin, songs from the popular Broadway plays of that era, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell. It was a true breeding ground for me to find my voice, although I didn't realize it then. I can remember singing the first verse of "Stairway to Heaven" a cappella, feeling so light headed and exhilarated; it was the beginning for me. The beginning of the realization of what a voice could truly be.
QUESTION: When you were in middle school or high school, what music did your friends like? Had the music bug bitten you at this time or did that happen later?
The music of my middle/high school years was all that incredible arena rock. Styx, Boston, Elton John, Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Heart. Such big, huge reverberated sounds. I knew it all. Every night after dinner I would lock myself in my bedroom and sing as loud as I possibly could to all those records. When Led Zeppelin "Houses of the Holy" and Heart's "Dreamboat Annie" came out I was blown away by what a rock vocal could do and be!! It was another turning point for me.
Yes, the bug had bitten me in the ass big time. I had no exposure to Motown, or the British Invasion at this point. But believe me, my love of Jimi Hendrix was just around the corner.
QUESTION: Were you into other activities, like sports, too? What kind of hobbies did you have? Did you write poetry or have a journal in which you wrote?
I was a head cheerleader, what a surprise huh? I got to yell, scream, and lead people in chants!! I played volleyball, softball, was deeply involved in riding and showing horses. All the typical adventures of an upstate NY young person. And yes, I did write poetry, although I never shared or even told anyone. Wow, I hadn't thought of that for years. I need to go home and try to find those journals!!!
QUESTION: What was happening in your life in the senior year of high school?
My senior year was quite exciting, just because I knew my independent life was about to begin. I went to college (I use that term loosely) outside of NY City. I was a horrible student, but was introduced to fronting rock bands there. I began to sing in cover bands, singing everything from Pat Benatar to AC/DC. I hung out there for about 4 years, when I had gotten in touch with friend who had moved to California. I was bored and partying way TOO much, so I hopped on a plane to San Francisco. Again not ever really thinking about doing music professionally. Nor did I care about how the world perceived me.
QUESTION: At this age, how had your taste in music changed?
At the age of 23 my musical taste and seriousness came to light. Or the dark, as others may view it!! I had been hanging in Berkeley with a friend. Someone had brought me a flyer from a telephone pole, a metal band looking for a singer. Actually they were looking for a nail spitter, ha ha!! The rehearsal studio was located at Haight and Ashbury. That alone got me stoked, as the Haight/Ashbury was a historical place of music from the 60's. Not knowing where I was, I got on a bus in the pouring rain (which is my favorite weather) and went to the studio at 6:30 on a Weds night. I met 2 musicians who were starting a metal band. Lois Larue, guitar player and Sandy Sledge, drummer. We got right down to business as I sang Heart’s version of Zeppelin 's "Rock and Roll" I sang it a couple times, then they asked me if I knew who Bon Scott was? Of course I did. They requested I sing with his vocal conviction. I did, I was hired. The band was called "Rude Girl" and I began to take myself seriously as a singer. It was through my relationship and hard work with "Rude Girl" that I was drawn into metal music. Ronnie James Dio to be exact!
with Leather Leone on vocals 2013
Chastain "I Am Sin"
with Leather Leone on vocals 1985
Chastain - Fear No Evil

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