Leather Leone: Stepping Out Of The Shadows Of Chastain

By Andrew Catania

Leather, the solo band of Chastain singer Leather Leone, released its new album, “II,” on April 13 in the U.S. through Divebomb Records and in Europe through High Roller Records.

In 2013 “Surrender To No One” marked the return of original vocalist Leather Leone. Long considered one of the originators of the female power metal vocal style. In 2016 Leather resurfaced with a new band from Brazil. The band includes Vinnie Tex and Daemon Ross on
guitars. Thiago Velasquez on bass and Braulio Drumond on drums. After successful tours in South America and Europe, Leather and the band realized their combined inspiration, and they wrote and recorded new material. Leather quotes “I’m extremely excited to be back in the game
we look forward to our new journey together.”
In 1984, she was connected to metal guitar virtuoso David T. Chastain, who was known at the time for his band CJSS, featuring bassist Mike Skimmerhorn. She joined his new band, CHASTAIN, as the Lead Vocalist. The first lineup, which was featured on the album Mystery Of
Illusion (1985), had Skimmerhorn on Bass and Fred Coury as Drummer, who would go on to Cinderella shortly after this. She recorded five albums with Chastain, Mystery Of Illusion (1985), Ruler Of The Wasteland (1986), The 7th Of Never (1987), Voice Of The Cult (1988), and For
Those Who Dare (1990) with other members of Chastain who went on to bands including Ken Mary with House of Lords, Fifth Angel, Alice Cooper and Accept; John Luke Herbert and David Harbour with King Diamond; Pat O’Brien with Cannibal Corpse.
After Chastain’s: For Those Who Dare tour finished in 1991, the world waited for more. Then Leather disappeared. For years fans searched and wondered what had happened to the “Voice of the Cult,” one of the very few female vocalists ever to be compared to Rob Halford from Judas Priest,
Bruce Dickenson from Iron Maiden and Geoff Tate.  She’s back with her album titled “II.”  I caught up with Leather to speak about her return.

Where did you meet your band members?

LL: I met the band and decided to work with them in 2016. We did some shows and got home in the spring of 2017. We started writing for the new album, and it took 7-8 months from start to finish.  We shopped the record to the label.  I’ve been sitting on this for a while.  The album was ready last summer.

These are band members you’ve never worked with before?

LL:  I had the privilege of going down to South America and co-headlining with Rob Rock, and we use the same band except for Vinnie Tex, and I just fell in love with them.  They’re young and spirited and not jaded, and they want to play. So I looked at Rodrigo one night, and I said, you realize that this is my band. So that’s where I met them in 2016.

Musicians my age, most are jaded and pissed off because they didn’t make it, didn’t make any money.  I didn’t want to deal with that.  I just wanted to make music.

Do you have any plans with David T Chastain to release any music in the future?

LL:  I thought we were done after, For Those Who Dare. But did we ever have any plans to do Surrender To No One?  I don’t see anything in the future, but you never know.

He’s very busy running his label. I know he’s releasing a bunch of his Southern Gentlemen music. There are no plans at this time.  LLB, the Leather Leone Band, is my priority now.

How has the reception been for your new album?

LL:  It has been overwhelming. I was talking to Vinnie, my guitar player. I am so I’m flabbergasted because I was wondering, people know me, they know me from Chastain, and so I was going, are they going to like it?  They love it!

Has your voice changed for this album?

LL:  My voice has dropped.  I’m so fucking excited. Mike Varney told me that when I did Sledge Leather project in 201, he said to me, “Well, your balls have finally dropped.” I have always wanted to sing in these keys. Those Chastain records, oh my God, I can’t listen to the freaking keys anymore. So my voice dropped. I’m probably definitely not an octave but maybe half an octave, it’s a lot lower.  This is what I want to do. I wish to be recorded like I’m sitting right in front of you with an acoustic guitar and I want you to hear the spit, listen to me pop and here me the out of key.

I want it to be real. That’s what I tried to do on this record. I had some good days. I hit some not so good days. If you’ll notice I left some squeaks in. I haven’t recorded in a real studio in it seems like a hundred and 27 years.  To be in a real studio was unbelievable.  

Will we see out on tour in the US?

LL:  I got to tell you, I live in northern California, and I know James Hetfield. I see him a lot, and I was talking to him when I was starting to get back in the game in 2012,-2013.  He told me even bands like Metallica have to buy our their tours ahead of time.  Of course, they make their money back as big as they are.  It’s brutal out here.

My management is now Grim Reapers management.   We’re going to start a North American tour, which I just found out a couple of weeks ago.  Our first show is September 25th.  We’re going to try and do 45-50 shows with Steve then come home and rest.  From there were going to Europe.  I hope to see old and new fans alike on the road!

For more information on the Leather Leone Band go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/leatherleoneband/

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