In the second half of the 80s, there was a duo that brought very good material to the singular world of Heavy Metal (musical genre which at that time was experiencing a great moment). That duo was formed by the virtuoso guitarist David Chastain and great singer Leather Leone. At the beginning of 90s, the musical relationship between both was cut and each followed a own way. But, as expected, their paths would cross again sooner or later. That's why I interviewed Leather Leone, to speak to us about her return to Chastain (the band), the new and good album recorded ("We Bleed Metal"), her past, present and future.
Puro Ruido: Hi Leather! Greetings from Cordoba, Argentina. It is a pleasure for me to interview you. How is everything there?
Leather Leone: Hey Manel…All is well. I have made new music . I have prospects for some solo shows and I have my health ...
PR: Well, you're back in Chastain, have recorded a very good album (the second since you came back to the group), are receiving very positive reviews. What else can you add to this? Are you on tour?
LL: Yes , the reviews and acceptance of "We bleed metal" are extremely positive.
We are blessed that we have our metal family that continue to believe in us and spread the word after all this time. We have incredible support through radio and press...I thank all of you.
David Chastain is no longer interested in the adventure of the road. It is disappointing to me being that the large excitement is in the both of us, But I am exploring avenues of doing solo shows....So stay tuned.
PR: I wonder how it was that you returned to be part of Chastain (the band). You kept contact with him during all the years you were away from the band? Or you preferred to pass the time away from him and the band and let everything happen naturally?
LL: Chastain and I have always been in touch some what. There was never an abrupt decision to end of the band. It somehow happened naturally. I really don't remember the exact situation. It was amicable I assume.. I would have remembered otherwise.
PR: “We Bleed Metal" sounds very powerful, modern and classic at the same time, and sounds dynamic. It seems that you worked hard to create it, but really enjoyed doing it. How was the songwriting process?
LL: Yes it is strong material. I felt it from the moment I started working on it. I was excited , and it shows. Chastain has always basically been the mind of David Chastain. I was more involved with the writing of "Surrender to no one ", So I wanted the new music to go back to his mind. I think my job in Chastain is to interpret his word. I wanted to go back to that place. I am glad we did. You can feel the energy through whole record. I love it. I'm proud of it.
PR: There is something I always wanted to know: how is it to work with David Chastain? I have the feeling that he must be very demanding, perfectionist and full of ideas.
LL: Yes , Chastain is a true perfectionist. He pushes and challenges me. But that's what doing music is all about. To do the absolute best of your ability.
It still amazes me that he wanted ever work with me back in the day. I was unimaginably green and had no idea what I was doing....but we do work well together in our own way. We have created some cool music.....I have no complaints ......
PR: In an interview to a Brazilian website, you said when you recorded the first albums with Chastain, you were very inexperienced. Tell us about those early experiences, about going into the studio for the first time, the first rehearsals. You find your voice right from the start? Or was it a gradual process until you find your own style to sing?
LL: I was at home about going in a big studio at first. I was confident about singing metal , I thought....Then I got there!,! I was unprofessional , immature and I'm sure a pain ass. But again, I had a great team that stuck by me. I don't think I really found my voice until "7th of Never". Something all of a sudden clicked during that time. Although as I say that, I feel I have found a new voice on the last 2 records. For me , always the same style but different if that makes any sense!
PR: In 1989 you released your solo album, a great album called "Shock Waves"? What things motivated you to release a solo album? What memories do you have of that particular album?
LL: I have been told it was Chastain's idea due the fact I was not happy with my lack of press. I certainly can believe that. It was a happy creative time. I got to write more than I usually do. I still love the record, although not that different from anything Chastain ....I should have stepped out of the box a bit, but I took the opportunity given to me....
PR: In 2012 you released an album under the name of Sledge Leather, after 11 years away from the scene, if I'm not mistaken. That return was something that was maturing in your mind?
LL: The "Sledge Leather Project" came out of the loss of Ronnie James Dio. I needed to and had the opportunity to express myself with members of his musical family . It was a learning experience in many ways.
PR: Leather, how did you get started in music? I read that you sang in a church choir, but you better tell us how did you start to sing and what bands marked you as a singer.
LL: It was church that got me into singing . I didn't do it well, but had the balls to always try. I got into musical theatre through a music teacher named Mary Flick. I just keep singing in cover bands through college , then I moved to California and eventually was introduced to Ronnie James Dio musically and personally. My little world of singing , phrasing, and vocal tone changed forever!!, His work still inspires me.
PR: Last question, Leather. What follows from now on? There is something prepared for the near future of the band? And what about the future of Leather as a singer?
LL: I am working to got on the road as Leather Leone. I will be playing The Metal Apocalypse fest in Chicago in May 2016. I have got a band together with David Harbour from (Chastain, King Diamond), Jim Dofka, (Dofka). I will see how we gel and take it from there. I am planning on returning to Brazil this year with my incredible band in Brazil.
I'm healthy....Life is good.
PR: Ok, Leather, thank you very much for your time. If you want to add something, just do it freely.
LL: Thanks so much to all of my metal friends. Stay in touch at LeatherLeone.com
Check out The new Chastain at webleedmetal.com or leviathanrecords.com
Love and Dio.