– First off, many thanks for answering to our interview, is a real honour for us having the chance of asking you a few questions.
We know you are now involved in a brand new project named THE SLEDGE/LEATHER PROJECT but, if you don’t mind, before getting a bit into your current activity, I would like to check with you a bit your whole musical career. How did Leather Leone start into the Heavy Metal world?
When i moved to San Franciso i was into what i call arena rock. Boston, Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Zepplin. My first rock show was Blue Oyster Cult. Always loved that big sound. Then I met Rude Girl, Sledge, Lois, and Dephine. My world would never be the same. I dont remember the exact situation , but I was introduced to Holy Diver(Dio)! My path was clear from there!!!
– Back then, beside being some female singers as Doro, Wendy or Ann Boleyn and a few more, people seemed to dug more melodic voices, but your voice has always been quite heavy; what were your influences when it came to get a microphone? Have you studied or is everything a natural gift?
After hearing Dio I researched all phases of his career, which of course led me to Sabbath, Priest, ACDC. I have always been drawn to male voices. I have taken a few vocal lessons over the years. But I do believe rock singers are naturally gifted, I tend to just workout vocally by myself.
– Part of your musical career is link to CHASTAIN; how were those beginnings like? And I would also like to know how did you join the band; did David have in mind having a female singer?
As i recall Chastain had heard a female artist who was a friend of Mike Varney (Shrapnel Records) and thought it would work with his material. So Mike turned him on to me. We started sending demos back and forth. At that time it all fit together.
– You were in CHASTAIn from 1985 to 1990; how was that period? What are your memories from those shows and what’s your best memory?
Of course it was a time of excitement. My first time touring and recording on that level. It was the time I found my voice while constantly playing live. My fondest memory opening for Kiss at the Ohare Arena in Dayton Oh. It was a new years eve, 18,000 people, they had to pull me off the stage!
– Beside CHASTAIN you also recorded with MALIBU BARBI an as solo artist under the Leather name. Something I wonder is if you were already in CHASTAIN when you were with MALIBU BARBIE, as «Mystery of Illusion» was released in 1985 and the MALIBU BARBI’s single came out in 1985.
Yes when I did the Malibu Barbie Ep, I had just recored Mystery of Illusion. We didnt tour after that record so Sledge found me at home, and I was happy to do it.It was done very quickly on my part Sledge was actually singing in one ear and thats the vocal that came out. People love it!!!
– You also sung (again with Sandy Sledge among others) in RUDE GIRL, a band even prior to MALIBU BARBI. Nowadays is almost impossible finding any info regarding the band, so I would like you to tell us a bit what kind of activity do you had during that time, if the name had something to do with the MALIBU BARBI’s single and how did later MALIBU BARBI «born» from the ashes of RUDE GIRL.
The material from Rude Girl is very well guarded by Sledge in her castle. We did songs at KIT for fun called Operator, The Gallows. Sledge isnt here to answer this Malibu Barbie, but as far as it being formed from the ashes of Rude Girl It was an extension of Sledges musical expression . Rude Girl was a very intense, dedicated time for us. So of course it was brought forward, it was and is who we are. You have to understand we were a bunch of chicks playing in San Francisco the same time as Metallica, Megadeath,Testament before they were all signed!!! We were all considered Rude Girls and we were very proud!!
– I’m also specially curious about how did you come up with the idea of releasing your solo «Shock Waves».
The idea of Shockwaves was Chastains as he says to help my name get out there and do some of my own writing! I still love that record today. I had dedicated it to Dio so it was a gift to present him a copy and discuss it with him.
– Didn’t you ever get any offer of adapting your solo career to a more commercial sound as other Metal ladies have done?
I had been approached to move to a more commercial sound. It was never an interest of mine.
– What about Leather from 1990 until these days? Have you been involved with music or, otherwise, were you apart during
all that time?
I took a step back, living the California life style. I continued to listen to Metal of course. It was just time to disappear and wait for inspiration to knock on the door
– An already talking about these current days, you are back on track with THE SLEDGE/LEATHER PROJECT. How did this story start and how and why made you come back?
There were a series of events that took place in LA in which Sledge and I spent time together alone listening and talking music. I felt that inspiration creeping back into my heart. We took a fewteps into the studio to see where we were at, and it was the right time to move forward. Sledge and I have history, we have alot to say!!!!!
– As I mentioned previously, you played with Sandy Sledge in different bands, but thas was actually over two decades ago so, how did you decide to start a project together? I guess you still were in contact during all these years.
Sledge and I never lost touch. She has always encouraged me to do music!!!!!!!
– When the announcement you were playing KIT was public, was one of the happiest days in my entire life; how was the experience and what were your feelings that day? My impression of you on stage was really good, you still keep a really powerful. It seems like you haven’t aged at all.
KIT was surreal it all happened so fast. We were jet lagged, excited, crazed!!! We did not want to leave. The metal community is home. And we thank you all for the warm welcome back!!!!!
– If I’m not mistaken you are currently just yourself and Sandy in the band. A few days ago Betsey told me she was moving to Las Vegas or something like that. Tell me a bit about this project and who’s on it right now.
Sledge and I are looking at bass players, we have been blessed to find a guitar player from Germany! Matthias Weishart has been writing with us things are good!
– What does future have in store for THE SLEDGE/LEATHER project? What plans do you have in mind for the upcoming years?
Sledgeleather wants to tour, record BIGGER ANS BADDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We want to travel the world and meet you all for years to come
– And well, that’s all from our side. Just wanted to thank oyu for doing this interview, wish you best luck and, personally, thank you for being so kind to me when you were with me at Keep it True, I couldn’t ever imagine I’ll someday have a picture with my favourite fiemale singer. And well, hope to see you someday in Spain.
It was and always will be a pleasure for Slp to be part of your Metal world Thank you for your support and belief!!!!Metal up