Leather Interview with Metalica Magazine from Argentina
1. Welcome to METALICA ZINE from Argentina, we are honored by having an interview with you, we are fans of yours since the 80's and we are happy that you're back to join forces with David Chastain again. After so many years, how came that you both decided to compose together again to play and write a new upcoming album?
David and I had been in more constant touch the past 2 years. He has been advising me through the recording of "Imagine Me Alive" which was the Cd I had done with The Sledge Leather Project. So after that chapter had been completed, he sent me some material, and it began! It was just time, I had stepped away and had found new inspiration.
2. Via internet I've read that the new album name will be "Surrender to no one", containing 11 new songs. You may surely tell me that's gonna be the best one you all have ever released, so I'd like to know why, I mean, could you point out any substantial difference between this title and all the previous ones, (besides nowadays technical resources, of course)
The major difference is, we haven't created together for some time. Our lives have taken separate paths, which always leads to interesting ideas when brought back to familiar ground. I had always appreciated what Chastain and I had accomplished as a band. I just again felt we had a story to tell. Especially for all the people who had continually inquired about, and supported our music. There were no modifications in the studio, believe me it was the same intense pushing and pulling to get the best vocal out of me!!! I am not an easy
Artist to create with! But we have mutual respect for each other, which is of major importance to me!
3. After you left the band, Chastain style's got certain modern touch and became kinda different from what we were use to listen to. So I ask, could we wait for more of that 'so special traditional heavy metal that Chastain played by the 80's? Any advance you may want to share as composing details or about what's to come, would be more than welcomed.
That was a common thought during this process. As I listen to the material before the final mixes, I find much of it to be classic Chastain. There are undeniably some modern concepts involved, life changes, we grow!!
But I guarantee it will not disappoint, it is a Chastain Cd!
4. For all your fans, what about a trip to the past? when and how did you find out your vocation for singing? Any influence to point out?
I just always remember enjoying singing. I was brought up in a catholic church that had a choir every Sunday. We would sing modern songs of the time, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, etc. The first solo I ever sang was the first verse to" Stairway to Heaven" by Zeppelin! I remember looking out at people looking back at me, and thinking I could do this. From then on I stared doing musical theatre, sang in cover bands outside of NY throughout college. I moved to Northern California to see a friend, saw a poster on a telephone pole for" Rude Girl" looking for a nail spitting vocalist, and I never went back to NY.
5. Tell us anything about your first steps in those bands Rude Girl/ Malibu Barbi, anything like what was recorded, how it finished, and/or how you would call that genre of music?
The days of "Ride Girl" were extremely influenced by our surroundings. We rehearsed at Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco. Were always running into Metallica, opening for Megadeth, and Exodus! We had met and spent time with the Master 'Ronnie James Dio"! We were a full on Metal, crunching, convicted band of mania. We never made it in a studio to actual record. I believe there is a demo somewhere. As far as "Malibu Barbi", that was never my band. I was home from a Chastain tour and Sandy Sledge had called me to do vocals on an EP. So I did. It seems to have become quite a sought after piece of vinyl. That music was more on the thrash side.
6. How did you get to know David Chastain and the band was built up?
After "Rude Girl" Mike Varney from Shrapnel records had introduced Chastain and I musically. Mike had become a good friend, he had always acknowledged my vocal talent. Back then Shrapnel worked with guitar players of that genre and caliber. Chastain had wanted to work with a female front, so I demoed some of his early works, and we began!!
7. The late 70's and almost the whole 80's were the best times in regards to musical creativity, in and out of heavy metal. Lots of great bands released great records year after year, for instance, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Accept, etc. etc. and Chastain was also one of those bands that released 5 excellent consecutive records! How's that drive of making music, melodies and lyrics, talking about such amount of good stuff within few years?
I don't have an answer for that. I just believe that people who are true songwriters will always find a time of authentic greatness. I myself, not being a prolific songwriter, just feel excellence comes in phases. I know Chastain has musical ideas all day long. So at least once you will find the song!
I find my inspiration through pieces of music. A guitar or
Piano piece will move me to feel the words.
8. Could you say anything to recall about each of the following titles, I mean, anything about recording/edition process, or the importance of each release for you and the band, were you all pleased with each of them?.
MYSTERY OF ILLUSION (1985)
RULER OF THE WASTELAND (1986)
THE 7th OF NEVER (1987)
THE VOICE OF THE CULT (1988)
FOR THOSE WHO DARE (1990)
"Mystery" was awkward for me. I had never really been in a studio before, I was very Green. With 'Ruler and forward it was all as you would imagine. A hard, yet fulfilling few years! I had favorite moments on all of them!! It just makes me more anxious for all of you to hear the new Cd. Its time to move forward!!
9. Can we unanimously say that THE VOICE OF THE CULT was the highest top album of all your first ones?
I'm not sure what you mean by this question??? If you mean the best seller I don't think so !!
10. How did your local scene treat you by that time? We know that there were many bands like yours, like Virgin Steele, Manowar, The Rods, Liege Lord, etc. that kept the lines of the NWOBHM , while press seemed to be more focused on glam or hair metal at first and on thrash afterwards. How were the early years of Chastain?
They were just that early years. My concentration was never on the business side of Chastain . My goal was to be the best vocalist I could be. I thought the press was always kind to us. I am just now hearing stories of all the difficulty Chastain dealt with during our
numerous tours. He protected me from all that!!
11. Before leaving the band you released a solo work álbum which is a real good one, I mean SHOCK WAVES. I guess that many fans and the media agree on the view that the album style was quite similar to Chastain's stuff. What lead you to edit that album?
"Shockwaves" was very similar to Chastain. It was where I was at musically at that time. I did use alot of Chastain music and half the band. It was an opportunity that I was presented really because the label just wanted to lure Chastain in to doing "For those who Dare" on their label. It was a fast, furious effect! It was never given much consideration of promotion. I felt I had a moment on the Cd, esp "Something in this life" which was co written with Pat O Brien(Cannibal Corpse) about a conversation I had with "Ronnie"
12. Why did you get out of Chastain by that time?
I had found myself as a Metal vocalist. I had gained respect and truth of being able to develop my talent. I had gained experience, I had grown!!
13. Do you think that the "reign of leather" compilation setlist was a fair selection?
I had little to do with that Cd. Chastain asked me my opinion on matters, I said ok. I honestly could even tell you what was on that Cd. At that point I was out of the scene, It was a label decision. I was astonished anyone was interested.
14. For lot of years we longed to hear news of you either recording and singing live, until you return with SLEDGE LEATHER. What had happened by those years?
Sledge Leather was a project that came about from the wound of losing "Ronnie James Dio". So I spent time in LA, with Sandy Sledge. A series of events led to the recording of the Cd "Imagine Me Alive". We were blessed to have part of Ronnie's family contribute to the music. Scott Warren and Jimmy Bain.
It was a hard, impenetrable time, music expression seemed the only way! For the years prior, I had been living the California life style, got involved in Pit Bull rescue. Worked with my other love, animals!
15. Does the Sledge Leather band rise from any friend's jam who met to play in memory of Dio? It's just an assumption because of the fact that Jimmy Bain and Scott Warren were Ronnie James' musicians and Egypt sounds so good with your voice that maybe, if you'd just played covers, you could tour the world like another line up Dio's disciples. What about SLEDGE LEATHER now that you're back in Chastain? How has "Imagine me alive" gone?
I guess I already answered most of this. I would not be interested in playing covers, but Thank you for your kind words. I'm not sure of anything in the future, I take it daily. I am putting all my energy in to the new Chastain "Surrender to no one"! I can't wait for all of you to hear, and move forward godspeed!!!!!!!!
16. You had the chance of taking part of one Keep it true Festival, where many highlighted true heavy metal fans of the world assist. What did you experience at such a warm feedback from so many people who missed you?
It was a remarkable, unexpected welcome back! The Metal community brought tears to my eyes. I felt like I came home!
17. Let's talk frankly, when one thinks of the best female singers of heavy metal ever, the first names in mind are Doro, Leather, Federica (whiteskull), Jody Turner (rock goddess) and a few others. You all could match melody and strength reaching unique pitchs which go perfect with heavy Metal. What's your opinion on the recent trend by which women sing 'without balls'! I mean, as if they were singing lullabilies or Christmas carols ?
I judge no one. I realize how hard of a job it is to do this. I prefer more aggression in vocals. But there is room for all of us. We all have unique ways of expression!!
18. What's your present point of view about heavy Metal?
I like the direction Metal has taken. Balls out! Lamb of God, White Chapel, Arch Enemy, Benedictum!! Although I do always go back to the more melodic sound of anything Dio!!! My heart lies in a great melody!!!
19. Somewhere I've read that you love animals, mainly the Pit Bull's dog breed. What's the charm you find in that kind of dogs? we all know that they may be hard to handle if they re not properly educated, or we can better say that they are just "for those who dare". Talking about heavy dogs, have you heard of the Dogo Argentino?
I of course know of the Dogo. I am attracted to power. These breeds are massive machines, with hearts and loyalty beyond anything human. And like Metal they are to often the underdog!! I stand by them everytime!!
20. Thanks a lot for your time and feel free to greet your fans in Argentina and S.Am.
It was my pleasure to spend time. Go to www.chastainmetal.com to stay in touch about the Cd release!!!
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