Leather interview by Diego Gonzalez from Heavy Metal Fire & Rafabasa.com
-When did you get interested in heavy metal? When did you start singing for the first time? Tell us something about you!
As an upstate NY catholic child, I started singing in church. I always enjoyed it. Continued to sing in musicals. When I went to college I started singing in cover bands. I discovered AC/DC. Didn't sing it well, but I kept trying. Then I moved to California, meet Rude Girl and was introduced to Ronnie James Dio.
-Your voice is amazing. Did you ever take singing lessons?
No really, I have gone to a couple vocal coaches to get a good warmup.
That 's about it
-Which memories do you have of the RUDE GIRL times? How do you look back about those times? And what about MALIBU BARBI?
Those were my training grounds, the hours of singing. The opening for all types of bands. It taught me!
-I read that RUDE GIRL was asked to sign a seven-year record deal with Columbia Records, with producer Sandy Pearlman of Black Sabbath, but the band split before they recorded their first album. What happened?
You can't go back in life and answer all the why nots! It was all a crazy unorganized part of a young musicians life. It's hard to be on the same page with so many people involved. It's not a point of interest to me. It didn't happen. Everyone has that story.
-You were one of a handful of female metal vocalists at the time. How were you treated by fans and press in a time when heavy metal music was dominated by men?
I have this conversation with Chastain a lot. He had sheltered me from most of it. I just did my job as a Metal vocalist. I certainly had a lot of press and support. The occasional bad attitude only fueled me. I can sing, that's all that mattered!
-How did you become involved with David Chastain?
Through Mike Varney and Shrapnel records. Mike and his wife had become good friends in the early days! After Rude Girl, he hooked me up with Chastain to try out some demos.
-Nearing the 30th anniversary of "Mystery Of Illusion" (1985) is there something else special planned for that celebration?
Not as this time, but Thank you. I will look into that. I don't have a good meter for time!
-Even you're still a CHASTAIN member, you released one solo album in 1989 ("Shock Waves"), what drove you to record this one?
It was Chastain's idea. Just to get my vocals out into the world more.
It wasn't much of a success, but all my metal friends who follow me certainly enjoyed it. That counts for everything!
-You took a twenty-year break from the music scene after a final tour in 1991. Where did life take you after 1991?
California, Pit bulls, nature. Living a normal life.
-Why did you decide to come back to the metal scene after two decades?
Wanting to give something back to Ronnie James Dio for giving me so much! After his loss it seemed a crime to not use my voice.
-In 2011 you began performing again in THE SLEDGE/LEATHER PROJECT, which released a debut heavy metal album, "Imagine Me Alive", in 2012. I imagine you and Sandy Sledge are close friends. Are you planning more records from this project?
Not at this time.
-Let's talk now about your new record "Surrender To No One". What about the recording sessions? Tell us a few things about it like where was it recorded, who handled the mixing/mastering of the album etc.
I recorded vocals at Chastain's home studio. He sends it off to Germany for mixing, after he has labored over most of the sound and production. The atmosphere recording at his home was extremely laid back and comfortable in between pizza and donut holes!!
-When I listened to your new album I felt it was about 80s CHASTAIN music style. Is that a fair summary in just a few words?
We had discussed not straying far from our classic sound, but of course we have grown and changed. I think we found the fine line. There really is a definite writing style with Chastain.
-Do you plan to film a videoclip to promote "Surrender To No One"?
Not at this time~
-Talking about playing live now. Which songs from the new album do you think have the most strength to enter in your live set list?
It's a bit early for that. But what a great question!!! We have so many great classics that would have to be performed!! That will be an intense decision.
-If you could choose a CHASTAIN album to play live in its entirely, which one would you pick?
Mystery of Illusion. I could sing it much better now, and I still love the material.
-Tell me about your future live plans. Any possibility to play in Spain in 2014?
There is a possibility for anything. I am wide open to the future. Never say never.
-Let's back to the CHASTAIN history. What song you enjoy more singing? Tell us which is your favorite CHASTAIN song and why?
Angel of Mercy has always moved me to tears. It an incredible song that everyone knows and can relate to!
-One of my favorites of all times is "Ruler Of The Wasteland", what do you think about this track?
One of mine and a fan favorite. With Sledge Leather shows, we opened with that always!!! Great to sing!
-Do you keep an eye on today's metal scene and especially female fronted bands?
I do. I have become good friends with Veronica Freeman from Benedictum. We have actually entered the studio together.
Her vocal talent has kicked me in the ass. I appreciate Otep!!
I know how hard it is, its not a gender issue for me. Bless everyone out there!!!
-Musically, who have been your biggest influences and why?
Ronnie James Dio, for all his strengths, songwriting, vocal performances, & Vocal recordings!! His tonality, his depth of vocal sound!! He could do anything!
-And finally, ten of your favorite albums of all times.
I'm sure I can't come up with 10
Heaven and Hell
The Devil you know
Dark side of the moon
Houses of the holy
The number of the Beast
-Thanks for your time, Leather. Something you want to add for our readers...
Thank all of you, the new Chastain will not disappoint!
Go to www.chastainmetal.com You can find my Facbook there.
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