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by John Hardcore

Interview with Geoff Gayer: Lead Guitar Player of Leatherwolf

I have to apologize to my editor and the band for not getting the print of this great interview I had with Geoff two months ago out sooner. Since the interview date of 7-15-06, I have had to bury a very very close friend of mine who basically saved my life. She died of liver cancer. Then two weeks later we had to bury my wife's aunt. She died of lung cancer and 2 weeks ago my wife Stacy got into a car accident (the other driver did a left hand turn right in front of her) shook her up pretty good. No broken bones, but the van was totaled. So I thought to myself I need to get this interview out amongst the masses so that a few hungry for rock n' rollers out there can find out what the best stuff to nibble on is these days. 

I had Geoff over to my home to kick back and talk about the new album World Asylum. Leatherwolf independently released the album with their own financial backing. Bled & sweated over it until they felt they had a package that would wake a few people up. I have to tell you all. This album is "Progressive Rock" at its absolute finest. People ask," What is Progressive Rock?" Progressive Rock is music when written on paper, the average musician would say-" that can't possibly be played" Progressive Rock musicians then play it. It's kind of like Jazz Theory, but it's HEAVY and it ROCKS. For example - The Dream Theater, Mars, Volta & Joe Satriani in my opinion are progressive rock. 

The really cool thing about interviewing Geoff is that we go WAYYYY back. We've known each other for over 25 years and we went to the same Fountain Valley High School together. When I was 16 years old, Geoff sold me my first electric guitar. 

We sat for about two hours and chatted about the album and some of the shows they had coming up at the time. Here are the excerpts from that interview.

John Hardcore: How did Leatherwolf come to be? 

Geoff Gayer: Mike Oliveri & I used to be in the same guitar class in High School and we used jam everyday. We would make up stuff and play a lot of Rush, Judas Priest, Triumph & Iron Maiden to name a few. At the time I was playing in another band and we used to play cover tunes at parties and for free beer. I met Carey Howe, Dean Roberts & Paul Carmen at a warehouse party and we all immediately became friends and decided to start jamming We needed a singer badly though. 

I was jamming with Mike one day after school and he started singing to some of the stuff we were playing and I realized I had my singer. And not only could he sing, but he could play the guitar phenomenally. After Mike had a few swigs off the 40oz Mickey's, he was ready to go and Leatherwolf was born. 

JH: You guys have been on hiatus for about 5 years. Seems like a lot of bands are coming back out to play that seemingly weren't going to be heard from again. What brought you back?

Geoff: Well I'm good friends with Ozzy Osbourne's assistant and we were asked to get back together to do one show for her birthday party. So we did. And it was a blast. It made us all realize how much we missed the music and each other. We did another show at The Roxy a few weeks later & the next thing you know, we are planning a new album. As far as getting full commitment from everyone though was tough. Paul & Carey were new fathers and Mike wanted to work on his own solo stuff. So I had to go out and find some guys with REAL big shoes to fill. We all still stay in touch and are still friends. As matter of fact Mike does some backing vocals on this new album. So after all was said and done. 

The band is now:

Wade Black: Lead Vocals from Crimson Glory, Leash Law & Seven Witches
Geoff Gayer: Lead Guitars
Eric Harpen: Lead Guitars; From Distant Thunder & Destiny' End
Pete Perez: Bass; From Riot & Spastic Ink
Dean Roberts: Drums

JH: Let's talk about Wade Black. He is all the way from Florida. How did that come about? 

Geoff: Well we had received and auditioned tons of guys and we really thought that we had the guy. We were really sure we had the guy. But an old friend of ours Chris Rock who had helped us on a lot on the production & mixing said he had a guy who would blow our minds except he is in Florida. But he is willing to take a stab it. The guy Chris was talking about was Wade. So we flew him out and had him do the song "Behind The Gun". We did it in one day. We were very excited about how it sounded and immediately offered him the gig. It didn't quite go so easily for Wade though. We later learned that Wades old band told him if he even tried out, they were going to cut him loose. Which we thought was pretty harsh and we also thought it showed a lot of balls on Wade's part. He didn't even know if we we're going to bring him on and he showed. We liked that and it made us want him on board even more. The final hurdle was getting the ok from his wife, family and friends in Florida to make the move. In the end, everyone in Wade's corner were/are so supportive and has really helped to strengthen the band. 

JH: Who is doing the writing?

Geoff: Pretty much I write all of the music and lyrics myself. Where I draw my lyrics from I really don't know. It seems when I do write lyrics though I like to go into a dark place and see what light I can bring out of it. 

JH: The lyrics are well written, where is this dark place at? 

Geoff: In the very back part of my soul. I get lyrics from watching a movie, seeing old TV shows and watching the news. I can make an abstract out of it and pen it into a song. 

JH: Let's dig into some of the songs on the new album, World Asylum. What is the song "Behind The Gun" about?

Geoff: It's about a grown man who is asking his father about an incident that happened when he was a boy. His father killed a man and his son witnessed it and the grown man is asking his father to tell him the story of what happened. As it turns out, the man that his father killed was his older brother……

JH: King of the Ward, what's that one about?

Geoff: It's about a guy who is stuck in his own prison so to speak. It's about how he feels locked down in life and is looking for a way out, the feeling of helplessness.

JH: How do you feel about writing lyrics now? 

Geoff: Well I always have seen myself as the "guitar player". I always enjoyed writing riffs and melodies and handing it off to Mike and let him put lyrics to it. So it has been a change. I enjoy it though. It isn't a control thing over the material that's for sure. It's now out of necessity. I am hoping that we can get Wade more involved with the song writing as we move forward. 

JH: You have a close connection with Rob Halford of Judas Priest & Bruce Dickenson of Iron Maiden. Two heavy guns to have in your corner, how did those relationships come about? 

Geoff: We opened for Halford on his first solo tour back in 01'. Great guy to go on the road with. We stay in touch from time to time and Bruce was in the midst of potentially buying a record label at the time and was very interested in re-releasing a few of our albums. That sort of fell through, but it was great to have become acquainted with him. Another really great guy.

JH: You usually do very well in Europe, is that still the case?

Geoff: Without a doubt! I love it over there especially Germany. We've played probably our biggest gigs there. It's so much fun to play to a crowd like that. Metal is alive and well in Europe that's for sure. 

JH: So what's coming up? I see you are booked to do a gig at ProgPower VII in Atlanta?

Geoff: Yea we'll be there September 14, can't wait. It's a great "Progressive Metal" festival. It's a 2 day event. We are gonna play the Pre-Party show with Circle II Circle, Circus Maximus, & Theocracy at The Vinyl Club in downtown Atlanta. 

In closing…..
I wanted also to take this moment to do a little Album Review of Leatherwolf's new album "World Asylum" The album is very well done. And even though Geoff is taking his first stint at lyrics the songs have a ton of depth to them. I feel he should have been much more involved with the writing process in the bands early years. And though many bands from this era are making what I call a pseudo comeback for whatever reasons. Geoff is putting this band back on the road for the right reasons. It is his passion to play live and as he should. Because he is a very very talented musician, as are the other members of the evolved Leatherwolf. I can't honestly say enough about Geoff's heart being in the right place when it comes to his music. And the final result of it says it all. This writer wants to see this band get it's due rewards. They have worked too damn hard and came way too far to not be noticed for the great talents that they are. The only negative is that their music at times seems a little just off the scale. And I mean that in a good way. And as Geoff and I talked about it that was one of the reasons they didn't get to that Motley Crue / 5 star eighties band status. Back in the day. Simply because many people without a trained ear (so to speak) could not interpret what they were listening to. The Average Joe would listen to an album like Street Ready and know that it's good, but I don't think the general metal aficionado really knew what they were hearing, or how good it really was. If you have some of the older stuff they have done you can tell they have tried to make the songs a little more "radio friendly" That's really the only way I can put it. 

Out of 5 stars - I give the Leatherwolf's World Asylum album 4 ½ stars. I can't wait to hear some new material the Wade and Geoff hopefully can put together down the road. Get this album NOW! I listen to this one at least 2-3 times a week. Go to to check out more news and updates, MP3 samples and tour info are all there. 


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