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
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
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
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
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.
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 www.leatherwolfmusic.com
to check out more news and updates, MP3 samples and tour info are all there.
and Purchase The new CD Online
the official homepage
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