Leeway are without a shadow of a doubt an all time top 10 favourite of mine.
Ever since I started the zine I wanted to do something with Eddie but he’s a pretty busy guy.
But I managed to get a short interview with him.
DR: Hows it going Eddie, what are you up to right now?
ES- Right now I’ve been trying to keep up getting the word out now that all of Leeway’s full-length albums are being re-issued through Marquee Records in Brazil, Reality Records in Belgium, and Eyetooth Collective is doing a limited edition series of cassettes as well….Born to Expire and Desperate Measures will come out first and then Adult Crash and Open Mouth Kiss in the fall…..all will come out as cd and eventually vinyl and picture disc
Its been almost 20 years since each album was available individually.
DR: Do you wanna take us right back, how, when and where did Leeway start?
ES- The band started as The Unruled….we got a gig and had 3 weeks to come up with a name and a set…we played the Coventry June 15th 1984….the venue was famous for the fact that KISS played their very first showcase show…how ironic….we opened up Gilligan’s Revenge and had the best audience response out of everyone that night….GR then changed their name to Token Entry after that….hahahaha
The line-up consisted of me and AJ, of course, along with his neighborhood friend Saso Motroni(drums), and Jose Ochoa(bass)….they all went to Catcholic HS together and we all were going to shows by then Our friend EJ Vodka helped us come up with Leeway….it was either that or Juggernaut….Leeway became the perfect name for us as the years went on and we became the band we evolved into
DR: What was your personal path into Hardcore? A lot of people describe Leeway as a crossover band – were you are you a big fan of thrash and metal?
ES- The crossover sound I guess was inevitable as a label because we wanted the hard-drive sound of metal guitars but not the toy-ass Dungeons and Dragons lyrical content…we worked hard when most bands weren’t working hard at all……the Bad Brains are an example of incredible musicianship and we wanted to practice and have that kind of respect eventually and be known as a tight, cohesive band
I always liked bands live because most HC bands at the time weren’t really known for musicianship….Underdog was a good band as well as Murphy’s Law.
DR: When and where was your first show under the name Leeway? And who did you play with?
ES-I’m not sure if the first show was anything significant…..we did a hanful of shows at clubs that really weren’t into HC or could be considered and HC show….if anyone started to dance at these places they would start to bugg out on us all, hahaha
I do remember a Long Island show with Ludichrist after meeting Chuck Valle….I slammed the mic stand down and the plate on the bottom broke….the sound man came on stage…real slow, and then tried to loop the chord around my neck….we all were about stomp him but he realized he wasn’t gonna come out of this on top so….hahahaha The first 2 good shows as Leeway that I remember is with KRAUT for their record release of Whetting the Scythe at Pizza a go-go and at CBGBs with Articles of Faith in 1985
DR: Do you have a personal favourite Leeway record?
ES- I’m very proud of Open Mouth Kiss which proved how much I grew as a singer and for my skills in a recording studio arranging and harmonizing….each record showed growth and individuality in each members talent and skill….now my goal is to finally finish up the TRUTHnRIGHTS full-length….this project I’ve been doing for quite a while and it will show fans I can still write and co-write songs with the same skill and passion of 25=plus years ago….I don’t know many HC vocalists who can do that….it’s why they’re still playing the same songs over 20 years later….because everything they did isn’t interesting or just plain toy
DR: How was the recording process for Born To Expire? Why did it take so long to come out?
ES -Born to Expire was recorded in November 1987….it took so long in the beginning because Rock Hotel’s deal with Profile was up and Chris Williamson wanted to try and take us to another label…..then Zowie left the band for Circus of Flowers so we had to wait for him to come back from touring to sign a release…..so it didn’t come out until January 1989….by then everyone had a copy of the rough-mix, but we’re probaly the ONLY NYHC BAND to ever make the ballot list for the Grammy Awards, but of course not popular enough to make it to nomination for “Best Metal Band” for 1989….I think it was the year Jethro Tull won….how ass backwards the industry was then its no wonder why its in the toilet today
DR: Everybody loves the Kingpin video on Headbangers Ball, me and my little brother used to watch it constantly, haha. How did it end up being on that show?
ES- One thing about Profile is it had RUN DMC and other well-known hiphop acts so they had enough clout to get us on MTV….but of course if the music and video isn’t any good or interesting then it won’y get played….it was very surreal for me the night if debuted because we were all at a local bar in celebration that night….when it came on I had to walk out….it was too much for me seeing myself on national TV…..I mean, I always wanted the recognition but my ego was conflicted…..I always had that ‘confidant ego’ and believed in myself but I never had the ego of being better than others
I mean I found HC to be so special simply because the bands/musicians I looked up to, mainly Bad Brains, were approachable and they gave you time and interest…..and at the time metal bands acted like they were supergroups from the 70’s…..I always tried to give fans of Leeway that same courtesy and attention because that elite attitude was such bullshit to me
Sadly, and over time this elitist shit would begin to corrode at this thing of ours….I started going to shows at 1981 and became a part of this thing because it was supposed to be about NO TREND and NO CONFORMITY….yet it seems now it is all about these things, and that’s really wak
……but I guess that’s another story for another time and place…
You can grab the reissues here when they drop!
And Eddie Sells Leeway Merch on Ebay search – eddie_leeway