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Greg Leatherman / Blog

Coming Soon!

Now that we've finished our project with Malificent - it's on to songs that some of you know from my live sets: "Golden Calf," a staple of mine, is just about finished! Also, "Endtimes," "Addition by Subtraction," and "Bury You Some Day" are in work, with the brand new "Forever Mine" coming together as well. I'd really like to finish "Forever Mine" by mid-April. Mary will sing "Golden Calf" and I'll take care of the rest! As far as the more experimental tunes, like "Bareback" and "Raw Eggs," that some of you have been passing around - these are only available on private CD pressings (thanks for the postive feedback). Currently, my entire recorded output is available on 5 CDs averaging 20 songs per disc: + Revenge of the Shaved Cat - Best of the best from all my major projects. + Stubble - Deeper cuts. + Other People's Beards - Covers and songs written by friends, all performed by the usual gang. + In the Basement - vintage stuff for long time followers, much of it from 2004-2008. + Car Here - Best of The Flying Listravians, experimental instrumentals from the cottage of chaos.

Visit Malificent at www.reverbnation.com/malificent

Malificent cowrote "Ice Fog" with us. Visit her at www.reverbnation.com/malificent to hear more from her!

Highlights

I've been involved in music in one form or another since high school. I have played festivals, small clubs, roadhouses, campgrounds, and everything in between. A few memories really jump out at me though and I thought I would rank the top five. It's not that easy. There were so many great nights at the College Lunch and 123 Pleasant Street. . . The night my ex played in her wedding gown . . . So many Rock n Roll BBQs and Benefit Shows . . . but here are five I will never forget. Thanks to the bandmates and audiences who made these memories.

5. Playing solo to 2000 folks in Clarksburg, WV: The audience was there for another act and had no idea who I was, but I stole the show! 4. Playing as a duo in Fairfax, VA: Gypsee and I had no clue whether they would like our set. We followed some slick "radio alternative" dudes and won over the audience. The after-party was a blast. 3. Short Brothers 2011 Labor Day Party in the middle of nowhwere: I had to pick up a band and teach them my set in five minutes. It stormed. I barely knew anyone. There were delays with the sound. Then the band kicked in behind me. Wow! I have never sounded better and I only knew one of the guys playing with me. As far as after parties, this was one of the best. This year, I will be back and it will be my final show in WV! That should tell you how highly I think of the family that throws this annual shindig. 2. Playing a huge Biker Festival in Arden, WV: Free food, free beer, girls in bikinis, lots of motorcycles, campers everywhere, huge P.A. system, great lineup of bands, and our gorgeous lead singer won the wet t-shirt contest! 1. WV Film Festival Sugarcamp Gig: We had to play a show without our drummer, who flaked at the last minute. Amazingly, the audience clapped and stomped their feet to our songs, so that we had a steady beat and ended up playing for something like four hours in exchange for travel money, free beer, and a room in a haunted hotel. I will never forget looking out across a roomful of drunken actors, directors and writers, as they kept a beat for our band.

To date or not to date a musician . . .

Dating someone you are in a band with can get pretty uncomfortable at times. The beginning is exciting, but the end can be a nightmare! Musicians are generally good about not slinging mud over "artistic differences," but it's still no fun to go through a band breakup at the same time your relationship or marriage is breaking up.

I've seen fantastic performances from feuding band-mates and I've also seen bands fall apart over conflict. It's obviously frustrating to see a loved project go by the wayside due to unrelated issues of the heart.

Quite recently, I started dating the gorgeous K. She's a brilliant painter and a bookish blonde bombshell. She likes opera and the occasional hard rock album of her youth, but doesn't play any instruments or sing. Or so I thought . . .

Many years ago, K was in a notorious metal band that released two albums internationally. I mean not only was she a musician, but she was far more famous as a teenager than I am as an adult, with all the press, tour schedules, and fan interest of a full-fledged phenomenon. I would tell the whole story, but she wants to forget those days. The band was more about lifestyle and looks than it was about verses and hooks. Management put little stock in the recording process. They had some talent, but the world got a pale version of the band on vinyl. In other words, it's that old story of "the record company ruined everything. . ."

Anyways, after hearing this tale, my heart skipped a hesitant beat. Had I again ended up with a singing lover? Was I about to crash and burn in another doomed musical project? Was I fated to only date manic depressive artists? Here I am, wanting to just play for fun, and I was already dating another hot rocker. I swear, it wasn't on purpose!

But there was something else. K had her own rule: No musicians.

She'd dated a couple of guitar players and she'd found that they always end up breaking her heart. Damn. What was I gonna do? I love this girl!

We've laughed a lot about this together, both of us knowing we can't let fear of failure keep us apart when we are so compatible in so many other ways. We are the same age and have the same interests and we have zero baggage and so forth and so on. She's my favorite girl and I couldn't give her up if I tried. So the moral of the story? Well, there's no getting around it, creative people have a quick kinship. So if you are a musician, just accept it. Bands fight. Bands love. Bands are family and sometimes they come with the best and worst of what that means. And if you are K, taking a peek at my blog, I don't know if we will ever record a song together, but I do know this: I love you.

Production Tips

Some of you home audio engineers might be curious how I got all the separation of sounds on Gatski. Here are some layman's tips. First, I used three different sized speakers on the guitars. 15 inch, 1.5 inch (yes!), and 12 inch. The soloing guitar behind the rap is reversed and has vibrato on it. The "outro" guitar is also reversed (re: what if I can't think of another part, lol). I turned the bottom up on the bass and let the guitars all have wide open tone with the gain and reverb varied. When using a keyboard or fiddle, remember that they have some bass like qualities, so the bass overall can come down a bit. Vocally, I was eq'd with mild reverb during mixdown. I did three takes and quit. As Scott always says, if you can't get it in three takes, move on to something else. Drums high in the mix and a hard limiter on drums and vocals. Compression was mostly done on the amps. Both guitarists (Scott and Maniac) played great parts throughout, but I cut most of it so things didnt' get too cluttered. I also cut an entire vocal verse . . . Ta da! (all of this was done on a four track and a laptop, using Audacity and cheap mics). It's not how much your gear costs, it's how you think.

Live-ish

Two of the latest songs I've posted are essentially live recordings - "Pharisee" and "Last Thing," were played live with limited dubbing. I've recorded both more "perfectly," but not with the spontaneous feel of these live in the studio takes. Sometimes you can't beat just playing the song.

Creepy Girls and the Schooner Tangent

First, thanks to ALL of you for what has been an amazing winter! This page is blowing up and it's all due to the dedicated music fans out there showing some love! On the new track front, that haunted little girl Malificent is collaborating with the Leatherman Boys on an ominous (as yet untitled) cut from our latest sessions. . . Check out her profile to hear some of her music. She sings with The Bloodblisters and Lollikrunch and is always writing and releasing something new. Also, that ginger wench of the schooner Tangent, Mary Hinchliffe, will be back with a new recording in February. Meanwhile,Brother Scott has really stepped up his songwriting input. Sundays are very fun at my house these days. Expect a batch of new songs by March 1!

Video Exclusive: Last Thing That I Need

I'm working on a studio version of this song, but for now, enjoy an acoustic take in my video section.

I wrote "Last Thing" in half an hour - because it is from the heart. "Faded Rose" was like that too. Sometimes, you have to dig into your soul and let it speak, even if it hurts.

Get Crazy!

Watched "Get Crazy" last night - a terrific comedy about the music industry from the early 80s. There are some laugh out loud scenes and plenty of moments any musician will recognize. It's only a little campy (being dated), but overall this is highly recommended to all musicians. Malcolom Mcdowell is hilarious as the aging rocker "still on top" and Lou Reed is great as the reclusive folk star being lured out for a single show on New Year's Eve. Ed Begley Jr. plays the evil capitalist and there are several watchable stage performances, along with some absolutely hilarious scenes. Also of note: John Densmore (drummer from the Doors) has a bit part! Fans of "Spinal Tap" or people old enough to remember the 80s should definitely watch it.

Goodbye Green Lion

Green Lion called it quits over the holidays. Like Sugarcamp, we were in the late stages of recording an album when the band split. Some songs out of the recording sessions will be posted here. I'm particularly fond of "Last Thing" but other cool tunes include "Whisky," "Ice Fog" and "Faded Rose." If you ever wanted to collaborate with me, you could not pick a better time!