Good day to you Leeno, and welcome to Metal Origins – it’s good to have you along! Can you tell us about your earliest memories of heavy metal – was it love at first sight/hearing? “My first intro to what I thought was ‘heavy metal’ was as a small kid when I heard The Sweet and Slade… they opened the door for me to loud heavy-ish guitar based rock with screamy vocals and great solos…I remember being amazed at the look of these bands-all long hair and cool flashy clothing-as well as, of course, the thundery sounds they made. I was instantly hooked. Later of course came Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and a host of others… and off I went”…
What was the first metal album you bought with your own cash? “Sweet Fanny Adams was my first …then Sladest…but if we’re talking actual metal as we know it now, it was Master of Reality by Sabbath”.
All quality stuff to be sure, but are there any bands you loved as a youngster that cause you to wince now and ask ‘what was I thinking’? “Not really. Every band I liked had to have that special something-and back then in that classic era it seemed to be important for bands to have that- so no, no regrets there”
A very Piafesque if I might say so! Who were the first band you saw live? “I saw Thin Lizzy on the Opera House steps. Mind blowing…with Gary Moore on guitar. Locally it was either the QVs or Heaven – as often as possible”.
Was there much mainstream media coverage of our kind of music in your part of the metal world? “All we had was radio, TV and magazines- I used to spend all my pocket money on British and U.S. magazines- Sounds, NME, Circus, Creem, Kerrang… and we were terribly behind in current issues-so we found stuff out two to three months after it happened! I would often call record companies and ask questions- ‘Hi, is there a new Kiss album due soon?’ And they would mail me out a bio and 8×10 picture! I Couldn’t get enough”.
Moving to more modern matters, do you think the internet has taken away the mystique of being in a big band for young people today? Do we know too much about our heroes in 2016? “Absolutely. It’s so hard to maintain any kind of mystique these days. A thing like Kiss never being seen unmasked could never have worked in the internet age. There really is such a thing as too much information. As a kid I needed to have rock stars to look up to. I didn’t want to know about their day to day normal lives- just the stuff that inspired me and made me want to achieve more than I was told I could by teachers. And they were our anti-heroes- Today they all want to be multi media celebs-preaching PC morals, instagramming what’s for lunch etc… jeez”
Were you a big festival goer as a junior headbanger? No. Never was a big festival goer… it was mostly local bands at pub gigs and bigger concerts with internationals”.
How hard or easy was it for you to get to big gigs growing up? Would you have hitched hundreds of miles to see your favourite bands if necessary? “Living in Sydney it was relatively easy to get to shows. I got thrown out of a Cheap Trick soundcheck once -ditched class and headed over to the venue about 10 hours early! I also got up at 4 AM to line up for KISS tickets so yeah- whatever it took- always buses and trains and later we’d drive anywhere we could. I had pretty cool parents”.
What five albums have stayed with you since your formative metal years? “Wow… it’s way more than five! But if I take a random guess… Sweet Fanny Adams; Fireball by Deep Purple; Kiss – Alive; Alice Cooper‘s Love It To Death and Iron Maiden‘s Killers…”
Anything else you’d like to reveal about your metal upbringing? “The thing for me is- everyone has pivotal moments in their lives- things that mark a significant change. As a kid I liked music as much as anyone until I heard my first raunchy hard rock song – and that moment shaped my future. Suddenly everything changed, and I had a purpose. I wanted to live and breathe hard rock and metal, I wanted to play it, sing it and live it. I’ve continued to love, play and live it- in all its forms since then”.