Leaf interview 5/1/22
MM: Can you tell us about your Band and whos your biggest influences
Leaf is a grunge rock band from Stoke-on-Trent in the UK that isn’t trying to follow a format or sound like anyone else, we just enjoy making music and some of us are getting on a bit (think Clutch)! We put everything we have into everything that we do though and it can be akin to being hit with a musical steamroller. If you like your music loud and honest then you have come to the right place. No gimmicks here, it is all about the songs and we spend a lot of our time crafting and improving them –and we do not use any backing tracks! We are advocates of the musical earworm and insist that riffs and hooks have that ‘nod your head’ appeal, but any song we put out has to have a heaviness and dynamics – we love dynamics.
We have a smorgasbord of influences ranging from iconic bands like AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Led Zep to newer bands like Idles, Rival Sons and Cleopatrick. We love the gnarly, the heavy, the punky and songs that mean something to people. We are not about super-polished perfection, give us the squeal that proves it is real.
We feel that the soul, the reality and musicality is missing from a host of modern recordings; I (Colin) was a sound engineer and craves the squeaks, pops and doinks that albums like Ace of Spades have. You can smell the JD and the cigar smoke as you listen to the calloused hands sliding up and down the strings. It isn’t all negative though, Rival Sons have a wonderful feel and groove, Cleopatrick have an amazing LowFi snarl and Idles have the passion and drive.
MM: Where do you draw your inspirations and ideas from
Our inspiration to write music comes from a mixture of sources. We enjoy writing the music in the old-fashioned way of jamming in our disgustingly filthy rehearsal room and I am genuinely inspired to keep writing by the amazing guys that I play with. As a band we are inspired by the atrocious state of the world today and by our deeply personal experiences – as I alluded to, at our ages, we have a lot of those! We want that new listener to Leaf to feel the anger, passion and frustration that we feel which we channel into our tunes. The world and particularly the UK, is moving into a period of absolute drudge after 12 years of austerity – expect the music to reflect that. Coming from Stoke-on-Trent, a working-class area and one of the poorest in the country is a big influence on the band too.
MM: What would you say is your Bands favourite song ?
That is a really difficult one. Butterfingers, the normal set closer is an absolute belter, with massive riff, and introspective lyrics, or Black and White, the first song that when recorded made me realize what potential the band has. It has banging riffs, dynamics, and melody and has received some great airplay in the US and the UK; it has started a bucket load of interest even further afield.
MM: Plans tour and festival wise for 2023
We have recorded some material over Christmas, trying out some new things. It has translated well from rehearsal to recording, so for the next couple of months we are rejigging the set and working on incorporating even more material. Plan is to start gigging again in March (with the odd one in between) and aim for some of the smaller festivals this summer. We are happy to play anywhere and everywhere and just want people to enjoy our music.
MM: What can we expect from Leaf live?
Humour, intensity, and a sense of reality. You will nod your head, tap your foot, get angry and laugh along with us. We have no egos, but we have such a set of amazing songs - everyone will find elements that they will love when they come to see us. Nerves are never a factor for me, I am emotionally blunted and abnormal so just channel my energy into the performance right from the off (which sometimes takes people aback). Mark is confident and smashes the holy hell out of his kit, but is hyper self-critical and he is never satisfied with his performance. Jarad and Dan, actually both hate the first couple of minutes until they loosen up. Their solution? Head down, smash the opener and liven up when the first cheer hits.
MM: What do you like best and worst about touring
Best – playing to new people who have not heard us before, blowing them away with our music and accessibility and making new friends
Worst – equipment is heavy, we can’t afford roadies and we are not as young as we once were.
MM: Which three Bands would be your ultimate touring buddies
Motorhead (RIP Lemmy) for Jarad and Dan, someone like Alter Bridge for Con, so that he can get all muso and probably Idles for me, so I can chat to Joe Talbot about political machinations and social injustice.
MM: What's the most memorable concert you've been to (other than your own) and why
Too difficult to pick one…possibly Jane’s Addiction around 1989. Perry Farrell took a shine to me, grabbed my hands (I was at the front) and proceeded to sing an entire song into my face from two feet away –scary! Or Riskee and the Ridicule supporting The King Blues (another amazing band), Scott, the singer, is inspirational and gives his all, every time I see them. He is a bit scary too. Kiss were good….Morrissey amazed me…WASP…Maiden….too difficult. Arrgghhhhhh.
MM: What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment so far with Leaf?
The global hits on the website absolutely astound me. For a relatively ‘new’ band we have had interest from the entire world. The music we make is absolutely up there with the best in the world, we just need people to spread the message and get us on playlists etc. We can’t afford the big PR campaigns, promoters are scared to invest in an ‘older’ band, but we are determined that the future will have a ‘Leafy’ vibe!
MM: Which are your Two favourite Albums of all time
The boys will kill me for doing this interview and not involving them…..
Highway to Hell by AC/DC – those opening chords and that guitar sound turned me on to rock for the rest of my life. Bon Scott was at his peak with soul, attitude and an amazing voice. Con would probably say Back in Black was better….
Brutalism by Idles – what can I say about this? I can play it over and over again and it never gets boring, even Jarad likes it and his fave would be Killers by Maiden.
MM: Can you remember the first time you ever played live and how it felt to have people watching you?
The first time I ever played live properly was in 1986 with Mark on the drums in a punk, horror, goth band. It started a buzz that has never grown old or tired. I know that I am not the best musician ever, but I always give my all and love to perform. Con said the other day, that he doesn’t care if I drop a chord or have the odd bum note because he knows that I will be jumping off something or banging my head like a nutter!
MM: Growing up which Bands posters did you have on your bedroom wall.
AC/DC (from Back in Black tour), Ted Nugent (in a loin cloth with a massive Gibson Byrdland), Kiss (draped all over chopper motorcycles) and Motley Crue (Shout at the Devil era) were the main big posters, with myriad smaller ones scattered around and alongside. I liked the grit and the groove, but had a penchant for greasepaint and pouts!
MM - Who do you think influenced the world of Metal / Rock more than any other person
Ozzy Osbourne – he has had influence throughout his entire career, musically and stylistically. Think about his transformations and the musicians he has worked with, so many greats. His voice is unique and he used to live near Stoke…..Lemmy was from Stoke too and he was my second choice!
MM - What's the most important thing to the band right now?
To be listened to and be enjoyed. I don’t care about earning money from this band, and the sex and drugs part is old hat. Rock n Roll is where it is at for us these days. Leaf UK is the cathartic release that we all need and crave for.
MM:If you could do a cover of any song which one would it be and why?
We only do one cover, a mash-up of Cars by Gary Numan and I Wanna be Your Dog by Iggy and the Stooges. It is different and shows that depth of influence that I mentioned earlier. Teardrop by Massive Attack is next on the list – an interesting choice for a band whose guitarist’s riffs make Cannibal Corpse look like K-Pop!
MM: Tell us why we should buy and listen to your Band
We love each other, we love the music, we invest so much time and effort into it and want the whole world to share and understand that passion. We are older guys that prove that music comes from within, our belief runs deep and pours out of the fingers in a cascade of notes that forms searing riffs and soaring melodies.
MM: Four words to describe Leaf UK
Massive, Melodic, Monumental, Amazing
Final Words for your fans and our readers
We do not copy, we are not clones, we believe in what we do and say. Listen to us on the major platforms, come and see us soon – we absolutely rock. And we are that old that if you don’t come soon we may be already dead.