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Leather Nunn

Leather Nunn: Logo

It's a great honor for me to take an interview from one of the obscure legends of US Metal. I was trying to find the music of "Take the night" for years and I got a CD-R from a Greek collector only 2-3 years ago. Leather Nunn is considered by many as one of the best bands of US Metal and their LP as a masterpiece that can't be repeated.

Tell us the history of Leather Nunn, how old were you back then? When did the band founded and by whom? Did any of the members participate in another act before Leather Nunn (if yes which)? How did it happen and you came altogether? Did you have any lineup changes before the release of the LP? (Add anything else you think it's useful on that question).

Leather Nunn was a pretty popular band already in Florida when Jim Mehm (bass player) and I joined in 1985. Jim and I were in another band in town when the call went out for a singer and bass player. Jim got hired on first. Because he had a big PA. I think Jerry Brewer and Jimmy Evans (Guitar and drums) fired the original bass player because Jim had a better sound system. Sounds cut throat but that how it was way back then. I cant remember what happened to the first singer.

Your LP is the absolute US Metal rarity. In your website you ask for copies and you stated that you pay cash!! Is it because you don’t have copies even for yourselves? The price of the record exceeds 1000$ and there are rumors that only 500 copies were pressed. Is it true? Were you ever contacted by dealers in order to acquire copies from you? Who did the production of the LP? How do you feel thinking that people spend so much many to get your original work?

It was recorded on "Key Records." Which was little more than the name of the studio we recorded it in. Key Studios. There was a guy named Chip and John in the control booth. I think John Key was the owner and Chip was a well respected older musician from around town, that was "producing." It was weird cause it all happened so fast. We recorded that whole record in about 16 hours. 2 days total. The boys laid down all the rhythm tracks live in a few hours. A few more hours of solos and that was it! What was really weird is: I WAS SERIOUSLY SICK THAT WHOLE WEEK. So the next day when it was time for me to do vocals, I could hardly speak. But I got really hopped up on cold medicine and got really drunk and did ALL the vocals in about 4 hours!! We mixed it all either that night or maybe the next day but it went real fast.

A few years ago you cooperated with Metal Reunion Records. How did it happen and a Greek label find you? Are you satisfied with this CD reissue? Were Leather Nunn contacted by a label back in the 80s? Did you send any demos to labels? What was the response? Was Key Records your own label? Which do you think were the reasons Leather Nunn didn’t make it to be famous? Do you feel that you did everything in order to succeed back then? Tell us about your efforts.

I have no idea how the Greek label thing happened. Jim Mehm (who is still one of my best friends and lives near me here in Los Angeles) put that thing together. I found a guy to re-master it before Jim sent it off to Greece. Leather Nunn didn't go any farther than it did back then because we were just dumb kids in the wrong place. Jacksonville Fla was no launching pad for metal acts. But honestly, even if we were in Los Angeles I dont think we would have done much else but implode. If we would have gotten huge I would have surely died. I was drinking so much that it was scary. If I was given the life of a rockstar back then I wouldnt be here today I know it. And I like being alive today;)

In the CD reissue there are also 4 songs from a demo. When was it released? Do you have any other unreleased material? If yes, how many songs? Are you planning of re-releasing them someday? Which is your favorite Leather Nunn song (if any) and why?

We didn't record anything else other than the record and those 4 songs. We recorded those additional 4 songs in 1988 I think. It was just for the local fans at the time. My favorite LN song is "Let the children shout." It was one of the 4 songs we recorded after the record. It was the first song I wrote entirely. Jerry and Jimmy hated it. That made me like it even more.

How about your gigs? Did you use any special equipment for your shows? How big was usually your audience? With which local bands did you play with? Was there a local band that you think was something special? For which "big" bands did you open? Did it happen to play in front of a huge audience (in a stadium for example)?

We opened for Winger a few times and I know we played with Motley Crue but I can't remember where. Atlanta I think. When we played on our own we would usually draw a few hundred to a few thousand. You got to remember that we had our own club in Jacksonville called "The Convent". We played there every weekend almost. We didn't really have to travel that much. People came to us. It was a huge party every weekend. Pyro, flashpots, snakes and naked people. Leather Nunn shows were insane!

Did you participate in any local (or not) contests? If yes what was the result? I think your LP is among the best in US metal and I still can’t believe labels rejected it. Did you have any support from radio stations, magazines, fanzines etc.?

Thank you for thinking so. I dont know why labels rejected us. We were kinda weird for the time. We dressed like Poison but sounded like Sabbath so I dont know if the corporate slugs knew what to do with us. There was a few local stations that really supported us. Cant remember those though.

When did Leather Nunn disbanded and why? Do you have any problems with other members or was it some external factors? Did you ever think of making a reunion?

Jim and I wanted to move to Los Angeles and the rest of the band didnt. So that was that. Jim and I formed Children and moved to Los Angeles in 1989. A reunion? Sure give me the plane ticket and point me to the stage.

Tell us some strange/ funny/ weird stories about Leather Nunn (in shows, rehearsals etc). What was your best and worst moment with the band?

Funny? Not much surrounding that band was fun or funny. Jimmy Evans (drummer) and I hated each other with a passion. I remember one rehearsal he threw a drumstick at me and hit me in the back of my head. I then jerked him from his drumstool and started beating him as hard as I could with out hurting him for real. After the guys broke us up we went back to rehearsing. That was a typical Leather Nunn rehearsal. He used to make fun of my age. I was only 16 at the time and he loved to pick on me cause of that. It was real dumb. Like I said we were kids. Dumb kids.

Are there any plans of re-releasing the demo again (in CD or LP)? If yes tell us when the reissue is going to take place and by what label? In Europe Leather Nunn is quite known among collectors but almost unknown to the majority of metalheads so I want to ask if you ever get support from Europe. Did you ever get letters from here and if yes from what countries?

I still get fan mail every once in a while. Now that Im up on Myspace a few Leather heads have found me. Which is very cool.

Tell us about your activities at the moment. Are you still in the music business? If yes what are your future plans? What is the fate of other members (do you know what they are doing now)? Are you still in contact with them?

Im still very much in the music businesses. I have had the honor of working with tons of people here in LA. Including: John5, Rudy Sarzo, Fuel, Peter Chris, Michael Shenkar, Lita Ford, Steve Lukather, Mike Duda (W.A.S.P.)... that list goes on and on. Currently I'm working in a band that is being produced by Adam Gaynor (formally of Matchbox 20) I write and produce for other artists as well as singing for a couple of bands. I have had songs in films such as "It Waits." A horror film from Stephen Cannel. Scored for a documentary on Vegas gambling called "Wiseguys". I dont know where anyone else is but Jim Mehm. He's my neighbor.

What were your influences at that time and what music did you listen back then? Who were/ are the artists you admire? What music do you listen today?

Back then it was Priest and Dio. Nowadays it's Priest and Dio but along with Lenny Kravits, Stevie Wonder, Allman Brothers and some Willie Nelson thrown in for good measure. Ha Ha.

Do you feel your music is still appreciated by people? Do you still get encouragement (letters, emails) from funs after all those years? Send a message to the people that read this interview.

Thank you to all that still love metal and thank you for keeping the Nunn alive!

Interview done by Vaggelis Fotakis for Rock Brigade fanzine in 2007.