An Interview with
Frontman of 'Prophets Of Addiction'
that took place on Wednesday, 1st May, 2019.
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.
Lesli: Hello Glenn.
Glenn: Hello Lesli, long time, no see mate, no chat. Good to hear you.
Lesli: Yeah I hear you.
Glenn: How does it feel to you to go the acoustic route for a change?
Lesli: Well of course when I was younger I would never want to do it. I think its cool. I enjoy it. I'm working on stuff. I'm going to work on some more songs like that as well. But I also want to do the rock record. Nothing's the same as getting a rock band but at the same time it's definitely easier. You can definitely go and tour easier when you are acoustic – that's for sure.
Glenn: It's different for you artistically and musically isn't it? As you say it's an easier route to go on.
Lesli: Yeah it's definitely easier. Easier and cool and it's got its own vibe. It doesn't rock as much as a full band but it also allows the lyrics to shine more. Especially live, you can hear the words more. A lot as a full band, unless you already know what the words are, you can't really tell what the singer's singing anyhow.
Glenn: (I laugh) It's true. It just blurs into all the music and everything else that is going on doesn't it? You think, 'You know he's singing but God knows what he is singing about but it sounds okay – it sounds in tune.
Lesli: Yeah. You might catch the chorus or something if it's one of those repeated chorus's and stuff but besides that you've got no clue.
Glenn: Yeah. The new release is an acoustic album and you can hear what is going on but they are good songs. They've got to be good songs to stand out and stand out acoustically haven't they?
Glenn: There's some really good songs on there. The opening track sets the standard for a start.
Lesli: Yeah. Some of the songs or the majority of the songs were songs we had done already as electric songs. But we put on some new songs. Some of them we reworked, changed them and the progressions, we changed some of the notes here and there. Basically, they are the same songs that are rock songs. We did them acoustically and they change. They sound good done like that.
Glenn: Yeah. Do you find that when you write songs, do you sit there with a pen and a paper or are you there with someone who is playing acoustic, or do you play acoustic yourself or go straight electric? How does it work for you guys?
Lesli: Well for me recently, over the last year, a lot of times I'll just strum an acoustic guitar and start singing different things. There have been songs where I've never even written lyrics on a piece of paper. I start saying them from my mouth. Then I think, 'that sounds cool' and maybe later I go back and write them down so I don't forget. When I actually originally wrote them, I never really stopped. It kind of just flowed out of my mouth first thing.
Glenn: Yeah. Got ya. You've got Glenn Gilbert on there as it says 'GG'. How did you originally meet that guy?
Lesli: He was actually in a band in Houston that was opening up for us when we came on tour. He went on and played guitar. I thought, 'This guy's pretty good'. I gave him a call and he was down to do it. It was cool.
Glenn: So he became a full-time member of 'Prophets Of Addiction'?
Glenn: Sweet. When I saw you guys, you had Tchad (Drats) on guitar and you had some other guy later on as well I think.
Lesli: Yeah. Tchad was in at one point. We did some stuff. We have a different drummer, we were working on some stuff and he got sick. Right now it's mostly just me and GG. We'll figure out what to do with the drum situation and start working on these new rock songs. We'll figure out what we've got to do about the second guitar player. We need that obviously for touring purposes. Obviously we don't need that technically to record but it would be good. In a perfect world, I would like to have a full, strong band and have everybody there all the time and work on stuff every single day and do this and do this. It's so hard nowadays with everyone you know. It's not the same where everyone was living in a rehearsal room and do all this any more.
Glenn: yeah exactly. What I find ironic about it, is that what I saw you a couple of times, you had Jimmy Mess on drums, then Jimmy went and joined the band that you were in – Pretty Boy Floyd. It's like a strange thing. It's funny how it worked out.
Lesli: Yeah he was in that band for a while – yes. What happened is that Steve Summers, he played some solo shows at one point. So myself, Tchad and Jimmy played with Steve. He did that a couple of years ago. Then after that, that's probably how they knew him, they gave him a call. I guess for whatever reason that didn't work out for Jim well. He was in it for a little bit. I don't really know exactly what the situation was.
Glenn: When you put the album together, what would you say were the highlights of actually recording the album itself?
Lesli: I don't know about highlights. We worked on it. We took our time and put it together. We tried to make layers. Songs are tough because you start to think you could put so much more onto the there. We've got to not put more on. How much do we put on? As far as highlights, I don't know exactly what I would say about that but I think a lot of stuff turned cool. Everything was cool but of course, it's like every other recording I've ever done in my life. I think, 'Oh I could have done that better, I could have done that better, I could have done that better – I could make the whole new recording better.'
That's how it always is, I suppose. That's how it is when you're in the studio. You think, 'I could sing that 5,000 times. I could probably sing it better' but I mean, what's better? I don't really know exactly. I hear it later and I think, 'Man, I can fix that part!' Then once you play the songs live, you start singing a little bit different anyhow and think, 'I wish I would have sung it like that instead'.
Glenn: Yeah. I mean sometimes you do get a definite version of a song, then the song can change so much over the years can't it? As you say, when you've gone live. It's just an idea that happens, then it broadens out and evolves. Doesn't it?
Glenn: Cool. What was it about 'High Voltage Music' that made you sign to those guys?
Lesli: We were looking for some place to put out the new record. We got referred to them by some people, talked to them and it seemed like a good place to go so we did.
Glenn: Excellent. A few weeks ago, I actually interviewed Phil Soussan. I was asking him about mastering, producing and engineering. Then obviously, he was the Producer for this album. I remember he did the first album too.
Lesli: He did every one of them. He's done all three of them. Yes.
Glenn: How did you get to know Phil Soussan originally? How did you decide on Phil Soussan for the Producer?
Lesli: I don't know. When I first came to Hollywood as a young kid, I remember saying, “Hey, there's the bass player from Ozzy. Then I saw him, talked to him outside the Rainbow or wherever. Then over the years I got to know him more and more. We became friends. Then he was doing some production work. We were in the studio doing 'City Girl Boys'. He did that record too.
Glenn: That's going back a few years. It's a good CD that as well.
Lesli: Yes. He did that. Then I've know him ever since then. I've been friends with him the whole time. I trust him and it's a safety thing. I know what I'm going to get if I work on a recording. If I call him up, we can make it happen – whatever we need to do. With Phil, I trust his input. He's got good credentials. He's well respected. He's a good guy to work with.
Glenn: He's like your own equivalent of George Martin I guess?
Lesli: Yeah. (We laugh).
Glenn: The studios – you've got Wine Cellar Studios in Tacoma, Washington. Is that your own home studio or is it a separate place altogether?
Lesli: It's a separate place. It's one of my friends. It's a friend who has a little place. That's where we recorded most of the stuff. I think, pretty much all of it on that record. We recorded some stuff for the other record too.
Glenn: Yeah? Cool. The opening track, 'American Dream'. What is your personal thought to the 'American Dream' itself – not the song? What are your thoughts for what the American Dream is?
Lesli: I don't know. The standard 'American Dream'. It's the usual, get a good job, get a house, have a couple of kids – that's what I figure it normal. That's why the song itself says, 'I'm gonna rearrange the American Dream'.
Glenn: (We laugh) Sweet!
Lesli: I kind of went against the rules of what's normal. Even to still be trying to put out these records and tours constantly at my age. It's one with with a lot of the bands, it's one thing if I was rolling out there and making a ton of money here or making even a decent amount of money. That's why people will continue to do it because I guarantee most of those 90% of those are not going to be hopping in a van and touring around the country to make hardly nothing. They would sooner not even do it at all. I do it because I love to do it. That's what I like to do. I will probably continue to do it because I can although it gets very frustrating. It's very frustrating at times because you put all your life into it at times and you expect everybody else to do that as well. It doesn't seem that most people are willing to with what I'm trying to do. They don't want to so it gets frustrating.
Glenn: Not everyone's got the same passion about your material, your band and what you want them to have.
Lesli: Hell yeah! And people want to make money. They want to make a future. I'll say to myself, “Well you kind of blew that so I might as well just keep going”. (We laugh)
Glenn: Yeah I run this website because it's a passion and I enjoy it. The actual payment is being able to talk to great people, produce some nice photos, get it up there and people compliment you on it. That's like a payment in itself somewhat because you know yourself, it's so hard to make money out the music industry these. Unless you're a massive noise and you pack out big places and the rent is less than what you've made. There's not a lot of money in it whatsoever is there?
Lesli: It's definitely not that dream. I don't know what the young kids that do it do. I'm not really sure. Do they still have that same dream or drive. Bands are packing out or living in their rehearsal studio or throwing everything down the drain to do something with it. That old metal thing's gone.
Glenn: It seems to be a case of “I've got 2000 likes on Instagram – therefore I'm famous – I've made it”. I don't get all that. Then you have to pay out to the social media companies in order to get a few likes. I mean, what's the point?
Lesli: Yeah. I hear some stories about some promoters that booked a band because they had 300,000 hits from their site or something because they've paid for it. The promoters have booked that band and literally not one person has shown up to see them. Like Zero!
Glenn: Yeah! There was a band that got famous doing that a few months ago. They book a massive show and there was nobody there for that exact same reason. I mean, you can't go on that. I don't understand why record companies go on it or promoters on hits on a social media site. Surely they should go on sales of a persons album and how many people have turned up to shows in the past few months. Numbers don't mean a thing.
I like the fact you've recorded 'Babylon Boulevard' because that's a great song in it's own right on the other album.
Lesli: Yeah it turned out pretty good.
Glenn: Yeah. It did.
Lesli: It's a pretty cool video I think we made.
Glenn: Yeah. What made you decide to re-record that one? Was it because you knew it would work well as an acoustic cut because it was a strong song anyway?
Lesli: Yeah! And the chords. It was kind of already based on open chords. GG strummed those chords or picked them chords out. There are certain songs that seemed like they worked well to do in this format that other songs. We tried some other ones that didn't really work.
Glenn: That's the thing. Some work better as electric songs because they are more in-you-face bang-bang and more raunchy but when you strip it all bare there's not as much there. You've got to think about some bands going unplugged. I don't think some of these bands songs would stand out at all. I'd be interested to see what a band like Slayer would sound like unplugged with proper singing. Totally strip it bare.
Lesli: It would probably sound cool because they happen to be cool live. They are a good band but it would be interesting – definitely. It seems like it's easier for certain bands to change their music and play acoustic as opposed to others you know?
Glenn: Yeah. The album itself is more about getting away from the druggy type of thing and getting cleaned up. You have become a different person in the last few years and you have been able to write about it too.
Lesli: Well I realised I had to make some changes. At one point I just decided that's what I needed to do. I'm glad I did because even now with what's going on with my dad being sick, being up here and able to help him. I also help my Mum because he's not there with her and there are different things he'd help her with. She needs help as well. She's getting up there in age. I knew if I was still the way I was before I wouldn't even be available to helping them. I would probably be like 'we'' whatever...' - I'm not sure. I'm glad I'm in that position now that I can help them and can have an effect on what is going on.
Glenn: Yeah. I remember meeting you in the early 2000's in the Pretty Boy Floyd days. You had all the make-up on. I think you had a fluffy pink jacket on. You were almost on a different planet or something. When I met you later though in Sheffield at The Dove And Rainbow when you were doing The Prophets Of Addiction and also at Bar Sinister on Hollywood Blvd, it was like a totally different guy altogether. It made such a big difference. It was incredible to see the dark and the light of your good self. A normal person.
Lesli: Normal as in you can see what's going on? (Laughs)
Glenn: Yeah. I like the cover of the album as well. It kind of reminds me of The Dogs D'Amour / Tyla cover. Did you have that in mind or was that just coincidence?
Lesli: I think it's just coincidence. I've been a fan of them for years of course but it's not intentional. It's how it ends up.
Glenn: Who actually did the design for the cover?
Lesli: That was a girl. Our friend – her name's Amy. It's kind of hard to get a good picture – a picture that looks cool of two guys playing acoustic guitars. It seems like when you do something acoustic like that or the way it comes across, it kind of almost lends itself to being kind of an artsy looking cover. That was a painting actually we scanned into the computer and finished the artwork like that. But originally it was a painting. It looks cool.
Glenn: Awesome. How did you originally meet her?
Lesli: We've known her for a while. She lives in L.A. I knew she'd done some paintings and drawings so I asked her if she could help us out. She said, “No problem”. We made it happen. We set it up here and it happened. We appreciate her doing that for us. It was cool.
Glenn: Awesome. The cover goes with the album and the songs go with the cover. It all blends perfect doesn't it?
Lesli: Yes, yes. That's where it's at yes. It seems like it fits with the way the album is.
Glenn: It's always good that, that you have an idea for what the album's going to be like before you actually play it. Sometimes you actually get surprise and think, 'It's not what I expected at all'. It's like the album is on the cover and the cover is on the album if that makes any sense?
Lesli: Yeah. It shows you've got two guys with acoustic guitars. But like I said, if it was two guys.. if it was a real photograph of two guys sat with electric guitars, I don't think it would have the same effect as it does or can be with the artistic part. The approach with the painting.
Glenn: Exactly. There's a song on there called 'Talking'. That really stands out quite a bit. It has an Eagles sound to it in a way. It's really sweet sounding guitar chords and notes. It's got that 'na na na' vocal part to it. It almost sounds like The Kinks in a way as well. That sort of style. What influenced that song?
Lesli: I don't know. I just started strumming some chords and it just kind of came out quick. Then we made a song. I don't really know what influenced the words. The words were talking about somebody who asks you a question and they never listen. They keep talking. Like, Well why even ask me in the first place if won't even hear what I have to say? You know?
Lesli: Then they try and answer it for you. So why did you even ask me if you don't even want to know what I think?
Glenn: Exactly. It's a bit like if you ask someone something, then you don't like the answer, so you go to somebody else. It turns it on it's head that way around doesn't it?
Glenn: Yeah. I was thinking, 'Is it about anyone in particular?'
Lesli: Not really. It's more just about life. It seems like it's a very common thing.
Glenn: Yeah. Got ya! 'Spare A Bullet' – Is that about you and not going down the drug road again or more in general?
Lesli: It's more about life in general. It's a bit of both. It's like, I want my life to come back...
Glenn: 'The Last Of The Words' – It comes across like it's about living in Hollywood and seeing all the hustling going on. People trying to make money out of people. Plus you've got stargazers and money makers. I know when I've been in Hollywood, I've not been there for a couple of years properly – high up in the Rainbow area but you do seem to see that a lot. Everyone wants to make a buck out of everyone and it's all a bit falsified.
Lesli: Yeah. It's all phoney. (We laugh)
Glenn: Everyone's in a band that you've never heard of and when you ask them to send you a CD or whatever, nothing ever materialises. I love that line in the song 'Stargazers and Moneymakers'. Have you had that line quite a bit or did that come to you all of a sudden? Did you have an idea for that line?
Lesli: I don't really remember. It seemed like it just fit for the chorus. A lot of times the lyrics, I don't really write them down. I'll just work out and be strumming the chords and it kind of just comes out. It seems like it fits. It fits with the narrative of what I was going for. In a lot of times, things are left up for interpretation. One time I had this one song and I was gone from my apartment. I walked in and everyone was there sat drinking some beers. There were three or four different people and they were all arguing what those lyrics were about. They asked me and I told them, “Well actually, you guys are all wrong but I'm glad it's created this debate.
The song can mean something different to every person. A lot of times it can mean something good – it can be something epic. It can be helping somebody who is going through a tough time or something like that. I've experienced that as well. Lyrics aren't always so literal. I don't always like to write them 100% literal. There's always a lot of times a double meaning or a hidden meaning or something else. What might sound like a love of a girl might be a drug or something else.
Glenn: I actually thought that. I've listened to it a few times today. I'm thinking, 'This girl... - the one who spreads her legs or whatever... that could be a chick or it might be about heroin or whatever type of drug. They are drawing that person back to it by enchanting them somehow'. I thought, 'It could be like that or it might just be about a girl in general'. It depends whatever it means to you I guess – whatever you want to read into it or not read into it.
Lesli: Like in the song 'Alternate Altercation' it says, 'Destiny unfolds her wings' – it sounds like it's a girl named 'destiny' but destiny is just destiny – your destination in life. It sounds sometimes like it is a girl because she can spread her legs or whatever... spread her wings or whatever it might say. It doesn't necessarily mean it's really a girl.
Glenn: Exactly. Yeah.
Lesli: A female or human being / girl...
Glenn: The song 'Hollywood Boulevard'. When you look at Hollywood Boulevard way back, what memories good or bad do you have of it that really stand in your mind? What does it mean to you now when you go down Hollywood Boulevard?
Lesli: Hollywood Boulevard is not what it used to be. That is for sure. Now it's Starbucks and the Gap.
Lesli: It used to be, in the old days you went to Hollywood. Before I ever moved to Hollywood, people would go to Hollywood – you could get the clothes, you could get the posters – everything you couldn't get in the town that you lived in. Even getting pink hair colours or something in the old days was very hard where we lived in the suburbs up here in Washington. We had to drive all the way up to Seattle to get coloured hair. Now you see it everywhere.
People would freak out whereas on Hollywood Boulevard was a place for originality. It's kind of like New York City. Now it's all cleaned up but it has no soul any more. It's generic. Like I said, there's Starbucks and The Gap. Hollywood Boulevard used to be one of the top places in unique places to go. The symbolism of Hollywood Boulevard is of course is the stars. In that song it says, 'I walk over stars that came before me'.
Glenn: Yeah. I got that straight away.
Lesli: The stars on the side-walk are a symbolic thing.
Glenn: Yeah. What spoilt it for me is when I first went down there in 2009. I thought, 'What's going on here? Every other shop is just a souvenir shop owned by Chinese people and such like selling T-shirts that are being sold by a shop, two shops down,' It's not Hollywood – it's just like a junk store.
Lesli: Yeah. That's not what is was like in the 80's or the early 90's. It was not like that. Every shop had bands, flyers and posters. There were people. It was a crazy place back then. It wasn't just Hollywood Boulevard – it was everywhere in L.A. You'd go to the grocery store in Los Angeles to get beer back in those days and you might as well have been at a rock concert. (We laugh) People in line with dyed hair. It would look like you were at a Rock show.
Glenn: Hence they used to call 'Ralphs' Rock and Roll Ralphs.
Lesli: Yeah. They sure did.
Glenn: Now it's just like anywhere else. I remember that more because there's that hump at the end of the exit and everyone's got low down cars and they always bash their cars on the actual hump as they are coming out of it. Then there's that bus stop that fills up with drunks on the outside of it as well. It's just amazing how things have changed though.
Lesli: It's changed everywhere. I was just thinking the other day, I was watching a baseball game on TV and I was saying, 'I can't tell the difference from this baseball player and a guy who is in a band nowadays.
Glenn: Yeah. They all look the same don't they? It's boring.
Lesli: It's like the same. They've got a couple of tattoos on their arms. Kind of short straggly hair and a low beard but it looks exactly like what you guys have over there with the football/soccer or whatever you want to call it. But it looks exactly like the guys in the newer bands. It's the same haircuts, the same clothes – everything.
Glenn: Yeah. It's like they have to have a certain look to fit it. But everyone is fitting in and anyone could be anywhere now. As you say with bands and that. I like to go and see a band and they actually look like a band – not just like the blokes who have come out the office and changed their clothes or something because that's just dull.
Lesli: Yeah. At least as far as I was concerned – yeah. (We laugh)
Glenn: Yeah we come from a different age don't we where a star will look like a star.
Lesli: When I was a kid it was like, 'Oh my gosh – they are larger than life'. They weren't the people that I saw walking down the street in the neighbourhood I lived in or in the stores I was at or anywhere else. I only saw the people in posters on my wall or in a magazine or something you know?
Lesli: Then if somebody looked like that we'd say, “Oh my gosh – who's that?” Somebody around here. You'd see someone once in a while at the mall and they would look like that. “Oh my God, who is that person?”
Glenn: Yeah. I noticed that when I went to Hollywood in 2009 or later on. You look around and think, 'Look at those guys – they must be in a band'. Then you find out it's just another person who wants to look like Nikki Sixx. Gawdd!!!(We laugh) You have to really stand out to take a proper notice otherwise... there's so many posers there – just absolute nobodies but they want to look like somebody. It's a bit.. you know... whatever... It's like a physical ego thing or something. It's just bizarre but it is what it is. So have you done many acoustic shows yet?
Lesli: We've actually played a lot of acoustic shows prior to the album coming out. For the last couple of years we have been touring like that because we had that new drummer. Then he got sick, so we went ahead and doing acoustic. I was going to set up an acoustic tour in Australia. We were possibly going to come over to Europe and the UK. Then the stuff when went down with my Dad having cancer so as of right now I have got nothing booked. You have to book those tours months and months and months ahead of time. Right now everything's up in the air. I can't be gone when he is sick. I can't book something because I don't want to have to cancel it. I thought the best thing to do is take a little break and work on some new songs. Hopefully at one point I can get back out there and do whatever I need to do. For now, I need to focus on this situation here.
Glenn: Yeah. If anything has come from the tragedy with your drummer and your dad, it's been a damn good album – if you look at it like that. Could you ever see yourselves doing an acoustic album if these things hadn't have happened in time to come? Or is it happened because it had to happen, so to speak?
Lesli: Well I kind of always wanted to do one anyhow. We had been playing acoustic shows anyhow sometimes. That way I can keep on the road. We would come back from playing a rock tour and go on and do an acoustic. I was also doing an acoustic on my own solo some times too. I would go to the East Coast and play 20 shows acoustic by myself. I had already been doing it. That was to keep busy and do something different. I'll plan on doing another acoustic record at on e point soon while I'm waiting through everything that's going on, while I'll make another rock record too.
Glenn: There's no doubt that when you go out acoustic it's a lot easier. You don't have to pack a van full of stuff. You can have a couple of guys or one guy with an acoustic guitar, a little amp, plugs in and that's it – he's away.
Lesli: Yeah you can just go in a car. You have a bag of merch, your clothes and your acoustic guitar. That's all you need for the whole tour. (We laugh)
Glenn: Yeah! You're not saying to a Promoter, “Right, I want 7 hotel rooms, I need all this food – this, that and the next thing..” Then they say, “Oh I can't afford that – we'll only pull about 20 or 30 people – we can't do it, it's not viable”. But now you can say, “Look, I've got my acoustic guitar, I can travel, when do you want me? What works? It's not going to cost you a fortune!”
Lesli: Yeah. There are a lot of places you can play acoustically that you're not going to a play with a full band. They will set you on a bar stool in a corner of some bar or pub somewhere. You don't need no big fancy PA system. You have a microphone, plug in your guitar, two speakers and it's good enough.
Glenn: Do any specific shows come to mind that you didn't think would be anything special, but you went in and you've got magical things happening? Venues that just came to life all of a sudden!
Lesli: Yeah actually. We've have had some really good acoustic shows where you wouldn't really expect it to be so good. There's some people that will say, “Oh my God, I think I might actually like this better than the full band”. I say, “That's just cos we're getting old!” (We laugh)
Glenn: Yeah! Now you've done acoustic shows, you've done electric shows in the past and vice-versa, do you have a preference now or do you like the electric show and the acoustic show for different reasons? Or regarding the recording of albums?
Lesli: I think that I would still rather in a perfect setting, have a really good rock band and play loud rock shows where people there are rocking out. It's weird because it's hard to compare the two because it's two different things and two different vibes. You can't really compare two different things even though it seems like they are the same because you are playing a show. But it's just different in a way. It took a while to get used to the acoustic for sure because it's not the same.
It's so loud and you hear everybody talking out there. It gets very frustrating at first after playing so many rock shows, you're not used to be able to hear anybody out there. Then you realise, 'Man this is annoying' and I can't even concentrate on what I'm trying to do because I hear 20 or 30 different conversations going on sometimes. You play certain places and they just carry on talking in the background even though there are some paying attention. Halfway through a set people are talking but that's just the way it is.
Glenn: Yeah. You could always play a show and then start singing lyrics of what these people are saying. (I laugh). It'd be like “Eh?”
Lesli: Right back to them. Yeah.
Glenn: (I laugh) Answering the conversations by what you sing. That would be funny. You might get a bit of an altercation or something. You never know do you?
Lesli: Yeah. I'm too old for that nonsense.
Glenn: Exactly. (We laugh)
Lesli: That would have been fun when I was young and drunk but now I'm old and fraggled. (We laugh)
Glenn: Yeah. The atmosphere in the song, 'I wish I had a dollar'. What would you say the best thing you've spent a dollar on in that situation? What have you most enjoyed spending just the one dollar on?
Lesli: Oh I don't know. It depends how thirsty I am. I'm not sure (Laughs) A tough question.
Glenn: Yeah. I thought I'd chuck one in. So what is 'The Truth'. Would you say the truth is what really is happening or is the truth what the President says? Or is it fake news or not? Or is the truth what they say is the truth?
Lesli: Yeah. Who knows with that question. I guess I'm trying to be as honest as I can be with what's going on. I'm not trying to make up stories. Telling real life. That's what I suppose I mean. The songs are real life. They are not songs that are written for pop star that never wrote the lyrics, never wrote the song. They are just performing them and making millions of dollars. It's not what those songs are. Those are real songs. I'm expressing my thoughts. It doesn't really matter. I know it's not going to get played on the radio. I know it's not going to sell millions of copies and I don't really care.
Glenn: Yeah. I guess that's the positive thing about not being played on the radio. You can do what the hell you want can't you?
Glenn: Because no-one is going to play them anyway.
Lesli: Yeah. I get to places and play them. You'll be in a room with people that are my age and they are still saying, “That one's too long – it's got to be under 3 ½ minutes”. I say, “Yeah, I agree with that”. They are still into the idea that I write the song because it might get played on the radio. (We laugh) I say, “I wouldn't really worry about that. That's fine to say”. I mean, I like short songs 2 ½ minute and 3 ½ minute songs – I don't have a problem with that. But if you are specifically writing it because you think it's going to be put on the radio, because you think you can write a so-called hit... There's people that I know that will say, “You need to write a hit, you need to write a hit! Can you write me a hit?” I say, “There's no such thing as writing a hit. The machine makes that a hit”. A lot of songs that were hits, they were horrible songs.
Glenn: Yeah. Exactly.
Lesli: I always think of that dismal marquee song. If I walked into a rehearsal room and started saying, “Hey I got this hit” (sings some bad hit melody 'You....), they would say, “You're crazy”, “No I'm not – that's a hit”. It became a huge hit. It was a horrible song but it was a hit.
Glenn: That's the thing isn't it. The worst songs become big and remembered. Sometimes you can have a great, great song that is a hit and other songs and others that aren't. Often songs on albums or that are on albums that have hits on them, I sometimes find the actual album tracks are better than these so called hits.
Lesli: Yeah. In reality, it's just a song. They decide to play it over and over so everybody listens to it and has heard it and it became a hit. Same deal if never got played. Then there's songs that they play over and over and over – it kind of went away and you never heard another song from that band ever again. Obviously, they picked the right one probably but....
Glenn: Exactly. How has the gig scene changed from your perspective?
Lesli: I don't know. It's so hard for me to experience what we have experienced all those years ago. It was crazy and people went out every night. Bands were out flyering. Every band was at everyone else's show because they were flyering. Girls were there and this and that. Now I go and it f*ck*ng sucks. That's because I know what it once was. If there's some younger kids and they go out... I've talked to people who are young than me – 10 or 15 years younger. They say, “We had a great show last night – there was 45 people there.” I said, “45 people? Back in my days, there was more people I had in my rehearsal room on a Saturday night.” That's just down here.
Glenn: Yeah. It's so different. Do you think that's because not as much expendable cash or is it a case that there are too many shows that they have going on? Or would they sooner sit at home and stare at their phone all night?
Lesli: I think it's just a cultural thing. Times change. It's what people did. They just don't do it so much.
Glenn: It's as though they'd sooner watch 'The Voice' or 'American Idol' than go out and see a proper band there that's doing it for the right reason and trying to make a living from it. It's more real. I think it's sad when it gets like that. Even Phil Soussan says he abhors these sorts of shows, that his wife loves it but he can't stand it.
Lesli: I can't stand those either. I mean think about it – you would never see Joey Ramone or Axl Rose or Michael Monroe. You wouldn't see anything like that. They'd be kicked off that thing in a second. They want people who sound like a perfectly normal vocally trained person that you can pick out of every high school choir. They don't want nobody cool.
Glenn: Yeah, It's true isn't it. They all sound the same. We had the same conversation me and Phil.
Lesli: There would be no Iggy Pop or David Bowie. They would be kicked off there. They would say, “You guys – you are terrible singers!” That Simon guy will be saying, “ You are the worst singer I have ever heard in my life”
Glenn: (I laugh) Look at Bob Dylan – there's no longevity any more because they try and create these people.
Lesli: Yes. Then they sing cover tunes and ruin the songs. Then all they're doing is making somebody else money. They are going to put out a record from those people with more crap that somebody else wrote.
Glenn: Exactly. It's not cool in this case. It's the way it's going. The music industry has become a supermarket. It's the same can of beans on each shelf. That's how its become. It's very sad. But there you go. Thank God there are guys like you that are actually doing it for the right reasons and still releasing good albums.
Lesli: I don't know if it's the right reason – just the only reason (We laugh). I don't know what else to do at this point. (laughs)
Glenn: Yeah. Go ya.
Lesli: Let me just go back in time and I'll do something different and start over. Then I would never do it (We Laugh). I would have made some better choices when I was younger.
Lesli: I wouldn't be in this same situation.
Glenn: But after saying that, you must have some proud moments in your career? What would you say have been proud moments or have been memorable moments?
Lesli: Well I used to want to talk about girls or big shows I've played and things like that. Now, I get messages from people that will say things like, “Hey, I just want to let you know, I was thinking about doing drugs, or thinking about cutting myself, thinking about suicide.. I listened to one of your songs and it really got me through my tough time. It got me through my day and everything turned out good.” To me, that's more important than that other stuff. Basically saving or helping somebody out, helping save a life, helping somebody else feel better, giving somebody a place for somebody to turn to – to look for an answer that they are looking for. I'm not saying that I'm doing that on purpose but if that's what became of what I created – it was able to help somebody else – change their life or save their life – that's pretty important. To reach the power of that.
Glenn: Yeah. Exactly. Well it's been goo talking to you. Is there anything else you'd like to discuss that we've not covered about the album, future possible shows when your Dad is right or local things?
Lesli: I don't really know much. If anyone wants to contact me, just contact me. I'd like to get out there and play. I'll play festivals. I'll play whatever. Pick up a copy of the record, pick up the videos. All the usual stuff everyone is going to say (we laugh).
Glenn: No problem. Well it's been really good to catch up with you.
Lesli: Yeah. You too. Thanks Glenn. I'll talk to you soon.
Glenn: You too. Take care mate.
Lesli: Okay. Thank You.
Glenn: Thanks. Bye.
Special Thanks go to Dave Tedder of Head First Entertainment.