Initially, Leatherface started playing their own brand of punk rock in and around their native city of Sunderland as unknowns. After the success of their third album, ‘Mush’, find themselves on the verge of releasing their forth full length entitled ‘Minx’ compete with tracks, ‘Wallflower’, ‘Eat, Earthy, ‘Flirt’, ‘A Sad Day Indeed’ and ‘Cartoon (With A Pain)’ among others, as they say.
The band returned to play Sunderland University’s Wearmouth Hall recently. The gig was storming, as is thee band’s recent 12” single ‘Do The Right Thing’, it was impractical to interview the band, just after the gig as close friends inundated the North East band post show. But an interview was arranged with Leatherface guitarist, Dickie Hammond, a few days later, Frank Mendez with the questions and liquid refreshment.
Could you tell us anything about the new ‘Minx’ album?
“Aye, it’s a grower, not as immediate as ‘Mush’ – where you just put it on and grabs you. ‘Minx’ is just one of those albums that grows on you. The album is a bit more varied, as well, it not all exactly the same, song after song. You know there is one song that sounds slightly metallic in places, but its a pop song. This album is very melodic, it was a bastard to do, but its all recorded now, I haven’t seen the cover yet, but I have heard the whole album, it’s great.”
I noticed the Tracy Chapman cover, during the Uni gig, are you planning any more covers on the new LP?
“Yeah well the Tracey Chapman cover was off the last single. ‘Compact And Bijou’.
There’s an accompanying single with the first thousand LP’s, the singles got ‘Falling In Love With You’ by Elvis Presley on it. ‘Dreaming’ was recorded with ‘Compact And Bijou’, that’ll be on the B side. That’s just the free single with the first thousand vinyl copies of Minx’, but the actual LP and CD won’t have any extra tracks on it, just twelve tracks and no covers.”
When the band is touring, do you like to coming home and doing the odd gig here?
“We’re not really fans of doing a gig in our home town, there’s a lot more hassle for us to play in Sunderland than there would be for us to play in Japan. It’s just like you’ve got so much organising to do and there’s that many people that you know, you have to put them on the guest list, it is all a bit of a hassle. The gig that we have just done at the poly was a good gig. I really enjoyed that, most venues that Leatherface play have just the same kind of reaction, as we got last Saturday night, that’s what we get all over the place normally. When we used to play Sunderland, it was not like that recent gig, it used to be like no one was dancing at all. Earlier gigs, they’d just be standing there their as if to say ‘who the fuck are these’.”
‘Do The Right Thing’ single promo video
Has there been a favourite venue for you yet?
“There are a few venues that I really enjoyed playing, Glasgow’s King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, that’s an brilliant place, Edinburgh’s The Venue, that’s another place the band loved playing. Really enjoyed The Astoria in London which again, was brilliant. I think everyone in the band has got a different favourite venues, but we all agree, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut has got to be the best one; we all just love playing there.”
Has the sound of Leatherface changed since the first album?
“No, I don’t think it has. The band has always had it’s own sound, I don’t think it’s every changed since the band started. The guitars are more or less the same, the drums sound the same, bass has always had the same sound, even though the band have had so many bass players!I just think that the songs are a natural progression from the early stuff, with us actually getting better at writing songs.”
One thing I noticed, Leatherface tend to mean something: Is that a definitive policy?
“Well I don’t write the lyrics, Frankie writes them, but I think he is the best lyric writer in the country; I have not actually read anybody else’s lyrics that are better, for a hell of a long time. the band have been renowned for the lyrics. Frankie’s a brilliant songwriter, that’s the way I feel about it.”
‘Live For You’ from the ‘Compact And Bijou’ EP
Do you have one final message for all the Leatherface fans?
“Yeah, watch out for a band called China Drum, they are the bees knees, they are absolutely brilliant.”
Leatherface – The Rock Garden, Dublin 1993 (Part 1 & 2)