Dean Roberts & Mike Olivieri - Leatherwolf

February 5, 2007


Photo Credit: www.musik-base.de

You guys came out in the Ď80s and made a few releases and then went on hiatus for 15 years.

Dean: Yeah, life got in the way.

Isnít it terrible when that happens?

Dean: Bills. You have to pay the bills.

Mike: Reality.

Bills and reality. What made you guys decide to get back into the fold again?

Mike: Weíre just all friends. We still talk all the time and we just thought it would be good to collectively do something with our talents that we have gained over the years. Why the hell not?

Dean: Lifeís too short.

Yes, life is too short. So the whole original lineup is back together?

Mike: The original four guys. Weíve always had bass players that came and went but the original four guys are me, Geoff, Carey, and Dean. Weíve had a few bass players before Paul. Actually Matt Hurich who was on the first record wasnít even the original.

Youíve had a Spinal Tap of bass players.

Mike: Well, Paulís a great guy but heís in Colorado and weíre in California. Itís hard to get together and write a record.

Dean: Heís got bills too. A mortgage.

Mike: Reality set in again.

That damn reality. Tell me how you guys first met up and formed Leatherwolf.

Mike: Actually this is funny. I wouldnít be surprised if today was the 25th anniversary. It was in 1982 that we had our first show at Woodstock. February 12th or something like that. It was somewhere around Valentineís Day. I was a senior in high school. That was our first club date but we played a lot of backyard parties before that. We played backyard parties. That was the thing in the early Ď80s. People opened up their backyards and got a keg and just went crazy. We would play anywhere. Set up in somebodyís backyard and play every Friday and Saturday. Sometimes three or four nights in a row. Or two different parties on a Friday. Thatís how it started out. We started out as a cover band playing Judas Priest covers and Iron Maiden and Scorpions. We always had a few originals but we never really had a solid singer. I was just the guitar player when we first started and we just had a lot of instrumental originals. We had a lot of songs that were just instrumentals. We knew someday it would evolve into an all original thing but we were just having fun and taking our time with it I guess you could say. We were living for that moment.

They donít seem to have backyard parties going on anymore.

Mike: Yeah.

Itís hard to get something like that going.

Mike: Itís the communities. People donít really like heavy metal bands playing in backyards.

Dean: It doesnít go over with the Homeowners Association too well.

Those people just arenít any fun.

Mike: Iíve been to a few lately. Matter of fact didnít you guys film the ďBehind The GunĒ video in a backyard?

Dean: The cops showed up. Mike: They were cool.

Did you include them in the video?

Mike: Weíre trying.

Do think theyíll go for it?

Mike: Well, weíve got them on film. We just havenít come up and edited it together yet.

I canít wait to see that one. You guys came out with a new record called World Asylum. Tell me a little bit about it.

Mike: Thatís a good record.

Dean: We were once again in the singer issue. Looking for a singer. Mike was busy taking care of his life so we found Wade Black who is a good singer to come in and sing the songs. Geoff and I pretty much wrote most of the vocals but it was an interesting record. It took us about a year and a half to do it. A couple of different guitar players. A couple of different bass players. Geoff played bass on the record on four or five of the tunes. Itís my first time engineering a record and recording. Really an interesting experience for me learning how to get tones and make a record sound halfway decent.

So itís the first time you guys got behind the soundboard.

Dean: Yeah, we didnít mix it. We went to Denmark. Jacob Hansen who is a killer engineer put the icing on the cake for that particular puppy.

Why did it take a year and a half?

Dean: Well, we had to work every day. We hold day jobs.

Life got in the way again.

Dean: Well, not really. Life was fun, work was work, and music was music. It was nice to work and then be able to be creative.

Thatís the way I feel too. I have a day job and then when I come home I do my webzine.

Mike: That particular point in time, I wasnít really able to participate in the project so it took them a little while to find somebody who was capable to pull it off and do the vocals on it. Iím looking forward to doing a new Leatherwolf record though.

Why did you decide to return to Leatherwolf?

Mike: Itís like a bad cold. You can never get rid of it. I just really respected the product they put out. The World Asylum record was really good and Deanís turning into a great engineer. Just working with Dean and Geoff, weíve known each other going on 26 or 27 years so itís a natural thing.

Isnít it wild to sit there and think about knowing someone for almost 30 years?

Mike: Yeah, some of us have changed, some of us are the same.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Dean: Itís probably a little of both.

Dean, tell me why you decided to take part in the engineering part of the record.

Dean: Itís all we could afford. The funny thing is it really started out to be a demo to get a record deal so we could go and get a deal and then go into the studio and do a record. It just never happened. The singer that we got to do demos didnít fly so me and Geoff just decided to stop making demos and just make a record. So we pulled out Pro-Tools for idiots and figured out how to use it on a couple of mics and bam.

Did you guys manage to sign with anybody?

Dean: We have a deal in Japan and a deal in Europe. One with Massacre Records and one with King Records in Japan.

Have you found anybody here?

Dean: Not yet.

I wonder why itís so difficult to find record deals here.

Mike: I guess weíre not 25.

Dean: We wonít sign our lives away for pennies.

Tell me about three or four of the songs on the record that you like a lot.

Dean: Which ones do you like?

With me, I either enjoy the entire record or I donít. I thought it was a really rocking record.

Dean: I like ďGrailĒ a lot because Geoff wrote most of the melodies but I got to write the storylines. That was interesting for me trying to write stories. The whole thing was interesting too because I always played drums so I never got an opportunity to write melodies. It was hard to write melodies and words in timeframes. It was definitely an experience. I really respect Mike and Geoff for what they do now that I was put in the position to do what they do. That was interesting. I like ďBehind The GunĒ. I like that one a lot. I like ďDr. WickedĒ. That was a funny song because that was written in five minutes.

Damn, thatís pretty quick.

Dean: Yeah, it was. It was weird. Geoff just came up with the rhythm. It was pretty much pieced together and I just knew what to play right out the gate. It was funny. I think that has one of the most killer choruses. What else do I like? ďDerailedĒ is a good one. ďNever AgainĒ is a pretty good one too. ďKing Of The WardĒ is a killer song too. I thought that would be the one that would be the commercial tune. One that would catch on. But it turns out ďBehind The GunĒ is the one that everyone seems to like.

Isnít if funny how you think a certain song will make a great single and then people decide they like something else.

Dean: Well, itís weird. You never know. You just never know.

How long has the record been out?

Dean: About six months.

How have people responded to it?

Dean: Itís doing good. We got really good reviews which we were surprised because when you come with a new band using the old name, usually you get beat up pretty bad. It turned out everyone liked the record.

Yeah because people are like ďoh my God, there are only two original guys in the bandĒ and whine, whine, complain, complain.

Mike: Well, life goes on. What are you going to do? Priorities happen. If me and Carey couldnít do it at the time, thereís no reason that Geoff and Dean canít carry it on. To me when I first heard the record, it was pretty overwhelming to me but now that I sat in with it and I know the record now, itís one of my favorite metal records. Itís really good.

Are you doing some touring on this record if work permits?

Dean: Well, weíre in the middle of Mike re-singing the whole record.

Mike: Nobody knows that yet. Itís top secret.

Dean: On another note, me and Geoff were pretty much blown away too on just how good it turned out. Making the record was a side job. Then when I was in Europe and listening to it after it was mixed, I was like ďoh man, this is good.Ē Iím totally surprised it turned out as good as it did. Weíve got some dates hopefully soon here in March in Chicago but weíre not going to know until tomorrow.

So thatís still being worked out.

Dean: Yeah, itís still being worked out. Weíve had a hard time getting shows around the United States and we were supposed to go on tour in Europe in May but that fell through.

Good lord it already fell through and itís not even May yet.

Dean: Well, we would have had to know by December of last year. Weíre setting up some stuff for the summer in Europe for some of the festivals.

Oh yeah, during the summer they have shitloads of festivals.

Dean: Weíre looking forward to doing some shows but weíre focusing on recording while that all comes together.

Mike is going to re-sing the whole record.

Mike: Yeah and then weíre going to release it in the United States and a couple of other territories and see what happens.

So Europe gets the record that had the other dude and we get the record thatís going to have Mike.

Mike: Yeah, itís going to confuse the hell out of people but we are known for confusing people. We are probably known for confusing people at least on the first two records that were self-titled.

Dean: Donít spend any time thinking about it.

At least you keep people on their toes.

Dean: Maybe.

You said you guys were working on a video that involved the police. Whatís the video about?

Mike: Oh, itís just a song called ďBehind The GunĒ. Itís a story about the song but weíre not sure if itís going to work out in the edit. Itís hard to put a story to that song in only a few days. That song is about a father son relationship and the son thinks his father killed his brother. So we had a story about that at one of our friendís house from Jackson. We went up to his house and shot a storyline around that. We havenít sat behind a computer and edited it to see if it even flies.

Well, having the police involved in that will definitely help I think.

Mike: Well, it might but that has nothing to do with the story of the song. That would be an added extra.

I hope you guys figure out a way to edit the police officers in that. I think that would be cool. After Mike re-sings the record and you re-release it and confuse everyone and you guys do your summer stuff, what else do you have planned?

Mike: Weíre working on a new record right now.

Dean: Having a lot of barbecues in my brand new pool.

That sounds cool. You guys are working on a new record. Have you written some stuff for it?

Dean: Weíre in the middle of it. Weíve got some melodies. Weíve basically got the melodies down and some rhythms down.

Mike: Weíre putting the skeleton together for everything right now.



Leatherwolf