Demon Lovers - Metal as Fuck talks to Melody Black's Leeno Dee

Welcome to a land where old glam rock meets new punk dynamism - the land of Melody Black...

Every now and then, one of the functions of running a popular heavy metal-based website is opening jiffy bags bulging with free stuff. Of course, the old adage about free lunches is quite true, and these bags o’awesome aren’t actually just sent by beneficent record companies for no reason at all. Inside are CDs and we’re meant to review the buggers in return for being given something to take down to the local record n’tape exchange once a month to cash in for beer tokens- there’s a contract at work here- and, as my old physics master Harry Boardman used to say with brain-numbing regularity, ‘you’ve got to sing for your supper, Adams” –  so occasionally I do actually slip one of these glistening, iridescent discs into the tray and press play. And even more occasionally the resultant din makes me sit up and shout something along the lines of ‘Christ on a bike, this is rather good!’

Just such a scenario unfolded before my living ears just a couple of weeks ago, the album in question being Melody Black’s rather spiffing Love Your Demons effort (which you’ll be able to see dissected at length elsewhere on MaF in the very near future); I was on the e-mailing machine with immediate effect setting up an interview so that word could be spread about this marvelously exhilarating album, which leads to today and after one postponed chinwag – the demands of real life getting in the way again – me and MB bassman Leeno Dee are finally getting the chance to have a chat about, well, stuff.

The first thing I wanted to chat about was, suitably, the songs on LYD – they really don’t sound like anything currently doing the rounds. Was that something you set out to do when you sat down as a band, or was it nothing so coldly calculated? “Basically Melody Black started as a project – I don’t really like that word, we are a band – but it was a home for some songs I’d written that really weren’t suitable for my other band. (Dee, formerly of Jerk, also finds a home in Ink). There’s was no way I’d take these songs to them, and so it comes to that point where you want to do something with them!”

Melody Black is that outlet. The style of music is a hooky, guitar heavy brand of big rock that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the radio during rock’s resurgence in the mid nineties, and for whatever reason fell out of favour with the world’s tastemakers shortly after that. It’s an exciting mix of muscle and finesse – how did it come about? “I would say that it comes from growing up. I think the sound kind of bypasses a lot of stuff, and goes right back to some of the glam rock of the seventies; I was a young boy then, growing up, and I was a big fan of bands like The Sweet and T-Rex. Short songs, big choruses. Although people might not make the connection directly, theres a lot about those bands that was very punky in feel and attitude, and I really like that.”

We go off topic for a while here, shooting the breeze on a glam tip and swapping some stories from back in the day. Now that Leeno mentions the connection to the seventies, large portions of …Demons start to make even more sense. There’s an almost Lydonesque punk attack to much of vocalist Jonathan Devoy’s work on the album isn’t there? “I was so pleased when he said he wanted to be a part of this, he’s a big fan of a lot of bands from that part of the world, and I think his vocals fit the material perfectly.”

They surely do. But I want to digress again.Growing up as a glam rock fan - a rather isolating experience? It’s much easier in these social networking days to find like-minded souls isn’t it? “I guess you always find ways of finding people don’t you? People tend to attract like minds I think. You know I could say hi to a bloke, and he’s wearing a flannel shirt and says ‘I love Pearl Jam’, and well, you think ‘I don’t have much in common with you mate!” but then you see someone else in a Misfits shirt, you get talking, you maybe make a series of connections through bands you like – Misfits leads to Iggy Pop, Iggy Pop leads to David Bowie, David Bowie leads to T-Rex! I think that’s especially true when talking to musicians’.

And talking of musicians, its fair to say that there’s a mighty amount of experience within Melody Black’s ranks, muso-wise. Would you say now is a good time to be in an independent band, with so much nous onboard? “Definitely, the power is all within our hands! Everyone in the band at one point or another has been in bands on major labels, and, whilst I personally don’t really have anything bad to say about majors you do feel always with them that you have to listen to what they say – they are paying for you to do it, to be in a band. It’s great in this band to be indie.”

There’s no need for shifty svengali-like characters to call the shots these days is there? “Absolutely not!”

So, the album’s out – just good, old-fashioned hard roadwork now in support? “Yes, but we’ve only really concentrated on New South Wales so far. We are supporting the Misfits and then in the new year we’d like to get interstate and hopefully further afield. I’d also like to see the album released outside Australia. And then in the middle of 2012 I’d like to get back in the studio and start work on album number two. We’ve got a big stockpile of songs.”

This is marvellous news – Love Your Demons is choc-full of the good stuff, but the promise of ‘plenty more where that came from’ – and live shows to back up the recorded goodness – means there’ll be a lot to look forward to from Leeno and company in 2012 – stay tuned.