Sunday, December 17, 2017

Maiden Hell

Jarvis Leatherby 
Musician, Promoter and NWOBHM Enthusiast

Muthas, I was lucky enough to be able to interview the main man in Night Demon - Jarvis Leatherby - about the New Wave Of British Metal. It's a very cool interview and Jarvis has some really insightful (and lengthy!)  answers to my questions. So let's see what Jarvis has to say about NWOBHM. Enjoy!

MBOM: Jarvis, thanks so much for doing this interview! How's the touring going for the new Night Demon album?

Jarvis: So far so good.  We are about 1/3 of the way through the touring cycle for Darkness Remains.  We've done a ton of European headline touring and festivals, along with some big U.S. Festivals.  Heading back to Europe at the beginning of the year to support Accept for about six weeks, then returning stateside to do some more damage out here.  Although it's a grueling lifestyle, I can proudly say that we are really enjoying it now more than ever.

MBOM: In addition to being in Night Demon you are also the singer for NWOBHM legends Jaguar. How did that come to pass? Any plans for a new Jaguar album with you at the mic?

Jarvis: A few years back, Jaguar's then time manager had contacted me regarding the band looking for a new vocalist.  They had heard Night Demon's cover of "Axe Crazy" (on the expanded version of our debut EP) and thought I would be a good fit.  Unfortunately at the time, I was right in the middle of a Night Demon tour and had another one to follow right after.  It also didn't help that the rest of the band was spread over the U.K. And Sweden. 
About a year and a half went by with little to no communication when I came across a poster for a big NWOBHM festival in the U.K and saw their name on it.  I immediately contacted Garry Pepperd (founding guitarist of Jaguar) to find out who they got to fill the role of lead singer.  He explained that they still had nobody, and had hoped to get somebody in on time to do the show, but to no avail.  At that point I knew I would be available for this particular date, so I picked up our conversation where we left off and I agreed to do the gig and see how it goes. 
Night Demon had just come off a tour in Mexico with Skull Fist, and I immediately got off the plane in Los Angeles, can hopped on another plane to London.  I got to spend a couple days with Simon and Garry prior to the gig (not rehearsing mind you) drinking and getting to know each other.  We hit it off so well, it felt like we had been best mates forever.  I met Nate the drummer onstage at the gig, and we busted out an amazing set in Sheffield, and the rest is history.
Power Games is such a huge vocal influence to me, it's a surreal feeling to be up there with those guys on stage and live out a real rock and roll dream.  I'm a great fit for the band, and at the moment we are just taking things as they come and keeping it a fun and low pressure situation.  The great thing is the band has never rehearsed since I've been in it, and we just have this mutual trust on stage that seems to work really well while also feeling very spontaneous. 

MBOM: What song/comp/album started you on your journey of listening to and collecting NWOBHM?

Jarvis: NWOBHM 79' Revisited. That was the one that did it all for me.  I haven't been the same since.  It changed my view of metal in the most positive way.  In the pre-internet years there were so many NWOBHM bands that I had heard of, seen photos, artwork, new song titles, etc. that I had never actually heard with my own ears.  One day I was at Best Buy in the suburban town I grew up in, and I came across the double CD version of this in the racks.  I couldn't believe my fucking eyes!  I had no knowledge of this compilation ever existing, so to me I was in heaven and completely blown away with excitement of what I was holding in my hands, and what I was inevitably going to buy and rush home to throw into my stereo.
I remember specifically the excitement of popping in the first disc so I could finally here “It's Electric” by Diamond Head.  Here is a song that I had heard about for a long time, but never had the opportunity to actually ever listen to.  That was just the tip of the iceberg in all actuality.  The songs and the bands themselves just kept my attention track by track from beginning to end.  I thought I had an idea of what NWOBHM was all about, but this thing really took me to my first major schooling on the genre.
This compilation was something much more focused than Metal for Muthas.  You also had twice   three times as much music here.  I suppose in hindsight guys like Lars Ulrich and Brian Slagel could really be able to put together something more comprehensive like this because the scene had already been and gone.  Where as Metal for Muthas was released in the thick of it all.
I discovered so many bands from this compilation.  One thing I will say about it know a days is that the bands that were on this very damn lucky to be included.  Now that my knowledge of NWOBHM bands has more than doubled from that point in time, there are so many unsung heroes of the scene that were really great.  If only they were on this comp, maybe their careers would have been different in the later reunion years of some of these bands.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM single?
This is a strange one because the sing is very commercial and poppy sounding.  Almost like it could've easily been a Rick Springfield song or something like that, but something about taking the risk to release a song like that as a single, really excites me.  It's a great song with some really good hooks, and although the production is big sounding, the tones are very raw and rock and roll.  The song also kind of reminds me of something Rainbow would do in the Graham Bonnet era.  Funny thing is that the band didn't even write this song, so I assume this was the record label's attempt to get a hit song out of AIIZ.
The cover art is fantastic!  A killer live shot of the band on stage with red lights and fog!  That's exactly how Night Demon was in the early days.  We brought our own red lights and fog machines to every gig.  It was our signature.  Maybe subliminally that came from this image.  Who knows?
Now the b-side “Ringside Seat” is really what's gonna save my ass here.  LOL!
This has got to be one of my favorite songs of all time!!!!!!!!!!  From the intro down to the last note.  If you ever want to explain to someone what rock and roll sounds like, this is the first song they should ever hear.  I don't need to go into explaining why, or breaking down the song.  Just simply go listen to it and feel that feeling.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM LP?

Jarvis: Angel WitchAngel Witch
This is a question I would normally struggle with, but in truth it's not that tough a decision when I really answer the full question.  To me it's my favorite because it's such a complete album.  There are enough songs, the sequence is perfect, the dynamics are definitely there, there is an interesting yet unmistakable sound to the album, and the artwork is iconic.
We have been fortunate enough to get to know Kevin and the band and play quite a few shows with them.  I absolutely love the band and they are definitely in my top five favorite NWOBHM bands of all time. 

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM compilation released back in the 80s?

Jarvis: I would have to say Roksnax.  It's a pretty rare comp that our former guitar player Brent Woodward turned me onto.  Hollow Ground was one of the bands on there, and really blew me away.  Saracen, as well.  This comp has a lot of more rare NWOBHM bands, but the quality of the bands is really high in my opinion, and I'm really glad he turned me onto it when he did.

MBOM: Which band had the better debut album - Iron Maiden or Angel Witch?

Jarvis: This is a loaded question.  Difficult to say, but if I had to make a choice, I would say MaidenAngel Witch in my mind had a better album, but Maiden's debut is just a total and complete game changer.  You could argue that the Soundhouse Tapes was the true debut, but really with the artwork, and the songs, the first Maiden album really did so much to advance the genre.  Angel Witch is still my favorite of the two, but with Angel Witch, you kind of feel that it's more sophisticated than a debut.  I have nothing ever bad to say about Maiden, and I'm not here, but even as amazing as the self titled is, I still prefer Killers to the debut.  Better production, and more direction in the song writing and themes.

MBOM: Which Brian Ross band do you like the most - Satan, Blitzkrieg, Avenger or Lone Wolf?

Jarvis: Satan.  I'm not just saying that because I manage the band, either.  For my money, Satan is a band who is a the top of their game.  There's not been anything I didn't like that the band has ever released.  I think Brian's voice fits the band well, and has since he joined over thirty years ago.  He is the voice of Satan.  It's so rare to see a band like them these days.  The original five members from the Court in the Act era are still playing together, and writing and recording, and performing on the highest level.  So maybe that is why I manage the band.  They are the best!  It's undeniable.

MBOM: Was Motorhead a NWOBHM band or were they a precursor like Judas Priest?

Jarvis: Definitely not a NWOBHM band.  They are more a U.K. Punk band than anything in my opinion.  At least when they started.  They are one of the most important bands to the NWOBHM movement, but they came before and helped inspire it all, along with Priest, punk rock, and the big three (Sabbath, Zepplin, and Purple).

MBOM: Please recommend a good playlist for a NWOBHM newcomer.


MBOM: Which NWOBHM band do you wish had been more successful/well known?

Jarvis: Raven.
They get well known for the first band to take Metallica on tour.  Well they were also the first band to take Night Demon on tour.  So what?!  The fact is that Raven still have more energy on stage today as any metalcore acrobatic band out there.  This guys are the real deal and always have been.  There are so many great songs that span their catalog, it would be hard for me to pick the perfect setlist by them, because something would obviously have to be left out.  I'm not sure if it was bad decisions, bad management, the public not being mature enough for them, or all of the above.  The fact that Raven's still not as well known as they should be continues to blow my mind.  I'm happy to have them still around, as I know their die hard fans are.  The positive thing is that they are still making new records, touring the globe, and always have a certain spark in them that makes them relevant today, and always working toward a better future for the band.  They are one of the most important bands in the NWOBHM scene, and there can never be a conversation about the genre without mentioning them.  Their legacy is cemented.

MBOM: Which of the classic "Black And White EPs" is your favorite - Paralax - White Lightning, Mythra - Death And Destiny, or Crucifixion - Green Eyes?

Jarvis: Mythra.
I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with this band many times, and every time "Death and Destiny" or "UFO" is played, and just can't stop smiling.  Paralex and Crucifixion also put out good EPs, but the Mythra EP has a little more musicianship for me, good solid rock hooks, and a production more liking to my ear.  Overall it's a more solid outing in my opinion.

MBOM: Night Demon's covers of Jaguar's "Axe Crazy" and Diamond Head's "Lightning To The Nations" are excellent. Any plans for any other NWOBHM covers?

Jarvis: Yes, we are actually in the studio next week to record a cover of LeGriffe's “Fast Bikes”.  Here's another band that had it not been for our friend Rob McNees in Houston, TX, we would have never heard of, would have had to wait to discover it years later.  Rob made us an old school mix-tape for the road, because our touring van only had a cassette player in it.  The tape began with the Fast Bikes EP.  We ere totally blown away!  I think we must have listened to that thing hundreds of times on tour, and we still do to this day.  Definitely a diamond in the rough, and a band that fell through the NWOBHM cracks.  I highly recommend checking out this band.

MBOM: Which NWOBHM band that never released an album do you wish had released a full length? (Five bonus points for picking Trespass.)

Jarvis: I'm actually going to say Buffalo.  I know they put out a record in the 2000's way late in their career, but really those first singles are so good, and show so much promise.  It makes me wonder what they would've become had they kept it going in the early days.  Trespass also would've been a great band.  One of These Days is definitely one of my favorite singles. (Editor's note - I'll award 2.5 points for acknowledging the greatness of One Of These Days.)

MBOM: Are there any recent albums by old NWOBHM bands that you can recommend?


  • SatanLife Sentence and Atom By Atom.  A new album has been completed and will be released in 2018.  I can tell you know that it's gonna be something great!
  • RavenExtermination
  • Diamond HeadDiamond Head
  • MythraStill Burning

MBOM: Do you have any cool NWOBHM rarities/collectibles?

Jarvis: I actually own a copy of the Diamond Head white album.  The version I acquired years ago is just the white cover with no signatures on it.  It is real though, and it is on Happy Face Records.  When Night Demon did some dates with Diamond Head, I had Brian Tatler sign the black jacket for me.  He confirmed that it was a legit copy, then proceeded to write the year under his signature.  LOL!  Another bucket list moment, nonetheless.

MBOM: Is there a particular NWOBHM rarity that you'd like to have in your collection?


  • Iron MaidenSoundhouse Tapes
  • JaguarAxe Crazy single
  • Witchfinder GeneralBurning a Sinner

MBOM: Thanks for taking the time to talk about NWOBHM! Any last words or anything else to add?

Jarvis: Thanks for spreading the word on NWOBHM.  For me it's the best sub genre in all of heavy metal. It has the perfect balance of melody, heaviness, and true spirit than anything else I've ever heard.  These songs still live up to this day and continue to inspire me.  I still can't believe that just when I think I've heard every NWOBHM band that ever existed, something gets unearthed for me and I start all over again.  I hope that's something that continues to happen.  Cheers!


Muthas, I hope you enjoyed the interview with Jarvis and it inspires you to buy some Night Demon and to listen to more NWOBHM!

Also, Jarvis just announced Frost and Fire in London (!) on May 11-12, 2018.  Several NWOBHM legends are scheduled to play including Angel Witch, Mythra, Bashful Alley and Jaguar!


1 comment:

  1. Just a correction, Jarvis is not and has never been Jaguar singer, he only helped out the band in a few gigs. Jaguar remains without a permanent singer at the moment.