Leader of Down - 19/11/2018

The brainchild of former Motörhead guitarist Würzel and bass player Tim Atkinson who after forming the band Leader of Down in 2008. They then recruited drummer, Steve Clarke (Ex Fastway) to join the ranks and continue preparing for the debut album “Cascade Into Chaos”.  Although there are several guest vocalists on the album such as Whitfield Crane, the line up of Leader of Down is completed by vocalist Matt Baker and guitarist Alex Ward who have slipped seamlessly into the line up.

 

After Würzel’s tragic death in 2011 the band continued to finish the album and enlisted the help of some friends to honour the great man. With guest appearances from Lemmy, Phil Campbell (who joined Motörhead on the same day as Würzel in 1984), Fast Eddie Clarke who has also sadly passed away beginning of 2018, Whitfield Crane from Ugly Kid Joe, Lee Richards (Ex Godsmack), Bruce Foxton from The Jam, and Cliff Evans from Tank. The album is of course a tribute to Würzel and the other fallen Motörhead heroes but it is also just the beginning for Leader of Down.

 

 

Could you start this interview off with a short introduction how Leader of Down got together and where the origin of the name came from?

 

Tim: We formed in 2008, I had been working with Würzel on another project and I suggested to him that we formed a band, he said to me that he had been wanting to ask for that for ages but didn’t think I would want to. This was funny because I had been thinking the same thing. I loved being with Würzel and miss him everyday.  The name came from Würzel mishearing the lyrics to the Status Quo song “Down Down”, he had been singing the wrong words for years and we thought this would be a nice name. We started working in a studio writing songs and had a great time doing it, after a few months Würzel asked Steve Clarke to join on drums and we carried on working on the album.

 

What were the goals you had in mind when you started this band and how did you launch into writing material for ‘Cascade Into Chaos’? What approach did you take to write those songs and who was responsible for the lyrics?

 

Tim: We wanted to do an album and me and Würzel started putting songs together, Würzel wanted to do a new version of his 80s solo release “ People say I’m Crazy” so that was one of the first songs that we recorded. “Paradise turned into Dust” was always intended for Lemmy so we recorded the track and left the lyrics to him. A lot of the other lyrics were written by me.

 

Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘Cascade Into Chaos’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

 

Tim: It was just a saying that Würzel said once and we both laughed, so it seemed a good title. There is no special meaning really but it just felt a good title. We were always joking about with funny sayings and private jokes etc.

 

In your opinion, how was the experience Würzel helpful in your compositional skills and how does that affect the way you guys wrote the songs for this album?

 

Tim: Writing with Würzel was great fun, as I have been a Motörhead fan all my life it was a great process as I knew instinctively what he might do and we worked really well together. He had an amazing talent and it was a total pleasure. I think that when you are enjoying the process it makes it a lot easier and we had great fun when we started writing.

 

I guess it was a hard decision to finish the album after Würzel died in 2011 because it took some time. How did the recording process proceed after 2011?

 

Tim: Of course it was tough, Würzel was a great friend and is missed everyday. We wanted to really honour him and release the best stuff we could. We wanted some friends to help and it was great when Lemmy recorded his vocals and it was a very emotional session recording “ Paradise turned into Dust”, as this had been the very first song that we had written and recorded years before.

 

 

Have you received any feedback on the new album yet and what do you personally think about this album – are you satisfied with the outcome or would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective?

 

Tim: I am satisfied with the album and I think it is a good reflection on what we were trying to achieve at the beginning. The one thing that I would change is that Würzel was still here to see the release of the record.

Do you have any favourites on ‘Cascade Into Chaos’, songs that you think are somehow above the others?

Tim: I love the tracks that Lemmy is on and “Paradise turned into Dust” is a special one for me as that is the first track that we wrote. I also have a soft spot for “Cascade into Chaos”.

Who was responsible for the recording and the production of ‘Cascade Into Chaos’ and what made him the perfect guy?

 

Tim: We had several different engineers most notably Kenny Jones in London but all the final mixes etc were done by longtime Motörhead producer Cameron Webb in Los Angeles. He was the perfect guy for us because he had worked on many Motörhead albums and was amazing.

 

In which elements/songs on the new album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?

 

Tim: With Würzel, he liked things slightly different at times and the solo section in “Cascade into Chaos” is probably the best example of that. He was very inventive and had some great ideas. With Cameron- he really helped bring the sound out during the mixes and it was then mastered at Abbey Road studios in London.

 

With Würzel sadly gone, what are the future plans for the band, are there any touring plans and what about some new material?

 

Tim: We are currently on tour with Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons and we will be continuing as a band and record another album in 2019. We will be doing another UK tour in 2019 and then coming over to Europe.

 

What is the utmost important ingredient for a Leader of Down song according to you and what are you’re influences?

 

Tim: There is obviously a strong Motörhead presence but I suppose that we have a 70s / 80s sound and the songs just developed in their own way. We didn’t want to sound like Motörhead, they are unique and will never be equalled, but of course there are elements of them in our music.

 

Is there any unused stuff from the recordings with Wurzel, if so what can we expect if there is an new album?

 

Tim: We wrote a lot of tracks but not really any recorded  stuff, there will still be a strong presence of Würzel on the next album. He is missed every day.

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?

 

Tim: I really like word play and having meanings that aren’t obvious. There are lots of personal bits in the lyrics on the album that are memories but put in a slightly different way. I spend a lot of time thinking and like my own space which helps with lyric writing especially.

 

What is your opinion on the metal scene these days, and what makes Leader of Down different from the other metal bands out there?

 

Tim: I love all rock but we are probably more traditional in our approach and it is more 70s/ 80s than the more modern metal.

 

Which goals did you have when started out as a musician and how do these goals stand now?

 

Tim: As a Motörhead fan from  age 9 , I wouldn’t have ever imagined that I would have worked with a lot of the members and it has been a privilege and honour to have done that. If I went back to being a young teenager at my first Motörhead shows I would have given my right arm to playing with them and it is quite surreal that I have done that now. Sadly so many members have now passed and are missed throughout the world.

 

Who are your greatest influences - both in terms of composition, as well as your bass-playing?

 

Tim: Lemmy was the reason that I started playing the bass and I love his lyrics and music, he was a massive influence on me. I like a lot of stuff from AC/DC to The Beatles and Stones, I like tracks that really hit me and get me going. 

 

Anything you want to say to our readers, here is your chance?

 

Tim: We really hope that you like the album and we look forward to seeing you on the road.

 

Thanks for your time,

Eugene Straver

 

 

Albums:

2018 - Cascade Into Chaos

 

Line-up:

Tim Atkinson – Bass

Steve Clarke – Drums

Matt Baker – Vocals

Alex Ward – Guitars