Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Interview: James Leg "I'm Not Very Good At Make Believe" Part 1

James Leg
I've been listening to this man's music far too long to call him a new artist.

He's embarking on his tenth year as an Alive-Natural Sound recording artist and is set to release his second solo album, and sixth release for the label, Below The Belt.

Over the years we've seen Leg go from one half of the Black Diamond Heavies, to being a solo artist, and to sitting in with Left Lane Cruiser.

The world changes, but his resolve, gravelly voice, and love of the blues never changes.

Over this past weekend, Leg was headlining the 4th Annual Whiskey War Festival at the St. Charles, MO VFW post.

A couple hours before his scheduled time (a few hours in reality), Leg took the time to speak to me sitting on the bleachers in front of the baseball field. There are few people like him in this world.

Glacially Musical: There are some covers on this album and you've done covers before. How do choose them?

James Leg: For this record it was, my friend Bob Reuter had passed away and I wanted to do one of his songs. I've got some other friends who are great songwriters, but maybe they haven't got a platform to get their music out there.

Ultimately it's kind of a theme for the record maybe. They all seemed cohesive.

GM: What are your tour plans for this album?

JL: Going for it, man. Doing a few midwest dates, the South, and then go to Europe. I'll be in Europe in the Fall. The UK and Ireland. Australia and New Zealand in December, and then South America in January. I'll come back and properly tour the States next spring.

GM: Where does your inspiration come from?

JL: The ones I write, which I wrote about half of this record. For my writing, I guess, just..real life. I'm not very good at make believe.

GM: You don't write second hand song?

JL: Nothing second hand. I like hearing songs like that, admire that, wish I could do that. I'm just not a good storyteller.

GM: How do you describe each album in one sentence, or one word?

JL: Every Damn Time: I would say....one sentence? Raw and Lo-Fi.

Touch of Someone Else's Class: ...A little slick for my tastes.

Alive As Fuck: That was just a live album...to be honest we needed to put out a record and we were on tour non-stop and it was just easier to record a show.

Painkillers: Sum it up in one word? Painkillers. I will only speak for myself, but I was so fucked up...and we made that thing in like three days.

Solitary Pleasure: New beginnings I guess. That was the first time where I went in and I was making my record. There were other people that had a say and Solitary Pleasure was the first time where I could do what I wanted and I followed through with that more with Below The Belt.

I usually keep the recording very short, but I did the opposite with Below The Belt. Usually I'm on tour and the songs are vetted live, but the demo was recorded three different times in three studios.

Just trying to really find the right setting, and then go in and bang it out. There are three songs left off, two recorded and one not.

I'll definitely do something with them later. They're going to come out, they just didn't fit. You try to get a big block of songs that all have a thread.

GM: Well that's something gone in the iTunes Era. Lots of bands don't make albums anymore...

JL: They make singles. Well, you know that's how it all fuckin' started. So maybe it's some weird cycle of music life. I don't enjoy singles...I've got friends in Chattanooga and that's their bag.

They got so many singles!

As an artist, I like the creative freedom, you've got a beginning and an end on side one and a beginning and an end on side two.

GM: When you record an album do you look at as a vinyl album?

JL: Always. Side A and Side B. I listen to cassettes in the van and I've got a turntable in the van. I don't listen to CDs, ever.

I think what people do is they buy a CD at a show, rip it to their computer and throw it in the pod.

GM: That's exactly why I switched to vinyl! When we buy music it should be something we take the time for.

JL: It sounds better on wax, it's the whole thing. Checking out the artwork while you listen. I think CDs are dead. I would've liked to have not even bothered with CDs. I was wanting to do cassettes and vinyl and include a download card with both and offer it digitally on iTunes.

Below The Belt is out on September 4th on Alive-Natural sound records. Pre-order vinyl or CD here.


  1. Always more fun for me listening to an album or any music if I've been able to hear from the artist in some way. Gives it fantastic context that's not required to enjoy the music but for me makes it even more so. Thanks again!

    1. Well, get ready for even MORE context. I only used about half of the interview tape. I've got plenty more to work with that'll be done in a week or two depending on what's going on.