INTERVIEW: Leisure McClorke

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Turn It Up”?

Well Big Mike Mitschele (producer/bass player/co-songwriter) and I wanted to play wit h time and space on this album. So, this is kinda like the “ghost of Christmas past.” It is about a time when we were both in a band called Funkenstein. We started that band right after High School, and it takes place in two phases. The first is just being bored in a “then” small town called Charlotte. Boredom sometimes creates a space for creativity. The second is that creativity manifested in our group playing a locally world famous club called The Milestone. The Milestone has been around for decades and every major punk and new wave and college band basically played there including The Go-Go’s, REM, Black Flag, Nirvana… you name it. They played there. Kinda like a CBGB’s style venue.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Back in our Funkenstein days we could pack pretty much any club in town. We toured pretty frequently from Boston down to Alabama. Pretty crazy show. We were playing with this major label (newly signed) funk band from San Francisco, and we had played with them two nights before in Wilmington, NC. They treated us like dirt, and actually accused our drummer of stealing one of their cases or pieces of hardware. It was pretty much ridiculous because our drummer had a really nice set. So, we get to the sound check at the Milestone, and they want to leave early so they demand to go on first. about 300 kids just waited for us to hit the stage that night, and then as that bandpass finishing, they all came into the club and rocked the house. The other band apologized to us after seeing our show and the crowd’s response, but we were like “whatever.” We don’t need anyone’s approval to have a great time and feel good about ourselves. Our worth in that band, and really even band I have been is about what we feel. ????

How was the film experience?

I recorded a few videos at a really cool space in St. Louis. There is a studio there that has a bar in front of it, where you can watch bands record. Kinda peculiar, but they do a show there called the “Gaslight Sessions.” You get one take and they record a few songs. I was pretty happy with it. The band is going to do a video for “Turn it up” this fall. Possibly a second one for Ghost Angeles (my fave tack off the new album). I have always wanted to do videos but just never found the right people to make it happen.

How was the recording and writing process?

Big Mike and I write this album really together. I wrote a lot of the lyrics without music and then Mike and I sat down like Taupin and John and created the music out of lyrics we already had. It was a scary but exciting creative process. I want to continue to do that with Bog Mike and other songwriters.

What role does Charlotte, NC plays in your writing?

Well I have traveled all over the world, and have lived in various places for six months to years at a time. Charlotte will always be my home because I was born and raised there. It is a very different town now. I call it New Charlotte, because it is massive now and mainly is occupied by Northerners that fled bigger cities. It is very cosmopolitan these days, but it has a small town feel in little pockets throughout the city.

What made you want to dive into the 90s music scene for this new song?

I am really a product of the late 70’s and early 80’s punk and new wave scenes. If you listen carefully you can hear early/mid NYC and London scenes (Billy Joel, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, The Police etc.). This album has a Manchester sound in mob opinion in places. I think it has two sides really: one based in British New Wave and the other based in Americana rock and roll.

I see you are on an extensive local tour – how do the European audiences respond to your music?  Is it different?

Europe is much more into live music and bands these days. Perhaps because radio is more friendly to local and regional artists, and less corporate. It is becoming extremely difficult to tour as an indie/DIY band in America. Back in the day, you could make a record, put it together yourself, call a bunch of clubs and music papers and mags, and book a tour across the region or country, and 50-100 people would show up to check the new band out. Now, it is almost impossible to get booked across the country without an agent or some sort of corporate backing. I am still doing it, but it is getting harder and harder. This tour was mainly supported by friends who had connections in various places. I found Europe to be pretty easy to book once I had anchor dates like the International Pop Overthrow Festivals in Liverpool and Stockholm, I would love to stay on the road all year round, but it is becoming harder to do because of over saturation and financial costs.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

A new album or two will be recorded in 2018. I have a couple ideas for some things. My first album “Nappy Superstar” turns twenty this year, and I just sold the last silver sparkle copy the other night in Eugene. I will prob press up a hundred or so copies with a special 20th anniversary gold sparkle cover. I am also thinking about making a pop up vinyl album for a B-sides and favorites best of thing.

What else is happening next in Leisure McCorkle’s world?

I just want to keep touring and play with as many people as I can. I am hoping the videos will help out a great deal towards keeping me on the road and playing.

Thank you for having me.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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