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MP3 Leo - Nightmares

Melodic passionate aggressive modern rock.

14 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, POP: Today''s Top 40

Ian Eddy – lead vocals, guitar
Michael Roberts – guitar vocals
Rek Mohr – bass
Mark Grabowski – drums

For many artists, writing music a form of therapy, for others it’s a social outlet or a way to attract members of the other sex. For Leo frontman, Ian Eddy, music is even more. It’s a special language that speaks to his soul -- a salve in periods of desperation, a salvation in times of despair. And, he’s ever respectful of its power, so much so he named his band after his relationship with his muse.

“I’m an Aries, and Leo is supposed to be my perfectly matched partner,” he explains. But to me, my music has always been the most important thing, so I named the band Leo because music is like my perfect partner.”

Eddy’s passion for his art rings through loud and clear on Leo’s debut album, Nightmares. Featuring 14 songs he wrote over the past six years, the disc is a sonic diary, a confessional journey through a host of emotional moments in dysfunctional relationships.

“Things have happened, and some things haven’t worked out, so I’ve written songs about it,” he says, “I guess it’s all a learning experience.”

Combining disillusionment, frustration and anger, Leo’s songs range from mild and melancholy to bold and thunderous, encapsulating a broad spectrum of influence that includes Led Zeppelin, Helmet, Jeff Buckley, Ours and Muse.

“Na Na” starts with a lone, surging guitar riff and builds into a lumbering rocker fueled by soaring vocals, poignant counter-melodies and crashing drums. “Horizon” blends a muscular rhythm with gorgeous harmonies, creating a level of tension that ebbs and flows throughout the song. And “Chemical Cell,” the first single from the album, is ominous and stealthy, combining slithery guitars with an evocative, imagistic groove enhanced by Eddy’s foreboding vocals.

“It’s about a particularly tumultuous relationship that was so explosive that after it was over I went on a major drinking binge,” Eddy admits. “So, it about the repercussions of that and saying that this girl is responsible for putting me in a chemical cell. My indulgences had become my prison.”

Not all of the songs are about dysfunctional relationships and disappointing experiences. “Nightmares” is about perseverance in the face of adversity, and “Broken Record” addresses the transition from youthful innocence to the slap-in-the-face reality of adulthood. “When you’re young you have so little to worry about,” Eddy says. “Then one day you realize you’re all grown up and the world isn’t all fairytales from when you were a kid. It’s the real deal and you’ve got bills and responsibilities and things to let you down. And through all that pressure, you have to try to keep your head up and see the sunlight.”

Eddy grew up in various parts of Missouri and Ohio. His parents, both of whom are singer/songwriters, were divorced when Eddy was young and the boy was shuttled back and forth between his mom’s house in the country and his dad’s place in the city. As difficult as such transitions were, they exposed him to both rural and urban lifestyles and aided his development as a songwriter. While he was always interested in music and often sang with his parents, he started playing guitar, bass and keyboards when he was 15 and, soon after, decided to make music his life.

“I played in different rock bands around town, and by the time I was 16, I was making a living playing shows on weekends with a reggae band,” he says.

He formed Leo in (Cleveland)? in 2001 and went through various members over the years, including drummer Chad Szaliga, who is now in Breaking Benjamin and appears on three tracks on Nightmares, “Chemical Cell,” Na Na” and the title track.

“He was recording drum tracks for me before he left to join Breaking Benjamin,” Eddy says. “When I moved to St. Louis, he didn’t want to move with me so he stayed behind, but we loved his playing and we got his permission to keep his tracks. He’s one of the most amazing drummers I’ve ever heard.”

Bassist Rek Mohr moved with Eddy to St. Louis, which meant Leo needed just a new guitarist and drummer. (Correct this line per Ian) So, Eddy called up guitarist Michael Roberts and drummer Mark Grabowski from the Ohio band Ivet, and convinced them to move to the Gateway City.

“Ivet were my favorite Ohio-based band, and they used to play with Leo all the time,” Eddy says. “So, when I found they had broken up, I felt like it was an opportunity to have them join Leo, and, since they were already fans, they were into it.”

Choosing 14 songs from the dozens Eddy had written, Leo started recording Nightmares
in 2006 at their home studio in St. Peters, Missouri. Roberts, who previously had engineered for Universal Records, handled production. Since they didn’t have
to worry about paying for an expensive producer, Leo were able to take their time with Nightmares and try various arrangements before settling on the ones they wanted for the album.

“We worked really hard on this, so I think it’s pretty consistent,” Eddy says. “Chances are, if you like one of our songs, you’re probably going to like all of them.”

Recently, Leo have toured the U.S. with The Burden Brothers and showcased at the South By Southwest music convention in Austin, Texas. And, last February, they hit the road with Breaking Benjamin, which reunited Eddy with his old bandmate.

“I hadn’t seen him in a couple years,” he says. “So it was nice to be able to hang every day for a few weeks.”

While Eddy is looking forward to touring for Nightmares this summer, he’s also eager to get back into the studio and start recording. He loves the songs he’s written over the past six years, but for him, being an artist means never staying in the same place, always evolving and creating what some people might not expect.

“Some of the new stuff I’ve been writing is a bit more political than anything I’ve ever done,” Eddy says. “So, who knows how it’s going to turn out when we record it? I just know that whatever we do, it’s gonna be Leo and we’re not gonna do anything we’re not all completely happy with. Two months ago I was serving food in a restaurant. Now I’m living the dream.”

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