Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Leeway is interesting.

Here is a reality about the hardcore genre: there is a ceiling. At some point, you will have done everything you would want to do in hardcore and then you ask yourself, 'now what?' You'll branch out and try to harness new sounds, new aesthetics, and new markets. It is the natural course of things. This is how we arrive at a Best Wishes, a Grave New World, or a How We Rock. Hardcore is a young man's game and even the youngest at heart can't stay that way forever.

Leeway's track record is interesting because while they bore all the makings of what could have been a huge band. As big as their contemporaries like S.O.D., Prong, and even the Cro-Mags would become, Leeway never really escaped to be more than a hardcore band. I think what's more important is that they didn't care. Leeway is a group of hardcore kids from Queens doing their thing and they grew and stylistically it got better over time, but they never stopped being a hardcore band. You can't say that about much of the bands that would make the jump to other scenes.

Leeway wrote two seminal albums. One is an important album for the NYHC genre and one is an important crossover album. Born To Expire & Desperate Measures, respectively. I used to joke that you could tell a new jack from an initiate by their favorite Leeway album. A new jack will always ride with Born To Expire. The riffs are more pronounced, the lyrics are far more pointed, the album has grandiose intros and sudden breakdowns all over it. It is a hardcore kid's wet dream. An initiate is going to ride with Desperate Measures. On Desperate Measures, the rhythm section puts in a lot more work, AJ Novello's guitars are more subtle, and Eddie Sutton's lyrics show more growth on them. Desperate Measures is an album. Born To Expire is a collection of really, really good hardcore songs. Included also on this link is the Enforcer Demo and a live bootleg of a Leeway performance in 1991 Holland while they were promoting Desperate Measures. The live bootleg is worth the listen simply because of Eddie's banter which never fails to entertain.

Leeway is a beautiful band. Beautiful because the band could have gone to the moon. They could have taken over the world. No one will ever try to argue Leeway didn't have "it". They had the talent and the personality in spades. It's just at the end of the day, a bunch of punk kids from Queens didn't want to stop being punks, no matter what. Respect it or not, agree with it or not, that's fine but you have to admire it.

1 comment:

  1. Leeway was supposed to open for Life Of Agony in Oslo in 1994.. Because of an argument with their agent, Life Of Agony could not play the gig, but Leeway stepped in and played for us at Blitz.. WOW!! Im not kidding - it was simply the BESt gig I\ve EVER attended.. incredibly charismatic band!! Afterwards Aj Novello and the guys had the courtesy to spend some time talking to us about this and that.. frikking awesome band.. So underrated..