Leeway "Desperate Measures" CDPosted on Monday, August 29th, 2005 @ 1:28 am » permalink
Originally I was gonna choose Leeway for one of those "Past Their Prime" posts (and I probably still will one day), since their last two records are notoriously hated by almost everyone who liked the first two (that's right, I kinda dig 'em all). But I was thinking… shit, when I did one of those posts about the Cro-Mags, there were actually people who had never heard the Cro-Mags before. That's bad news people. Bad fucking news. For real. And then it dawned on me that despite the fact that either "Born to Expire" or "Desperate Measures" pops up on the vast majority of "Top 10's of NYHC" lists, there are just massive amounts of people out there who've never fuckin' heard Leeway. And that's gotta stop, man. I can't hang with that.
Now, as is often the case, most people will probably tell you, "Oh, their debut's the best…" But no, uh-uh. Fuck that shit. Don't get me wrong, "Born to Expire" kicks ass ("Mark of the Squealer", anyone?), but "Desperate Measures" is killin' shit in every way from start to finish. This is another of my top 25 most played CD's of all time, and I still probably listen to this shit at least once a month to this day. Every single track is a keeper (okay, I could do without "2-Minute Warning", but even that has its kitsch value), and it's hard as hell to try and single out a few songs as highlights. The fucker's just jam packed with classics. I'm telling you, I absolutely adore this record… I could gush about this album all damn day.
Released in 1991, I honestly don't have a problem stating that by this point in time the band was already more hardcore in history and spirit than they were on record, because there's very little "hardcore" about these tracks. Musically it's heavy as fuck and totally borders on being energetically delivered, rocked out thrash metal. Couple that with Eddie Sutton's inimitable singing style and there's never been another band that truly sounds like Leeway. But these songs in particular are just impeccable examples of thick, crunchy riffs scattered all over the place amidst powerfully memorable (if not catchy) song structures and ample levels of tasteful melody. Unless you're a strict hardcore purist, you've gotta be insane not to be all over these jams.
Unfortunately, I don't really know all that much about Leeway beyond cursory facts. I've been told that they never really officially broke up, and have kind of occasionally kicked around doing little "reunions" here and there, but there's really just a severe lack of information about these guys out there altogether – be it regarding their history, what happened afterwards, etc. After Leeway's final record guitarist A.J. Novello and drummer Pokey did time in Both Worlds with John Joseph from the Cro-Mags; with Novello also doing a stint in Breakdown, whereas Pokey and Sutton both joined Merauder (though Sutton never recorded more than a demo with the band). I'm sure there are other little tidbits such as these floating around, but that's all that's coming to mind right now.
Criminally enough, even though you can get used copies of the band's final two records for less than a buck at many online retailers, their first two discs are way out of print (as is the 2-on-1 CD reissue that came out almost 10 years ago), which causes me great pain and is a severe, severe injustice. If I had to I'd easily pay $25 for a copy of this disc, if not more, which you may have to do if you want a copy, but… keep searchin' eBay and maybe you'll get lucky. Man, what a cryin' shame that such an insanely badass record has become so hard to grab. Fuck…