Capitol Records Press Release (June 1980)
In contemporary music, particularly
Rock 'n' Roll, there's an element that's
key to zeroing in on a style and sound, and goes beyond
tangibles such as talent, chops, and production. It's
called seasoning, and it doesn't happen overnight,
but when it comes into balance with those other essential
aspects, the results can be startlingly good.
That concept holds especially
true with LeRoux, which, after two albums, has put it all
in balance with its third and best Capitol album to date,
Up (June 1980).
The aptly titled nine-song
LP is the first to really nail down the six-member Rock 'n'
Roll band's celebrated live energy and sound: It's
hard-edged yet richly melodic, ear-catching keyboards/guitars
Rock 'n' Roll, with progressive tension and release
overtones, shades of funk, and soaring five-part vocal
harmonies, all delivered with maximum effort.
Catalytic in the directional
focusing was producer Jai Winding, who helped translate
the band's new ideas to vinyl. Says Leon Medica: "The
first two albums included stuff we'd grown up with,
but the new album shows where we are and which way we're
going. Jai was relentless in getting the absolute best
from each of us, and it wasn't easy - we rehearsed
a great deal - but we're all incredibly excited about
the finished album. It was worth every bit of effort we
put in it."
"A-men!" adds Jeff
Pollard. "Jai was able to tap our potential in a new
direction. Up is really different in a lot of ways
from our first two albums, but it's still very much
LeRoux. I've never sung so high and so hard in my life,
but it really worked. It wasn't a matter of just getting
the notes right, or just the right feeling, it was getting
precision and soul at the same time.
"For quite a while,"
Pollard continues, "I've heard a guitar sound
in my head that I've never really been able to get
on tape, until now. And Rod Roddy and I struck up on good
co-writing relationship that was very productive on this
album and should become even more so in the future. Doing
this album was the most creative experience I've ever
been involved in."
LeRoux's members are no
strangers to creative experiences. In the few years before
the band cut its first album for Capitol during fall '77,
Rod Roddy, Bobby Campo, David Peters, Leon Medica, and
Jeff Pollard comprised the main in-house rhythm section
at Studio In The Country, a multi-million-dollar recording
facility in Bogalusa, Louisiana.
With Medica as the staff producer,
the guys backed scores of artists there, including Clifton
Chenier and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. As The
Jeff Pollard Band, the five did considerable road work
between sessions, including a '77 State Department
sponsored musical goodwill tour of Africa backing Gatemouth.
After the band's demos
landed a Capitol recording deal, Tony Haselden rounded
out the lineup, contributing his fifteen years of studio
and road experience to LeRoux's sound. With a new name,
Louisiana's LeRoux, the band completed its first LP,
named after the group, in time for April '78 released.
(The new name actually was "LeRoux," but legal
considerations dictated adding the "Louisiana's,"
which has been officially dropped as of Up's
release.) Louisiana's LeRoux yielded the Top
50 single "New Orleans Ladies" (a No. 1 hit in
several areas of the country) and the AOR fave "Slow
Burn," and was followed by May '79's Keep
The Fire Burnin', which included such memorable
smokers as "Back To The Levee" and the title
Throughout that time, LeRoux
won many fans while on the road doing major dates with
big draws such as Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band,
Kansas, The Marchall Tucker Band, The Dirt Band, Heart,
Charlie Daniels, and The Allman Brothers. LeRoux's
summer '78 television debut on "Midnight Special"
pulled high ratings and was re-run that fall. The band
headlined Baton Rouge's 9,000-seat Centroplex New Year's
Eve '78, headlined the Rock portion of "Mardi
Gras In The Superdome" in New Orleans for 45,000 during
Mardi Gras '79, and swept the '79 reader's
poll published by Louisiana Rock magazine "Gris Gris."
This year has been particularly
active for LeRoux, above and beyond extensive road work.
In January, Charlie Daniels invited the band to perform
at his Sixth Volunteer Jam in Nashville, which was broadcast
live throughout the South and carried nationally a couple
months later by the "King Biscuit" radio network.
LeRoux's "New Orleans Ladies" is included
on the subsequent Volunteer Jam 6 LP, recently released
on Epic. And in March, incoming Louisiana Governor Dave
Treen invited LeRoux to play his inaugural ball in Baton
Between then and rehearsals
for the new Up LP, LeRoux's members played some
important sessions. The group worked with the Dirt Band
on its highly successful American Dream LP, and
that's Haseldon's guitar solo you heard on the
smash title track single. Pollard and Campo both contributed
to the first solo album by Kansas member Kerry Livgren
(released during summer '80) and the whole band worked
with Dirt Band member John McEuen on a forthcoming solo
During rehearsals for the new
Up LP, LeRoux took a day to tape a segment of "Rock
Concert," during which the group debuted a few tunes
slated for the new LP. Ratings were so high a re-broadcast
was set for July, just after the album's release.
Adds Medica: "The headway
we've made in America the past couple of years makes
us proud that our audiences like what we play. Now we've
given them something very fresh, and we hope everyone feels
as good listening to the new music as we do. It gets us
up, that's why we gave it that title. Now we want to
get back on the road and take it all the way this year."