Leighton's lost interview

Leighton gave this controversial interview to Federico Ferrari in October 1987 inside his flat no. 18 at a three-storied building located close to the airport in San Diego.

It was issued on Rockerilla no. 137 in January 1992.

Of course the following transcription might not quote exactly the same words Leighton uttered owing to the double translation (English/Italian - Italian/English). I've skipped the comments murmured by Leighton's friends because they slandered some Leighton's old mates. I apologize to you and to the author for my horrible translation and for the omissions.

Would you tell me anything about Gravedigger V?

Gravedigger V started to play… Fuck… When did we start? Let me think… It was in 1983 in a garage. Oddly we became well-known in LA and Greg Shaw suggested us recording an album. Luckily we broke up, I felt ill in that band so I formed The Morlocks, that had some line-up problems however. G5 were fans of The Who, the Texas sixties raunchy bands like The Stoics and The Elevators. Our shows consisted of many covers such as Bad Road's Blue Girl and others but I cannot recall a great deal of that time.

Why did you disband?

Gravediggers had no future, they were a small group, an unnecessary foolish band. That group's story reminds me that I spent all time with Lee Joseph and Paula Pierce in LA: a period of no importance in my life. I like All Black And Hairy whereas The Mirror Cracked is a shit released by Shaw to make some money using the name of the band.

Are you pleased with Morlocks' first album Emerge?

Yes I am, I think so. Many songs aren't covers as on the contrary some people think; for example One Way Ticket is an original. It's a loud, wild sound; yes, it's ok. Nowadays nevertheless we don't play any more those songs.

Why did The Morlocks move to San Francisco?

In San Diego there aren't possibilities for a group like ours, while San Francisco teems with halls and situations adapted to a band like The Morlocks. In SF people love the wild rattling rock'n'roll. Up there, there is a great group: Sea Hags, they're very strong. A several kinds of people come to our gigs, undoubtedly they're open-minded people!

In San Francisco there are so many clubs but a few really good bands, how odd! How could you explain this?

That's it. Up there nearly all the bands make me sick. I couldn't give you an answer, that's what I should like to know too.

How could you describe Morlocks' music?

It's something deeply influenced by The Stooges, The MC5, the Detroit-sound and by the guitar-violence. Noise, chaos, violence. I Got A Right cover expresses very well what our sound is: noise founded on the hardest and censurable rock without any other plan. We play Funkadelic's stuff too: George Clinton is one of our idols. I'm excited very much by the idea of mixing the violence of the hard rock with the sexual side of the funk. I think we shall move further on towards this course in future. Sex, violence, it's wonderful!

Do you think it's a fixed course for those who play the sixties music changing from some sounds to others more raw and hard?

I don't think so. After all everyone is free to till his own passions without being accused of revivalism or other nonsense. I speak for myself, I take an interest in the musical side of the sixties but I'm not interested in that youthful and teen-aged atmosphere that surrounds unavoidably that kind of music. My reality is different: it's more true and rough. Gravedigger V was a thoughtless band, The Morlocks walk really the streets: we touch thousands of true problems.

American r'n'r history has plenty of losers, i.e. great talents who have never had success for various reasons. Do you consider yourselves in that way?

No, we don't, but why? Whenever I talk with friends such as Ian Astbury or Lemmy I realize that we are regarded as a band who will make his way sooner or later. We're very young. It's only a question of organization and persuasion. We have never been so serious as we are at this moment! We are recording with great care and with conviction. No, I don't consider myself a loser at all.

Now what kinds of music do you like?

A lot of Australian stuff: Radio Birdman, New Christs, New Race and, moreover… Motorhead. We're great pals. Don't forget The Stones, my favourite group: I like everything they have recorded.

The line-up has undergone several changes: would you explain why on earth?

Owing to so many factors, an infinite number of problems. Mainly drug problems, different kinds of drugs, heroin… Now the new line-up has organized itself better. We are recording some pieces with Ron Rimsite; we shall propose them to some majors. We aim at coming to the top. Probably we shall tour to Europe with The Cult within some time. We're great friends of that band, we have often played together in San Francisco. The Cult are madly in love with Led Zeppelin, like us. We are also great friends with another band: The Redd Kross. They're extraordinary and splendid!

What do you think of The Untold Fables, a group certainly influenced by the sixties but at the same time very hard and violent?

Hum, yes… They aren't so bad, but it's a restrictive music. It's bound too much to the sixties. Once, as for me too, it was important combing my hair just like a boy of the sixties and playing in a band that could reproduce exactly that sound. I was very young, a little boy. Now I don't care for it in the least. It's a dumb thing for kids. This is the difference between The Gravedigger V and The Morlocks: the first was a band of kids, a silly group, we were anxious to have beetle boots and similar stupidities on the contrary The Morlocks are the violent side of the rock'n'roll. For instance I don't like The Tell-Tale Hearts. What's the meaning of trying to be like The Pretty Things? All this, this mentality, this way of playing music is childish and boring.

Why have you titled the album Emerge?

We would have liked to rise above something, to emerge from the underground attaining the attention of the masses, coming out by the light of the sun. Do you like the cover? It's great, isn't it? A friend of mine has drawn it, a crazy guy who has melted his brain by tons of acid and LSD. Although it represents a period of the group's story still deeply bound to a certain garage punk (from that time many things have changed their course), I must say I like that record very much. I think the originals keep it up even if the covers are played with violence and with wickedness. After all we haven't quite broken with those sounds: in concert we play tortured versions of songs written by Q65 or by other sixties bands.

Are The Morlocks involved in drug-stories?

Not much, only in the right way, in the most reasonable dimension. Not like some time ago, not like last year. We tried every kind of drugs, really, we were insane… For these reasons, because of drug, after Emerge we have been waiting for so long before coming back to the studio.

What are the reasons that drive you to play with The Morlocks?

As for me playing it's my life. I've a job but it isn't important. The band is the most important thing that I have. I think we shall succeed in living by our music, getting success and acknowledgements. I'm deeply persuaded of that. Probably New York will consecrate us… Or maybe London however something will happen sooner or later. Elektra and Big Time are interested in us. Our achievement is really at hand…

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