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Progressive Rock Interviews

Ted Leonard

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Ted Leonard from 2012

We haven't done an interview with you in about five years. Other than the obvious Spock's Beard news, which we'll address shortly, what have you been up to musically (and personally if you like) during that time?

Quite a bit. I’m involved in four bands at the moment. Thought Chamber (nearing completion of our second album, Affector (released first album in May of this year), Spock’s (nearing completion of their/our eleventh album), and Enchant (beginning work on our first album in nine years).  I'm also in a cover band with Dave Meros on bass called “Rolling Heads.”  Not exactly high brow music but it’s fun and we make some money.


If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

What I’m doing now which is working my tail off trying to make ends meet.  I’m a Data Analyst (among other things) for a finance company and I still run my window cleaning business on the side.


So, tell us about the events that lead to your being part of Spock's Beard.

Well, Enchant toured with them twice so we knew each other pretty well. But, having Dave join my cover band a few years ago probably gave him a clearer idea of my strengths. So, I think that was a big factor.


What can you tell us about the new SB album?

It’s a 70 minute jazz odyssey designed for a festival audience…okay token Spinal Tap reference is out of the way.  The new album is really shaping up to be something special.  It has some definite classic Spock’s elements along with some songs that take the sound in a new direction.  All of the mixes I’ve heard so far are fantastic.

How are you guys gelling as a group and how do you like the Beard experience so far?

I think the gelling thing will take shape when we go out on a proper tour.  So far, I’ve only done one-off festivals, which entail a few rehearsals and very little stage time.  I think the stage is where a band gels.  I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far, though.  With this line up, how could I not?


Is it tough juggling Beard with Enchant?

Not so far.  Enchant is still in the early stages of writing for the album so there hasn’t been much required of me.  They all live about one and a half hours away so I add my bits after they form a solid musical piece.


What's ahead for you?

Just plugging away at the various projects and waiting to see what opportunities come of them.


Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

Oh man…..Steve Morse, any or all of Kansas, Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci... I could go on and on and list the massive number of musicians who are empirically better than me.


Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

I think what we’re seeing is a division of the classes as a result of downloading.  The middle class is disappearing.  Without physical sales, the record companies aren’t willing to part with much to fund the recording unless they know they're going to make it up in volume.  Thus, the major label top sellers are not too affected; the unsigned - not too affected; every band that I’m in - completely affected.  Bands like us are forced to spend more creative energy and time figuring out what, from our own personal collection of cherished memorabilia, will conjure up the most interest in pre-sales.

In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

I actually think that’s beneficial in stirring up interest but, I haven’t thought that one through much.


If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?

Catwoman….why do you think?


If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

That kind of already worked out for me…seriously.


If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

Kansas, Marillion, Dream Theater, King’s X, Jellyfish (that’s right, I said it), John Mayer (that’s right, I said that, too), whatever band Paul Rodgers happens to be fronting that week and of course, whatever band I happen to be fronting that week.


What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

CD? I think it was Ten Summoner’s Tales by Sting because it was like a dollar and mine was stolen years ago.


Have you read any good books lately?

Can’t quite remember .. I think it was 50 shades of something. But, just for the articles.  I also read "Zen and the Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance" but, I got about half way through and then got distracted by another task (irony intended … but, still true).


What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

I went to see Steve Morse at a dingy little club near Sacramento. It was awesome!


Do you have a musical "guilty pleasure?"

Dirty Loops, Thousand Foot Krutch, Usher … I have a lot of them.


What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

Almost every tour has had at least one.  I thought that movie was funny until I found out how true it was.


If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

That dude from Hells Kitchen so he could cook and I could punch him regardless of the results.  Jesus, so I could ask how much of this crap He actually agrees with.  Joseph Smith plus 34 (it would be a shame to leave the wives out).


What would be on the menu?

Well, bread and wine, I guess.


Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

Really looking forward to the Spock’s release I just hope I don’t become the Gary Cherone of the Spock’s legacy.

MSJ: This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at
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