The 10 Albums That Changed My Life: Jarvis Leatherby of Night Demon

The 10 Albums That Changed My Life: Jarvis Leatherby of Night Demon

- By Ramon Gonzales

The architect of California's traditional heavy metal trio details his musical education spanning from punk, thrash, rock and beyond.

For more than a decade, California trio Night Demon have forged a reputation for crafting timeless, riff-heavy compositions. Led by Jarvis Leatherby, the band's undeniable artistry is reiterated with a prolific catalog that includes an EP, a live album, a series of 7-inch singles and now, three full length studio albums with the arrival of their first-ever concept album, Outsider.

Apart from the band's apparent work ethic, Night Demon is anchored by an intrinsic sense of authenticity that resonates not only in their sound, but their aesthetic overall. Hailed as heavy metal traditionalists, the band's musical pedigree underscores the fundamentals of their style. Well-versed in the classics, Leatherby's early education covered a broad range of punk and subcategories of rock that emphasized substance, originality and resulting longevity - ultimately influencing what was priority for Night Demon.

Marking the arrival of the band's most recent studio project, Outsider - their first-ever concept album - Leatherby detailed his early musical education by revisiting the ten albums that set an artistic precedent. Establishing a strong foundation from the very beginning, Leatherby's preferences speak to his current proficiency at the helm of Night Demon - a band that is keenly aware that the classics never go out of style.

These are the ten albums that changed Jarvis Leatherby's life.

Danzig II: Lucifuge

Leatherby - When "Mother 93" was all over MTV, I went straight to Music Plus to find the CD that was on, but the only Danzig title there was the follow up album to the debut. I was NOT disappointed. Upon unfolding the booklet and realizing it unfolded into an upside down cross, I knew I was in a ride that the teachers at my Christian school would have something to say about. Mission accomplished. The songs on this album are still some of my favorites from that classic Danzig lineup of the first four albums. I still think Lucifuge is the best of them.

Iron Maiden - Live After Death

Leatherby - Although I was born and raised in California, I spent most of my summers as a youth in Pt. Pleasant, New Jersey with my Aunt Julie. One summer when she was driving me to the airport to return home, we stopped off at a record store so I could get some cassettes to load into my Sony walkman for the flight home. I had always heard of Iron Maiden and was familiar with some of the artwork, but never owned anything. I picked up a copy of this album and it completely changed my life. This one got me to fall in love with the live album format for sure. I also never heard the bass played that loud in the mix. I was immediately hooked on the band and to this day they remain one of my top bands of all time.

Ill Repute - What Happens Next

Leatherby - This was one of the first cassettes I ever owned. A friend's older brother who was going to punk shows gave this to me when I was 10 years old. I was immediately blown away by the first track titled "Oxnard". It was a song about the small town I was growing up in. Just to think that these guys came from the same place as me and here I was holding an album they made with killer artwork and really well thought out songs. I knew that this was something I could do too with my life.

UFO - Lights Out

Leatherby - Michael Schenker is my personal guitar hero. Not selecting 10 albums that Schenker played on for the list was tough (laughs). It's also difficult to pick out the best UFO album form the first era of Schenker, but as a whole, Lights Out has to be the one. The title track is a bruising classic, but I am a sucker for a good ballad, and UFO's two best ballads of all time are featured on this wax. "Love to Love" and "Try Me" pull at my heart every time I hear them. Still after all these years, this stuff just doesn't ever get old to me.

Thin Lizzy - Renegade

Leatherby - Not one of the most popular Lizzy albums, but one of the darker ones for sure. A very eclectic mix of songs with the boys most likely looking for a radio hit, turned into one of the most interesting albums in their catalog. Not even their classic lineup here, I still think the compositions on Renegade are far underrated, and I suggest everyone give this thing another spin. It's aged very well and the cover art is one of their best efforts.

Metallica - Kill 'Em All

Leatherby - Truth be told, I got into Metallica when the black album came out. From there like many sheltered suburban kids, I stumbled onto the back catalog. Need I say more? As great as albums 2-4 are, Kill Em All still stands to me as the reason I got serious about music. It's because when I heard this, it sounded like guys who were serious about their music, but even more serious about their message. The intensity and hunger displayed on this recording still gives me chills. It is the essence of youth, discovery, and a launchpad to greatness. It gives us all the hope to just be yourself and go for it while you still have the chance.

Scorpions - Lovedrive

Leatherby - Upon Michael Schenker's brief return to the Scorpions in the late 70's comes the birth of this gem. This record is sandwiched between the incredible Uli Jon Roth era and the less incredible, but equally catchy Matthias Jabs era. Michael returned to save the day for a band once again and helped pen a lot of tunes on this record. His playing is phenomenal as always, but he doesn't overplay and serves the songs very well. This is my desert island album, 100%

Van Halen - S/T

Leatherby - Everything that a young guitar player, drummer, singer and bass player will need to be inspired. There's been so much said about this album, that I'm just going to stop right here. If you don't know it, then stop what you're doing immediately (unless you're driving, which means stop reading this as well), and play this LOUD!

Black Sabbath - Paranoid

Leatherby. - I had always heard my dad's friends talk about how heavy and evil Sabbath was, but again, I had never actually heard the band, or cared to hear them when I was a little kid. Well, one day after my parents went to bed, I was going through my dad's vinyl collection and found this record in the stack. I put it on the turntable at a very low volume and it scared the shit outta me. So much so, I had to sleep with the lights on for a week. The following week I sent in a penny to Columbia House and ordered 10 Black Sabbath CD's. I had arrived.

Alice In Chains - Dirt

Leatherby - This band, specifically this album, opened me up to heaviness with a haunting melody. It's something that I've taken into my songwriting to this very day. The combination of Layne and Jerry's vocals is something totally unmatched. This is the perfect album from front to back. Even the lesser known tracks are far from filler in my opinion. These guys get lumped into the grunge thing because of the time and their geographical location, but there is nothing less than metal about this record. Not the over indulgent metal that came before it, but the right metal for the right time with real lyrics about real struggles.

Outsider, the third studio album from Night Demon is currently available via Century Media Records.

Get the album - HERE

Catch Night Demon on the Hell's Decibels Tour supporting the legendary Satan along with Haunt. A full list of dates and cities can be found below.

Hell's Decibels Tour 2023

Mar. 17 - West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky A Go Go

Mar. 18 - Oakland, CA @ Eli's Mile High Club

Mar. 19 - Las Vegas, NV @ Dive Bar

Mar. 21 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Aces High Saloon

Mar. 22 - Denver, CO @ HQ

Mar. 24 - Austin, TX @ Come And Take It Live

Mar. 25 - Houston, TX @ White Oak (Hell's Heroes)

Mar. 26 - Dallas, TX @ Amplified Live

Mar. 27 - Wichita, KS - @ Barleycorns

Mar. 29 - St Paul, MN @ Turf Club

Mar. 30 - Chicago, IL @ Reggies

Mar. 31 - Des Moines, IA @ Lefty's Live Music

Apr. 1 - Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom (2 Minutes To Tulsa)

Apr. 4 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme

Apr. 5 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom

Apr. 6 - Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups

Apr. 7 - Mechanicsburg, PA @ Lovedraft's

Apr. 8 - Cambridge, MA @ Sonia

Apr. 9 - Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus

Apr. 11 - Clifton, NJ @ Dingbatz

Apr. 13 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry (Decibel Metal & Beer Fest pre-party)

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