Interview with The Disco Kings

The Disco Kings
View The Disco Kings's Profile

Iím interviewing always quotable, outspoken and flamboyant lead singer for The Disco Kings, Leapiní Leon Thunder. How is it going Leon? How is the band doing?

Itís going good. Thank you for asking. The band is thankful for a GREAT Ď08. And weíre looking forward to making it VERY FINE IN í09! LOL. We want to thank all our special clients, fans and friends alike who Ďgotta have disco in their dietí and insist on boogieing down with The Disco Kings of Party Entertainment!!!!

Does the band's name have any significance?

Of course. We argued and debated as we normally do over anything on the merits of various names for the band at its inception. And we wanted our name to signify and embody what we aim to deliver each night. We are the unequivocal Kings of 70ís Disco Tribute. We put the glide in your slide and the dip in your hip!!!! LOL Collectively, weíve been doing it the longest and the most. Though some will stake all kinds of claims just remember weíre Coke and their Pepsi! Weíre the real thing (Leon chuckles)!

And L.A. being the music capital of the world each of us in The Disco Kings pride ourselves at being the best of the best. Sort of the New York Yankees if you will of the 70ís disco music scene (Ö.we better win a World Series! LOL). Or Muhammad Ali being ĎThe Greatest Of All Timeí is probably a better analogy. Heís been my hero since childhood by the way.

Leon, youíve boasted on The Disco Kingsí website as being the quote/unquote emancipator of live 70ís disco music. What does that mean? Talk a little bit about that.

Certainly. While this particular incarnation of The Disco Kings has been at it a while. We all did our stints working the trenches in other bands. Itís actually a tale with many peaks and valleys. We literally had to climb over many a lesser and greater band to offer you the gem you see and hear today!

If you recall back around Ď96/í97 there began a sort of resurgence of 70ís disco in the clubs with a certain band going around playing to tracks. Well I was in a successful classic rock band Iíd founded at the time. We decided to go check these cats out. While the show was OK there was something missing. I told my guitar player at the time we could do all those tunes live and not have to be limited by track length. And deliver the real thing. In other words we could make a song as long or as short as we want. Besides I thought the general public was getting ripped off. If you think about it in concept if youíre playing to tracks itís almost like karaoke. Thatís cheating!

What did you do?
Well, I decided we would need good vocals all the way around and good instrumentation to fill in lots of orchestration that was arranged in allot of those studio recordings. No tracks, though. All live or bust. In short we would need to deliver stellar musicianship from five players. We used to be a four piece rock band and we added keys to make it a five piece disco band! My idea!

Sounds good.

Everyone in the band was up for the challenge. Within weeks we delivered our product to raving success. We were killing Ďem everywhere we played. People went nuts. We were the first all live 70ís disco band. And again, it was all my idea! Nobody else was doing this at the time. Then with the success came the greed and the other personality defects. The long and short of it is one of the band members (who shall remain nameless) who was booking the gigs for this particular band (whom I shall not name, either) was underpaying the band!!! Ripping us off. I got tired of it. So, I had to split that scene.

Oh, no. How sad. What did you do?

I got sad then I got mad. LOL. What do you do in America and youíre ticked off for getting ripped off. I started another band with rejects and remnants of the prior band and we began to take off. Happy ending right? Wrong. One Ė more Ėtime I ran into ego, more personality defects and of course more greed. And more poignantly some major differences in opinion in how to market the band and what kind of show to put on, etc. These guys were becoming borderline geriatric and it showed in the performances. I felt we owed more to our paying public. I pleaded. When I saw things werenít going to improve I decided to bow out rather than deliver substandard entertainment and cheat our trusted clients and fans. It was depressing. The band was morose. I didnít want to be a one-man-show backed by the aging Ďrockers with walkers revue.í

How funny!

You think itís funny? To this day that band touts having been together x amount of years, etc. And doing so many shows together and putting so many people to sleep. Ya-Da- Ya-Da. Look, If you want to be bored to death and be put to sleep in the process I might have a link for you. Can you dig it?
Iím almost ashamed to say I started that band!!!!
They used to be good.
And while, today, they are not a horrible band by any stretch there are some major points of difference in their show and ours. Like I said, musically they are OK.

But weíre great on all aspects. For example, Iím hitting notes no man should be able to hit. Iím talking Bee Gees, Gloria Gaynor, Cheryl Lyne. You name it. I started all this live tribute mind you. Did I tell you that already?

Yes you did. LOL.

OK. Then I invite you to watch our video online. Watch it all the way. Itís only a few minutes. Be critical. See the differences in performance styles. You will not see and hear anything like us anywhere else. I guarantee it!!! If you find yourself electrified and intensified all at the same time then weíre your band.

Most folksí reaction is they watch us one time and they want to bolt out of their chair and get in on the act. Itís a celebration!!! People whoíve gone to see the other guys live (in front of big audiences even!) and then watch our video have hired us because of the difference in energy we bring. And they are happy they did. The difference is like night and day. Weíve sold hundreds of thousands of smiles literally.

You got me hooked Leon!

Let me tell you. We all love what we do. Weíre not faking it. Itís all live. And even though weíve been at it a while we play it like itís brand new with that same energy. Remember when you were 12 or 13 and heard Boogey Oogey for the first time? Maybe you had your radio by your bed and you didnít want your parents to hear. But you just had to hear that song one-more-time. Travolta made it exceptionally cool. Everybody was in on it. Every artist had a disco record. Even TV shows had disco theme songs. It became a part of Americana. And American means global baby!

So you guys are really into it.

Iím inspired and on fire! Wait Ďtill you see us live. And Iím being serious. We grew up hearing this stuff and watching our brothers, sisters, parents and friends getting into the disco craze. This is just as much a tribute to them as it is to the whole era itself. You canít fake that kind of energy. Thatís why people choose us! We are the real deal. The band and me are having the time of our life. The audience knows it too. They want in. Itís an endless cycle that sparks with a glimmer from Leapiní Leonís eye and a giant hip thrust. LOL.
Can you dig it?

Dumb question. Who founded The Disco Kings then? And are you the illustrious leader?

Well, once again I found myself singing a razor line for another disco band. We were on a gig at a local casino when I met another mercenary on guitar named Maurice Jiviní Johnson. The chemistry between us was undeniable and instantaneous. We both had attitudes. The audience went nuts. We killed that night! There was a whole lot of talk about a sequel. We decided to put together our own band. We got with another accomplished musician out of Sweden by the name of T-Bone Andersson. He was another disco veteran with great chops and we immediately clicked. We tried out some other players for the rhythm section and actually did some gigs with them. We wanted a stellar live show with non-stop energy. And thankfully we ran into some other gun slingers on the scene, Sean The Wand Taddeo on bass who Iíd known for years. It also turned out we were neighbors, also. And then we picked up another free agent by the name of Sam D. Lite on drums who had been hitting the heavy artillery on the disco scene for equally as long. From the first gigs we did with these guys we knew the line-up was complete. These changes represent what you see and hear today. Weíre pretty proud of it. Everyone in the band is multi talented. And while I front this band in many aspects weíre also sort of a democracy. I always thought good leaders are really servants, anyway. And I am a first and foremost a servant to all mankind and an enemy to no one. In the band most things are collective and we try and share evenly in all our talents, rewards and responsibilities. Always making music and fun our top priority. Without our faithful clients and fans there would be no us. LOL. Weíre like your favorite dysfunctional family or gang. We love making music together and hanging out when we can.

From what we can tell people really loose themselves at your gigs.

Yeah, itís great. Itís like a deliverance of sorts.!!!! Some people go to church. Some go to hockey games for that special feeling. The rest of them party with The Disco Kings! LOL. We do lots of corporate parties where youíd expect co-workers to be all uptight. And once they see us it just takes off from there. And thatís before we even start playing!!! LOL. We make a grand entrance every time. Itís over the top. Itís in your face. Its total abandon just like the 70ís disco scene really was. We turn every event into a Studio 54 all over again. We love it. People love it. People are getting down all night ( or at least as long as weíre playing ! )! We insist on having everybody in on the celebration.

Where do you see The Disco Kings going from here.

I donít know. I keep wondering when this is going to dry up. It almost seems to good-to-be-true sometimes.

But people keep wanting to have live 70ís disco at their parties, corporate events, weddings, etc. And they keep asking for The Disco Kings. And for that weíre grateful beyond words.

I suppose in the bigger picture itís a testimony to the musicianship and talent that typified a special time in our countryís history. Itís burned into the American psychic permanently and for the rest of the world for that matter.

The Disco Kings have captured that in a special way and we deliver it and share it with our audiences who are our closest friends every time we play!

You donít get that type of entertainment we offer on a regular basis anymore. Certainly not on a day-to-day basis. Weíre real musicians who still play and sing and dance. Live! And we stay in shape. I personally earn my meal ticket by singing and dancing! Itís a treat for your eye as well as your ear! Thatís the intent.

So as long as people keep wanting to see us play in our Ďget upsí weíll keep it all revved up with no let up!!!! Dig what Iím saying?