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20 Questions w/ X-Leatherwolf singer Michael Olivieri

20?s w/ x-Leatherwolf singer Michael Olivieri.


A few weeks back we got an e-mail from Mr. Olivieri who expressed interest in doing an interview. It turns out he’s also a Sludgeaholic and visits the site to see what’s news in the Metal world. Without out anymore babble from us, here is Michael.
1. This is your chance to plug your life, music, future projects and more?
My life, post LW. Married, 2 daughters, All three are totally beautiful. I have a modest recording studio in my garage that keeps me pretty busy. It’s taken some time to adjust to the learning curve of producing. Hopefully soon I’ll be good enough to take on larger projects, other than my own music. Speaking of my music…I’ve been writing alot and sharpening my skills as a singer, songwriter, producer. I’m really into helping people develop their talents and getting the most out of them. I guess that’s what a producer does right? I’d like to say my solo thing will be out soon, but we all know how that goes. I’m not in a frantic rush or anything.
2.  You departed the band shortly (2000) after it reformed in 1999. What brought you to this decision and was it all on good amicable terms with the other guys? 
It was very amicable. I just flay out didn’t want to sing in a heavy metal band no more. Over the last 10 years or so that LW had been defunct, I have been devoloping my true voice and style and LW just didn’t fit. Simple as that.
3.  A recent message on the official Leatherwolf website says…"Our former vocalist, Michael Olivieri, has also contributed some guitar and is helping out on backing vocals." Anything to tell us about in relation to the new stuff, new singer, and so on?
The new LW stuff is completely incredible. Geoff played his ass off. Nobody plays like him. He is by far the most underated guitar player in metal. Period. Deans’ playing is more solid than ever. I really think this will be the most intense LW album to date.

Wade Black sounds Killer too. Far better job than i would have ever done. My voice is far too bluesy for LW now. Those guys are bros’ for life. Dean called me up to help out with vocals and a little bit of guitar, so it was a no brainer to assist them in anyway i could.

4.  The band lay dormant for about a decade before the re-union. What inspired the re-union and what was everyone doing during that downtime?
Our former manager Jennifer Perry had a suprise b-day party and we were asked to get together and play a set. Well I guess word got out and when we showed up at the Troubador in Hollywood there was a huge line of people that couldn’t get in because it was a private party thrown by Sharon Osbourne (is that how you spell Ozzys’ last name?) Any way, that was kinda lame ’cause she kept making us stop after every other song or something. I think we spent more time standing on stage watching Ozzy stutter around in a daze than anything else. So after all the work we put into it and all the fans who couldn’t get in, we decided to book another show at the Galaxy and record it for a live album. So that snow balled into more shows and a trip to Germany to play the Wacken festival.

Downtime? I did a bunch of different stuff. Everything from being a music director at a local church to working on a carnival cruise ship playing guita in a very cheesy lounge band. with hair to my ass, it’s needless to say i didn’t fit in there. Dean grew a very profitable roofing company, Carey went into the morgage business(smart guy) Paul moved to Colorado got a job at clear channel radio, And Geoff continued to enjoy life and party. Although Geoff and Carey started a very sucsessful clothing line, Grind inc.


Leatherwolf re-union press shot.

Looks more like a stock brokers meeting.

5. Rate Vocalists 1-10. A 1 being a total hack and a 10 being a Vocal God!

ah rating vocalists. This is the part where i make people hate me

Rob halford = 10 the ultimate metal god
Jani Lane = I’ll give him a 6. Decent range 3, Nice white jump suit 3. That equals a 6
Wade Black = this is tough. Wade gets a 7 with the potential to be a 10
Vince Neil = 2. And i’m being generous
Geoff Tate = 9-10 some where around there.
Don Dokken = 2 and i’m not beibg generous
Bret Michaels = He’s too nice of a guy to be honest. But i’ll try. 3 ? Sorry Bret.
Jeff Martin= i haven’t heard him sing enough to give a true rating. On the LW demos i’d say 7 or so
Sebastin Bach = 9 probably one of the best from the ’80’s

6.  What rock star deserves a big smack in the mouth and why? 
Smack inthe mouth? who’s that singer from White Lion? we did a show in missouri with them and he just thought that he just stepped down from the throne of heaven to grace us all with this beauty. I was watching them from sidestage and the girls in the front row were trying to communicate with be via hand signals. And he pranced over to me and said "get the fuck off my stage" and then pranced right back out. It was comedy
7.  The band was known for its 3 guitar attack. Have you ever thought about adding a fourth? 
Oh my God that would be a train wreck, we had a hard enough time trying to keep 3 guitars tight. Although dean and paul both play guitair. We could have been like a backstreet boys or something, all with guitars. How cute would that be?


Live in Germany at Whacken Open Air Festival.

8.  Speaking of attacks, who attacked your heads of hair? The band use to look like a den of lions and when Leatherwolf resurfaced you looked like some guys off Wall Street, what happened to the honor and code of metal? 
Ya in like 1992 everybody started cutting their hair. I held out for along time and then i just said why. I earned my stripes. I had super long hair for a long time and i just got sick of the maintanence. So i cut it off. But i am cursed by the hair Gods and it grows back faster than i can handle. When my friends are bored they say "let’s go to Michaels’ house and watch his hair grow". So i got smart and started chaging money. You know like 20 bucks an hour of watching hair grow. Sound good? So now it’s long again but you never know
9.  Back in the 80’s it was as if the Orange Curtain (Orange County) was a little bit of a curse for metal bands. Or that the bands based out of Hollywood or Los Angeles were taken more seriously. However in the 90s it seemed as if though the punk movement, and the KROQ crowd turned it into a hip place to be. How did that affect Leatherwolf one way or the other? 
ya if you wanted to get a record deal you had to have a following in L.A. so we moved to Van Nuys and sterted promoting heavily in hollywood and the Valley. I guess it worked.Poison claims to be the promo kings, but we gave them a run for their money
10. Of all the bands Leatherwolf has shared a stage with who were the coolest to you, and who were the dicks?

Queensryche were very cool. King Kobra….dicks. actually it was Carmine Appice

who wouldn’t shut up and get off his drum kit when we only had 5 minutes to soundcheck. I think his exact words were (welcome to rock and roll gentlemen)

11.  Memory Lane with Southern California Clubs. What do you remember about…

The Marquee= free booze and cheap women
The Roxy= selling out 2 shows in one night
The Waters club= A stupid wall that seperated the 21 year olds from the under 21 year olds.
What side do you think i wanted to be on?
The side with the teenage hotties or the side with the chain smoking divorced women with more baggage than LAX airport
Troubador= another haze
Joshuas= more free booze and cheap women
the country club=after partys at our band house
Chexx= never been there. never heard of it
Coconut teaser= never been there
Coach house= you had to be way too well behaved. I didn’t like it. Plus it was too far south


Leatherwolf back in the day partying hard in OC.

12.  What band from back in the day deserved more success than they got, and who got beyond lucky with their rise to super stardom? 
LW of coarse. lucky? LA guns. because if it weren’t for Guns and roses you would’ve never heard of them
13.  Over the recent decade we have lost some great metal talent. How have the following influenced or affected you over the years? (Ray Gillen, Dimebag Darrell, Robin Crosby, Randy Castillo, Layne Staley)
Ray Gillen was a great singer. I auditioned for Badlands after he died and it was quite a challenge to have to sing his stuff. Dimebag, tragic loss to the metal world. I didn’t know him but i was deeply saddened by that. Layne Staley was on to something. the way he used his voice and harmonized with himself was great
14.   Name the 3 high points and the 3 low points of your music career in Leatherwolf? 
High points. getting signed, going to the Bahamas to make 2 records and most of all being asked to join the band in 1982 low points? 1990. not knowing what the hell we were going to do next, our first planned tour of Europe with Alice Cooper only to get canceled at the last minute. And last but not least hearing the news that Dean was in a motorcycle accident and that he was in a coma for about a week


Leatherwolf 1989 release Street Ready.

15.  What comes to mind when you hear the following old school metal band names…

Icon= full page bam ad every month

Grim Reaper= Fat singer in spandex
Racer X = LW rivals. We even played them in basketball, live on the air on knac. I forget who won. I remember Paul Gilbert being afraid to catch the ball cause it might sprain his finger. Can’t blame him
Helix= cool guys, we did a show with them once.
Keel= we shared the same management Co.
Autograph= my record co. sent me to Steve Plunketts’ house to write songs. He had the last laugh. He got rich by writing the theme song to the tv show 7th heaven
Manowar= no comment
Black Sheep= thats who we stole Paul Carmen from
Metal Church=no commeny
Overkill=i don’t remember

16.  Hypothetically speaking…let’s say you are granted the chance to be involved with a multi platinum success story that will take you around the planet, you’ll sell millions of records, and be set for life. Your fame will be at a level where your family can travel with you. But, the project will be a man/boy band and you will share the spotlight with Michael Sweet (Stryper), Michael Monroe (Hanoi Rocks) and Michael Matijevic (Steelheart). You will wear matching outfits like the Osmonds, do choreographed stage moves and be coached daily like puppets. The band will be called MICHAEL. Do you do it?
only if i get to be the middle Michael
17.  Kill, fuck, merry. (Britney Spears, Britny Fox, Samantha Fox) 
I’m in love with my wife so i’ll pass on that question
18.  What was your biggest musical related paycheck for and what did you buy with it? 
I had a song in the Olson twins movie and i did pretty well on that. How funny ha? I don’t know what i bought with it.
19. Word Association: 

Kevin Beamish= over producer

Dean Roberts= one of a kind
Rueben Blue= Who’s he?
Carey Howe= caniver
Jack Russell=survivor
Riki Rachtman= Headbangers ball
Joe Floyd=genious
Dave Mustaine= the new dave or the old dave?
Tawn Mastrey=sweetheart


Leatherwolf live in the modern day.

20. The Last of Michael Olivieri..

Last time you rehearsed with Leatherwolf = 2 years ago.

Last autograph you signed =  Last month, becuase she thought i was the guy from the mummy and Deuce Bigolo
Last royalty check you received bought = Last Month, i got a royalty check and bought some more gear for my studio
Last movie you rented = Last Movie was bewitched
Last 80s CD you cranked in the car =  Queensryche, empire

Last cereal brand you ate = Cereal, Corn pops
Last concert you watched from the crowd = Last Concert. UFO & the Scorps just last month. Oh Ya i took my daughters to see Hillary Duff. And liked it. 
Last new band you listened to and liked = Last Band? i don’t know
Last rock star you shook hands with = My wife. Incredible voice. She’s a star in my eyes
Last time you visited Metal Sludge =  Last week

there  you have it. Michael

Hey kids how was that for a walk down memory lane? Thanks to Michael for bringing us up to speed on his status with his career. And don’t forget to keep your eyes and ears peeled in 2006 for new stuff from Michael & Leatherwolf. For more info. please visit www.LeatherwolfMusic.com

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