Friday, May 8, 2009

Leeway - Demos and Live 1985-1986

I've been on a huge Leeway kick the past few weeks, so i figured i'd share some rare recordings i recently aquired. Leeway were a great band from Astoria, Queens NY who effortlessly blended thrash metal with NYHC, and for a while during the late '80s they seemed to be on the bill for just about every hardcore show i went to in New York. The vocalist, Eddie Sutton, who couldn't have weighed more than 130 lbs, was constantly stage diving into the crowd and jumping around on stage like a madman. He was a great front-man with an incredible voice, and the band was always tight and intense. Many bands have tried to pull off Leeway's sound since, and none have come close. Their influence is still present today (check out Iron Age).
Anyway, on to the collection. Here we have the "Enforcer" demo from 1985. There are 2 known versions of this demo, one with 5 studio tracks, and the version that's most common on the internet which has 4 studio tracks (usually mislabeled) and 2 live tracks (Tools for War and Unexpected) recorded in February of 1986. The version here is the original 5 song demo. Also included are 2 live sets, both recorded in NYC. The first was recorded live at The Ritz on Dec. 27, 1986, and was sold at that time as a tape called "Unexpected" with printed covers. The other set was recorded some time in '86 at CBGB. Both of these live recording have great sound quality, and both are powerful performances, capturing the band in their prime. The Ritz set is one of the only recordings you'll get to hear Mackie (Cro-Mags) on drums, as he replaced Saso, who played on the demo, and left before the recording of the first LP (Tony Fontao played drums on that album). So here's the music. Thanks to Chris (Cooch) for all the help! Enjoy!

Leeway: Demos and Live

1985-1986 lineup:
Eddie Sutton - vocals
AJ Novello - guitar
Jose Ochoa - bass
Saso Motroni - drums

Mackie - drums on the Ritz 1986 set

Leeway was formed by guitarist AJ Novello and vocalist Eddie Sutton. They started out as Unruled.
"We might have helped open up a can of worms by bringing suburban metalheads to shows. Years later, it kind of ruined things in the scene, but I can't say I have any regrets."
-AJ Novello

Check out the first Leeway album "Born to Expire" if you somehow haven't. It was recorded in 1987 and released in '89. Classic.

Thanks to Joe (Outburst) for the lineup info.


  1. Thanks for posting this! An awesome live band back in the day.

  2. thanks this is awesome

  3. man do I <3 me some leeway. thank you for this.

  4. I've been searching for this. Thanks!

  5. line up for the Enforcer demo and the 86 CBGB show:

    Eddie Pomponio: vocals
    AJ Novello: guitar
    Jose Ochoa: bass
    Saso Motroni: drums

    Saso & AJ lived on our block =) Been down w/ Leeway since they were the Unruled. Without having listened to the Ritz tracks yet, I'd say it's Mackie on drums.

    Joe (Outburst)

  6. Also one of the most fun moments ever in my garage was sitting in on drums, playing Leeway songs helping AJ work out Chuck Valle (Ludichrist, Murphy's Law).

  7. One of the worst vocalists of all time. Makes sense now finding out he only weighed 130. How about that Merauder demo of his? Oh boy.

  8. worst vocalists? his voice is natural, the voice of the streets, not the recording studio. leeway were street metal, musically they had more in common with the first iron maiden album than hardcore.
    try listening to later leeway albums & claim his voice is aint.

  9. I'll admit i'm not much of a fan of the later Leeway stuff. But his vocals on these demos and live tracks are top notch. And Born To Expire is a classic.

    Eddie was different than most NYHC vocalists, and had an obvious metal influence that came through in his singing. But fuck, that's part of what made the band stand out. Should all NYHC vocals just sound like Breakdown or Raw Deal or whatever?

  10. Man, Anthrax were ripping these guys off post 86 so bad.

  11. Thx very much, i appreciate!

  12. This band is one of my favourite! thanks for posting this, but can someone tell me if i can find some Adult crash and/or Open mouth kiss lyrics; e-mail:

  13. any chance you can reupp this?

  14. Felt Like all of Astoria Park South was full of Hardcore Bands growing up.. everyone chilled on our block though... AJ used to practice up on his outside balcony... Blaring!.. Summers of Handball, Stickball, Loud Music, Circus Mags going round, vinyl records!!!!, fire hydrants watering the streets, This was the good old days.... Peace Homies... EARS.

  15. hi, the link is dead, can you reupp??

  16. Back in the mediafire days, you had a live soundboard recording of Leeway from the Desperate Measures era that was amazing....any chance for a re-up of that? thank you!