No. 1, his name, it’s cool; 2) His self-titled debut Hollywood Records album, released June 5, is a fun fusion of funk, rock, gospel, country and hip-hop.
“I’m into Beck, Bill Withers, Parliament, Sly Stone,” Leroy said recently. “But my real vocal models are Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix.”
3) He has toured this summer with the Dave Matthews Band and Aerosmith; 4) His album was produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls, Alanis Morissette); 5) He’s practically a one-man band.
“I produced the record myself originally; I did 100 percent of the record myself. I played everything; I engineered it, produced it, wrote all the songs, sang. The label loved it, and Rob Cavallo – the president of A&R and also an extremely gifted producer with shitloads of success – when he puts his name on something, that means it sounds like a record. When he heard my record, he wanted to get involved; he offered a few suggestions.
“I have a really funky drummer who plays with my band. Rob had seen a rehearsal tape, and he’s like, ‘We’ve got to get this guy on your album.’ Previously, my record was produced with beats, so it was electronic, but not in a techno way, but I created my music using beats and synths. Rob’s like, ‘Let’s throw your drummer on there, and maybe get in a couple of other cats I know and play some Hammond B3.’ Even though it was my baby, I was very open.”
6) His first single, “Good Time,” was featured prominently in the movie “Driven” and in the Denis Leary sitcom, “The Job”; 7) The track, “Trans Am,” popped up in an episode of “Felicity”; 8) “Make It Hot” surfaces in the films “Chain of Fools” and “Joy Ride”; 9) “New World” made its way onto the film “10 Things I Hate About You.”
“As long as I can get my music out there, which is the biggest issue in most band’s and artist’s life,” Leroy said, “I’m never going to say no. I might say no if they want to put me on something that doesn’t relate to what I’m doing. Like, I don’t think I could endorse a kiddie product; I love children, but I just don’t see Leroy pushing toys. When it gets into the red on my cheese meter, it’s like ‘Okay, that’s enough.’ “
10) He’s refreshingly candid and confident (but not arrogant).
“I honestly think what I do is really fresh and new,” he said, “but I really respect the past and hope for the future. My goal right now with my music is to get people listening to music. I love it that people are digging it and paying attention and dancing to it. A lot of artists, all they’re doing is winding people up; I just want to wind them down. I want to get funky. I want them to come out of one of my shows and go home and feel great about themselves.
“Even if I don’t sell one record, I feel like I’ve done something right. So far, it’s been a really good ride; I’ve met a lot of cool people, and the people are interested in the music on a level I haven’t seen in other projects I’ve been involved in, and I honestly believe since the music is not offensive, it’s just what it is: soul, blues, rock, funk, a little country. The lyrics are real.”
THE FIRST RECORD I EVER BOUGHT: “It was probably ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’ and I loved it, but my first rock record had to have been Elvis Presley. I got ‘G.I. Blues’ and a couple other Elvis records at a garage sale. I got them all for like a buck and a half.”
THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER WENT TO: “Probably Kiss, in Spokane, Wash. My mom and dad took me to the concert and everybody was getting stoned around us. My parents were freaked out. It was really funny.”
THE WORST JOB I’VE EVER HAD: “Working a jackhammer for the California Gas Co. It was brutal, man. I was like 18 years old and that thing was beating the hell out of me. I was so tall and I had to lean over it. I had blisters; I had blood-poisoning in my hands. I only lasted three months. I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to work at the car rental place across the street.’ “
LEROY ON THE WEB: Visit him @ www.leroyfan.com.
BWF (before we forget): “Good Time” also was sung by the cast of NBC’s new medical sitcom, “Scrubs,” in the Oct. 4 episode.
More updates: Joe Henry, Marcus King, Lily Kershaw, Poliça, Sarah Brightman, Jerry Leger, Simple Minds, Grateful Dead, etc