Eric Leach – Interview

10 Sep

Eric Leach
Symbol Six (http://www.symbolsix.com)

Symbol Six was, as I told Eric Leach, always the trump card to pull out when talking about old-school punk rock. As many of you know, once you get into a debate with another punk you always one-up each other, and Symbol Six’s great EP could be the trump card “what about Symbol Six’s Posh Boy EP?” Then you could be shown to be worthy.

Symbol Six’s Eric Leach, and his band members are a great bunch of musicians, and some really nice guys. If you haven’t heard their music, or seen them live, word of advice . . . get off your ass and get their EP, and album, and check out damn near any club in Southern California . . . they have been playing constantly since 2009. Now read on:

1. First off, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. What was it like to work with Jay Lansford (of The Stepmothers, Channel 3, and The Simpletones) on your first EP?

Jay was very instrumental in the producing of the EP. He actually played a bunch of lead guitar on that as well. He was the first person to introduce me to how to structure songs, edit the writing process. Things I still very much use today. Jay is an amazing producer/song writer/musician!

2. A lot has been made of recording for Posh Boy, and Robbie Fields (co-producer of first EP) himself. How was/is your experience with Robbie Fields?

Robbie, in hind site, must be credited with seeing the future in so many great bands of that time. When we met him, he was pursuing us to record in ‘81; it was, to be honest, a real honor. He had already worked with the Adolescents, Social Distortion, TSOL, Agent Orange, Rik L Rik, so to even be considered, you’ve got to imagine was pretty big deal. We heard all stories about not getting paid etc, but for us it was wow, we’re going to get to make a record and get our music heard, fuck everything else!

3. How did you end up recording your first EP with Posh Boy?

Michelle from Flipside magazine was probably the ultimate, and 1st punk rock A&R/scout (un-officially), and she had Posh Boy’s ear. He’d ask her who was up, and coming, and if she saw or heard something, she’d hip him to it. She liked us early on, I guess she saw something, and passed it on. Thanks Michelle!

4. Twenty-nine years have past, and your EP is still offered all over Ebay. Does your influence on this younger generation of “punks” surprise you?

Since we reformed, I’ve been really very surprised at the influence that EP made on people. I really had no idea until recently, but we get emails and comments from all over the world about that record.

5. I hope this isn’t too far out, here’s a bit of self-analysis. You’ve been in the music world for over thirty years as a vocalist, and writer, so the question is what does Eric Leach bring to a band?

Well today, I’m probably less concerned with the small things (not really) and more sure musically about what I’d like to accomplish musically, less looking over the shoulder.

But, I bring my enthusiasm, and my book full of lyrics.



6. Back in a time where most of the music being produced was extremely amateurish, you were polished, and professional, what was your training?

I know exactly what you mean by that. We were just trying to be as good as our heroes of the time, and most of our heroes were pretty fucking good at what they did (Ramones, Sex Pistols, 999, The Clash, Generation X, etc). Local Bands like X, The Weirdo’s, TSOL, Agent Orange, Adolescents, they, I would say were elite, polished/pro’s. Who would you want to be like? As far as training: going to the Fleetwood in Redondo Beach, The Starwood in Hollywood, Blackies, Madam Wong’s as a 14 year old, that was my training.

7. Did you feel Symbol Six were accepted, given the fact you guys were so good?

Was there much of a stigma for polished musicians? Some of the super hardcore didn’t like us, but then again they didn’t like a lot of things. We weren’t about to apologize for anything, do what felt and sounded good to us and “fuck em’ all”!

8. There seems to be a lot made of your age, band being fifteen, nowadays, but back then it seemed the “young guys” focus was on Mad Society. Did age help or hurt you back then?

We really didn’t realize age as much at the time, except when you saw Mad Society, but that was bit of an anomaly (the singer was 8 or 9 I think?). Every venue seemed to be all ages, unlike today which is really too bad, and sad! Getting in to see all these amazing bands was never an issue back then so I guess we just didn’t give it much thought!

9. Who were/ are your influences, musically, and personally?

Well, that’s a big question, it started with all the English punks a lot of which I’ve mentioned, a few others were X-Ray Specs, Sham 69, Stiff little Fingers, Motorhead was big for me! And all of the L.A. scene was beyond special . . . Can’t forget Stiv!

10. How long was the original incarnation of Symbol Six together?

Only about 2 years but it was a fertile 2 years!

11. How much of a part do you play in the visual direction of the band, and the art direction?

I am very passionate in what I do, I give a lot of input, but we all listen to each others ideas, best ones win! There’s a great deal of synergy in Symbol Six, and there always has been. I basically founded the band, and brought us all together, that’s what singers do because most of us didn’t/don’t play an instrument, so if you wanted to be in a band, you had better start one yourself! Ha ha!

12. Other than being in the band you were in, give us some of your greatest memories of being the punk scene back in the 1980’s.

Every Fear show was great, The Black Flag riot @ Bacy’s Hall in ‘81, all the mayhem the Mau-Maus would cause by not playing, or their set being cut short. Meeting, and hanging out with Stiv Bators @ The Cathay De Grande. Our early show at Bards Apollo was special for me, and playing Godzilla’s was special as well!

13. Are there any more unreleased tracks that may find there way onto future releases?

There’s a couple . . . Shhhhh!

14. As a big Symbol Six fan where can people order Symbol Six merchandise, t-shirts, and posters?

We should have our store page up soon at (shameless plug) www.symbolsix.com. We are pretty lame in getting that to where it should be, but promise to be better…stay tuned!

15. Of the recordings you’ve done, what slab of vinyl (or CD for the younger fans) are you most proud of, or best represents your skills?

I personally love the new material, the older stuff will always be special too me, and we always play some of it live but the new stuff is where we’re going! We already have 7 or eight new songs we can’t wait to record!


16. Do you remember when you realized that punk was going to be a part of your life forever?

It’s always been here for me, even when my musical tastes have changed, but punk rock has always been a constant. I could never imagine it any other way. What an atomic amount of pure energy punk rock has given the world. We must never be afraid the push the limits, we must always be searching!

17. What was your first exposure to punk rock?

Johnny Rotten!

18. Who are you listening to now?

Seriously, anything and everything, I just sift all music looking for gold!

19. Which artist, band concert and/or show had the most impact on your life?

The Weirdos have to be up there for me and I’ll never stop loving Never Mind the Bullocks!

20. Our last question, rather than complain about the current state of punk rock, my question to you is: do you find it strange or maybe amusing how incredibly accepted punk is now?

Totally, but I look for the “attitude” in lots of music, people, art, life and I find that the “punk rock attitude” is alive and well, and lives in the most unexpected places sometimes or at least that’s where I get the most pleasure in finding it! Refuse to give in…

“The Future Honors The Brave!”

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9 Responses to “Eric Leach – Interview”

  1. 1
    justin Says:

    Good read Mike, you’ve got this interview thing down. Honestly never heard of Symbol Six, but Eric seems like a really down to earth guy. His answer to your question of “what are you listening to now”, read exactly like something I would say. I’ll have to look into them. Thanx again

  2. 2
    Mike E. Says:

    Justin – Thanks for writing in. These guys have a long history. Their Posh Boy EP was real popular, and a favorite of Rodney Bingenheimer’s. Almost all of the members were in other bands, the bassist (I think) recorded with The Necros, on and on like this. They just recorded a new album. It’s a powerehouse of an album.

  3. 3
    Robbie Fields Says:

    Nice read.

    It is only now in 2010 that I have discovered that Eric and cohorts were only 15 at the time. So really they were even better than I thought at the time …

    Personally I thought the Symbol 6 production was the apex of the “Posh Boy” assembly of great punk. There was a third, vitally important person involved, our engineer David Hines (RIP) who brought big league knowledge to the rookies, myself included.

    We signed the group right out of their garage. I had forgotten Michelle Flipside’s role.

    So when we released the 12″ e.p. with great artwork supplied by the band (15???), we thought it a “banker”, sure to make an impact. But it was not to be, not initially at any rate.

    I am so glad to see Eric out there again.

  4. 4
    Mike E. Says:

    Robbie – Thanks for reading, and for writing in. I appreciate your additional details on the Symbol Six recording (and all the great records)!

  5. 5
    Eric Says:

    Yes, David Hines was the steady voice/hand in all of that, my bad not to have mentioned him! Jay, David & Robbie, great studio team!
    Robbie Fields, the Sam Phillips of Los Angeles,CA. Punk Rock !

  6. 6
    Jay Thurston Says:

    Great interview by a great band!!! I only saw Symbol Six once at Godzilla’s!! Oh, and I saw them a week ago…hahaha. Therefore, I have actually seen them twice!

  7. 7
    Mike E. Says:

    Eric – Great to have you writing in!

    Jay – Thanks for writing in! The Symbol Six page on Facebook has some great photos of them at Godzillas by the great Ed Colver, check ‘em out!

  8. 8
    dave Says:

    Great interview of a cool band. Thanks for doing that. I sought out the 12″ in the mid to late 80′s and was fortunate to find it. Never imagined they’d be putting out a record in 2010!

  9. 9
    Mike E. Says:

    Dave – Thanks for writing in! The new album is available on their site, and on iTunes.

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