You played on the “Back In The Streets” album, which is mentioned a bootleg album by Don on his website. Checking out the album cover, it says that George Lynch is the guitarplayer here. Giant mistake they made here, right?
Greg Leon: “On the "Back In The Streets" record, it’s just my picture. I don’t play on it. It’s a bootleg and whoever put it together was just trying to cash in on the band. It was probably the best or only picture they had of DOKKEN, so that’s how that happened (I get asked that question all the time). We did play those songs, when I was in DOKKEN.”
Who were really in the band, when the album was recorded?
Greg Leon: “That line up was Don Dokken, Greg Leon, Gary Holland and Gary Link.”
Did you know that this album was released as a picture disc in the eighties over here in Europe, by the way?
Greg Leon: “I had been told of this album and seen it. People would find me and ask me to autograph it.”
Another band that you played in was ROUGH CUTT. When was that and who else was in the line up at that time?
Greg Leon: “I only played in ROUGH CUTT for a short time. I didn’t hear any hits and they weren’t into letting me bring in any songs or co-writing anything with them. Even though they had a record deal on the table I didn’t believe in the music enough to sign on with them. I made the right decision.”
What was it like working with Paul Shortino, who’s another great rock hero, if I may say so?
Greg Leon: “Paul Shortino is a great talent. I can’t believe he has slipped through the cracks and not made it in a big way.”
OK, let’s get back to the time that you met Delores Rhoads. How and when did you meet her?
Greg Leon: “We met as soon as I joined up with Kevin Dubrow and Drew Forsyth. Randy called me up and asked if I would take over his position at his mothers music school. I said OK, so I did. It lasted about one year. I still see her only once and a while. I was with the Rhoads family and his ex- girlfriend Jody for the twenty-five year memorial at Randy’s grave site. Since then we have gotten together and had a party with a lot of the old QUIET RIOT fans. Just to talk about the old days and remember how much we all loved and miss Randy.”
You also played in a band called VYPER. For how long was that?
Greg Leon: “Yes, I did play with a band called VYPER. They were managed by a very good friend of mine Eric Grief. They brought me in to play guitar and write songs for their upcoming release, but we got a call that their record label went under and we decided to call it a day.”
I also read somewhere that you worked together with DIO. When was this and what did you work on with him?
Greg Leon: “I did work with Ronnie James Dio in the studio with ROUGH CUTT. The demos that got them their deal with Warner bros. Ronnie was and is the greatest person to work or just hang with.”
What’s the best memory you have from playing in all these well-known bands? Any bad experience, you’ll like to pick out too maybe?
Greg Leon: “The best memory is that I got to play with all those bands and still have memories about it. I don’t really have any bad memories about those days. I know some bad shit went down, but I let all of that go years ago.Why hold onto bad feelings? It only brings on more bad things.”
My main interest in this interview goes out to THE GREG LEON INVASION however. This band exists since 1981. Who was in this first line up?
Greg Leon: “The very first line up with THE GREG LEON INVASION was Carl Elizondo on drums and Joey Vera on bass.”
JAKE E LEE was a member of the band for a short time too, if my information is right. What was the exact link between JAKE E LEE and THE GREG LEON INVASION?
Greg Leon: “Jake E. Lee was only in the band for a very short time. He was up for the OZZY gig and he got it, which was good for him.”
Jeroen Bos was also a member of the band in 1985. Is he the same Jeroen Bos, who played in the Dutch band BODINE?
Greg Leon: “Jeroen Bos and I played together for a long time. He was a great bass player and very solid, as they come. I loved his grooves and feel for my music.Yes, he is the same one from BODINE.”
“Unfinished Business” is the title of your latest album. In which way does it differ from your previous albums, in your opinion?
Greg Leon: “Yes, “Unfinished Business” is the latest record. I don’t know that it is different. It’s just that my song witing has gotten better and my guitar playing has gotten better and my voice.... Well, you know the rest.”
The first album was even released as a picture disc by Azra Records. Do you have any idea how many copies of this rare item were printed?
Greg Leon: “I was told that the first album went into eight pressings, so it probably sold somewhere between eight and twenty thousand copies with absolutly zero publicity. Azra records didn't have a clue what to do with their artists. I never received one dime from the sales of that album.”
Are “Greg Leon Invasion” and “Born To Die” still available somewhere? And if not, are there any plans to reissue them for the fans in the near future?
Greg Leon: “You can still get copies of my first release through my website http://www.gregleoninvasion.com. I've added two bonus tracks to it. An alternate version of "Stay With Me Tonight" and also "Every Time". They were off the seven inch, I released in Canada.”
There is also a story going on, that you sold the name “Invasion” to VINNIE VINCENT (the former KISS guitarplayer). What was that all about?
Greg Leon: “Yeah, Vinnie gave me some money to use the name INVASION for seven years. After that I could go back to it, if I wanted.”
In the nineties you showed up as the guitarplayer of WISHING WELL, with whom you released the great self-titled album. How long did this last?
Greg Leon: “WISHING WELL lasted for nine years. It split up because of a couple of reasons. First of all, we were together for nine years. Secondly, we went through at least nine drummers and third, Stuart Brooks - the bass player - got tired of breaking in new drummers and he and his wife wanted to start a family. We still talk and see each other from time to time. They have a beautiful little girl and are very happy.”
Was WISHING WELL, Marc Droubay’s (later in SURVIVOR) solo band, so to speak?
Greg Leon: “Marc Droubay is and probably will always be the drummer in SURVIVOR. He and I have this musical connection, when we get together to play or record. We have never played a live show. Every time we put something together SURVIVOR gets back together and he's gone for a year. I love Mark's playing and him as a person. He is one of the best there is.”
OK, back to “Unfinished Business” now. How many copies were sold of this great album so far?
Greg Leon: “I’m not really sure how many copies of “Unfinished Business” have been sold, because you can download it for free online and everybody I know has it on their ipod. It is impossible to keep track of these things anymore. That’s why all the record companies are going under (file sharing).”
What did the press think of the album so far?
Greg Leon: “I have had nothing but glowing reviews on the CD. I’ve been lucky so far (no bad reviews).”
I noticed a lot of FRANK MARINO influences on “Unfinished Business”. Did he inspire you a lot while working on this album?
Greg Leon: “I love all the FRANK MARINO recordings and I’ve seen him play many times. I guess he rubbed off on my playing style. I take it as a compliment, when someone says "wow, you can play like HENDRIX, MARINO, TROWER or BLACKMORE." They are the reason I started playing in the first place.”