TRUTH & RIGHTS are not a new band but the way their story has unfolded to this point they very well could be. They put out a 3 song EP in 2010 and have been in a dormant state for quite some time now. The band consists of Eddie Sutton on vocals; you may remember him from his days in Leeway. What NYHC fanatic doesn’t hold Leeway’s “Born To Expire” and “Desperate Measures” in the highest regards? Truth & Rights are rounded out with NYHC vets at every instrument. Dudes who have been parts of bands like Crown Of Thornz, Bulldoze, Maximum Penalty and Skarhead to name a few. The recording for their new album took quite a while and flew under the radar since the band simply was not out there playing shows. Go time has arrived with their debut full length titled “Lies & Slights” out now on Eddie’s newly formed My Reality Entertainment label. Musically this album is a fresh face in a scene crowded with many bands looking around at each other for influences. We caught up with Mr. Eddie Sutton in this late October 2016 interview and got the lowdown with everythng T&R related as well as the future of Leeway. Photos by: Jammi York and Rich Zoeller. Graphics by: Bas Spierings
IE: What’s up Eddie. I would guess to many reading this the name Truth & Rights sounds like a new band with a brand new release in "Lies & Slights". Actually this band has been around for a while although not always active. Can you give us a brief run down as to the origins of Truth & Rights and how the idea came about for you to start a new band with all original material?
Eddie: This band actually started about 18 months after I recovered from a broken neck in 2006....Agents Of Man were slowing down and we discussed a merge of sorts since I walked away from Leeway again due to frustration. We started just to establish something and we didn't know where we were going, and Dimi wasn't with us....we scrapped a demo with a different drummer but by the time Dimi came in we found our groove and we recorded the "Greenlight" EP which came out in 2010.
IE: Can you talk about the lineup that makes up Truth & Rights and everyone's connection to the NYHC scene?
Eddie: Zack Thorne, Rey Fonseca, and John Doherty are the founders of Agents Of Man, and Dimi has played with so many bands I lose count...Crown of Thorns, Stillsuit, Skarhead, and right now he's with me and Matty in Leeway NYC and they still do Crown of Thorns shows....Dimi and Zack play in Homicidal and Rey does Maximum Penalty as well. You can see the experience they bring individually which gives me an inspiring opportunity to write and arrange some serious vocal tracks. I hope what I did on "Lies & Slights" represents their music well here. It's the music that helps me to animate a song lyrically while laying down harmonies and choruses a lot of bands do not do.
PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELER
IE: This current lineup is the same lineup that put out that “Green Light” EP back in 2010. For a band to put things on the shelf for a period that long and then come back with the same exact members is definitely kind of odd in that in most cases at least one of you would have some other obligations after that time away… but you all return. Care to comment on that?
Eddie: Every member has a very busy life with working careers and family responsibilities on top of band commitments so it's kinda hard to keep a core unit together for such a length of time... But each one of us really brought something to the table so as much as I kept pestering for everyone to at least stay the course and get this out we all knew there was something here. It's so hard to make a life for yourself and try and live the rock n' roll fantasy, but the realistic odds are as high as a fucking Lotto or Powerball so to make both things work right it takes time. Now that we reached this far we all are on board to try and to attract some interest to keep doing it and play out again as well.
IE: Let’s get into this new album you have been working on called “Lies & Slights". People reading this more than likely know your musical resume as well as some of the other guys in the band. What can we expect musically since the people involved here bring different aspects and styles to the table…
Eddie: Well, as "Eddie Leeway" I sound just as strong as the last album I did with Leeway. I feel stronger than ever, vocally. Having my own style will help the band but I think people are going to compare it to Leeway when in fact it's 20 years later and I have men I've bonded with that are no slouches themselves. If you really listen to "Lies & Slights" you will hear a different and more modern band with the vocalist from Leeway killing it TODAY. I'm not one of these older hardcore people who wants to just play the same set every night. I want to also give the fans of this music something new and that's very important. "Lies & Slights" has so much variety people need to hear it for themselves.
IE: “Lies & Slights"... what’s the meaning behind this title?
Eddie: It's a bit of a joke, honestly. Taking the piss out of over-thought titles ....we had a completely different title but I'm not saying it because I'm saving it and not gonna let someone steal it, hahahaha....So I figured it was also appropriate as a slogan, which it is....and in this year of presidential elections we're stuck with clowns who may talk truth and rights, but to me they're selling lies and slights...I figured joke a bit on my band name first before anyone else too. It has a nice ring to it. I'm rather satirical on the album as well lyrically and vocally so it fits well.
IE: Two titles off the new one that jump out at the listener are “Tommy Karate” and “B.O.L.O.”. What are the stories behind these two tracks?
Eddie: Some sarcasm along with a bit of wisdom. "Tommy Karate" is partly about tough guys with the dance-floor noise and nonsense....along with using the name of one seriously sinister member of the Bonanno family who was one of the coldest killers known. It's a reference to wannabes out there. "BOLO" is an old police expression for Be On the Look Out.....so I used the expression as reasonable as one says "Good lookin out" when showing appreciation to you....keep your eyes open there's some treacherous people out there and also keep an eye out on your real brother.
IE: Can you give us 3 tracks off of this new one that you are itching to get up on stage to perform live the most?
Eddie: Well..... "Pick It Up" would be the first... it's my super-posi sing-along...."Games", which is a fun song for me, but "Diamond In The Rough" would probably ONLY get played in an acoustical setting for the time being and maybe not in the band's live set...."Pick It Up" and "Diamond In The Rough" were created in pre-production mainly and "Games" I had down for a while now.
IE: You guys have been working on this album for a very long time. The band wasn’t out there actively playing shows so there probably wasn’t any pressure from fans asking when it would be out almost flying under the radar sort of speak. When did recording start for this and try to paint a picture of the timeline and how you guys tried to nail everything 150% and not half ass any aspect of this release. Your drummer Dimi also told me this and also that you did your vocals over a few times. Apparently your voice sounded much better after doing clusters of shows with The Eddie Leeway Show and wasn't as solid when you weren't playing out regularly.
Eddie: Yes, and Dimi was right......a good portion was recorded at least 3 years ago, and my process took time because we stopped rehearsing for a long time after laying down the basic tracks. I didn't have time to get the best written for all songs.....for me to find my way through a song and come up with the hook I may have to just get in the studio, press play, and keep going until it's right. You also have to understand after playing steady over the past 15 months I re-established a whole new control that helped complete the record. We did try to lay new tracks over the 3 songs from the "Greenlight" EP and remix and re-introduce them to people who may not have heard the EP....so on top of being partially deaf since I was an infant I didn't always have someone in the studio with me making sure I was actually hitting the key solid. In my ear it may be on, but to a better ear NO....so we kept at it. I didn't want a lot of punching in and you can hear layers upon layers for certain parts because this is a different animal than playing live. I'm writing to make something memorable and timeless, and Rey and Zack were confidants ...90% of vocalists aren't doing what I'm doing... I'm laying down a history to prove a voice can be an actual instrument in this music.
IE: For you this is your first release on an album since Leeway’s “Open Mouth Kiss” that came out in ’95. On a personal level how satisfying is it to have this new material all lined up and ready to go?
Eddie: I'm grateful and humbled by the opportunity because I defied a lot of tough odds to get back to this moment musically, and I've been patiently waiting to show everyone this band isn't some fucking trendy, one-trick pony. This band of men helped me record something that I can be very proud of. Most of the older guys can't write relevant songs anymore. Most just play the same old set still, and the others aren't challenging or pushing the barriers of this genre. It's like they're either playing it safe or mailing it in. I think the music needs some revitalization brought forward to keep it alive.
IE: With this new release also comes a new venture from you in My Reality Entertainment which is a new label that you started with “Lies & Slights” set to be the debut release. On social media you have pulled no punches for the reasons why you decided to start this new label. I will give you the opportunity now to give your side of the story.
Eddie: It's pointless to really give much more about it. I was forced into a deal I didn't want and I tried to make it work.....just because you have a piece of paper that calls you a record label doesn't mean you get to avoid providing label services. I know labels don't do that well but it's become so baseless because there's a bunch of bands that give away the rights to their album for 100 copies. This form of exploitation is equivalent to prostitution....so by not having value in your music allows these paper labels to treat everyone this way. Too many bands now as well so it must be hard for the average fan to sift through a lot of garbage before you find treasure. I think the decline of the music is a sign.....they're saying "Most of you bands are boring us" so they stay home and the only time they come out is for the few bands they like, or in the case of the trendies, the band they jock. This music is more of a live thing and bands don't always have good recordings so I can see the decline in sales. I'm trying to speak as a fan here too, and believe me this is what people tell me.
IE: You had a Kickstarter campaign to get funds together to start My Reality. How much was raised and what were these funds needed for? Was there any hesitation on your end to ask for financial help from fans when there is often skepticism these days to Kickstarter campaigns, Go Fund Me’s and the like?
Eddie: I set a small goal with KickStarter for just over $1200.00 after the deductions....it wound up being less than 1/3rd of what was actually needed. It's been extremely stressful trying to get My Reality Entertainment off the ground and at the time of this interview we pulled off the mastering, art, and I'm teaming with partners to have a special eco-wallet CD in time for the release date... October 30-31st.... There are added expenses regarding public notices in 2 newspapers for 6 weeks which is over $1200.00 alone....so at least the small fund got us started and that was the key so THANK YOU. I'll be playing with both Truth & Rights and Leeway NYC October 30th at The Blue Room in Secaucus, NJ. It's the first time I ever played near Halloween in ages and it's a record release celebration as well.....now with My Reality Entertainment and the establishing of a team and staff I can now say you can count on a new Leeway NYC release for 2017 as well.
IE: In addition to the label and band you are now also booking shows in NJ and doing your own blog. Can you give us the particulars on each of these?
Eddie: The blog is tels2015.blogspot.com and I'm trying to promote shows in New Jersey as well. I was able to get the first show off but too many bands cancelled on the second so the next show is the October 30th show when I do double-duty. I'm trying to figure out my costume for the show.
IE: For well over a year and change now you have been playing shows with yourself and friends under both “The Eddie Leeway Show” as well as Leeway playing tracks off of the first two Leeway albums. Now that “Lies & Slights” is set to hit the streets what is in the cards for The Eddie Leeway Show aka Leeway? Is there time and room to fit both of these projects in and can you see a situation where you go all in with Truth & Rights and put the Leeway stuff on either hold or just on the shelf altogether?
Eddie: I will fit time in for both. The Eddie Leeway Show was a more interchangeable band but I decided to call it Leeway NYC because it's not the same band and I want people to know it's a newer thing along with the older songs. We will record for 2017 without question... it's another reason why I started the label. I'm still gonna use The Eddie Leeway Show name for the blog and future podcast. I have plans to record much more soon...we're focusing on the promotion of "Lies & Slights" while both bands do shows. Now that there's organization I can do even more. I'll be announcing the management team I'll be working with very soon which consists of 2 old friends who also have a lot of knowledge and success in music... I'll make an official release on this soon.
IE: What has been discussed within the band as far as Truth & Rights playing out? Is this a band that we will see making the rounds outside of the NY area in the near future?
Eddie: Playing out was an issue for quite a while and we're going to fix that. At the time guys had commitments with their other bands with newer releases and work-related difficulties. We've discussed this and we may have to have a fill-in once in a while, but the core unit will remain. They all know how much I want to be on the road, but at the same time we have a huge challenge ahead of us making the right promotional campaign and to establish the attention this group deserves...that means we have to play out and do the right shows. Quality events will do us better than a quantity of dates. The promo campaign is the key, and I can't wait to start that in the next few weeks because I'm looking to stir everyone's emotions right now.
IE: The name Truth & Rights sounds unique in a scene that has more generic band names than you can shake a stick at. What does the name Truth & Rights mean to you?
Eddie: We were trying to find a name and I was asking an older friend advice about this. He said "you were always a straight shooter, lyrically kind of like truth and rights reggae" and the name just hit me then...I said "THAT'S IT"..... I listen to these newer phrase-like band names versus the usual tough-guy or hard-styled names some of these clowns use to represent or brand their music, and I don't live in the fantasy of all that. Truth & Rights has more meaning than just this band, and I believe the average hardcore, metal, or indie fan wants the truth and the right to be who they want to be whether good or bad, so as an expression it represents something. You can buy the merch simply for the expression and it transends and crosses over where it could be the name of a clothing line itself...very much like what I'd like to do with the Leeway brand. In fact, there's a bunch out in Poland that sell some toy-ass garbage under the name "Leeway gear" and they're trying to pander to the American hip-hop scene at this moment. You can find it if you Google it. I shouldn't be even giving them any press, but I want people to know I have NOTHING to do with such garbage that lacks creativity. I mean there are dozens of stories about how the Leeway name was stolen from every country in Europe including some East German pub that stole the Leeway design from "Desperate Measures"....all these racist skinheads hung out there, from what I heard. But it didn't last long, thankfully because you can't sue these thieves who lack creativity. There's a Polish DJ Leeway as well. I'll smack whoever I get to meet or run into. I'll give them a dissertation on biting my style, hahaha!
IE: When you set up your merch table at shows you are always well stocked and usually have some good stuff. What are you gonna be pushing with Truth & Rights and how can people get their hands on these things?
Eddie: I've had a few shirts sitting around for quite a while waiting to offer as merch but I never really tried to promote it until we were ready to roll like we are now. I started with the Leeway merch after recovering from my neck injury and started to rebuild when here was nothing available. I'm hoping to make more than just band merch with both brands. I'm hoping to make both a kind of clothing line if I can and not just the usual tees, hoodies, CD, vinyl....quality is the key as well... I'm not gonna sell what I won't wear myself.
IE: That’s all I got except that I have been listening to this new album since you sent me some un-mastered tracks about a month ago. I really like the style and wish you and the rest of the band much success with it.
Eddie: Thanks, Chris....I'll get you the mastered tracks so you can hear how big the final product is. I want to thank you for all the support and positive reinforcement you personally offered and the promotion through In Effect. I've been a lone wolf this whole time trying to promote alone without any of my record label's helping me which is why I'm done with them and going alone. We haven't had much support so you looking out for us has been immense, and on behalf of all of us I want to personally let you know how much it means to us. Best of luck to you as well.
TO ORDER "LIES & SLIGHTS" CONTACT: EddieLeeway156@gmail.com