Originally formed as an outlet for Daniel James to exercise his virtues gained from years in Detroit, the seminal force of Leopold and his Fiction is the catalyst for soul-drenched, bare-bones rock ‘n’ roll that shakes with the power of ’73-era Stooges while seducing with the rhythm and blues of Motown. James balanced this raw, naïve energy by becoming a founding member of alt-country folk rock act Cowboy and Indian, enjoying a successful run playing festivals including Austin City Limits and recording a full-length album. “Vocal harmony and traditional folk is one side of me,” says James, “but I need to release this direct surge of energy.” Composed and redefined on and off stage, Leopold and his Fiction is a beast in all its glory when plugged into their amplifiers and fully cranked. It’s as if they, themselves, are connected directly into an electric socket. “The band elicits a power when it’s time to perform that is unable to be harnessed in any other medium short of a fist fight,” says James. “Whether that’s on stage or in a recording studio it’s almost hard to contain it. It’s more life than I’ve ever felt before.” It was that sonic fever that landed the group recent support slots for The Cult and ZZ Top. When James was younger he wrote songs about escaping, and long trips through a desert, never really looking back, always pushing forward. With Leopold and his Fiction the songs have naturally matured. “Leopold is a fictional entity that gives me a vehicle to discover these characters,” says James. “For me, it is similar to writing a novel by cultivating very specified personalities in various and often ominous situations with different outcomes.”
Leopold and his Fiction have been working with GRAMMY®--nominated producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith (The Datsuns, Slayer, Jet, The Dandy Warhols, etc.) in recording and capturing a captivating musical journey that is as relentless as it is inspiring. “Frenchie saw our show and listened to our records,” says James. “He was very blunt and said, ‘I’m confidant I can make you guys shine!’ He brought a lot out of me and the band. The energy was very positive and the songs are confident, edgy and packed with emotion.” Amidst the band’s hook-filled party rock, James was also able to refine his more melodic Neil Young / Jackson Browne side. “When I was really young and spent all my time listening to records, I would dedicate my attention to songs that facilitated my emotions,” says James. “Sometimes ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,’ other times “Going to California’. The best music for me explores a demographic of both introversion and extroversion. It’s a craft just like any other. I have to work at it rigorously over and over until I find the combination that works best for the song.”
The next Leopold and his Fiction album promises a full pallet of artistry from America’s deep, dark underbelly and rootsy fabric to a revival of an R&B-tinged, backwoods charm. It goes back to the days when Motown and Stax loaded singles with a hip-shaking groove on the A-side and a ballad in 6/8 on the B-side that could be sung nice under the moonlight.
Download: Leopold and His Fiction