Miss Leota are keeping metal in the black
Miss Leota are keeping metal in the black
Josh Hulstein

[aural reports] Heavy and Humorous

Steve Lynn of self-described "open-minded metalcore" band Miss Leota is absolutely proud to rep Fountain Valley.

How long have you been a band?

The band was originally started in late 2002. We've gone through [eight] bassists. Either no one wants to stick around, or bassists are flaky in general. The biggest turning point was in October 2006. We were headlining our second Chain Reaction show for Hardcore Halloween. The show went great, everything went perfect, but the next morning, our guitar player had died. Joe [Mouawad] suffered, basically, from a form of aneurism. We finished the show at 11, and he passed away at 6 the next morning. Something burst in his head. That threw us all back. We took some time off. His little brother [Zack Mouawad] is our drummer. We decided that we were going to continue on with it. Now our goal that we set for ourselves is that we're hoping to be signed by a label by summer.

What goes into that goal?

For us to take the next step, we feel that getting signed is going to be that next thing. We like to say we're on top of the local game, so we're looking to squirm our way to the bottom of the big-boy ladder. We understand that we have to start all over again at a different level. Currently, we're unsigned and unmanaged. We handle all our own touring, merchandising, marketing, and we're self-run. It's delegated between everyone in the band.

Some bands like having their own hands on those things.

It's not something we can't handle, but I feel that the position we're in right now is that we're looking for someone to take over the band's business side so we can focus on our music. Overall, that's our goal: to write good music. If 30 hours a week is being used to book and make contacts and network with other bands, it's hard to focus on what we're supposed to be doing, which is writing our music.

It seems like the business side of being in a band is a pain in the ass.

Not really; we're all involved in every aspect of it. What we're looking to do is have that stuff taken care of by a label or a manager and let our job be to write the music and do what we do best, which is putting on a killer show.

There seem to be a lot of horror stories from bands when it comes to record labels.

We do hear a bunch, about people on labels not making any money, or how they got roped into deals. Money with Miss Leota has never been a concern. We all agreed that it's why we work or why we're students. I go to Cal State Fullerton, and I'm getting my bachelor's in business. Mike, our guitarist, is getting his bachelor's in international business. Everybody has full-time jobs. We've come to the conclusion that if what a label's going to do is worth our time, we're willing to say, "Keep what you want; just put us on tour and let us play shows with gas in our tank and food in our bellies." No one in our band has ever walked away from shows with cash. It's all been reinvested into the band.

For a heavy band, you seem to have a sense of humor.

There's an idea that a hardcore band is pissed off all of the time and always screaming at people. That's not something we're about. Those are our friends out in the crowd. We try to have fun with shows. We try to give kids a sense like, "It's okay to come to this show because I'm not going to get the shit kicked out of me." Back in the day, I wouldn't go to some shows because there would be some real jerks there, and I wouldn't feel like getting kicked in the head or punched. We call our thing "business core." It's about getting down to business, playing heavy music and just having a good time. We're happy about what we're doing. We're not going to go to a show and call people faggots. Who wants to go to a show and be called names? We want to skip all the nonsense and play a good show.

Miss Leota, Phinehas, Everylynn and others perform at the Alley, 140 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-6934; www.thealleyclub.com. Sun., 7 p.m. $10. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/missleota.


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