A Legacy of LeRoux
Whether it was their hard-hitting classic rock songs or their zydeco melodies representing Southeast Louisiana, Louisiana’s LeRoux, also simply known as LeRoux, has attracted many fans from across the country since they released their self titled album in 1978.
Songs like the regional favorite “New Orleans Ladies” (voted Song of the Century by Gambit Magazine) and the Hot 100 hits such as “Addicted” and “Nobody Said It Was Easy” have led them to have a successful touring career since their inception.
Those tours led them to perform with such legendary acts as Journey, Kansas, ZZ Top and many more in front of thousands upon thousands of fans.
The band’s music videos were featured on the inaugural year of MTV, and they were also featured on other popular showcases: Solid Gold, The Midnight Special and Don Kirchner’s Rock Concert.
Perhaps even more impressive is how they were able to stick together in a career that spans across six decades.
“Forty-three years and we’re still friends,” says Tony Haselden, guitarist, songwriter and founding member. “And it’s something we’re proud of.”
But that doesn’t come to a surprise to Jeff McCarty, lead singer who joined the band just over two years ago.
“The band’s been around a long time, man. They’ve been really successful, and they have some major respect, especially in this area,” he says. “There’s no prima donnas in the band. There’s no attitudes. Everybody’s just down to earth and cool. I think those are my favorite things about this band.”
Along with the popular songs, packed shows and legacy, you can’t forget the high quality bodies of work, including the above-mentioned self-titled album, “Keep The Fire Burning”, “Up”,“Last Safe Place” and “So Fired Up.”
But it’s their soon-to-be released album that some of the band members, which now consists of Jeff, Tony, Rod Roddy, Jim Odom, Mark Duthu, Nelson Blanchard, Joey Decker and Randy Carpenter, are saying is the best one yet.
“It’s the best one we have ever done. Isn’t that how it goes? The last one you did is always the best one,” smiles Jim, guitarist and songwriter.
Although it is described as a “contemporary blues album,” the 10-track project is an ultimate collection of the sounds the band has been able to explore over the years, everything from southern rock to funky tunes to rhythm and blues.
“It’s the best combination of everyone’s interests and represents the abilities of the band better than any album we’ve probably ever done,” Tony says. “That by default means it’s going to cover a wide spectrum because everybody in the band has similar but different tastes. So it’s just a broad palette.”
The process in creating their magnum opus moved at a different pace than previous albums, as Tony explains: “It’s not like the old days when this was all we did and you’d go in and finish an album in two or three weeks after it had been written. Now it’s about getting everybody at the right time and right places.”
Piecing together the contributions to the album, which was recorded at various studios, also was a newer experience for the group. They commended the efforts of producer Jeff Glixman for gathering it all and syncing the collection of songs.
Tony says that the album took six months to complete. The longer than usual time was worth it, however, as they are ultimately happy with the finished product.
“The sounds are good. The songs and lyrics are great,” says Rod, pianist and songwriter. “If it doesn’t do anything else but just come out to where I can listen to it, it was worth it. ‘Cause it’s a good record.”
The album features 8 songs written by band members and two written by friends they’ve met along the way. It also contains a guitar solo by Tab Benoit; backup vocals by Bobby Kimball, Bill Champlain, Keith Landry and Travis Thibodaux; and performances from their original bassist Leon Medica.
The band decided to remake two fan favorites for their latest project, “New Orleans Ladies” and “Lifeline.”
Rod says a lot of the songs were created so they could be played at festivals as the band still remains active, performing roughly 35 shows a year. “It’s really fun stuff to play,” he continues. “It’s some different stuff we don’t normally do.”
“We’d just like to build our draw so that we can play a few more places and reach more people. That’s what we’re hoping this album will do,” Tony says.
The album was still being shopped around music labels at press time in early March but is expected to be released within the next few months, Jim says. He also says it will be not only available for purchase but also on all major streaming platforms.
“The way we look at music these days is like: Once you find your place, it’s like one long song,” Jim adds. “It’s your sound. It’s your vibe. It’s what you are.”
“We just want people to know there is a 2020 LeRoux, and there’s something in there to please the people who have been with us for 42 years–thank you very much,” Tony smiles. “And we also hope to bring in a fresh, new crowd.” POV