Volume 93, Issue 4

Wednesday, May 28, 1999


And let the festivals begin...

Larger venues shouldn't shade smaller summer concerts

Is that nostalgia or is it musical leftovers I smell?

Front Line comes into its own

Comedians pen self-help book, without the help

Top Dogg without a bone

Front Line comes into its own

©Sabrina Carinci/Gazette

NO, NO. THAT'S FRONT LINE, NOT MAINLINE. Vocalist Bill Leeb and sound-maker Chris Peterson from industrial group Front Line Assembly talk about where they've been and where they are with their newest album, Implode.

By Paul Forster

Gazette Staff

Bill Leeb, the dynamic vocalist from Front Line Assembly, is standing his technological ground. The musician has weathered many changes over the past, but with a new partner is looking to conquer new territory.

He reflects upon his early '80s departure from the industrial super group Skinny Puppy by saying he knew the longer he stayed with the Puppies, the harder it would be to make a name for himself as an industrial artist.

"It wasn't due to artistic differences. Basically there wasn't any room for me to evolve," he says, sitting back on a dark coloured couch in what he describes as the biggest tour bus money could buy. "I knew it would be better if I just took a chance and stepped out on my own."

Leeb says he remembers feeling confined by the defining roles of the band members in Skinny Puppy. Leeb left the band to form Front Line Assembly and released their first full-length album, The Initial Command, in 1987.

Now, 12 years later, Leeb says he feels Front Line Assembly has established themselves. "Pretty much every show is sold out. Most of the people who come now weren't even around 10 years ago. This just shows me that this type of music has come of age," he states confidently.

With ears tuned to the score of the hockey game on a nearby television, FLA newcomer Chris Peterson reflects on his transition to Front Line by replacing Leeb's long-time partner, Rhys Fulber. "I had some big shoes to fill," explains the sound-maker and electronics guru. "This was one large step up from where I was before, technologically. It was the most massive learning curve of my career," Peterson laughs.

Despite the many criticisms received on the duos first album, FLAvour of the Weak, which featured a techno approach to song writing, Peterson says he feels confident in their combination of writing and composing. He also notes he is satisfied with his working relationship with Leeb which has allowed them to maintain the creative and innovative character present on any FLA album.

"That was a learning process for me and Chris, because that was our first record together under Front Line," Leeb responds. He adds, however, the two do not regret trying out new musical styles as monotony can lead to boredom.

"I think I was a little pissed off at how the whole techno scene was pretending it had evolved out of it's own. All the pioneers were erased – [FLAvour of the Weak] was our little statement," he offers.

FLA's newest album, Implode, is the second album Leeb and Peterson have produced together and both feel confident about the effort. "Our new record is the one we should've just put out [originally]. We should've just spent another year writing. It's the best of the past 10 years – it's Caustic [Grip] and Tactical [Neural Implant ] with an edge."

For both Leeb and Peterson, making music is something they plan to keep doing – never aiming for the perfect song for fear of losing creativity or the ability to have fun.

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