Long before British metal legends Iron Maiden picked up on the concept, a pack of hungry Huntington Beach, CA-based teenagers, collectively known as LEATHERWOLF, pioneered and perfected the heavy metal Triple Axe Attack – documented via a trifecta of critically acclaimed and much loved ’80s scorchers. The eponymous debut EP, expanded to a full-length LP, entitled ‘Endangered Species’ for international release, and a pair of stunning albums for Island Records, ‘Leatherwolf’ and ‘Street Ready’ (yielding the MTV videos ‘The Calling’ and ‘Hideaway’, respectively), saw the band flying the flag of decidedly European-styled metal amidst a sea of formulaic L.A. contemporaries.
After a lengthy self-imposed break, the band’s classic line-up resurfaced in 1999 with a storming live album, ‘Wide Open’, underscoring LEATHERWOLF’s enduring appeal among metal enthusiasts. The band also made a triumphant return to Europe by special invitation with a one-off gig at the prestigious Wacken Festival in Germany.
Regrouping in 2006, LEATHERWOLF emerged with a new line-up, fronted by former Crimson Glory vocalist Wade Black, to once again turn the metal world on its ear with ‘World Asylum’, the band’s heaviest effort to date. Fusing familiar lupine trademarks with a modern-day edge, commanding vocals, and ten-ton hammer sonics, courtesy of Danish studio whiz Jacob Hansen who was brought in for the mix. ‘World Asylum’ earned top marks in major publications such as Rock Hard and Aardschok and LEATHERWOLF played a much celebrated gig at the Bang Your Head!!! Festival alongside In Flames, Foreigner, Helloween and others (documented on the BYH 2006 double DVD). Closer to home, the band also helped kick off the festivities with a blistering set at ProgPower VII in Atlanta, North America’s premier indie heavy metal event.
Coming full circle in 2007, LEATHERWOLF were once again kicking out the jams in classic formation, with a returning Michael Olivieri leading the charge. The band completed a whirlwind fall tour of Europe, which included a headline appearance at the 9th edition of Germany’s Keep It True Festival, and issued a re-worked version of their acclaimed 2006 comeback disc, titled ‘New World Asylum’, with Olivieri on vocals. Closer to home, the band shared the bill with Anthrax, Saxon, Metal Church and others at the third annual Rocklahoma festival in 2009.
By 2013, LEATHERWOLF had settled on a rejuvenated line-up consisting of original members Michael Olivieri and Dean Roberts, long-time friend and bassist Patrick Guyton, and the guitar duo of Rob Math and Greg Erba, which made its mark with the ‘Unchained Live!’ album, a 10-song assault of classic LEATHERWOLF, mixed by Roy Z whose credits include Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, and Helloween.
2015 saw the band bring down the house with the likes of Queensryche, Jake E Lee’s Dragon Cartel and Great White and rock the boat aboard the Monsters of Rock cruise. LEATHERWOLF have also become regulars on the European metal festival circuit, with recent, much celebrated appearances at Keep It True, Bang Your Head!! and the Rock Hard Festival, the latter a national TV live broadcast on Germany’s WDR television. In addition, the Triple Axe Attack also made their first UK live appearances in some 28 years, earning rave reviews along the way. “Well, I knew they'd be good, but I didn't think they'd be THAT good”, enthused notable scribe Dave Ling after attending the London show.
More than three decades into their career and 3/5 of the original line-up in place with Carey Howe returning, LEATHERWOLF continue to be one of the premier purveyors of American metal, playing to enthusiastic crowds wherever they unleash their vaunted Triple Axe Attack.
Michael Olivieri – vocals, guitar
Dean Roberts – drums
Pat Guyton – bass
Rob Math – guitars
Carey Howe – guitars