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The best kept secret in music


"Paper Magazine"


"...alt-country meets southern rock, plus lots of guitars, sound will remind you of a cross between Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Rolling Stones."
- Weekly Picks

"Charleston Rocks"

I was running kind of late to a triple-bill show one Saturday night and walked in to the strains of some really soul-stompin' rock and roll.  I was a-wonderin' in my head, who are these righteous fellows? They had a ten-gallon hat stage presence with a CBGB's attitude and I was in love with rock and roll again. 
I did the math and made the deduction that these said righteous fellows were the likes of Leroy Justice. Their drummer, Jim Ernst (who shall be referred to forthwith as "Chickenbone." Don't ask.), had emailed me a few days before and suggested I check out the show.  I found Mr.Ernst and in no time ended up eating someone's momma's cookies, choking on the best deli sandwich ever, and interviewing quite possibly the world's funniest bunch of guys.
Step One:  Enter the Winnie (kind of like "Enter the Fist," but much funnier).
Leroy Justice happen to be on a crazy, cockeyed tour on their way down to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. Their route takes them from their home of New York City, through Atlanta, Charleston, Nashville, New Orleans, and finally, Austin, where they will revel in their bourbon-rock glory.  They have rented a large vehicle that they affectionately refer to as "The Winnie" (kind of like Road Rules,but really, actually not).  They have graced the wall with a picture of Danica McKellar, and at one point, they all turn and salute her in a sort of silent reverence. I sit amused.
I am introduced to The Winnie by means of watching the guys pack 'er up in a flurry--drum set here, keyboard there, something in the shower, and squash that under the bed. While I'm waiting, I get to explore the Waffle House menu that they, uh, borrowed during their virgin vist on the way to Charleston.  I ask what they think of the South, this being their maiden voyage, as compared to New York City.  Chickenbone tells me that he has a "heartwarming story" to share that will sum up their experience so far, but all we really get from him is some garbled metaphor about being able to "spend time in a confined space" with the other guys, which leads to what will become a near-constant session of ribbing Chickenbone, the new guy. 
Step Two:  I'll show you mine if you show me yours...
Chickenbone may be a newborn to the group, but the five members of Leroy Jutice are all practiced musicians.  Some play routinely in other bands around the NYC area, and Jason Gallagher (lead vocalist, guitarist) explains the confluence of music that brings them together.  He attributes their style to what they heard "growing up," as well as a combination of their particular musical strengths and interests.  He told me, "My parents were in an acoustic kind of cover band kind of deal when I was growing up and I hated it and I stayed up in my room while they played Neil Young songs and somehow...they hypnotized me into playing that kind of music." If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I guess. 
I was starting to feel really serious, until thankfully we got off track and somehow got into a discussion about tattoos.  I reveled at the fact that I had more than all five of them combined and then Chickenbone showed me the image of his dog, Belle, blazing across his arm.  With a slightly different, but still reverential vibe, someone suggested, "Let's give it up for Belle."  Whoops and cheers ensued, then it was back to business.
Although Jason still has his Neil Young moments, the band has morphed nicely in a retro-southern-rock-with-an-edge sort of way.  A friend-of-the-band guy with a deceivingly simple name that I cannot remember suggested, "You all have a unique style that gels together." This was a sweet moment, until someone suggested that it was also "sticky and wet" and we had to move on.  You get the picture, I'm sure.
Step Three:  Lights, Camera, Action!
I find that I'm liking these guys more and more.  They are feeding me and have a drawer full of candy that I really wanted to plunge headfirst into.  But, being the lady that I am, I restrained myself and continued with the interview.  I marveled at the fact that they had a nice guy with a camera following them around and wondered why this was.  Jason explained that he used to be a producer at MTV, and begins discussing some sort of obscene fake fascination with Kurt Loder.  Adam Curry (remember the hair...) pops up, too.  "They wanted to do a story on a really fucking kick ass band and you know, there we were."  I marvel at the fact that despite the big daddy MTV connections, these guys are solid and down to earth. I then decide that solid and down to earth is no fun, and I want to hear some dirt.
I ask them the penultimate (hee hee) question: "What is your guilty pleasure?"  Immediately someone mumbles that it is "Kurt Loder" and I am beginnig to wonder about him.  Hmmmm.  Steve Lustig (bass) offers to go first (because the others are either wimps or trying hard to come up with something way cool) and offers a long story about grumpy people on trains, and how he feels guilty because he is not a grumpy New Yorker.  When we all make him feel even more guilty for having such a shitty answer, he suggests that another guilty pleasure might be "The Young and the Restless" because "the acting's amazing."  Oh, man.
Mark Hale (guitar) randomly shouts out that he likes the "Mariah Carey 'Tinkerbell' album and Chuck Norris movies." I'm not sure what the hell he means by 'Tinkerbell,' but it may have been the liquor, because he develops this intricate metaphor linking Mariah's "Butterfly" album with "Enter the Dragon" (see Step One above for a similar reference), suggesting to play them in sync with each other for a "Dark Side of the Moon" - "Wizard of Oz" thing.  I think not.
Jason answers with more Kurt Loder raving and Chickenbone sugests that he enjoys playing a devious game called "Sloan Jenga."  I am confused, but am duly informed that this involves a sleeping keyboardist Sloan Marshall and stacking things on him until he wakes up.  We could have probably played Sloan Jenga throughout the interview, because he was as docile as a baby lamb sitting in the corner, underneath Danica, all curled up.  At this, he bristles and speaks directly into my recorder, "I am the leader of this band...Sloan is the leader of this band...I guilty pleasure is...actually enjoying playing with these guys even though I give them a hard time."  Instead of fostering brotherhood, they just tease him more and probably have more evil games planned in their heads for after I leave.  Poor Sloan.
Step Four:  Winnebago Music
We're winding down and so is my tape.  I ask what they hope to achieve and Jason says, "We wanna just keep playing...we can't afford to rent the Winnie for like, four months, so we have to have somebody rent it for us."  This leads to suggestions of prostituting themselves out to the Winnebago company by wearing Winnebago t-shirts, sporting "W" tattoos, playing Winnebago guitar, and making Winnebago music.  Yikes.
Instead of this sad picture, I see a future where Leroy Justice rules the roost.  No matter what MTV connections or SXSW victories they may have, by the sound of it, bourbon rock is here to stay.  They have a great stage presence and a kick ass sense of humor.  Their music isn't necessarily serious, but it's smart and is undeniably catchy.  May they keep The Winnie forever! - Staff

"MTV News"

“The blues-fueled spirit of Seventies Southern rock lives. Oddly, it lives in New York City. The crunging riffs, the twinned leads, the squealing keys, the hard-road vocals – the backup chicks! All here! Oh, and the songs – the songs’re here, too.” - Kurt Loder


EP - Leroy Justice (self-titled)
LP - Jason Gallagher with Josh Martin (acoustic)
LP - Jason Galalgher "Deep Breath in the Desert" (acoustic)
All tracks available at


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Manhattan-based quartet LEROY JUSTICE has been playing bourbon rock for the past 3 years. With little more than a four-track recording, LEROY scored a showcase at the prestigious South by Southwest festival in 2003 and received rave reviews. They have played in support of kitsch-legends like Molly Hatchet and 38 Special, as well as NYC locals like Mike Farris, Audley Freed, and RANA. LEROY’s “Bourbon Rock” nights in NYC have sold out venues like Mercury Lounge and the Knitting Factory. In 2004, LEROY will take on the U.S. with a national tour of barrooms and rock clubs. They are presently in the studio with producer James Walsh of Threshold Music, and plan to release a follow-up LP to their highly acclaimed self-titled debut EP.