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The best kept secret in music


Ion got its start in 2000 as a side project for former Blister 66 bassist and programmer Joe Sego and ex-Dropsound vocalist Noe De'Leon. By 2002, with the addition of Todd Schlafer, Rocket Ajax's erstwhile axman, as well as guitarist Nik Lawhorn from Synthetic Delusion and Blister 66 drummer David Foonberg, it was a full-time concern and already something of a local supergroup with its heavy, electro sound. The following year, Ion released its debut full-length, Gross National Product -- produced by Paige Haley of Orgy and Mikey Cox from Coal Chamber -- to substantial acclaim.

Since then, Ion has taken home two consecutive Westword Music Showcase awards, made several modifications to membership -- Schlafter, Lawhorn and Foonberg are no longer with the band, and have been replaced by guitarists Lex Windle and Ross Ryan (on loan from 8om) and drummer Gef Gust -- and continued to add to its already sizable following. On the eve of the release of Ion's latest effort, Arma, we caught up with De'Leon to find out how roster changes have impacted the band and why, exactly, Sego clipped his trademark dreads.

Westword: You guys have had several lineup changes. How has that affected the band?

Noe De'Leon: It's definitely opened a lot of new ideas due to some of the members we've had in the band.

Was the split with past members amicable?

There's no harsh feelings or anything like that. Like with Todd, he'll always be a friend, a brother and a friend, and the same thing with Nik.

Your songs are noticeably more melodic on the new record. Has your approach to songwriting changed?

Honestly, I think Gross National Product was influenced by what I was listening to. A lot of the stuff I was listening to then was hip-hop, the majority of it was hip-hop. So, really, there wasn't any major melody line. But with Arma, I started listening more to like, Madonna, Johnny Cash, Devo, David Bowie and stuff like that. I tried to take a different approach.

HmmŠinteresting. I still hear a lot of Maynard.

Yeah, I've heard that before. I like Tool and everything, but I'm not necessarily that into them. I think it's just our range. When I was in high school, I took choir, and they gave me all the girl parts. And a lot of my major influences are female singers, like Björk, Madonna, Fiona Apple and stuff like that. They have a really big impact on me.

In what way?

If you take Björk, for example, she hits these notes that are just piercing, that give you the chills. Females tend to show emotion a little deeper.

So what's up with Joe's new haircut? He looks a lot like you now. Did he get tired of looking like Jonathan Davis?

[Laughs] I think everyone kept calling him Edsel from Dope. That's like the ongoing joke.

Do you guys go to the same hairdresser now?

Yeah. We go to headbanger SALON.

Really? Dude, I was totally kidding.

Yeah. We're actually sponsored by them.

- Dave Herrera/Westword Magizine

But there were still moments of hilarity to spare. When I announced that Ion had won in the hard rock/metal/aggro category, the band headed for the stage but couldn't quite figure out how to get up there -- even though Ion has performed at the venue countless times. But Ion's members had it down a few minutes later, when Erik Dyce and Jay Ruybal from the Denver Division of Theaters and Arenas called them back to the stage and announced that the band had been chosen as the opener for the Coors Light Mountain Jam, set for August 14 at Red Rocks. - Dave Herrera/Westword Magizine

Most bands are not popular before they've played their first real show. But most bands aren't Ion. The project started as a collaboration between Switchpin's Noe De'Leon and Blister66's Joe Sego, and caught the attention of Todd Schlafer, who was still in Los Angeles following the demise of his band, Rocket Ajax. Excited about Ion's unusual melding of hard rock and electronica, Schlafer got some other musicians involved: Orgy's Paige Haley and Coal Chamber's Mike Cox recorded the band's demo, which was then mixed by Ulrich Wild (Static-X, Deftones, Alice in Chains, Pantera, Powerman 5000). Now claiming David Foonberg (Colemesis, Blister66, 8 Bucks Experiment) and Nick Lawhorn (Synthetic Delusion) as members, Ion makes its official live debut on Friday, April 11, at the Gothic Theatre. Accidental Superhero, D.O.R.K., You Call That Art? and Lyndzie Taylor are also on the bill, which celebrates the eighth anniversary of Loveland's Hapi Skratch label and the release of Volume IV, a compilation produced by With all that electricity on one stage, expect a brown-out in surrounding areas. - Catalina Soltero/Westword

9 P.M., TWO AM



Noe DeLeon, Joe Sego, Tod Schlafer, Gef Gust.

Native or transplant?

Transplants except for Tod.

What's in a name?

Ion: An atom or a group of atoms that has acquired a net electric charge by gaining or losing one or more electrons.

When did you form/start performing?

Spring 2003. ION is two years old.


Gross National Product (2004).

Who or what do you think you sound like?

NIN meets A Perfect Circle meets Loretta Lynn.

What are some of your noteworthy recent feats?

Won the 2004 Westword Music Showcase Award, Best Hard Rock/Metal/Aggro; we're on a major motion-picture soundtrack -- 11:59; played the Coors Light Mountain Jam at Red Rocks; and opened for Evanescence.

What albums have had the biggest impact on you?

Aenima (Tool); AstroCreep 2000 (White Zombie); Downward Spiral (Nine Inch Nails); Thirteenth Step (A Perfect Circle).

What artists have had the biggest impact on you?

Björk, Snoop Dogg, A Perfect Circle, Rob Zombie, NIN, MSI.

How do you pay the bills? What are your day jobs?

Gef works for Excel Motorsports; Tod does computer graphics; Noe is a delivery driver for a printing company/male exotic dancer (private parties only); Joe works for Performance Radiator.

Finish this sentence: If I didn't have to worry about money, I'd...

Still be involved with the music industry, but I'd probably travel more.

Finish this sentence: I'd rather be...

A "real" big stinky turd than a "fake"-ass engagement ring.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Touring in Fiji.

What's the biggest misconception about you or your band?

That Noe is actually Trent Reznor, or Leo 7.

Give us a random factoid about yourself or your band:

Joe loves haggis and has cans of it.

Elliott Smith or Jack Johnson?

Jack Johnson, because he's laid-back, and Noe likes "doing it" to his music.

Weezer or Winger?


Jay-Z or Z-Trip?

The Jigga man, most definitely. It's ya' boy!

Football or foosball?


Parting shot?

"There ain't no way I'll let a muthafucka turn my joy-bus tour into a hellride." -- Wesley Willis, 5/31/63 - 8/21/03.

- Westword Magizine

ION Scores Double Edge Films “11:59” Soundtrack

Denver, CO- The Denver band ION has been selected to score Double Edge Films suspense/drama feature film entitled “11:59.” “11:59” revolves around a young photojournalist who mysteriously wakes up in the middle of nowhere, and his struggle to piece together the events of the past 24 hours. “11:59” is first major feature film to be completely shot and produced in Denver for several years.

ION was selected from several local musicians’ submissions to score the film. The band was brought to the attention of Double Edge’s publicist from two commanding Clear Channel radio stations, KBPI and KTCL.

“We contacted both stations for recommendations of local bands that had a Trent Reznor meets Linkin Park sound. We were also looking for a band that possessed the talent, desire, and professionalism required to produce a unique, quality film score. When both stations came back to us with the same band, ION. We knew we were on to something,“ states Wendy Manning, publicist for Double Edge Films. “Todd Schlafer, ION’s guitarist, forwarded the band’s demo, and we were hooked.”

ION’s impressive opening slots include Grammy award winning Evanescence, Disturbed, Taproot, Chevelle, Orgy and Cold. The band has gained the attention of music industry heavyweights with Orgy's Paige Haley and Coal Chamber's Mike Cox producing three of the tracks on the band’s debut CD, Gross National Product.

Joe Sego the band’s programmer/bassist has been named the film’s composer. Sego has been in the Denver music scene for six years. He has always had an interest in film, and is enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with Double Edge on the project.

Sego also composed the music for the trailer for “11:59” which will be out shortly.
“11:59” will be shopped to distributors when its completed. - Wendy Manning/Double Edge Films

Arising from the ranks of Denver's biggest and baddest reigning local heroes comes ION — Noe DeLeon (vocals), Todd Schlafer (guitar), Joe Sego (bass), Gef (drums) —whose collective synergy has garnered them a regional following, sold out gigs, and extensive rotation and support from Denver’s major radio market players, KBPI and ALICE 105.9.

With Orgy's Paige Haley and Coal Chamber's Mike Cox producing three of the tracks on the bands debut CD, Gross National Product, consistent coverage and praise from local press (Westword and Xposure magazines), and accolades from a host of music industry players, the buzz is growing by leaps and bounds.

Ion’s major supporting slots include, Evanescence, Disturbed, Taproot, Orgy, Godhead, Chevelle, Cold, Mindless Self Indulgance, and Grade 8.

Denver band Ion has been selected to score Double Edge Films suspense/drama 11:59. This feature film revolves around a young photojournalist who mysteriously wakes up in the middle of nowhere, and his struggle to piece together the events of the past 24 hours.

Ion was brought to the attention of double edges's publicist from two
Clear Channel radio stations, KBPI and KTCL. "We contacted both
stations for recommendations of local bands that had a Trent Reznor meets Linkin Park sound. When both stations came back to us with the same band, Ion, we knew we were on to something," states Wendy Manning, publicist for Double Edge Films.

Joe Sego, the band's programmer/bassist, has been named the film's composer. For more information visit and
www. Contact Manning at 720-394-4119. - Music Connection

Gross National Product
(Self released)

While Ion's debut full-length may evoke comparisons to the bandmembers' previous projects, this effort holds its own. Former Dropsound frontman Noe DeLeon's raw and grimy yet strong and melodic vocals complete a perfect circle comprising guitarists Todd Schlafer (ex-Rocket Ajax) and Nik Lawhorn (Synthetic Delusion); former Blister 66-er Joe Sego, now Ion's bassist-slash-programmer; and the act's latest drummer, Jeff Gust (proving the third timekeeper's the charm).

There's no slow seduction on Product. It's all hard, angry sex up against the wall: If you like your music rough and dirty, Ion's got the goods. Panteric bass lines copulate with grungy, gritty guitars; processed vocals and slick samples intermingle for an orgiastic affair worthy of a Trojan commercial directed by Stanley Kubrick. Produced by Ulrich Wild (Deftones, Powerman 5000), Coal Chamber's Mike Cox and Orgy's Paige Haley, the entire album sounds primed for radio and ready to join the Billboard ranks.

With such an impressive pedigree, this disc ran the risk of disappointing local fans eagerly anticipating its release. Fortunately, it doesn't -- though eight songs hardly seems like enough after waiting so patiently. With a Gross National Product like this on the books, even Dubya should have no trouble balancing the budget. -- Catalina Soltero
- Catalina Soltero/Westword

Nothing short of amazing, ARMA is the first full-length release from Denver’s four-piece power rock outfit, ION. The 17-track album is broken down into three acts with video-game-like interludes introducing each. Act One starts out with a futuristic political premonition of world disaster on the show stopper, “Looking Back.” From there the melodic, driving industrial music of ION questions politics, life’s responsibilities, and personal growth. Act Two addresses our overall fears. Songs like “Magenta” host vocal stylings that create a hypnotic bond to the band. Finally, Act Three delves into our strengths and wishes. Songs like “Centerpiece” challenge us to be stronger and less critical of ourselves. ARMA is not only a musically exciting album, it is also sending a positive message. ION can hardly be tagged as a knock-off band, but they are similar to bands like TOOL, NIN, and Disturbed. Visit the band’s website for upcoming shows in Denver.

- Samantha Donen/The Vail Trail


Gross National Product- 2004
ARMA- 2006


Feeling a bit camera shy


Vocalist Noe DeLeon's melodies and harmonies hold up with the best of them, twisting and weaving his way through musical landscapes nothing short of extraordinary. While at times bringing to mind the vocal stylings of Maynard, Chino, etc, the last thing anyone will ever call this band is a knockoff. And with Orgy's Paige Haley and Coal Chamber's Mike Cox producing three of the tracks on the bands debut CD, Gross National Product, the buzz is already growing by leaps and bounds. This leading up to the highly anticipated full-length release of "ARMA" spring of 2006. ION has performed at the highly aclaimed Red Rocks Ampitheater in Morrison Colorado with Nickleback and Kid Rock. They have also had performances with: Disturbed, 30 Seconds to mars, Evanessance, Taproot, Orgy, Powerman 5000 to name a few. They continue to grow and carry a professional approach to their music.