Justin mazer (left) and Jason Gallagher.
IF SOME FILM STUDIO EVER DOES A REMAKE OF CAMERON Crowe’s Almost Famous, Leroy Justice would kick ass reprising the role of the fictional band Stillwater. Well, without all the Hollywood drama and all. We’re talking about music here, and Leroy Justice encapsulates the bright beams of ’70s-era American rock: lyrics that actually tell stories, impassioned melodies, good hooks, a hint of country heritage in the guitars and vocals, and show-stopping dynamics. The ebb-and-flow of Leroy Justice’s guitar textures are crafted by vocalist/guitarist Jason Gallagher and co-guitarist Justin Mazer, and the effect is just as striking in live performance as it is on the band’s first majorlabel release, Above the Weather [Elm City/Caroline/Capitol].
“Dynamics are crucial in a five-piece band with two guitars and keyboards,” says Gallagher. “You have to find the right parts and the right spaces to play them. Luckily, we’re heavily based in a rehearsal-space world, so we work through arrangements by jamming together, and seeing what works best through improvisation.”
Mazer wanted to define the sound of Above the Weather with epic guitar tones, and while the album is rife with cool 6-string sounds, the guitarists were definitely challenged to improve upon history.
“There are iconic guitar tones, of course, but we’d start with the sound of rock and roll, and then one of us would play while the other tweaked the gear to work upwards from that foundation,” explains Mazer.
“But it’s really tough to expand upon those sounds when you plug an ES-335 into a cranked Fender Bassman, and the tone is just awesome,” admits Gallagher. “So much for the modernization project!”