Rock Camaraderie

Charleston City Paper | September 30, 2006
“I don’t have a day job, man — I’m pretty much a full-time musician right now,” says Leslie singer-guitarist Sadler Vaden, 20. “We’re just climbing up the ladder, one step at a time. We’re progressing. Every week, there’s something new to do or consider … new shows, new bands to meet, new songs to try, new arguments in the van. There’s a lot going on and we’re just working really hard. I don’t know what the ultimate goal is, but we’re trying to play as much as we can in front of as many people as we can.”

Vaden, drummer Jonathan Carman, 23, and bassist Jason Fox, 21, formed Leslie in 2004 and quickly established themselves as one of Charleston’s most excitable underground bands. Last year, the band worked with studio engineer Jake Sinclair (of The Films) in a home studio to record their debut disc, a self-titled, five-song EP full of melodic, noisy power-pop, jangly guitar, and anthemic elegance.

The trio spent the better part of the year capitalizing on the big splash of last year’s EP release and touring as much as possible around the Carolinas and the Southeast. In January did some low-budget home studio sessions a friend’s house on Bee Street, laying down the tracks for seven songs in two days.

Last winter, Leslie drove to Savannah for a show with Atlanta rockabilly band The Cogburns. The local paper listed them on the bottom of the front page as “Leslie: Charleston Rockers.”

“I was like, ‘Holy shit! I’ve never picked up the paper and seen our name on the front!’ And we weren’t even the headlining band. That was really cool. We don’t let that stuff go to our heads or anything. We’re glad to be featured, but we try to look at the big picture. Remember, we’re in Charleston; you can’t take yourself too seriously. I take our own music seriously, but the rock star stuff doesn’t matter.”

Critical praise and fanfare aside, the young trio put serious effort in developing their rock sound as a tight unit with hard experience on the stage.

“It has tightened up a bit … and definitely more polished,” says Vaden. “We are jamming a bit, too … not Phish jamming, but more like The Who jamming on Live at Leeds. I think there’s an actual ‘Leslie sound’ developing on its own that is, at least, original, compared to a lot of what is going on a round town right now. There’s a punk side to us, a twangy side to us, and an indie side to us. Really I think we could play with anybody and do pretty well.”

Charleston City Paper

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated City Paper is Charleston's only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-largest publication in the metro Charleston area. Reaching a strong mix of active, affluent locals and tourists, the City Paper has thrived...
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