By Stephanie Stevens
LeNNe is a band that has vulnerabilities in lyrical format, diversity in musical soundscapes and just really speaks to the music community with intensity and straight raw emotion. Lenny Cerzosie Jr and Jim Taylor is the duo that cemented this amazing new band and the story about there music career is such a humbling and powerful inspiration that they should be proud of.
This project which they call LeNNe just released a sensational single, LETTING YOU DOWN which has Morgan and Corey of Sevendust fame on it. A song that voyages through dark driving elements, powerful impactful lyrical vision and just a pure and strong inciteful look into what is to come from this breathtaking force!
I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Lenny and Jim about there start in music, the ability to work with notable and exceptional musicians so far in their career, what they hope music fans will walk away with after a taste of the new single LETTING YOU DOWN and what they hope the future is with more music out and touring beginning to see the light of day.
Q: To Leonard and Jim, tell us a little bit about your music journey and how it led to the forming of LENNE?
A: Leonard: This particular project was kind of a chance meeting. Morgan and I already had a history together. At the time, he was doing something in the Baltimore area at the same time Jimmy and I were. We got together but Mo suggested we go to Atlanta and utilize Corey Lowery and his studio. After a few years of writing and recording, we made “LeNNe” official and are thrilled to be working with Imagen Records!!
Q: Jim, it says you play mandolin, which I love. How do you think it enhances a rock n roll sound and will we see a lot in other Lenne songs?
A: Jimmy: Most definitely! We are excited to release the rest of our songs in which most have electric mandolin on them. I have for years tried to create textures with the electric mandolin that explore the space BETWEEN what my guys are doing without intruding. It is such a unique instrument, from Led Zeppelin to Rod Stewart, Steve Earle and REM it has provided a distinctive tone in rock…We’d like to take it to another level.
Q: Your first single just came out in May entitled “LETTING YOU DOWN”. A collaboration with Corey and Morgan of Sevendust happened for the track, what insite and factor did they help you guys with on getting this song to its full potential?
A: Leonard: We wrote it together. Actually, I was sitting in the airport terminal with a delayed flight to Atlanta. Morgan and Corey both started sending me riff and hook ideas. By the time I made it to the studio, we already had an idea of what we were gonna do, musically. I went back to Morgan’s place that night and finalized the lyrics. Next day, we banged the song out! I have a history with Morgan. This was my first experience with Corey Lowery. He has since become one of my favorite people on the planet.
Jimmy: These dudes, all of em, Im just honored to know them and have something that combines all of our sensibilities into one BIG sound…Its awesome!
Q: Lenny you have worked with Morgan in the past on a very personal Ep entitled NO AMENDS. For people who love hearing music, could you give us a look into how emotional something like this is to write and how it helps you grow as a musician with being more vulnerable and raw?
A: Leonard: There was a pivotal moment between me and Morgan back in 2010. It was after I lost a dear person to a pill overdose. He locked me in this small room in the studio where we could barely fit an acoustic guitar beside a flat back piano. Mo locked the door and looked me in the eyes. He simply said, “I get it. We’re doing this”. That’s when we wrote “No Amends”. I think the one thing we bring to the table with “LeNNe” is the raw emotion. Much of the material was inspired by my mother’s struggle with ALS.
A: Leonard: I feel that on one hand, we found our niche. But on the other hand, not one song sounds like the other. We played around with tunings typically associated with real heavy stuff but maintained a pop aspect. You can sing the hooks even though we’re playing drop C!! lol
Q: Dd Morgan and Corey have a hand in all tracks on the release or did you collaborate with other musicians?
A: Leonard: Morgan is definitely behind this entire project. Corey was integral to how we started but he literally got called to Seether mid recording! God bless that dude!! We definitely have other musicians involved. Members of Alborn, Elysium, and even Chris Caffery of TSO/Savatage!!
Q: Who did the cover art for the single and in your opinion what does the art say to you and ties into the song?
A: Leonard: Steven Nathan is our artistic pioneer. Much of the visuals are from his noggin. I think a fan described the single cover best as, “The lights are on but no one’s home.”.
Q: Did you guys go to school for music or did you learn on your own? Either or how has working with talents like sevendust, zakk wylde, earl slick and candlebox help your growth as writers and composers?
A: Leonard: I was fortunate to have a brilliant guitar teacher guide me a bit when I was 12 or so. However, I learned the most from working with icons like Earl Slick and Zakk Wylde. Candlebox had a big part in our early development. All of these artists have helped us, not just grow as musicians and performers, but as real people in the spotlight.
Jimmy: I took piano from a very early age, then in my teens got a guitar. I actually auditioned for music programs at James Madison, George Mason and Penn State but I took composition courses at Hampden-Sydney. I am a composer for independent films and for me thats a huge impact on what I try to form with our sound…EVERY song to me is an album with a big sound, not unlike a soundtrack
Q: What do you feel is the most important factor when selecting songs for a Ep or full length? And can you say you accomplished that on this future release?
A: Leonard: Sincerity. I think the best thing you can do for yourself as a composer and for listeners is to be real.
Q: After a listen to LETTING YOU DOWN what do you hope people get out of the song?
A: Leonard: I have always been the guy that shuts the world out when I put on my head phones and get lost in the emotions of a song. If even one person has that experience via LeNNe, then it’s a success.
A: Leonard: There was a night we were driving somewhere in Atlanta. Morgan was on the phone with someone and they were talking about the company and everything. When he hung up, I literally asked him when Imagen was gonna sign US.?! lol. He literally picked the phone back up and started talks of what would become, “LeNNe”. We’ve become such a family that the business aspect gets lost sometimes! Ha! Good problems to have.
Q: With touring starting back up is LENNE going to be a full band and if so will those members be a permanent factor in future songs, albums etc?
A: Leonard: We were originally gonna hit the festival circuit with LeNNe but everything shut down. So, we waited about a year and are now trying to plan for the summer and next year. We have some killer line-ups for live shows. Jimmy and I will always be there but we have so many friends on standby once we hit the road.