One can say that Howard Leese truly is a veteran when it comes to rock n' roll, having begun his music career at the early age of 9 and getting signed to the first record deal at 15 with his first band "The Zoo". They played some of the largest concert venues in LA and opened for major bands of the day, such as Spirit, Canned Heat, and Butterfield Blues Band.
Leese went on to study music theory and classical music at Los Angeles City College, opting to leave for real-time experience in the studio when an opportunity presented itself for him to have full use of a recording studio in Vancouver. It was there that the fateful meeting with the Wilson sisters took place not long after when local band "Heart" came in to record a demo in 1974 which Leese produced.
Howard finally joined Heart in 1975 and stayed with the band for 22 years, incorporating a variety of instruments on their albums, such as electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin and keyboards. He also co-produced some of their 13 albums. Heart had 20 top 40 singles, 3 International n. 1 singles, a n. 1 album ("Heart") in 85', has received 4 Grammy nominations and has sold 40 million records worldwide.
Leese grew up listening to such greats as Dick Dale (the first live experience that he had), Keith Richards, Peter Green from Fleetwood Mac, Jeff Beck, Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Paul Kossoff of Free, which inspired him to put together a group in Seattle called "The Brigade", playing some old Free classics.
In 1997 the legendary Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Co, The Firm with Jimmy Page, Queen) had moved from England to Vancouver and was looking for a U.S. back-up band. Intrigued by how well Leese could play Kossoff's particular style and licks, he asked him to join his band. In 1998 Howard Leese joined The Paul Rodgers Band and more recently became touring member in the reformed Bad Company line-up.
Howard Leese spent his career putting others in the spotlight and making sure they stay there, often being called Heart's "secret weapon." His first solo record, aptly entitled "Secret Weapon" is an effort that's sure to thrust him into the spotlight he so patiently has watched dance around in front of him for decades. Howard Leese offered up legends like Joe Lynn Turner (former Rainbow and Deep Purple singer), Paul Rodgers, Keith Emerson or Jimi Jamison (ex Survivor), for the space, or better yet, the lesser known talents of Deanna Johnston or Andrew Black. Howard Leese takes great pride in having his work heard from the dark depths that linger behind the spotlight. The only difference now is that the secret is out, so he might simply be a weapon - one hell of a weapon!