Back in the 1980s when Lesli Sanders was a wild child from Tacoma living in Southern California, a music revolution was underway that shaped him as a musician and performer. “Hair metal,” among its monikers, attracted hordes of youth to L.A. and Hollywood where they unleashed their punk creativity and partied like there was no tomorrow. Some were there just to be part of the scene, and some, like Sanders, were there to make the scene. Playing in bands like City Girls’ Boys, Queeny Blast Pop and Pretty Boy Floyd, and later as touring bassist for Marky Ramone and Phil Lewis (LA Guns), Sanders was no hanger-on: he was a soldier onstage in this glammy revolution, a seminal moment in the rich annals of rock ‘n’ roll the likes of which we’ll never see again.
While too many of these hard-living musicians passed away over the years, or moved on to other projects, Sanders remains as strong and full of music as ever. Founder, songwriter, bassist and lead singer for The Prophets of Addiction, he’s carrying on a legacy steeped in Guns N Roses, Poison, and others in that hall of fame. This man is a musician’s musician, booking gigs throughout the year at venues across the country, from big outdoor festivals to intimate dive bars. This is testament to his appeal – whether in front of thousands or dozens, Sanders delivers every time.
In 2014, Sanders created something he had dreamed of for a long time – a solo acoustic CD. “The Haunting Truth of My Self-Portrait,” acclaimed by music writers and fans alike, was so well received that Sanders continued exploring musically as one-man unplugged to write and record his newest offering “My Eyes are Greener on the Other Side.” All words, music, lead and backing vocals, guitar, keyboards, piano and percussion are by Sanders, with Ty McDonald handling recording, mixing and mastering at Whine Cellar studios in Tacoma. On Saturday, March 18 at 9 p.m. The Valley at 1206 Puyallup Ave. will host Sanders for his CD release party where he will give a live performance.
Again, as on “Self-Portrait,” “Greener” showcases Sanders’ multi-instrumental playing skills with meaningful songwriting that touches the heart and soul. Perhaps Sanders’ greatest gift is that he assumes no airs – “what you see is what you get,” he seems to say, as he sings in his gritty voice of the ghosts of years past, lost love, the anguish of melancholy, the what ifs… But this album is certainly no downer – rather, it’s refreshingly thoughtful, wise and comforting in its own special, melodious way.
Like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” Sanders’ unadorned singing voice reaches deep in and hits you at a cellular level.
Case in point: “Here For You,” with its lush backing vocals.
“I sit and strum this guitar,
after all these years, I know I won’t get far.
I look at the years that have passed me;
they seem so close but just like you they are far.
You know I have always been here for you, not for me;
I only wanted to be your one in a million…”
And how just a simple tune on piano can pack a heartful of emotion:
“Let me introduce to you my love named Melody.
I’ve used her and abused her, my love, sweet Melody.
I hope it never fades away, my love for great Melody.
This is not a movie and we’re not the stars;
the only stars should be left in the skies above
cuz I know I’m not better than you, my love.
You are everything ever since you were sent from that God above…”
Acoustic piano and guitar marry surrounded by gentle strings for “Atmosphere” and “Throw Me a Rope,” with Prophets of Addiction rocker “As We Fall” (from “Reunite the Sinners”) reimagined as a ballad to finish off the collection of songs. Hearing this particular song in this way reveals a different view from its defiant punk origins; there’s no aggression, just keeping it real.
For a mere $9.99 “My Eyes are Greener on the Other Side” can be downloaded at www.CDBaby.com or purchase the disc at www.ProphetsOfAddiciton.com. It will be the best ten bucks you could spend so do it and treat yourself to what Lesli Sanders is all about.