Founded in 1981, Los Angeles Power Metal act Leatherwolf supported Poison, Motley Crue, Great White and W.A.S.P. in their rise to signing with a major label. Leatherwolf put themselves in the history books in 1982 when their gig at the Concert Factory in Los Angeles saw support from a fledgling Metallica.
Leatherwolf’s unashamed L.A. “look” and onstage triple guitar-pronged attack set them apart from the majority of Metal bands. The group had originally released product on the Tropical label (a subsidiary of E”nigma) and this record was issued a year later, with the addition of extra tracks, in Britain as Endangered Species by the Heavy Metal label.
Leatherwolf’s Matt Hurich filled in for Styper bassist Tim Gaines when he mysteriously disappeared during the recording of the To Hell With The Devil album in 1986. However, Hurich soon lost his position in Stryper when Gaines returned and would later relinquish his post in Leatherwolf, too.
The 1987 self-titled album, produced by Kevin Beamish noted for his softer AOR work, featured new bassist Paul Carmen, formerly of Black Sheep. Beamish-produced Street Ready (1989) was recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau in the Bahamas and mixed by Michael Wagener. Its release coincided with the support tour of Japanese group Vow Wow in March 1989. Leatherwolf also opened for Zed Yago in Germany. Unfortunately, the label support fell away, leaving a sizable contingent of fans in dismay as the group splintered.
After a short stint in Rock act Hail Mary, a new short-haired version of Leatherwolf returned in 1999 with a self-financed album, Wide Open. At this stage Carey Howe was also operating with another band venture entitled 420KOMA. As evidenced by the overwhelmingly positive reception for Wide Open, Leatherwolf’s fan base had remained resilient during the hiatus. Long-term vocalist Olivieri quit in August of 2000. Eventually Leatherwolf announced a new frontman in Chris Adams during March 2002.
By March of 2004 Leatherwolf had a brand new frontman, as Racer X vocalist Jeff Martin, a man claiming credits as a drummer for UFO, Surgical Steel, Michael Schenker Group, George Lynch, Badlands and Kevin DuBrow, joined the pack. New demo songs, “Disconnect”, “Behind The Gun” and “Burned”, were uploaded to the Internet for download in August. With Martin out of contention, Leatherwolf announced their search for a new singer in December. It would be July 2005 before the band revealed that the Crimson Glory, Tiwanaku and Seven Witches veteran Wade Black had secured the position and by October were in the recording studio with Warrior guitarist Joe Floyd acting as producer. Eric Halpern from Helstar laid down guest guitar solos and former Leatherwolf vocalist Michael Olivieri added both guitar and backing vocals. Jacob Hansen would mix the album, World Asylum, at Hansen Studios in Denmark.
In March 2006 the group signed over World Asylum to German label Massacre Records for June release. That month Los Angeles shows found the Hail Mary/Shotgun Messiah-credited Pat Guyton handling bass while Paul Carmen returned for festival appearances in Germany. Guyton co-composed the World Asylum Japanese bonus track, “Tools of Discipline”.