Interview: Leaf Hound(Pete French)
Interview Leaf Hound: Leaf Hound/Pete French/Mick Halls/Brunning Sunflower Band/Black Cat Bones/Big Bertha/Atomic Rooster/Cactus/Randy Pie...Leaf Hound interview December 2003.
Leaf Hound - Members Leaf Hound - Biography

Pete French and Luke Rayner about Leaf Hound
Interview by Claes Hassel at

- Luke, when did you hear "Growers of Mushroom" for the first time, and what was your feelings about it then?
Luke: The first time I heard Growers of Mushroom in 2004 when Leaf Hound drummer Jimmy Rowland who I can only describe a a connoisseur of all music dropped around my flat one day to play me the album. While we listened to it he explained that he'd met Pete French and there may be a chance we could jam some songs from the album with him.
After looking past what I considered to be the dated production I became completely enchanted with the songs and relished the chance to perform them with the genuine article!

- Pete, where did you find the hotshot Luke Rayner, very heavy 70's guitarplaying in the way we adore at RockProg !?
Pete: I realized straight away when I jammed with Luke that here was someone who had something special to offer, there was something unique and original that I liked about his style of playing, and I saw that he had great potential within him. I can honestly say that it is a pleasure working with him both as an artist and as a friend.

- If you should compare Leaf Hound to other bands what will they be, Zeppelin early Cactus?
Luke: It depends which incarnation of Leaf Hound we're are talking about. Growers of Mushroom era Leaf Hound sound a lot like Led Zep and Free to me.
The new Leaf Hound obviously have all those elements but with the advantage of all that's happened between then and now in music.

- Pete, in 1994 "Growers of Mushroom" was re-released by Repertoire Records, was that a surprise for you?
Pete: Well who would have thought it, someone up there must like me, Many years ago Record Collector was to be the first to get in touch with me to rave about discovering my Leaf Hound Growers of Mushroom Album, and the story started to unfold once more from there, many years later after it had previously sold out on its first run, it was to re-emerge digitally remastered and re-released to receive another great series of terrific reviews, which culminated in my re forming a Brand new Leaf Hound and recording the new Album, Leaf Hound, "Unleashed", writing closely with my right hand man Luke Rayner, "Unleashed" was created, which I humbly consider as being one of my favorite recordings to date.

- About the new album, 'Unleashed', how is the process going on when writing new material?
Pete: We normally manage to write new material by the two the us sitting down in Luke's home studio and Kicking around riffs and ideas.
Until we hit on something or drive each other nuts and call it a day, only to then attempt it all over again.
Luke: It's quite a quick process, using modern recording methods we can get the structure of a song down very quickly using programmed drums and bass. Pete and I will then add vocals and guitars. Once we're happy with the songs arrangement I'll email a copy of it to the other band members who'll learn the song for the next rehearsal.

- What do you think of 'Unleashed'?
Pete: I'm personally very proud of the finished recording. my fellow musicians gave 100% and I think it shows on the recording. Most significantly Luke's contribution.
Luke: I'm very happy with unleashed, I spent many hours toiling away in the studio choosing takes and small sections that I thought would make difference. This is the first album where I've really had to think about the production as well as the songs. It was a challenge but I'm pleased with the result.

- Any anecdotes/special memories from the recording sessions?
Pete: I have never been so involved in any Album as much as I have been with this one, in every step of the way from the cover to the recording I feel as though I left a little bit of my Karma there.
Luke: We had spent months in different studios recording sections and parts of songs. When we came to mix the album hearing everything come together was incredibly exhilarating!

In June 2006, we at, had the privilege to see Leaf Hound live at the Sweden Rock Festival.
And what a concert it turned out to be, awsome, the best concert at the festival together with the Cactus concert!
- Your feelings about that concert?
Luke: I had a fantastic time at Sweden Rock, We were treated really well and found the hospitality to be great along with getting to hang out with the likes of Deep Purple afterwards. I was amazed to see fans who had made their own Leaf Hound t-shirts and the amount of people who new who I was and were eager to talk to me.
The whole vibe was a lot friendlier than any english festival I've been to.

Ed: It was a Great Gig to do, it was great to be back in Sweden again, we all enjoyed playing Sweden Rock and the smashing audience.

Pete: At the show I guess we felt we were the runt of the litter,we had the smallest stage, and suffered with equipment failure, but we came there to Rock, and we gave it our best.
I found the Swedish audience were absolutely Ace, and gave us a great reception. The warmth and courtesy shown to us at the Festival was really something else, The band has a soft spot for Sweden. and definitely look forward to return to play.

- Pete, a bit odd that BOTH Leaf Hound AND Cactus played at the same festival, because you could have been singing in both bands!?
Pete: I was offered to join and record with Cactus their new Album Cactus V., and to perform and tour with Cactus again, but I chose to decline, I realized that although I had the opportunity to possibly try to do both bands that my hopes and aspirations were now firmly with my new band Leaf Hound, I really believe that in Leaf Hound we managed to capture something very special when we recorded the new Album "Unleashed" so I decided to put all my efforts into this "my great little Band."
I was flattered to have been asked if I could appear with both bands by the promoters of the Concert but it just wasn't possible.
I did however co-write for Cactus the track "Living For Today" for the new Cactus V Album.
Leaf Hound - BottomPic Leaf Hound - Biography Few rock albums have achieved greater cult status than Leaf Hound's 'Growers of Mushroom'. Accompanied by the aura and mystique which surrounds buried treasure, the album has gradually acquired a mythical status, reflecting the hallucinogenic imagery of its cover, and befitting the explosive fusion of soulful blues and hard rock fury contained within its grooves.

Leaf Hound was a product of the South-West London rock scene of the late sixties, which spawned the likes of Free and other blues-rock acts who would go on to make a wider impact. Vocalist Peter French and guitarist Mick Halls were the mainstays of Leaf Hound. Both had previously played together in the Brunning Sunflower Blues Band and Black Cat Bones. The line up for the ?Growers of Mushroom? album was completed by Stuart and Derek Brookes, on bass and rhythm, and drummer Keith Young.

'Growers of Mushroom' was recorded in one eleven hour session at Spot Studios in Mayfair, London, in late 1970. In between the recording of the album and its belated release the following year, the Brookes brothers were replaced by Ron Thomas (of Heavy Metal Kids fame) on bass and Leaf Hound undertook a tour of Europe as a four piece. Although the band had expected the album to be released to coincide with the tour, it did not materialise in time, and the band found themselves in the frustrating situation of promoting an album which was not yet available. Despite this, the shows were successful, and legend has it that they regularly wiped the floor with a fledgling UFO, headliners on some of the shows. The success of the tour prompted German label Telefunken to release the album in Germany. A single of 'Drowned My Life in Fear' / 'It's Gonna Get Better' was also released in Germany.

In October 1971, Decca followed suit in the band?s native UK. However, by the time of the Decca release the band had split, riven by disputes with their agents.Peter French?s reputation as a potent lead vocalist led him to stints as frontman for Atomic Rooster (appearing on the hit album ?In Hearing Of?), and Tim Bogert & Carmine Appice?s US band Cactus (appearing on the album ?Ot?n?Sweaty). Later in the seventies he served as frontman for popular German act Randy Pie, before recording his acclaimed solo album ?Ducks in Flight? which featured the likes of Brian Robertson, Micky Moody and Kenny Jones. In 1994, the 'Growers of Mushroom' album received a long-overdue re-release by Repertoire Records. Since then its reputation has grown to a huge extent, and the album has gained a new generation of cult followers.
Following intense public demand, Pete French put a new version of his legendary band Leaf Hound together in the Spring of 2004. The band made their live debut in October of that year at London?s Camden Underworld as special guests to Nazareth. A string of Underworld shows followed with the likes of Mountain, Orange Goblin and Witchcraft. The band quickly established a reputation as a potent and respected live act worthy of the legendary cult status the original band had achieved. The live set features many of the classic Leaf Hound songs from the original album as well as new material that has gone down as well as, if not better, than the original material.
Highly acclaimed appearances at the Tapestry Goes West Festival in the UK and Kaktus Festival in Sweden during the summer of 2005 enhanced their reputation. A showcase performance at London?s Borderline in September brought glowing reviews in various publications including Classic Rock. The band has also made several Radio appearances on stations such as Total Rock and Resonance FM.
In October of 2005 Leaf Hound?s legendary and highly collectable original album, ?Growers Of Mushroom? ?voted the number one most collectable rock album in Q magazine was reissued on Repertoire Records. Remastered and repackaged in digipac format, the reissue contains extensive brand new liner notes by Chris Welch and received highly favourable press in several publications. The reissue features a bonus track, ?Too Many Rock?n?Roll Times?, the first new recording from the band.
A brand new single was released early in 2006 on Rise Above Records and during summer 2006 Leaf Hound appeared at the annual Roadburn Festival in Holland and made a highly acclaimed appearance at the Sweden Rock Festival, as well as headlining the Metal Brew Festival in London.

Leaf Hound's brand new album, 'Unleashed' was released in November 2007 on the R.A.R.E/Repertoire label. In March 2008, they appear at the Mellotronon Festival in Sweden alongside Opeth and Comus amongst others.

Biography from Leaf Hound's website

Leaf Hound - BottomPic Pete French - Discography

Leaf Hound - Growers of Mushroom(1971)

Leaf Hound - Growers of Mushroom
  1. Freelance Fiend
  2. Sad Road To The Sea
  3. Drowned My Life In Fear
  4. Work My Body
  5. Stray
  6. With A Minute To Go
  7. Growers Of Mushroom
  8. Stagnant Pool
  9. Sawdust Caesar
  10. Humble Colossus

Bonus Tracks on CD:
It's Gonna Get Better
Too Many Rock'n'Roll Times

LP released in Germany(Telefunken) and K(Decca) in 1971
CD remastered reissue released on Repertoire Records in 2005

Atomic Rooster - In Hearing Of(1971)

Atomic Rooster - In Hearing Of

  1. Breakthrough
  2. Break The Ice
  3. Decision Indecision
  4. A Spoonful Of Bromide
  5. Black Snake
  6. Head In the Sky
  7. The Rock
  8. The Price
CD available as an expanded deluxe edition on Castle Music

Cactus - 'Ot 'n Sweaty(1972)

Cactus - 'Ot 'n Sweaty

  1. Bad Mother Boogie
  2. Our Little rock n Roll Thing
  3. Bad Stuff
  4. Swim
  5. Bringing Me Down
  6. Bedroom Mazurka
  7. Telling You
  8. Underneath The Arches
LP released on Atlantic Records in 1972
CD available in remastered CD format on Atlantic

Randy Pie - Fast Forward(1977)

Randy Pie - Fast Forward

  1. Trust Me
  2. Hijacked
  3. Stand Up
  4. Star Attraction
  5. Back Street Boy
  6. Hot Afternoon
  7. Name Of The Game
  8. Fast Forward
LP released in 1977 on Polydor

Peter French - Ducks in Flight(1978)

Peter French - Ducks in Flight

  1. Slipped And Stumbled
  2. Give Me Your Love
  3. Same Old Questions
  4. Sweet Annabella
  5. Shame Shame
  6. Without You
  7. Hold Me Take Me
  8. Goodbye Jesse
  9. Schooldays
LP released in 1978 on Polydor

Leaf Hound - Unleashed(2007)

Leaf Hound - Unleashed

  1. One Hundred and Five Degrees
  2. Barricades
  3. The Man With The Moon In Him
  4. Nickels And Dimes
  5. Stop, Look And Listen
  6. Overtime
  7. Too Many Rock'n'Roll Times
  8. Deception
  9. Breakthrough
CD released on Repertoire Records in november 2007
Leaf Hound - BottomPic Leaf Hound - Discography

             Leaf Hound at Sweden Rock Festival 2006

Leaf Hound - SRF_Pics_01

Leaf Hound - SRF_Pics_02

Leaf Hound - SRF_Pics_03

             Photos by Harald Bjervamoen -
Leaf Hound - BottomPic Leaf Hound - Official Site