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Ernie Leitch, Guitar, Melodica & Vocals

Born in London Ontario July 3 1962. Father Archie Leitch was a founding member of the Nihilist Spasm Band ( now big in Japan ).

Grew up in a rented farmhouse near Thorndale owned by the Peterson family (yes the Liberal clan of note) which was locally famous for hosting many Nihilist Spasm Band Picnics and guest housing various musical visitors including The Band, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and sporting works on the front lawn by artists Greg Curnoe, Peter Boyle and Murray Favro. House was struck by lightning and burned to the ground in the winter of 1969.

Musical beginnings:
Father had a voluminous rock/jazz/blues record library and a strange habit of playing the same new record over and over on a battery powered LP player until the grooves wore out despite the fact that he owned for that time a rather sophisticated tube powered audio system with one of the first Thorens professional record players. Ernie estimates that he has heard The Band's "Stage Fright" and "Rock of Ages", Bob Dylan's "John Wesley Harding", The Rolling Stones "Let it Bleed" and The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" at least 10,000 times each and still enjoys them.

Family moved to London proper in 1970. Ernie was transferred from his neighbourhood school to St.Peter's elementary in downtown London in 1973 because he was a distraction to other students and it was thought that involvement in a first-class orchestral and choir program combined with rigorous Catholic instruction would straighten him out. He is still in recovery from the latter.

Opted for the cello after being rejected for the bass as he was to small to manage holding it up. Played the cello avidly for years through to Grade 11 at Catholic Central High School winning several Kiwanis awards for solo performance in the open category. Highlight: Principal cello in the combined orchestra supporting a 7 night run of the musical " Bye Bye Birdie" with the Beal Arts Theatre program.

In 1978 bought his first acoustic guitar and taught himself to play by copying records. Joined an after hours bluegrass collective at a local music store and learned that the guitar was much easier to play when not tuned like a cello. In 1979 bought his first electric guitar, coerced his closest friend's parents to buy them instruments, and booked his first gig at Westminster High School. Everyone had six weeks to learn how to play and it actually worked. Highlights: Breaking his first guitar performing "My Generation" and setting the auditorium on fire with pyrotechnics.

Musical Influences 1:
During this period discovered The New York Dolls, Talking Heads, Jonathan Richman, Be Bop Deluxe, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Brian Eno, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop, The Tubes, Neil Young, The Pretenders and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

Band opened for '63 Monroe at the Blue Boot in 1980 and broke up shortly after.

In 1982 Ernie entered the Music Industry Arts engineering program at Fanshawe College where he met the members of his first " serious band " The Waiting. He also began to write songs. The band progressed rapidly on the local live scene and recorded an eponymous album in 1985 at EMAC Studios produced by Mark Goodwin of Conning Tower. Highlights: Winning various band contests including CBC Television's " Rock Wars "…we were eliminated in the final by Platinum Blonde. Opening for The Cult at Alumni Hall and K.D. Lang in 1987. Single " Giving It Up " released in 1987 made rotation on 400 college radio playlists across North America and notably a six week run in the Top Twenty on WKNX and FM96 in Ontario. After several college and Northern Ontario tours and after almost being signed by True North Records and IRS Records The Waiting called it quits in 1989 after opening for Tragically Hip on New Year's Eve 1988/89.

Musical Influences 2:
Elvis Costello and the Attractions, John Otway, Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, NRBQ, the new King Crimson, Steve Earle, the new Bob Dylan, XTC, The Rheostatics, Daniel Lanois, Tragically Hip and U2.

Between 1989 and 1996 Ernie took a break from music and starving and made a living as a live sound engineer, bar manager, post production video engineer, micro brewer, data network specialist and taught himself to play classical guitar.

In 1996 Ernie founded Ten Heads with singer/songwriter Jeffrey Deibert-Patterson. A long run in the local live scene culminated in the albums " Swimming and Singing " in 2000 and the recently mastered " Braille " conceived at The House of Miracles with Two Minute Miracles genius Andy Magoffin at the helm. This collaboration continues with Ernie in Ontario and Jeffrey in Victoria B.C.

In 2003 Ernie was invited to join a musical collective founded by ex-Suffer Machine songwriters Peter Tangredi and Stephan Beckhoff. The initial group name was Real Live Bleeding Fingers but has evolved into The Cool Mothers. Our first recording, " Fall To Earth " was recorded with Andy Magoffin at House of Miracles and mixed by Nick Blagona at Janus Studios.

Musical Influences 3:
The next Neil Young, the next Bob Dylan, Wilco, Billy Bragg, Kathleen Edwards, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, Martha Wainwright, Lucinda Williams and Lord Buckley.

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