||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
LeBlanc performing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in January 2009
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, record producer, author|
|Associated acts||Cowboy Mouth, Dash Rip Rock|
|Website||Fred LeBlanc website|
Fred LeBlanc is the lead singer/drummer for the New Orleans-based rock band Cowboy Mouth, and a freelance songwriter, record producer, short story author, and acoustic performer. Known for his "maniacal" performance style, and described as "a short, muscular guy with a heavy brow and piercingly intelligent eyes", LeBlanc has been called "one of the more instantly recognizable figures in contemporary Louisiana music."
After graduating from Jesuit High School in New Orleans, LeBlanc began his career in the early 1980s with the Backbeats, also from New Orleans, which featured many future members of Cowboy Mouth. His tenure with this group was mostly relegated to background drummer.
A year after the Backbeats disbanded in the mid-1980s, LeBlanc joined Baton Rouge power trio Dash Rip Rock as drummer and as contributing songwriter and co-lead singer. The band was heavily influenced by the American roots music movement of the time, as well as the frenzied punk and rock stylings of both the Sex Pistols and Jerry Lee Lewis. To this mix, LeBlanc's songs usually had a very strong melodic component, with "Operator", "Blue Moon At Midnight", and "Go Home, Little Girl" being some of his more popular songs with the group. He also arranged and sang lead upon Dash's cowpunk version of the Hank Williams standard "I Saw The Light" which became a live Dash staple, even after LeBlanc left the band in 1989.
Frustrated with the band's focus on maintaining a bar band focus at the expense of songwriting, LeBlanc left Dash Rip Rock in mid-1989 and signed a deal as a solo artist with EMI Records. Although no recordings were ever released from his tenure with the label, LeBlanc has said that the year off from the road "gave me a chance to focus on my songwriting," with LeBlanc writing many songs during that time that would appear on various Cowboy Mouth recordings later on.
LeBlanc formed Cowboy Mouth in late 1990 with a lineup that has changed variously throughout the years, with the main constants being LeBlanc and John Thomas Griffith on guitar and vocals. The band has maintained a steady touring schedule since their formation, gaining in popularity steadily throughout the years through the notoriety of their live shows. LeBlanc has written many of Cowboy Mouth's material, such as "How Do You Tell Someone", "Love Of My Life", "Disconnected", "Take Me Back To New Orleans", "Easy", "Tell The Girl", "So Sad About Me", "The Avenue", and the band's signature song "Jenny Says".
In addition to performing and recording with Cowboy Mouth, LeBlanc has mixed a few of their early independent label albums. He produced an album called A Different Story by New Orleans-based popsters Deadeye Dick. The album featured the song "New Age Girl", which won the band and LeBlanc a gold record in the early 1990s and was included in the Jim Carrey movie Dumb And Dumber.
LeBlanc has produced material for Mark Bryan of Hootie & The Blowfish fame, and albums for Dash Rip Rock (long after he left the band), The Bingemen, and The Garden District—the latter of which are both from New Orleans. He also released solo CDs entitled Here On Earth, Shiver, Double Dammit, and Playing The Game Of My Life, as well as an album of spoken word short stories (also released in text form) called Always Give Thanks. In July 2010, LeBlanc said that he would continue to release solo music, a song or two at a time, during breaks in Cowboy Mouth's schedule.
Cowboy Mouth studio albums
- Word of Mouth • 1992
- It Means Escape • 1994
- Are You with Me? • 1996
- Word of Mouth (Remix) • 1996
- Mercyland • 1998
- Easy • 2000
- Uh-Oh • 2003
- Voodoo Shoppe • 2006
- Fearless • 2008
- This Train... • 2012
- Go! • 2014
Cowboy Mouth live albums and EPs
- Mouthin' Off (Live & More) • 1993
- Mouthin' Off (Live & More) (Remastered) • 1997
- Cowboy Mouth LIVE! (limited edition 5-song EP issued with Mercyland) • 1998
- Live in the X Lounge "Jenny Says" • 1998 & 2001
- All You Need Is Live • 2000
- Live in the X Lounge "Easy" • 2000
- Uh Oh (5-song Preview EP) • 2003
- Live at the Zoo • 2004
- Mardi Gras • 2010
Cowboy Mouth live DVD
Dash Rip Rock albums featuring Fred LeBlanc
- Paydirt (1998) (producer only)
- Ace of Clubs (1989) (drummer/singer/songwriter)
- Dash Rip Rock (1987) (drummer/singer/songwriter)
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Biography: Cowboy Mouth". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
- Spotlight review of Are You With Me?, Billboard, July 13, 1996.
- Rick Koster, Louisiana Music (Da Capo Press, 2002), ISBN 978-0-306-81003-9, p. 224. Except available at Google Books.
- Bush, John. "Biography: Dash Rip Rock". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
- Keith Spera, "Fred LeBlanc to strum solo, release new music online", Times-Picayune, July 8, 2010.