Doing It Wrong; An interview with Itarya and Tim Leo of Legendary Divorce

Legendary Divorce

Legendary Divorce


The Philadelphia noise-punk quartet known as Legendary Divorce have released their debut EP. The Make Me EP is available via CD and digital now via Reptilian Records (Cutthroats 9, Pageninetynine, Fight Amp).
Legendary Divorce consists of seasoned vets who served time in such outfits as The Starting Line, Ladder Devils, Wives and The Minor Times. As for their musical approach guitarist/vocalist Itarya Leo says “we play super loud ‘punk’ music but melody is also very important to us. There’s a catchy song in there even if you care barely hear it over the aggression.”
Perhaps what is telling about the band is that they initially formed one Halloween as a Nirvana cover band before deciding to write and play together as Legendary Divorce. Though not an obvious touchstone in their songs, there are some strains of their ’90s alt/indie heroes peeking out at times that are engulfed by the members hardcore/noise prowess.
Rounded out by Timothy Leo (guitar), Brian Schmutz (bass/vocals) and Brian Medlin drums/vocals) the band has shared stages with groups such as HSY, Pontiak, Amanda X and Jaye Jayle (ex. Breather Resist). On the horizon are more shows and the band will be working on a full-length for release later this year.
Ghettoblaster recently spoke with Legendary Divorce’s Itarya and Tim Leo about their inception, their sound, and their goals. This is what they told us.
Did the band actually start out as a Nirvana tribute band?  When did you begin writing your own material?
Itarya Leo: We did! Well, for one show. A friend of ours puts on a blast of a Halloween show every year and we all decided it would be fun to play a Nirvana cover set. That was in 2012. We were having the best time playing together & didn’t want to stop, but also didn’t want to be just like a Nirvana cover band, so we started writing our own songs in 2013.
How does Legendary Divorce differ from your previous bands?
Tim Leo: Legendary Divorce has a sense of spontaneity  that my past bands did not. There is an anything goes vibe. Also, we don’t suck as much. Live and learn.
It has been pointed out that AmRep-style bands are a big influence on your sound. Is that a true touchstone for you guys?
IL: We love A LOT of AmRep bands – Unsane, Melvins and Helmet in particular. But for instance, Brian on the bass, is heavily involved with the writing process and he is not super into any of those bands. I don’t think any of us have a particular band or song in mind while writing, that is all realized after. I would also like to add that all I want to do is play a show with Unsane. Is that too much to ask?
When did you write and record Make Me?  What were you hoping to accomplish with the debut?
TL: We wrote Make Me over the summer and fall of 2013 and recorded that winter and spring. We weren’t really trying to accomplish anything. As far as first songs go, they seemed good enough to release. We were pleasantly surprised at how many people liked the songs. At least that’s what they told us… ? We have a friend, Mike Ashmore, who put a lot of work into recording that record with very little compensation. Dude rules – thanks Mike!
Which of the songs on the EP is your favorite and why?
IL: I love “Satisfaction,” primarily because it’s so much fun to play live. “Easy” also has a very special place in my heart because it is the first song we wrote as a band.
TL: “Satisfaction” and “Easy” are incorrect answers, “No Fun” is the best song on the record.
Do you believe that having a history in punk and hardcore has opened doors that it would’ve been tougher to get through if this was your first band?
TL: If nothing else, we made a lot of lifelong friends through being in bands, since we were teenagers. We have a large pool of people to guilt trip into coming to our shows and buying our records… which we usually forget to bring to shows… and give away for free. Doing it wrong.
When did Reptilian Records get involved to release the record? 
IL: We know some shit about Chris X that we have agreed to keep under wraps as long as he continues to put out our records. In all seriousness, he came to a Ladder Devils / Legendary Divorce show at Siren Records and basically was like “Make Me is cool – there should be a physical copy of it…..” Then we got to chatting more and told him how excited we are about the new stuff we are writing and he has agreed to put our full length out as well, for some crazy reason. He is the best dude – he is so supportive and has nothing but love for all of his bands. We are really lucky to be working with him.
Are you working on an LP too?  How is that shaping up? 
TL: We are! We have six songs finished and a seventh started. We hope to be finished recording by the end of the year. If people like Make Me, they are going to love the new stuff.
Have you done much touring in support of the EP?  Do you have plans to tour in support of the LP?
IL: We play a lot of shows, but they are mostly in the Philadelphia area. We hope to expand more. We’d love to do some mini tours for the new LP, definitely.
What are your loftiest goals for Legendary Divorce?
TL: I’m not sure. If someone asked me last year, I would’ve probably said “I would love for Reptilian to put out our record.” We have a lot of “show” based goals that every day seem a little less crazy. We all just honestly hope we can keep doing this and that people will enjoy it.
(Visit Legendary Divorce here: https://www.facebook.com/legendarydivorce.)