Leeway is an American crossover thrash band formed in Astoria, New York, USA in 1984 by guitarist A.J. Novello and vocalist Eddie Sutton under the name The Unruled. They played alongside groups such as Crumbsuckers, Prong, Ludichrist, Bad Brains, and Sick of It All at the predominantly hardcore punk-oriented CBGB venue, and had metal influences from the start. For their tight fusion of hardcore, punk, heavy metal, thrash, hip-hop and even reggae, Leeway are often credited as being one of the most influential and exploratory bands to emerge from the NYHC scene.

OriginAstoria, New York, USA
Years active1984–1996, 2006, 2016–present
LabelsProfile Records
MembersA.J. Novello
Eddie Sutton
Pokey Mo
Jimmy Xanthos
Mark Thousands
Past members
  • Gordon Ancis
  • Michael Gibbons
  • Jose Ochoa
  • Eddie Cohen
  • Howie “Zowie” Ackerman
  • Saso Motroni
  • Mackie Jayson
  • Tony Fontao

Guitarist and songwriter A.J. Novello said:

We might have helped open up a can of worms by bringing suburban metalheads to shows. Years later, it kind of ruined things in the scene, but I can't say I have any regrets.[1]

The fact that the band experimented with sound, had two guitarists riffing and solo-ing between them and the singer dressed in skeleton outfits and Yankees uniforms also set them out from the rest of the hardcore punk scene.

In November, 1987 they entered the Normandy Sound studio in Warren, Rhode Island and recorded their first album, Born to Expire. However, due to delays and postponements, the album was not released until January, 1989.

Guitarist Michael Gibbons said about working Profile Records:

The label did no promotion. They also had no proper, accessible distribution of the album. Not to mention they didn't give us tour support and they had really low recording budgets. It was just a horrible record label, unless you were Run-D.M.C. or Rob Base. It was a rap label that experimented with signing three hardcore bands [Cro-Mags, Murphy's Law and Leeway] and a metal band called Wargasm, then did nothing for any of us. So, how in the world were their artists supposed to generate income for the company, let alone themselves?[2]

Three follow-up albums ensued – Desperate Measures, Adult Crash, and Open Mouth Kiss – before the band split in 1996. There was a short lived reunion in 2006 which saw the band playing again,most notably with the Bad Brains, at CBGB and a European Festival tour, which was the last time the band performed live.[3] As of January 2018, Leeway is active again.[4]

Their song "Enforcer" was featured on the playlist of the radio show "L.C.H.C" in the game Grand Theft Auto IV in 2008.

Early history (1983-1986)Edit

  • December 1983 – First Leeway lineup gets together in Astoria, NY. AJ Novello Guitar, Saso Motroni Drums, Jose Ochoa Bass, Eddie Pomponio Vocals. The Band's name at this time was the Unruled.
  • June 15, 1984 – 1st show – Queens, NY – “Coventry“Club with Gilligan’s revenge and the NY Hoods (Performed under the name Unruled)
  • September 6th 1984 – 1st show as Leeway – The Dive Club – NYC
  • December 22nd 1984 – first demo recorded at Don Fury’s Studio – 4 songs:
  1. Be Loud
  2. Catholic High school (Girls in Trouble)
  3. Lovesick
  4. Vengeance
  • February 1985 – First demo released
  • February 16th 1985 – First CBGB Show – With Articles of Faith and C.O.C
  • May 19th 1985 – Second CBGB Show – “Guillotine” Benefit
  • July 1985 – Second demo “Enforcer” Recorded at Don Fury’s
  • September 1985 – “Enforcer” Demo released – 5 Songs:
  1. Enforcer
  2. Marathon
  3. On The Outside
  4. Self –Defense
  5. Be Loud
  • February 1986 – Third CBGB Show with A.O.D
  • March 1986 – Fourth CBGB Show with C.O.C and Damage – Johnny Feedback from Kraut sitting in on Drums
  • June 7, 1986 – 1st show at Ritz – GBH, Agnostic Front and Crumbsuckers (Mackie on Drums)
  • September – 1986 – Gordon Ancis joins on 2nd Guitar
  • December 27, 1986 – 2nd show at Ritz - Bad Brains, S.N.F.U, Warzone and Nausea (Mackie on Drums)


Current members
  • Eddie Sutton – Lead Vocals (1983–1996, 2016–present)
  • A.J. Novello – Guitars (1983–1996, 2016–present)
  • Mark Thousands – Guitars (2016–present)
  • Jimmy Xanthos – Bass (1990–1996, 2016–present)
  • Pokey Mo – Drums (1990–1996, 2016–present)
  • JT Lit - Tour Bassist (2019)
Former members
  • Gordon Ancis – Guitars (1985–1986)
  • Michael Gibbons – Guitars (1986–1992)
  • Jose Ochoa – Bass (1983–1986)
  • Eddie Cohen – Bass (1986)
  • Howie “Zowie” Ackerman – Bass (1985–1990)
  • Saso Motroni – Drums (1983–1985)
  • Mackie Jayson – Drums (1985–1986)
  • Tony Fontao – Drums (1986–1990)




Release date Title Label
1989 Born to Expire Profile Records/Rock Hotel
1991 Desperate Measures Profile Records/Rock Hotel
1994 Adult Crash Bulletproof Records
1995 Open Mouth Kiss Bulletproof Records
1996 Born to Expire/Desperate Measures Another Planet - split re-issue


  1. ^ Eric Wielander's liner notes in the 1996 Another Planet Born to Expire/Desperate Measures re-issue
  2. ^ 2014 interview with Michael Gibbons on NoEcho.net
  3. ^ http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2006/02/leeway_bad_brai.html
  4. ^ "Leeway Announce U.S. Winter Tour". Ultimate-Guitar.com. January 10, 2018. Retrieved January 10, 2018.

External linksEdit