LEEWAY Singer EDDIE SUTTON On His Battle With Cancer: 'I Don't Think I'm Gonna Be Able To Win The War'
October 9, 2022
Singer Eddie Sutton of the legendary New York hardcore/metal act LEEWAY has opened up about his battle with lung cancer. Speaking to Mark Kadzielawa of 69 Faces Of Rock at Club Garibaldi's in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Saturday (October 8),Eddie said: "Now that I'm battling cancer, over two years now, to just play and perform is everything to me. And I think it's more special now simply because I know this is going to end at some point.
"I have a spreadable form of cancer called squama carcinoma," he explained. "It started in my right lung, and I have two masses in the back of my left kidney, the top part, called the adrenal gland. And to be removed 13 lesions from my brain.
"I'm winning the fight and battle after battle, but I don't think I'm gonna be able to win the war," Eddie admitted. "Very much like an underdog, like Ukraine up against Russia at this time. It's okay. I've taken responsibility for it with my lifestyle, smoking all my life. It is what it is. So I'm gonna have fun with it until it's time to call it a day."
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help Eddie deal with the cost of his treatment.
Formed in 1984 by Sutton and guitarist A.J. Novello, LEEWAY has released four studio albums — "Born To Expire" (1989),"Desperate Measures" (1991),"Adult Crash" (1994) and "Open Mouth Kiss" (1995) — and broken up and reformed several times over the years. Despite never achieving notable commercial success, LEEWAY is considered to be an integral part of the 1980s New York hardcore and crossover thrash scenes.
LEEWAY launched its debut demo, "Enforcer", in 1984. The songs would later appear on the band's debut album, "Born To Expire", in 1989 on Profile Records, a record label known for rap and club music, with RUN-DMC as their labelmates. "Born To Expire" showcased stronger musicianship and greater production value than their counterparts in the NYHC scene and highlighted Eddie's melodic and harmonious approach in delivering his lyrics.
Eddie stated: "I grew up on R&B, so it's naturally in my style. I was also a big fan of singers like David Bowie, Ozzy [Osbourne], Phil Lynott, David Lee Roth and even Lemmy, as well as punk and hardcore punk singers like Pete Shelley and H.R. Each of these vocalists taught me to be an individual."
"Born To Expire" was well received among fans and critics, launching them into the national performing circuit, sharing the stages with LIVING COLOR, BAD BRAINS, CIRCLE JERKS, EXODUS and TESTAMENT, as well as many others. "Born To Expire" was also documented as the first NYHC band to be added to the Grammy Awards first-round ballot nomination vote list, where music insiders vote on each musical category; LEEWAY made the list in 1989 and it was unheralded.
LEEWAY's sophomore release, "Desperate Measures", continued to push the envelope and provided a new level of sound with classic songs like "Make Me an Offer", "All About Dope" and "Kingpin". In 1994, when LEEWAY's third album, "Adult Crash", was released, the band was at an influx, but they were still able to stay the course and prove that hardcore could be more than just a sound. As Eddie recalled: "To me, hardcore was about passion and heart. It wasn't simply about three chord thrash and mosh parts. To me, Billie Holiday was hardcore."
With catchy riffs and fan favorites, LEEWAY experimented with its sound with "Adult Crash", but it was their final release, "Open Mouth Kiss", where they really got things right.
"Despite the troubles with myself and the band," as Eddie stated, "we still wrote strong songs like 'Hornet's Nest' and 'Foot The Bill', but I never felt more like an accomplished recording artist until we wrote that album."
The band currently features Eddie going at it alone, with friends that are capable and professional enough to respect and pay tribute to how it all got started. As Eddie stated: "I learned that you have to do this thing with a team, with reliable people around you."
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