|Leo Bowers Album: Plugged In|
|First/Last Name:||Leonard Bowers|
|Hometown:||Columbus, OH, U.S.A.|
|Style of music:||Soul/Inspirational|
|Label Affiliation:||Independent Label|
|Description:||I'm a DIY recording personality I love doing them and getting them out to you!|
Leo Bowers: Leonard W. Bowers Jr.
Born: October 18, 1954
Domicile: Columbus OH. U.S.A.
Plugged into what or whom you may ask; well if you’re reading this right now then it’s fair to assume that for the moment I’m plugged into you!
I’ve been writing arranging and recording my own works since I got my hands on my first multi-track recorder in 1985. Before then I was working my butt off for recording time at a local recording studio here in Columbus Ohio called Rome Recording owned by Jack and Joyce Casey. Rome was fully outfitted and Jack was a great engineer with a really sweet personality. But when it came to paying 50.00 per hour for recording time back in 1978- though 85 it was a little out of my reach while paying bills and raising a family. So I cut grass, washed and waxed his car and did odd jobs around the studio to get some time in.
I saw my first multi-track studio recorder in 1983 which was a reel to reel 8 channel made by Tascam. My mind went wild with thoughts of how I could manage to save the money to get set up at home. In those days the cost for one was pretty close to $4,000.00 and I was only making slightly overminimum wage and hustling a truck on the side just to make ends meet. I had a dressed up Cadillac that I put allot of work into but could only get to the 2500.00 mark in offers so I decided to try to do it myself by flipping two reel to reel recorders back and forth to get an idea of what my arrangements would sound like if they were done on a machine like the Tascam 8 track recorder. Needless to say after the 2nd pass everything went south.
I eventually landed a job in construction that was paying really well and the old band had developed wanderlust for getting out for weekend gigs and needed a rhythm/vocalist to top it off so they came to me with the proposition. My younger brother was doing the bass and also happened to be my boss on the construction team. He was making allot more money than I was being he was the big bosses son-in-law. I still had recording on the brain while the band was caught up in doing the club scene and showing out so truthfully my heart wasn’t into performances nearly as much as it was just 4 years prior.
Then came the motorcycle craze and riding with the wind that easily got my attention and still one of my pastimes to date. Wouldn’t you know my uncle brought a club chapter to Columbus from Michigan and recruited my brother and I providing we bought motorcycles’. Thank goodness we didn’t need Harley’s to get our patches! Like a nut I lost focus on recording between the playing out and the motorcycle club and instead of thinking to opt for arecording package on credit I bought you guessed it “a motorcycle” just so I could wear the Phantom patch and be a motorcycle dude!
About 9 months later I kicked myself in the butt over and over because I should have stuck to establishing my own studio. I really didn’t make a good “outlaw motorcycle club member so I quit, turned in my patches and went back to the drawing board. I now had a motorcycle to pay for that was on a 48 month loan with about 39 months to go. It’s now 1985 and the band fell apart due to the old social quarks most bands fall into, and to top it off my brother was shot an killed by his wife on a humbug domestic dispute that January. All I had to help maintain my sanity at the time was family, booze and my instruments. I was never one for pills and downers so I self medicated my depression with alcohol to the point I didn’t have to feel while working and trying to manage an everyday existence. In April of 1985 I sold my old Cadillac for $2000.00 and went into Coyle music store where I had seen the Tascam that was now priced at about $3200.00. Needless to say it was a no go on my 2000.00! But the sales person held me up and brought out a 4 track recorder mixer combination made by Yamaha. A Yamaha MT 44-D with 6 channels on the mixer with auxiliary i/o’s and effect sends and returns with a switchable assign that let you bounce 3 tracks to 1 leaving 3 open. I bit it and was in ping-pong heaven for nearly four years and in 1990 I finally got a Tascam 388 8 track recorder/mixer combo and haven’t looked back since. I got into the outboard pre-amps, compressors and reverb units and by 1996 my attic was very well equipped with mastering from tape to tape and editing on a Tascam 3200 reel to reel mastering recorder then flipping to a Marantz CD recorder and pushing them out of drive thru’s, college music stores and just about anywhere that would take them. I finally made air play on a Columbus radio station that was giving home grown music a shot here and there only to get objections from a local spoiled guy/musician who objected to my getting airplay because I wasn’t out playing live. That didn’t stop anything I just kept going and looking for other outlets and ways to shop my music around.
There are parts of this story leading up to 1999 that I’ve not stated. After my brother was killed by his wife in 1985 I was doing music true enough, but I was also making allot of bad moves and making some drunken and drugged out mistakes from petty theft to domestics to finally the one that landed me in prison for felonious assault. I’m not trying to minimize my actions but it truly sounds worse than it was and thank God it wasn’t worse because at the rate I was going it sure could have been. Before I caught the case I moved into a house my father co-signed for because although I did allot of cash transactions for vehicles and musical equipment my credit was crap. I worked allot of security jobs and hustled my truck as usual for side money that actually exceeded my income from employment but nevertheless my drinking and drugging always took me out of the dependability line when it came to banks and finance companies willing to give me loans on my own merits.
The house was nice and housed the studio on the 3rd floor. The downside is that nearly everyone in the neighborhood was into cocaine and smoking crack with the exception of some older families that knew how to weather the storm. The drug and party scene was something that eventually worked its way to me and my young wife through my being involved in the club scene and living where I was living. My coping skills were definitely lacking when it came to the constant barrage of dope wielding neighbors and I had become a bird of the feather while raising children ranging from 17 down to the two youngest boys at 5 and 6 living in the home. Now that I look back at it I’m very fortunate to be doing as well as I am at my age with the past I have.
Up until my brother was killed in 1985 I had no record to speak of, but from that fateful day until March of 1999 I was a walking time bomb. The Bomb exploded in March of 1999 and I went away for a 6 year stent. They needed to make an example of me and rightfully so because they felt I got away with allot more and they weren’t too far off base. The hardest part of the whole ordeal for me was leaving my then 30 year old wife and two young sons of 9 and 10 at the mercy of this society and the social environment that took me over the edge. They really faired badly and my youngest son was emotionally scarred to the point revenge had become his waking thought daily. He’s now serving his last 3 years of a five year sentence. For what you may ask? Well if you guess felonious assault you got it right!
I really want to talk about the corks of our society and offer up remedies and suggestions, but in truth the only remedies for the ills that plague our inner city neighborhoods are stumbled upon by the grace of God and only to those who are looking and seeking in earnest. I found it and I’m certain my son will too mostly because I know he wants it in the real sense. Once he understands it’s a life long pursuit and looks forward to it in grateful anticipation harboring those aspects of character that makes subservience to the greater good a privilege to be proud of he’ll be on his way with a knowledge of the past that leads to making wise decisions a lifestyle.
On the social side of things I’ve been a Marine grunt, a die hard certified security officer, a construction worker with perks, a cab driver, a model prisoner etc…etc…but the most important of these is my time as a dad and secondly this music in me that has never let me down. In the six years I was away I had my guitar and was active in the music association doing shows and teaching what I had to offer in the musical field to those who wanted it and there were quite a few! I took college courses and gained an associates degree on top of my former training and tutored literacy for students needing their G.E.D.
I did come back in 2005 and find my family strewn and disbanded. I made it my mission to put them back together again and I did just that. It wasn’t easy and still isn’t because there are issues to deal with requiring much patience and insight but it’s getting better everyday. I have my youngest grandchildren living right next to me two beautiful little girls with my son and his wife and I’m in contact with my youngest son as much as circumstances permit but that’s getting better too!
And the subject of this writing “my music” well I worked the equipment back up to par and I lost some time along with everything else, but I’m getting it back and that’s getting better too. One thing holds true that most might think is a loss is that I don’t have allot of friends, but that’s O.K. because the friends I do have I know are true and even though there’s only a few they’re the best. They are constants in the positive outlook department and shining examples in a potentially dark existence. They’re beacons leading the way to the light. And although I’ve never been a follower I’d follow them without a second thought. In fact I do! There are many out there with characters of equal goodwill and maybe even better and these special people are my inspiration they inspire the music in me.
There’s allot more to music than flash, playing an instrument and wishful thinking. Like anything else worthwhile in this world if you want it and you want it right you have to earn it. I don’t care much for trying to get allot of listeners by running after numbers and I’ll tell you why. The average music enthusiast listens to what they think they want to hear based on the popularity of an image already carved into their minds by psychological conditioning agents, subliminal imagery, and the power of suggestion called advertising. What is the difference in nutrition of Burger King vs’ your burger? In truth you get far less. The only practical thing about fast food is it’s fast so we do it sometimes because we don’t want to do food creativity on a Saturday evening or whatever the case may be. Music is the same way. You see the commercial; it looks good and suggests an alternative to your own true thoughts and belief system. All of this goes to try to explain why I don’t chase the numbers and when it comes to the music I put to you it’s not fast food and I don’t want it to be served up as such ever. I like doing me for you just the way I do. I like moving at my own speed and in my own time. You have to admit it sounds more comfortable and that’s because it is! Not just for me, but hopefully for you as well.
Cheers as always!
P.S. If you want to hear my concept of what being "Plugged In" sounds like visit my page and click play! It's all about us!