By Jim Kellar
A musician’s torment is always ‘Am I good enough?’ The final judgement, almost always, has to come from within because when it comes to making money in the music business, the odds are heavily stacked against success.
Ben Leece, the co-owner of Novotone Studios rehearsal rooms at Carrington with Ryan Wilson, has invested 15 years in the Newcastle music scene. And, as a working musician and studio owner, music remains a sideline, like an unrequited passion.
Leece was raised in Quirindi, on the Liverpool Plains south of Tamworth. He grew up with guitar in the family home, and formed his first rock band, Wooden Jesus, with mates in Quirindi as a teenager.
After spells in Sydney and Thredbo, he moved to Newcastle in 2003 to play in a rock’n’roll band, Dragline – he had successfully auditioned to be the band’s lead singer. But that dream was a dead end. “We didn’t get anywhere,” he says. “Eventually it fizzled out.”
He played in No Heroes (“a southern rock metal type thing”), Every Word (“hardcore”) and then led Delta Lions, which began with high hopes before crashing. I reviewed the Delta Lions debut CD Post Code (“Hammering guitar riffs, catchy lyrics and full throttle tempo”), giving it 3 ½ stars out of 5, but never saw the band live.