Leslie Ripp is an American musician, composer, rock/metal/blues guitarist, born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Today Leslie still makes the Island paradise his home.
Leslie’s first exposure to performing music came with his school music programs. Leslie was formally trained in piano and percussion, playing in his school concert and symphonic bands. Having more of a passion for the rock and metal music of the times, Leslie eventually self-taught and dedicated himself to playing guitar.
1982 Leslie met guitarist/singer Tom Azevedo, and formed the metal band Rat Attack. Rat Attack would be Leslie’s first experience at composing original music and the first band that would be dedicated to playing only originals.
1983, with the addition of Paul Schofield on drums and Marc Chambers on bass, the band self-produced, and released a demo album cassette titled Rat Attack, which included eight original songs written and recorded exclusively by the band.
The album was recorded and mixed at Rendezvous Recording, a popular local studio owned and engineered by Pierre Grill.
Although Rat Attack never went on tour, the album was distributed to several local and mainland radio stations that played metal music, and quickly developed a small following and popularity with the metal scene of the 80's.
Rat Attack was unfortunately short lived, and split up shortly after the release due to not generating any sustainable income.
Surprisingly to this day, the album is well recognized as a cult metal classic, and is still gaining a lot of new fans and followers. The album was re-released in the 1990’s by Old Metal Records as a limited edition CD & vinyl, and re-leased again in Sept 2018 as a limited edition CD & vinyl by Sonic Age Records (Greece).
Today original Rat attack cassettes have become sought after collectors’ items. Leslie has claimed that even he doesn’t own one himself.
RAT ATTACK left to right: Paul Schofield (drums) | Leslie Ripp (guitars) | Tom Azevedo (vocals, guitars) | Marc Chambers (bass)
After Rat Attack, Leslie went on to play professionally, becoming part of the fast growing rock club scene in Hawaii back in the eighties sand nineties. Although Leslie was capable of playing different instruments, he stuck to guitar as his trademark instrument, playing in various club bands that played all the popular mainstream cover tunes of the times.
Although music would be Leslie’s main profession, it did take a back seat in the mid to late nineties, where Leslie would pursue one of his other passions. Art that is. Leslie always had a natural talent and interest in drawing, painting and designing, and for a short time, Leslie made a modest living as an artist selling his works through local art galleries. Leslie is credited for creating the cover for the Rat Attack album as well as all the artwork for his solo album projects.
As the 21st century rolled in, and the computer age started go full tilt, Digital recording DAW software, started to become more practical and allowed artists to set up professional quality recording studios at home. This was the means and inspiration for Leslie to start recording some of the ideas that have been rolling around in his head over the years, and thus, put together his home recording studio, dubbed Witchazel 2 Studios, a resurrection of an old rehearsal studio back in the day.
Currently, Leslie has been busy recording solo projects and has self-produced and self-released a series of albums, all featuring original rock/metal/blues tracks, showcasing his unique guitar playing style and sound. Leslie credits his own playing style as a result of playing cover songs night after night, copying the style and sound of guitar legends including Joe Satriani, Michael Schenker, Steve Vai, Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, to name a few. Many have said they do hear hints of the different styles in Leslie’s playing.
Although Leslie is noted to be a music virtuoso, and plays all of the instruments on his albums, singing was never something he was able to do with any level of success. Leslie decided to go strictly instrumental and fill the top line with his own style of guitar solos, and basically let the guitar do the singing. Leslie would stick to the instrumental theme for all of his solo projects. Leslie tries to compose his songs not only to showcase his unique guitar playing style which would appeal to most guitar enthusiasts, but to be engaging enough for the average listener. However, for the type of music he creates, Leslie would be the first to admit that he does tend to get a bit carried away with the guitar solos on a lot of his songs.
Leslie’s first solo project ‘Flight of the Flying Guitar Pick’ was actually an experiment with new recording software and never meant to be commercialized but just something to share with friends on social media. However, after receiving a lot of positive feedback, Leslie decided to release the album commercially under his own independent label Ripp Music. That first album has since been re-recorded and to this day, remains Leslie's favorite of all time.
After a few more solo albums under his belt, Leslie would keep striving to improve and fine tune his style and sound, constantly experimenting with merging different elements of rock metal and blues into a single composition as some of his songs do reflect.
Leslie’s only regret regarding his solo projects is that being a one man act, he is not able to play live. Leslie does miss the thrill of playing for a live audience, and does plan to work with other musicians including vocalists, on future projects, possibly forming a dedicated band that can go on tour.
Until then, Leslie plans to stay on the current path and get a few more solo projects out.