That’s right, I said Hellbound Glory. And I said Leroy Virgil instead of Leon Virgil Bowers—the name Leroy Virgil decided to go with after he officially killed off Hellbound Glory and launched his solo career. If you’re sufficiently confused now, don’t worry. Just understand whatever he calls himself, he’s one of the best songwriters of our generation, and he’s still around kicking out tunes. Hellbound Glory’s Old Highs & New Lows was Saving Country Music’s 2010 Album of the Year.
This week Hellbound Glory (or Leroy Virgil) broke radio silence to release a lyric video for a new song called “College Girls” on a brand new pay per view format called Indie Exchange.
So just exactly what the hell is going on with Hellbound Glory and Leroy Virgil? I got him on the horn and gave him the Saving Country Music grilling.
My first question is, have you decided to bring back the Hellbound Glory name, and why?
Hellbound Glory is back. When I killed it off, it had more to do with some business stuff that I’d rather not talk about, but plus I just wanted a break from it because for the last 13 years Hellbound Glory’s been pretty much my whole life. I’m glad to have a separation of it, because people are always like, “You are Hellbound Glory.” I don’t want to be a band, I want to be a person. I brought it back because I wanted to get a band going again. The solo thing was fun but there’s nothing like having a band. So yeah, we’re back.
Before you went the solo route, you were fighting tooth and nail not to give up the Hellbound Glory name if I remember. So do you regret it now, or are you glad that you took that break?
I’m glad I killed [Hellbound Glory] off. It was awesome killing it off. We threw a big party, killed it off, and who knows, I might try and kill it off again this year.
How did the tour as Leon Virgil Bowers with Blackberry Smoke go? That was sort of the unveiling of the solo thing.
That tour was awesome. It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a tour. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else but myself. Instead of having to take care of a bunch of other people in a band, it was get to the gig, and do my thing. I’ll probably do more of that in the future.
So Leon Virgil Bowers is not dead right now. You’re just going to start doing Hellbound Glory again?
Exactly. And who knows what I’ll even put my music out as. When I went by the name Leon Virgil Bowers, I just thought it would be fake to go by my band stage name [Leroy Virgil]. I want people to know what my real name is. Even though I go by Leroy, it just didn’t seem right going by a fake name if I was going to go solo.
Since Hellbound Glory is being resurrected, I’m guessing there is actually a band that’s going to be involved and some touring and such. Is that in the offing? Any info about that? People in the band?
Yeah, I’m going to be headlining the Humbolt Hoedown on September 26th.
You’ve also got this single you co-wrote with Kid Rock called “College Girls.” I’ve heard you play it before, but I didn’t know you co-wrote it with Kid Rock. Tell us the story of how that all came about.
Well I wrote this song just sitting in my house one day, and I went to Detroit to record it. And when we finished recording it that day, I gave Kid Rock a call. He said, “Come on in, play the song for me.” I went into his studio and played it for him. He said it was a great song, but it needs a couple of changes. So he went to work on it, and made it better. Changed a couple of words, changed a bit of the structure. At first I was like, “What’s he doing to my song?” But he made it better.
And you’ve got a mess of recordings in the can from those Detroit sessions that we’ve never heard before, right?
Yeah. Yeah I’ve got ’em. I’m just picky about what I put out.
So they may come out in the future, or they may not?
I’m sure they’ll come out someday.
And so people can go to Indie Exchange and see the lyric video for “College Girls” for 25.
We’re going to start putting up all the concerts that we do up on that site. What I kind of compare it to is pay per view. We’ll take the concerts or videos, put them up on the site, and you only pay for what you watch. So let’s say it’s a two-hour concert and you put it on and you’re watching it and you say, “Oh, the guys are sucking tonight,” then you only have to pay for what you watch. So if it costs a $1.50 to watch the concert, and you only watch five or ten minutes of it, you only have to pay a couple of cents.
It’s done by some people I met out in Chicago. They seemed real nice, they called me up a couple of times, and they booked me to play a birthday party for them and they recorded it. It’s just a small business trying to build a name for themselves, and they picked me out to be the first guy they work with. It’s 100% independent. I’ve already started to make money off of it. A vast majority of the money goes back into the band. It’s not going to iTunes, Apple, not going to any other company, it’s going directly to me.
So should I refer to you as Leon still, or . . . ?
I prefer to go by Leroy. I have been going by Leroy since I was about 13-years-old. Call me whatever you want. I guess it’s kind of goofy to have a couple names, but I’ve always just gone by Leroy.