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The Leather Nun



The Leather Nun (a.k.a. Lädernunnan) are a Swedish rock group. Careening from garage rock to goth and industrial, Leather Nun became cult heroes in their native land. In the early eighties they often shocked their audiences by showing adult movies and being accompanied by strippers when on stage.

The Leather Nun (originally named "Lädernunnan") was formed in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1978 by radio DJ and fanzine editor Jonas Almquist (vocals) who, after getting agreement from Genesis P. Orridge to release a single on his Industrial Records label, recruited Bengt "Aron" Aronsson (guitar), Freddie Wadling (bass), and Gert Claesson (drums), all from punk band Strait Jacket. Although many people think so, Jonas Almquist claims not to have taken their name from the American underground comic Tales from the Leather Nun. He also claims that it was not taken from the stage name of a London stripper, but chosen because "it felt just as a clockwork name for a band who based its music on the dynamics between the pure innocent and the black shameful ...".

Inspired by such groups and artists like John Lee Hooker, The Mothers of Invention, Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, Rory Gallagher and Mick Ronson, The Leather Nun released their debut EP, Slow Death, in November 1979, featuring a recording of "Death Threats" from 1978 and three newly recorded tracks. John Peel played the lead song each night for two weeks on his BBC radio programme. The band soon attracted controversy over their use of hardcore gay pornography as part of their live shows.

Wadling left The Leather Nun in 1983 and joined Blue for Two. A handful of singles followed before The Leather Nun released their first LP, Alive, in 1985, a live album recorded at Ungdomshuset and Told-Kammaret.

Covering ABBA's "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" earned the group some respect in Sweden and Europe in 1986. Several successful tours followed. In 1988, The Leather Nun were reviewed in Rolling Stone and quoted to be the first rock act to sell condoms as tour merchandise.

In 1986 the group's imported singles found their way onto US college radio stations, earning substantial airplay with "Pink House", a deadpan mockery of John Mellencamp's "Pink Houses".

In 1987 the group released their full-length first studio album, Steel Construction, which was critically acclaimed. Their second studio album International Heroes produced by Kim Fowley gained even more airplay and success. Also in 1987, "Jesus Came Driving Along" appeared on the soundtrack for the film Dudes.

In August 1988, the band played at the 'Glasnost Rock 88' festival in Tallinn, Estonia, the first international rock festival to be staged in the Soviet Union.

While releasing their third album Nun Permanent (produced by Mick Ronson) in winter 1991 their record company went bankrupt and could no longer deliver copies of the album. Being without a record company The Leather Nun continued to play gigs for a few years, but never got so successful again. The group finally broke up in 1995, but has reunited on some occasions since then. In 2005 they had a short comeback, but did not release any new albums.

Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of Leather Nun, Jonas Almquist formed a tribute band in 2009 with celeb Swedish rock musicians (amongst them guitarist Thomas Silver of Hardcore Superstar), under the name Leather Nun: Reloaded. In native Gothenburg on 12 September 2009 they played their last gig, with guest appearances by original Leather Nun-members. Jonas Almquist has now focused on his new band project Godtherapy, releasing the acclaimed sold-out ltd edition debut-cd ... and there will be Godtherapy in the summer of 2010.

Aronsson released the album Purification in 1993 as 'Sister Aaron'.

Leather Nun has been cited a major influence by European, British and US bands of the punk and post-punk era. Leather Nun-songs have been covered by several bands, amongst them Butthole Surfers and Turbonegro. It was during a sold-out Leather Nun-show at legendary Scream club in LA, that The Cult-vocalist Ian Astbury (major Leather Nun-fan) met with Swedish Leather Nun-fan and to-be video director Jonas Åkerlund (Madonna, The Prodigy, Metallica, Lady GaGa) and forming a long-standing friendship. Jonas Åkerlund used music by Leather Nun in his debut movie Spun feat Mickey Rourke.

Musicians who toured and recorded with The Leather Nun: