Leather Daddies: Songs from the New Musical

Leather Daddies: Songs from the New Musical by Mercy Bell and Scott Bradley. Artwork by Etienne. Courtesy of the Leather Archives and Museum.


August 11, 2023 – Songwriting team Mercy Bell and Scott Bradley are proud to release Leather Daddies: Songs from the New Musical, now available on all streaming platforms, including:

This 5-song concept EP presents a selection of songs from the live theatrical musical Leather Daddies currently under development. Based on the biography Leatherman by Tracy Baim and Owen Keehnen, Leather Daddies is a wild ride with legendary artist-lover-outlaws Dom "Etienne" Orejudos and Chuck Renslow as they lead a pack of leather-clad rebels through 1950s Chicago. All songs are written by Mercy Bell and Scott Bradley. 

The EP was created by an all-star team of Nashville talent, where Mercy is based. It was produced by Alex Caress. The band consists of T. Minton, Ellen Angelico, Mike Maimone, Kirk Donovan, and Carrie Schneider. It was recorded at The Bomb Shelter, and engineered, mixed, and mastered by Drew Carroll. Executive producer is Jonny Stax. 

The EP features 4 character studies from the show:

“Groove Me” featuring piano rocker Mike Maimone. Chicago, 1952. Meet Chuck Renslow as he cruises the beach on his motorcycle one summer’s day. Tall, blonde, handsome, charismatic, polyamorous, with an insatiable appetite for sex and for life, Chuck was openly gay in an era when it was dangerous to be out and proud. He was an entrepreneur who created spaces for queer men: physique magazines, gyms, bathhouses, and America’s first leather bar. He loved men and they loved him.

In “No Map”, featuring multi talented Nashville based artist Brandon de la Cruz, we meet Domingo Orejudos. Dom is a young Filipino-American gay man in 1950s Chicago. He is a ballet dancer and choreographer, a leatherman, and would become renowned as the artist known as “Etienne”, drawing erotica celebrating the masculine male physique. We meet him at the beginning of his journey, as he struggles with racism, homophobia, and juggling his artistic career in a world that wants him to fail.

Enter Phil Sparrow in “Sailor Song”, featuring GRAMMY® nominated musician Aaron Lee Tasjan. Phil is inspired by the life of renowned tattoo artist, erotica writer, and English professor Sam Steward. Steward was also a masochist who practiced BDSM and helped introduce the lifestyle to queer Chicago. We drop in to his tattoo parlor as he attempts to seduce a young sailor, and get a personal tour of his many kinks. 

“When the Light Hits Right (When I Say I Love You)”, is a love song, pure and simple. The EP features two versions. One sung by critically acclaimed country crooner Joshua Hedley, and one by Mercy Bell. 

In June of 2023, an Actor’s Equity workshop of Leather Daddies was presented in Chicago by About Face Theatre, a national leader in producing theatre by queer artists that tell queer stories. The workshop was directed by critically acclaimed director Jess McLeod, with musical direction by Kory Danielson. The workshop was produced with generous donations from commissioners and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Previously the creative team held a development workshop at About Face Theatre in February of 2022, followed by a public performance in March 2022 at the Leather Archives & Museum. 

Artist Bios

Mercy Bell has independently released three albums: All Good Cowboys, Mercy Bell, and Golden Child. She's toured the US extensively. Her music has been featured on NPR, in Paste Magazine, American Songwriter, Rolling Stone Country, The Nashville Scene and more. She's been an official showcase artist at Americanafest (2019, 2018), SXSW (2022, 2020), Nashville Pride (2021, 2019), Three Rivers Arts Festival (2019), and Mission Creek Music Festival (2019).  Her song “Black Dress” was written for Silent Street Production’s 2010 NY production of Closer by Patrick Marber. Film/TV/Etc: She appears in the documentary The Sound of Us, which won the Movie that Matters award at Cannes (2021) and features her song "Everything Changes;” MiniDocs: Nashville (2018) for TV Cultura in Brazil. MercyBell.com

Scott Bradley is a Chicago-based writer and theatre artist. As co-founder of The Scooty & JoJo Show, he created Chicago’s long-running "cult" musicals Alien Queen and Carpenters Halloween, as well as the acclaimed Mollywood, Tran: The Atari Musical, the music/variety programs The Scooty & JoJo Variety Hour, Thank God! It's The Scooty & JoJo Show, and weekly entertainment Diva Brunch. His musical We Three Lizas and solo show Packing both premiered with Chicago’s About Face Theatre. ScottBradleyInk.com

For all inquiries and interest in the project’s development, contact the creative team at leathermusical@gmail.com.

Cover art by Etienne. Courtesy of the Leather Archives and Museum. 


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