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“What has nine arms and sucks?”
“I once had a leopard that was deaf.”
“In Soviet Russia, Leopard makes you deaf!!!”
This article is about the musician. For the king, see Def Leppard.
Lewis Leopardi was born to German immigrant parents, while still on the boat on the way over to America. Due to a loophole in mermaid law, his heritage is 1/4 mermaid (as opposed to popular misconception, his webbed toes are merely a coincidence and not a sign of mermaid blood).
As a young boy on the mainland, Lewis lived in Jew York and attended a private school for children of immigrants. In his autobiography, Metamusical Molestations: Deaf Leopard Exists!, Lewis writes fondly of a particular teacher who inspired him particularly:
"Professor Longenbar, your glittering teeth, I would sit at my desk every morning, thinking how smooth they must be, the joy you must feel each morning to run the tip of your tongue ever-so-gingerly over those pearly planks, and I cannot help but wonder the circumfrence of your form, its plunging length and bio-organic mechanism."
Life at home was turbulent for little Lewis, as his father, Glummert Leopardi, divorced Shilga Tanksworth-Leopardi, his first wife (to whom Glummert was second husband) in order to go to law school and become a divorce lawyer. This began a series of marriages to female clients whose divorces he had overseen, only to divorce them after meeting a new lady. All in all, Mr. Leopardi's marriages totalled 5,276 at the time of his death, at age 82. As can well be imagined, this put a tremendous burden on young Lewis.
In 1966, Lewis began attending the prestigious Ham Halleman School of Music by accident, a rather complicated coincidence. The intersection of the events of his father dropping him off at the wrong school and the untimely death of another man named Lewis Leopardi who just so happened to be registered for the fall semester allowed this Lewis to sneak in unnoticed.
Lewis never intended to go to a music school, in fact he hated most music until he began study at Ham Halleman. There, though, his study inspired him to explore music as a means of personal expression. As he wrote in his autobiography:
"Mrs. Wogget, so fat, so hideously fat, it was one day you became the muse. Standing there before class, I saw the heft of your legs, the flesh sagging under the pull of gravity. And there in my mind began a little fantasy, a conversation between the cells in your body, which grew to a screaming, then a hideous chorus of cells and tendons being crushed in a Dantean hell of your utter fatness. That is when I decided I had to give voice to those oily particles."
In 1976, Gavel disbanded and Lewis pursued new musical directions under his new moniker, Deaf Leopard. It should be noted that Lewis Leopardi was not actually deaf, but he was flavor-blind. In response to criticisms that, as a musician, Lewis was limiting himself creatively, he set about to write a series of screenplays, a five-part film cycle about the life and death of a man on the edge of society (and then four other unrelated films).
After many highly successful albums, Lewis took a hiatus from performing in 1992 and toured the Pacific Islands for that year and most of the next. It was on this vacation to Parachute Islands that Lewis developed his famous taste for lemony peanut butter and salmon sandwiches.
"without a doubt, the boringest, most snooze-inducing band I've ever had to displeasure of opening for."
This sparked an uproar from usually comatose Counting Crows fans and members of the band, and ultimately culminated in Lewis's Grammy award for his epic, sprawling free-form attack jazz piece, "Counting Crows? (More Like Counting Sheep!)" This meant he won, and Counting Crows faded yawningly into obscurity.
It was also roughly around this time that Lewis took his first steps into the realm of philanthroapologism.
Lewis Leopardi never had any highly publicized romances, nor did he ever take a wife. This, combined with his colorful and flamboyant on-stage persona, has led to widespread speculation that he might be homosexual. Leopardi, however, has stated to the contrary:
"Yeah, I never got married or anything like that, but I hate women as much as I hate faggots."
Gavel's music has been described many ways:
- "Punk rock with sweaters"
- "Space rock without all those needles"
- "Jew rock from the heartland"
- "Music for dumb people who want to look smart around their equally dumb friends"
- "A shirtless redneck in an office supply store might be listening to them on his Walkman"
- "Better than a border fence!"
- "Goth Rock plus a love for everyone and everything that Chuck Norris ever allowed to live"
- "Phone Sex for the deaf"
The odd blend of one guitar, one drummer and a keyboardist meant the music could not achieve its goal of rocking hard, no matter how intensely the musicians applied themselves. Lewis attempted to compensate for this on their third album, Gravy Brain, by setting his synthesizer to electric bass setting, but the record's low sales indicate it was not very well implemented.
As interest in the band dwindled, Gavel's releases became more and more sporadic until the seven-year gap between their last two albums. Their final album, Whatever Happened to..., was in fact released three years after the band broke up.
The name Deaf Leopard came from the punchline of one of Lewis's father's favorite jokes. Lewis could never recall the beginning of the joke, but remembered how his father would shriek with laughter whenever he got to the end: "she may be an ugly woman to have sex with, but that leopard is deaf!"
Lewis's musical style as Deaf Leopard leaned more towards a jazz influence coupled with regional instruments from Africa, Liberia, Antarctica and musically rich cities like Cicero, Sicily, and Corsica. Utilizing such obscure instruments as the towankula and the Jimbian lung harp, Deaf Leopard prides himself on the harsh dissonant ambience much of his music is enveloped in.
From a structural standpoint, Deaf Leopardian jazz is more directly derivitave of such performers as Clam Sandborn and Togus McArgulherny, settling into simple ABAC and ABBCABCB melodic patterns. This, coupled with his insistence to use archaic Phyrric counterjuxtamelodic and Auric velocital notation make Deaf Leopard's original score sheets highly valued amongst collectors.
- Jury Duty EP (1967) - recorded at a local music studio, no national release
- The Gavel Has Spoken: Guilty (1968)
- The Gavel Has Spoken: Innocent (1969)
- Gravy Brain (1971)
- Drive West Until Ocean (1973)
- The Wonders of Thunder (1976)
- Whatever Happened to.... (1983)
- Deaf Leopard Exists (1977)
- We Gonna Kill Everyone (1979)
- Low in the Valley of Tall Men Soundtrack (1979)
- I LIKE CHICKEN!!!! (1980)
- The Picnic at the Grand Gates (1981)
- Sissy Princess and the Dandruff-Eating Louse Soundtrack (1982)
- Dark Side Of The Moooooo!!!! (1985)
- Children, Come to Steal the Crimson (1987)
- Why Did Pink Floyd Explode (1988)
- The Big Swallow (1990)
- Defiance of Allergy/Whistling Lonely Moribundity (1993)
- Gold, Gold, Gold!: Deaf Leopard's Greatest Hits (1997)
- Walking Away (1999)
- We Blew Up The WTC and Pink Floyd (2000)
- Pink Floyd Knocks the Towers Down (2001)
- Narcolepsy (2002) - featuring the Grammy-winning song, Counting Crows? (More Like Counting Sheep!)
- Trill Fergusois a gay ass fggyg (2004)
- Balls Of Fury Soundtrack (2007)