Madina Lake touring to support ‘World War III’Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
In June 2010, Madina Lake bass player Matthew Leone helped a woman who was being beaten by her husband. The musician sustained a fractured skull and broken jaw. Doctors removed part of his skull to allow the brain swelling to go down. He was in a coma for five days.
“He’s doing great, but it is a daily struggle,” said twin brother and Madina Lake vocalist Nathan Leone. “He ends up getting completely exhausted and out of the blue has to crash. There are some short-term memory issues, and he still has a lot of pain in areas of the surgery.
“Having him back is an absolute blessing in every way. We have to make sure he continues his upward trajectory.”
When fellow Chicago musician Billy Corgan heard what happened, Smashing Pumpkins played a benefit concert in the Windy City to help with medical expenses.
“Matthew’s health insurance had expired three weeks before [the incident] while we were on tour in Europe,” Nathan said. “We were just overwhelmed by the amazing acts of beauty, generosity and compassion.”
The Leones were fans of Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins but had never met.
“[Corgan’s] an idol of ours,” Nathan said. “So that happening was just miraculous; it’s almost like a dream come true that you thought was such an impossibility you really never wasted time dreaming about it.”
Later, Corgan invited the twin brothers to Sedona, Ariz.
“Sedona is, spiritually speaking, a very healing kind of place,” Nathan said. “I wanted to take [Matthew] out there to heal, recover and rest.”
And the brothers got to hang out with their hero in the recording studio.
“[Corgan] noticed this one riff he was working on, every time he played it, Matthew and I would just try to keep our composure, but we didn’t do a very good job hiding how excited we were,” Nathan said during a call from Chicago. “On the fourth day, he just turned around and said, ‘You guys want this?’ And we were like, ‘Yep!’ ”
That riff turned into “Imagineer,” a song on Madina Lake’s new disc, “World War III,” due out Sept. 13. It’s the third release for the alternative band and the final chapter of a story that began with the 2007 debut, “From Them, Through Us, to You.”
The concept behind the trilogy: Madina Lake is a fictional place where a young socialite goes missing. Clues to the disappearance are in the group’s music, album art and videos.
“Nowadays, there are so many good bands and so many records that I think the onus is on the band to deliver more,” Nathan said. “It was a cool opportunity for us to expand the whole project beyond music and delve into this almost fantasy landscape.”
Getting to make their music proved a surreal experience for the Leones. Some friends submitted their photos and bios online to apply for “Twins Fear Factor.”
“We had never seen the show,” Nathan said. “We just went out there assuming we’d probably lose in the first round and come home and have a good laugh with our friends, but it turned out we started winning and winning again and ultimately we won $50,000 from it.”
That money paid for an EP, which landed a recording contract for the Leones, guitarist Mateo Camargo and drummer Daniel Torelli.
Madina Lake will play Frankie’s on Sept. 16. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. They Thought We Were Strangers will open.