Hailing from Buffalo, Aaron Perrino relocated to Boston in pursuit of its fertile music scene. After several failed attempts to join existing projects, Perrino formed the rock trio The Sheila Divine with college friends Shawn Sears and Jim Gilbert in 1997.
By late 1999 they released a self-titled debut EP on Boston's Cherry Disc Records to much acclaim. It wasn't long before the press poured in, radio reacted and their shows were selling out.
The band took top honors at that year's WBCN Rock and Roll rumble which subsequently landed the band a record deal with Roadrunner Records. Roadrunner wasted no time and capitalized on the percolating Boston buzz: they released their debut full length "New Parade" and put the band on tour opening for The Manic Street Preachers, At-The-Drive-In, to then be hand-picked by Morrissey as his opening act. The band went on to tour or play festival stages with Travis, Coldplay, No Doubt, Primal Scream, David Bowie, and in were one of only a handful of bands ever to play in Communist China. After several US and European tours, Perrino was unfulfilled and decided to get a new perspective.
In February of 2003, Perrino holed himself up at Moontower studio, a small recording room located in the same building as a Karate dojo. Perrino started to craft stark, raw-hewn songs with producer Darren Ottaviani that captured a spirit reminiscent of early Echo and the Bunnymen, and Joy Division. Slowly, songs of lost love, absent allies, frozen dreams, and new beginnings began to grow within the studio speakers at night. These first sullen recordings seemed to mesh perfectly with the cold weather outside. Capitalizing on an exceptionally prolific period, Perrino would write during the day, try the songs out that night at solo shows, and if they still felt good, record them the next day in the studio. These songs would be immortalized on the "War Chords" EP
As the Moontower songs took shape, Perrino then hooked up with sonic wonder John Dragonetti of Jack Drag. Taking over in the producer's chair, Dragonetti turned these sessions upside and inside out, gradually morphing into what was soon to launch the future life of a songs. The result of these sessions was the "The Good Times Are Killing Me" LP.
Perrino needed to play these new songs live with the additions of Jon Sulkow (bass), Will Claflin (guitar) and Paul Buckley (drums). It was during these early live shows that Dear Leader found its new signature anthemic sound. Quick to capture this new sound the band turned to producer/engineer Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Morphine, Uncle Tupelo) to record at Fort Apache studios in Cambridge. For the next 6 years Dear Leader spent their entire recording career in the same studio with the same producer resulting in three bombastic albums,"All I Ever Wanted Was Tonight"(2004), "The Alarmist" (2006) and"Stay Epic (2008) - along with several singles and EPs in-between.
Dear Leader went on hiatus in 2010 and Perrino reactivated The Sheila Divine. He continues to make records and plays festivals with TSD to much acclaim and occasionally will delight ardent fans with a Dear Leader song or two at shows from Belgium to Boston to Buffalo. Perrino never stops making music so maybe the Dear Leader story will continue.
DEAR LEADER Discography
8/9/08 "Stay Epic"
10/9/07 "Dear Leader + Taxpayer" (split EP)
11/14/06 "The Alarmist"
4/12/06 "Radar" EP
3/5/05 "Dear Leader - Captured Live @ The Paradise" (live CD)
11/2/04 "All I Ever Wanted Was Tonight"
9/9/03 "The Good Times Are Killing Me"
7/8/03 "War Chords" EP
7/1/03 "My Life As A Wrestler" (7" Single)