There’s no other way to put it: Donovan Leitch is cool. With a cool dad (’60s folkie Donovan), a cool sister (actress Ione Skye), a cool brother-in-law (singer Ben Lee), and even a cool ex-brother-in-law (Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz). Leitch is an actor who plays quirky characters in wonderfully offbeat movies, like the Xanadu-obssessed Darius in Allison Anders’ Gas, Food, Lodging, and Gerard Malanga in I Shot Andy Warhol. Hell, he was in Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. His wife is supermodel Kirsty Hume, and they have been married for over 12 years, which is ridiculously cool, and practically unheard of by Hollywood standards.
Leitch is the longtime lead singer for Camp Freddy, a loose amalgamation of L.A. musicians that has hosted every cool artist under the sun, from Chrissie Hynde to Ozzy. In the mid-1990s, Leitch fronted a band called Nancy Boy that recorded one brilliant self-titled record and was never heard from again, but what a record it is. Almost 15 years later I still listen to it all the time, and marvel at how fresh and contemporary it is, how visionary, how ahead of its time.
A cheeky mish-mash of Britpop, power pop, glam, and new wave, all served up with a load of lipstick and Leitch’s way-over-the-top English accent, it’s full of hooks and fabulously wonky lyrics like “I’m disappointed / The wolf was good to Riding Hood / It’s co-dependency / He’s more human than Gary Numan.” One can just imagine a pimply Brandon Flowers conjuring such a band in his daydreams years before he went on to form the Killers. If Nancy Boy emerged today, they could play Coachella tomorrow and the hipsters would run there as fast as their ironic white jazz shoes could carry them.
The video for “Deep Sleep Motel” was directed by Roman Coppola, of course. Because for Nancy Boy, only a future elder statesmen of cool video directors would do.