Ex-Spacehog frontman Royston Langdon’s December trip to his hometown, Leeds — which also happens to be the name of his new solo project — wasn’t a heartwarming journey down memory lane.
“There was a lot of depression in the North, so I basically had an inner city childhood,” says Langdon, 46, who brings LEEDS to The City this week, with his eclectic new album “Everything’s Dandy,” on a co-headlining tour with Jimmy Gnecco of the band Ours.
Visiting his native Britain for the holidays with Milo, his son with ex-wife Liv Tyler, he walked through his childhood home, pointing out personal landmarks in the working class city: There was the hall where he sang in the Leeds Parish Church choir, and then got beaten up afterwards by choir-hating hooligans, and the red light district, where his first Jamaican band manager lived, along with a different street gang that bullied him at every opportunity.
Relating the stories to Milo, Langdon realized that Leeds wasn’t very idyllic at all.
“My son asked me about the most dangerous situations I got into. But the kids on the street back then were just a different tribe, and they’d take one look at us and just set upon us. And Leeds still has a lot of physical an psychological violence around, which we didn’t notice growing up — it was just how we were raised,” says Langdon, who moved to New York as soon as he could in 1994 to found Spacehog with his guitarist brother Antony. (The group issued three albums, scored one hit “In the MeantIme,” and broke up in 2002, just before Langdon’s five-year marriage to actress Tyler began in 2003.)
When time came that the music business would no longer pay his bills, and after his involvement in a Los Angeles think tank about the MP3, he pounced on an offer from Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek to be an artist-in-residence. There he studied the music streaming service from every angle, particularly how it was affected by the irresistible energy of Atlanta-based trap artists.
“Ultimately, Spotify is a question of relationship to, and ownership of, the music, and what that really means for artists,” he says of his employer for the last four years.
Langdon began composing what would become LEEDS’ debut disc — including the jazzy “Innocence,” the reggae-tinged “No No No” and the bare-bones acoustic lament “You Can’t Go Home Again” — after spending a Christmas apart from Milo.
“I had to do it,” he says. “New York was a ghost town for the holidays that year, and I had some time on my hands and I was lonely.”
IF YOU GO
LEEDS, Jimmy Gnecco
Where: Hotel Utah Saloon, 500 Fourth St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Jan. 12
Contact: (4!5) 546-6300, www.ticketfly.com