Tag Archives: Woodstock Birthdays

Mountain Leslie Weinstein West

Mountain Leslie Weinstein West

Happy birthday

Mountain Leslie Weinstein West

born October 22, 1945

Mountain, “Theme for an Imaginary Western”

Forest Hills High School

What do the four original members of the Ramones (Johnny, Dee Dee, Tommy and Joey), Burt Bacharach, Dick Stockton, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Bob Keeshan, aka Captain Kangaroo, Jerry Springer and Peter Parker all have in common with Leslie West?

Except Peter Parker, aka Spiderman, they all actually attended Forest Hills High School in Queens, NYC.

Mountain Leslie Weinstein West

Leslie Weinstein

Leslie Weinstein became Leslie West after his parents divorced, but talent and luck (always a bit of luck), made Leslie West a household name among rock fans in the late 60s.

While Greenwich Village was pumping out folk musician after folk musician into the 1960’s cultural revolution, West though nearby geographically was light years artistically on “distant” Long Island, NY.

Leslie West was in the Vagrants and the band had minor success. Felix Pappalardi produced some of their recordings. Pappalardi produced and played on West’s first album, called Mountain (1969). It was from that album’s name that, in 1969, they formed Mountain.

Pappalardi had also produced Cream and some compared Mountain’s sound to theirs.  Steve Knight (keyboards) and N.D. Smart (drums) were the other two original members.

Mountain Leslie Weinstein West

Woodstock Music and Art Fair

The band appeared at Woodstock on Saturday night. Their well-received set was neither on the movie soundtrack nor the first movie, but the strength of their sound made West and the band favorites especially among the FM crowd.

Following Woodstock, the band released it’s first album,  Climbing! (February 1970). Nantucket Sleighride followed in January 1971, and Flowers of Evil in November 1971.

In 1972 Pappalardi left the band to do more productions and West, Jack Bruce and Corky Laing (had replaced ND Smart on drums) formed West, Bruce, and Lang.

Over the decades versions of Mountain have formed and re-formed, always with West at the center.

Mountain Leslie Weinstein West

Leslie West

Substance abuse and diabetes have plagued West, but have not kept him away from music very long. He lost the bottom half of his right leg to diabetes in 2011.

He told Billboard afterwards, ““I cried a couple fuckin’ times. I look down — ‘Where is it?!’ You still feel the nerves and stuff like that. I had to make a decision — lose my leg or lose my life. What are you gonna do?  But I’ll tell you, it’s a good thing it wasn’t one of my arms. Then I’d be really fucked.” [insert gallows humor comment here]

On August 15, 2009 he married Jenni Maurer on stage after Mountain’s performance at the Woodstock 40th anniversary concert at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, located on the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Note Mr Levon Helm on the far left!

Mountain Leslie Weinstein West

 

In 2015, Rolling Stone magazine rated West as 65/100 among the greatest guitar players. The blurb said in part that, “ On songs like the 1970 hit “Mississippi Queen,” West played roughened blues lines with deceiving facility and an R&B flair, through a black forest of stressed-amp distortion. “

Mountain Leslie Weinstein West
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Ten Years After Ric Lee

Ten Years After Ric Lee

born October 20, 1945

Ten Years After Ric Lee,

Ten Years After Ric Lee

The New Sounds Old

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair made some things famous that had been there in front of us but we weren’t listening.

It was Sunday night about 9 when a sweating exhausted-looking Alvin Lee introduced Ten Year After’s last song of the set: “This is a thing called “I’m Going Home” by…[pause]…helicopter.”

I’m sure the band had already played the song many times that summer. It’s a great example of a song that one might mistake for a cover of and old blues song that Rick Lee shifted into high gear. It isn’t. Lee wrote it and Lee (guitar), Chick Churchill (keyboard), Leo Lyons (bass) and Ric Lee (drums) played it.

Ten Years After Ric Lee

Ric Lee

So who is this guy Ric Lee besides the drummer for Ten Years After? I gathered most of this from the Ten Years After site.

Ric’s first band was as the drummer with the Falcons and from there here joined Ricky Storm and the Stormcats (as opposed to Rory Storm and the Hurricanes .

While a Stormcat, Ric studied drumming with Dave Quickmire who was a drummer with the Jaybirds. The Jaybirds’ guitarist was Alvin Lee. The bassist Leo Lyons.

When Quickmire got married he left the Jaybirds and recommended Lee to replace him. Chick Churchill joined the band first as their road manager and later as their keyboardist.

The Jaybirds backed The Ivy League, a vocal group. The Jaybirds later went solo again and briefly became the Bluesyard before becoming Ten Years After in 1966  in honor of Elvis Presley’s 10 year arrival anniversary.

Ten Years After Ric Lee

Ten Years After

We know Ten Years After. They were on the road constantly and were regularly invited to the many festivals of 1969 besides Woodstock: the Bath Festival of Blues in June, the Newport Jazz Festival, the Laurel Pop Festival, the Seattle Pop Festival, and the Texas International Pop Festival after Woodstock.

Of course it was their appearance on both the soundtrack and in the Woodstock movie that permanently put them on the map.

Ten Years After Ric Lee

Woodstock Memories

From a 2016 Forbes magazine interview:

Arriving

We were in a chopper with a medic. He told us once we got there not to drink anything that’s not out of a sealed can and not to eat anything unless it’s been cooked. There was an outbreak of hepatitis [no medical records indicate any such outbreak] that could turn into an epidemic if we were not careful. When we landed, there were no drinks, of course, that weren’t opened. I watched the beginning of [Joe] Cocker’s set, which was fantastic, and not long after came the storm. It was a mini-cyclone I think, with very strong winds. The whole stage was live, but they wouldn’t let anybody use it. That festival these days would not get past health and safety. If you look at the film, you’ll see the covering for the stage was really pathetic. The whole thing got soaked. They were also scared that the big speaker towers people were climbing and sitting on were inadequate. The speakers were very heavy. We were incredibly lucky none came down.

Playing after the storm

The band followed Country Joe and the Fish at about 8:15 Sunday night. Well, it was still very damp. I remember we had to start Good Morning Little School Girl four times because the guitars wouldn’t stay in tune. Alvin just would not play out of tune and try to sing to it. That was nerve-wracking because 400,000 or 500,000 people – no one seems to know the exact number — were sitting there wanting us to play. In those days, there were no electronic tuners, so everything was by ear. Leo [Lyons] was tone-deaf, so Alvin had to tune his bass! Once we finally got going, the crowd loved it. What can I say? [for their full set, see Woodstock day 3]

Ten Years After Ric Lee

Side interests

While still in Ten Years After, Ric studied at Berklee School of Music in Boston, with Alan Dawson, then drummer with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Ric also began teaching young enthusiasts privately when at home between touring commitments.

Ten Years After Ric Lee

After Ten Years After

After Ten Years After stopped touring in 1976, Ric ran his own Music Publishing, Management and Record Production company. He continued to study, now tuned percussion at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Gilbert Webster, percussionist with the BBC Radio Orchestra.

In 1980 for 18 months, Ric joined Stan Webb in Chicken Shack. Chicken Shack toured the UK and Europe many times in this short period and made an album for RCA Records “Roadies’ Concerto”.

Ten Years After re-formed again in 1983 for the Marquee Club’s 25th Anniversary. During this short “rebirth”, Ric managed the group as well as being its drummer.

Between 1984 and 1986, Ric managed several up and coming young acts and continued publishing catalog.

Ten Years After Ric Lee

Ten Years again

Ten Years After re-formed yet again in 1988 and recorded a new album “About Time” in Memphis, Tennessee and spent the next four years touring Europe and the US.  In between tours Ric continued to study drum techniques, this time  Latin percussion with Trevor Tompkins, Professor of Percussion at the Guildhall and the Royal College of Music.

In 1994, Ric formed The Breakers with an old friend, Ian Ellis and together they wrote and produced MILAN, released in July 1995.

In the middle nineties Lee produced a series of ambient albums, the most successful of which was Spirit of Africa.

Ric worked again with Ten Years After between 1995 and 1999. In 2001 he recorded an album in Nashville.

Ten Years After continues its intermittent existence and Lee is also part of Natural Born Swingers. Here is a link to a review in Elmore magazine from September 2017.

Many happy returns Ric!

Ten Years After Ric Lee
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Hendrix Bassist Billy Cox

Hendrix Bassist Billy Cox

From his siteBilly Cox was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. His father was a Baptist minister and teacher of mathematics and his mother was a classical pianist. Billy was blessed with the best of both worlds. One world revolved around the strong intellectual discipline of his father and the other world revolved around the loving tenderness and sensitivity of his mother.

Billy Cox

October 18…Happy birthday Billy Cox

cox hendrix army

From his site: legendary bassist and Musicians Hall of Fame inductee Billy Cox, is synonymous with almost any reference to Jimi Hendrix and Rock-n-Roll history. From their army days, Billy would always have an extended friendship with Jimi Hendrix. The kindred spirits would have a musical chemistry that was nurtured over the years as both performed regularly as sidemen for the most prominent blues and R&B acts of the day. The bond between the two men would write a new chapter in music history.

Billy Cox

Hendrix Bassist Billy Cox

Hendrix Bassist Billy Cox

Hendrix Bassist Billy Cox
Billy Cox and his Hendrix Experience band at the Allen Blues Festival

Hendrix Bassist Billy Cox

Billy Cox has released four solo albums:

  • Nitro Function, 1971
  • Last Gypsy Standing, 2009
  • Old School Blue Blues, 2011
  • Unfiltered, 2014

From WikipediaToday, Billy Cox owns a video production company. He has produced numerous blues and a myriad of gospel shows. He co-authored the books, Jimi Hendrix Sessions and Ultimate Hendrix with John McDermott and Eddie Kramer. Billy has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors among which: In 2009 Billy Cox was inducted into The Musicians Hall Of Fame; Billy received The Founders Award in 2010. It was given by Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen and in 2011 Billy was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall Of Fame. Billy released his latest album, Old School Blue Blues, in 2011 and continues to tour with “The Experience Hendrix Tour” each year and his own Band of Gypsys Experience. He released the single Run featuring the androgynous singer and songwriter Marlon Alarm in November 2011.

Hendrix Bassist Billy Cox
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