Leslie West, Frontman for ’60s/’70s Rock Band Mountain, Dead at 75

Leslie West, the singer and guitarist for the tough rock band Mountain, whose fame was cemented by a functionality at Woodstock, died Tuesday, according to his brother, Larry West Weinstein. He was 75.

In a Fb article on Sunday, West’s brother had alerted fans to the musician’s declining wellness, writing, “I am asking for all your prayers. Jenni [Leslie’s wife] is by his aspect in Florida but it’s not looking great. Many thanks Jenni, he wouldn’t have produced it this considerably without you. His heart gave out and he’s on a ventilator. May possibly not make it by the night.”

The initial tenure of Mountain was a small just one — from 1969 to 1972, with numerous reunions to stick to — but the group’s heavy audio was generally cited as important in the development of hard rock in the ’70s, providing a critical connection involving blues-rock and metal.

West was frequently cited as a single of the all-time great rock guitarists, but he downplayed his capacity in a 1987 job interview with Guitar Planet magazine. “I’m no terrific guitarist technically,” he reported. “I only enjoy with these two fingers [index and ring]. But you wanna know why men and women try to remember me? If you consider a hundred players and place them in a area, 98 or 99 of ’em are gonna sound the very same the 1 who plays distinct, has some of his individual, that’s the one you are gonna bear in mind.”

In 2019, West reminisced with Rolling Stone about taking part in Woodstock as the festival’s 50th anniversary approached. “Woodstock was just our third occupation, and it was really a thrill,” he claimed. “Mountain obtained on the present for the reason that our reserving agent also handled Jimi Hendrix. … I imagine I had the most amplifiers of any person there. It was paralyzing because that stage, that placing, was some sort of pure amphitheater. The sound was so loud and surprising that I bought terrified. But the moment I begun playing, I just held likely simply because I was worried to quit.” Mountain’s 11-music established went unrepresented in the initial film documentary and soundtrack, but did determine into the “Woodstock II” album and the extended home-movie reduce of the movie.

Mountain’s most well-known song, “Mississippi Queen,” peaked on the Billboard Incredibly hot 100 at No. 27 in 1970, but continues to be well regarded to young generations of rockers by means of entries in the Guitar Hero and Rock Band videogame franchises.

The band also grew to become a abundant source of sampling for hip-hop and pop artists in afterwards many years. “Mississippi Queen” — which arrived at No. 27 on the Billboard Sizzling 100 in 1970 — was sampled by the Beastie Boys on the “Paul’s Boutique” album, whilst the track “Long Red” figured into Jay Z’s smash “99 Problems” as properly as tunes by Kanye West, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Typical, the Recreation and a lot of some others. Lana Del Rey sampled West’s voice from “Long Red” on her song “Born to Die.” “So all of a unexpected, stuff I wrote in ’69 appears appropriate,” West explained.

Of “Mississippi Queen,” West told Guitar Player earlier this 12 months, “It’s a tune that retains on offering. A good deal of people today have included it. I like most of the variations, but I definitely like the one that Ozzy Osbourne did. I even performed on it. The tune has been sampled a thing like 2,000 times. Each and every time I listen to it, I connect with my accountant.”

West also grew to become acknowledged to new generations via his appearances on the radio display of a major admirer, Howard Stern.

During a single of Mountain’s hiatuses, West shaped a supergroup with Cream bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Corky Laing called West, Bruce and Laing.

West had appeared pretty much unrecognizably thin in new many years, immediately after remaining massive enough at the outset of Mountain’s profession that the band was reported to have been named after his significant dimensions. He even named his next solo album in 1975 “The Excellent Fatsby.” In 2011, West had section of his appropriate leg amputated as a end result of issues from type II diabetes.

“I missing my leg, but at the very least it wasn’t a person of my arms,” West reported in a 2016 job interview. “Otherwise we would not be obtaining this conversation proper now.”

Upon releasing the solo album “Soundcheck” in 2015, West explained to Blues Rock Overview,The to start with slice on the new album is known as ‘Remaining by the Roadside to Die.’ When I missing my leg four years back, I sort of felt that way, but everyone gets knocked down in life. It’s how you select to get up that is some thing else.”

The last studio album underneath the Mountain identify, “Masters of War,” which consisted of Bob Dylan addresses, was launched in 2007. West continued carrying out stay shows beneath his have title as not too long ago as the slide of 2019. 

Questioned about the unlikely ubiquity of his songs as hip-hop samples, West told the Songfacts site, “I’m truly pleased mainly because you’d by no means figure a Jewish kid creating the prime rap tunes in the entire world, so you never know who’s likely to stop up doing your songs. … It’s excellent. Mainly because I normally imagined to myself, why do not they use large guitar in rap? Rick Rubin manufactured that album, ‘The Black Album,’ Jay Z’s album that ’99 Problems’ is on. And I feel it may well have been his concept, because he’s a significant lover of Howard Stern and I’m usually on the Howard Stern display. … You gotta be lucky in addition to getting gifted, if you know what I’m saying.”

West bought married throughout a Woodstock 40th anniversary clearly show in 2009.

I acquired married the night we experienced the 40th anniversary reunion on phase with some of the functions,” he told Blues Rock Overview. “I obtained married right on phase to my lovely spouse, Jenny.  In fact on YouTube, you can see Leslie West’s marriage right in the middle of the display. The justice of the peace will come out in his blue gown and all the fellas in my team grabbed my guitars and formed an arch and Jenny came out.  We experienced 25,000 witnesses. They developed an amphitheater where by the actual unique web-site utilised to be. … I will under no circumstances neglect that night time.”

Slash sang West’s praises when the two guitarists interviewed each and every other for New music Aficonado. “Leslie’s one of individuals fellas, cliché as it is, but you know who he is from the initially take note,” claimed the Guns N’ Roses guitarist. “He’s a grasp at the significant rock riff, and which is one of the very first issues I often responded to. He’s acquired the sound and the contact. People are the matters everyone who picks up the guitar strives for.”

 

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