Classic Rock has lost another legendary voice, this time Leslie West of the band Mountain.
Larry West the brother of Leslie announced the news of his passing on December 23rd of cardiac arrest. Leslie West was 75.
Leslie's classic rock sound is remember best on "Mississippi Queen" from Mountain's 1970 debut album "Climbing". His vocals will always be the epitome of Classic Rock and part of the staple sound you hear on The Vinyl Generation. In an interview with Guitar Player earlier this year, West said that the song “has just everything you need to make it a winner. You’ve got the cowbell, the riff is pretty damn good, and it sounds incredible. It feels like it wants to jump out of your car radio. To me, it sounds like a big, thick milkshake. It’s rich and chocolatey. Who doesn’t love that?”
Leslie West was born, Leslie Weinsten on October 22nd, 1945. While growing up in the New York area, Manhattan, Long Island and Forest Hills, Queens, he was the founding member of the group the "Vagrants", a blue-eyed soul garage band of the mid 60's. The Vagrants, who also included his brother Larry on bass, scored two minor hits "I Can't Make A Friend" and the cover of Otis Reddings "Respect", before West left the band.
One of Leslie's big turning points musically came after he and his brother attended a Cream concert at the Village Theatre (later the Fillmore) in 1967. Leslie stated “My brother said to me, ‘Let’s take some acid before we go,’ ” West told Blues Rock Review in 2015. “So we took LSD and all of a sudden the curtain opens up and I hear them playing ‘Sunshine of Your Love,’ and I see Eric Clapton and his buckskin jacket. I said, ‘Oh, my God, we really suck.’ After that, I started really practicing and practicing.”