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Benjy says...

Greetings ...... Everytime I hear the words 'right now it's time to kick out the jams...' and Wayne Kramer cranks out that timeless guitar riff it reminds me just how revolutionary and explosive rock music can be....I hope you enjoyed the MC5 special ...This week it's the turn of one of rock music's real great guitarists - Mountain's Leslie West...we will be looking at his solo career with the emphasis on the blues rock style that made him famous.....

The Rock of Ages Special - Leslie West

Leslie West

Leslie West has gained fame the world over during his 30-plus year career as one of the most innovative and influential musicians in the history of rock music. He is most noted for his role as leader of the explosive hard rock trio, Mountain, which was named by VH-1 as one of the Top 100 Hard Rock Groups of all time. With Mountain, he climbed the heights of rock stardom on the strength of a unique, signature guitar sound and classic songs such as "Mississippi Queen", "Never In My Life", "Theme From An Imaginary Western", and "Nantucket Sleighride" which are still staples of rock radio to this day. Leslie has earned the admiration of a long list of famous peers. During his career, he has recorded or played with a litany of rock icons including Billy Joel, Van Halen, The Who, Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix, to name just a few.

He was born Leslie Weinstein and raised in New York City, and grew up in Manhattan. After his parents divorced, he changed his name to West. His musical career began with The Vagrants, one of the few teenage garage rock acts to come out of Manhattan itself (as opposed to the Greenwich Village scene of artists, bohemians, and Beat Generation types, which produced bands like The Fugs and The Velve Underground). They had a minor local hit with a cover of Otis Redding's "Respect" in 1967.The Vagrants' recordings were produced by Felix Pappalardi, who was also working with Cream. West and Pappalardi formed the pioneering hard rock act Mountain in 1969 along with drummer Norman Smart (who left after the first album and was replaced by Corky Laing) and keyboardist Steve Knight . The original album was actually (and still is) credited to Leslie West, and named Mountain - supposedly an allusion to West's large size. They made up one of the bands considered to be part of early heavy metal and hard rock. They released a string of critically acclaimed, and commercially sucessful albums including Climbing, Nantucket Sleighride, Flowers of evil and Mountain Live before imploding in the mid 70's. Leslie then went on to form West, Bruce & Laing with Cream bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce, the band released 2 fine albums, Why Dontcha and Whatever turns you on as well as a great live album.However the critics panned the band as a second rate Cream despite their reputation as an amazing live act.Jack Bruce left the band leaving Leslie and Corky to reform Mountain with Felix Pappalardi and two new members -this short lived lineup recorded Avalanche before splitting again after Pappalardi cited 'hearing' problems'.For the rest of the 70's Leslie continued to tour and record at regular intervals, releasing two solo albums : The Great Fatsby and The Leslie West Band .A third reunion of West, Laing and Pappalardi as Mountain happened in the early 80's, however the band did not release any new material .Felix Pappalardi was shot to death by his wife and Mountain lyricist Gail Collins in 1983.Ex Colosseum/Tempest bassist and singer Mark Clarke joined the band for the album Go for your life before Mountain, yet again, spilt up.

Leslie West

West recorded several stunning hard rock solo albums in the 90's before switching direction and gaining a new lease on life by releasing a string of highly acclaimed blues sets including Blues to die for and Blue me.Leslie West has been a creative force for over three decades and shows no sign of losing his ambition or his desire to continually reinvent himself. His ability to adapt his creative spirit to a diverse range of projects is a key ingredient in the longevity of this multi-faceted entertainer's success. All humans have a unique fingerprint. In the world of guitar, Leslie has that distictive sound and tone that is unique to him. There many clones, but few who have a voice of their own. When Leslie hits a note, you know it's him and that's what makes him one of a kind.

Leslie West

Leslie's bold, expressive and unique guitar style is really a mirror of his own personality. Spend a little time talking with this larger-than-life figure, and you'll realize that he is as charismatic without a guitar in his hands as he is with one. Possessing a sharp sense of humor, he is at once gregarious and gruff while recounting stories from his legendary past. And when discussing his newest projects, he exudes an infectious enthusiasm and excitement, he has just released his own instructional guitar DVD, Big Phat Ass Guitar.


Leslie West

West is renowned for helping pioneer the Gibson Les Paul Jr guitar, along with the use of Sunn Amplifiers, to create a tone which became his trademark sound. There were at least two of them in his collection, one "TV Yellow" and the other a sunburst. He used these Les Paul Jrs. straight into Sunns from 1969 to 1975. In addition to the two Les Paul Jrs, he used a modified Gibson Flying V (with the neck pickup removed and a P90 fitted at the bridge position) circa 1971-1972, and also a Dan Armstrong Ampeg lucite (clear) for slide guitar. Currently, he favours guitars equipped with dual humbuckers, plugged into Marshall amplifiers. Leslie West also has a signature guitar model with Ed Roman Guitars, entitled the "Leslie West Rocket". He currently has a signature model from Dean Guitars, a USA Soltero Leslie West Signature. In 2005, Leslie recieved a sponsorship with Carlsbro amplififers, and can frequently be seen playin through "Carlsbro 50 Top" valve heads. Leslie has an extensive effects rack and pedal board, which contribute largely to his sound now. He is well regarded for his use of octaver, chorus and delay effects.

Leslie West

  • 1969 Mountain
  • 1975 The Great Fatsby
  • 1976 The Leslie West Band
  • 1988 Theme
  • 1989 Alligator
  • 1993 Live
  • 1994 Dodgin' the Dirt
  • 1999 As Phat as It Gets
  • 2003 Blues to Die For
  • 2005 Guitarded
  • 2005 Got Blooze
  • 2006 Blue Me
Leslie West

Leslie West

Information and pics courtesy of and
Rock of Ages presents "Footstompin' Music"

"Footstompin' Music" is almost ready for release through Universal Music, I guess it should be in the stores at the end of February or early March at the latest. Here is a pic of the front cover for you to drool over as well as the final tracklisting:

click for bigger pic
Rock Of Ages Presents Footstompin' Music
  1. Grand Funk Railroad - Footstompin' Music
  2. Deep Purple - Burn
  3. Uriah Heep - Look at yourself
  4. Black Sabbath - Sweat Leaf
  5. Thin Lizzy - Chinatown
  6. Robin Trower - Too rolling stoned
  7. Mountain - Never in my life
  8. Wishbone Ash - Blowin' free
  9. Foghat - I just wanna make love to you
  10. Budgie - Baby, please don't go
  11. Santana - Toussaint l'Overture
  12. Alice Cooper - Muscle of love
  13. Nazareth - Go down fighting
  14. Blue Oyster Cult - The Red & the Black
  15. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Gimme back my bullets
  16. Free - The Hunter
  17. Taste - What's goin' on

Keep the rock real...


Contact Rock of Ages

Snail mail:
PO Box 53585, Kenilworth, 7745
Studio phones: 021-4342523 / 4342525

The views, opinions, rants, raves and ramblings expressed on this website are the author's own and in no way reflect the views of Radio 2000 or the SABC.

Latest Playlist
All the playlists are available in the
Playlist Archives.
Rock Of Ages News
Back in Black
The Washington Post has reported that Islamic prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been tortured by being forced to listen to 'satanic black metal' music for hours before being 'baptised' by an interrogator dressed as an Catholic priest!!

Police on Tour
The Police 2007 world tour is now a bona fide reality. Beginning May 28 in Vancouver, the band will celebrate its 30th anniversary with an arena tour that will take them through North America and Europe and keep them busy through the end of the year. Dates in Mexico, South America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand are also possible. 14 North American shows are confirmed, including high profile venues like Boston's Fenway Park, New York City's Madison Square Garden and the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee.

Johnny plays Freddie
Johnny Depp is being lined up to play Freddie Mercury in a movie of the late Queen singer's life. The project is being financed by Robert De Niro and has the blessing of Brian May who commented "Johnny would be a worthy counterpart for Freddie on the screen" ... speaking of Queen, the band beat The Beatles by just 400 votes in a new BBC poll to name the greatest band of all time.

Cornell quits 'Slave labour
Chris Cornell has now officially left Audioslave. He'll now concentrate on his new solo album, 'Carry On', which is due out in May via Suretone/Interscope. Audioslave are not expected to carry on.

Astbury ducks a Storm
Vocalist Ian Astbury has left Riders On The Storm to concentrate on The Cult. The band, who feature Doors duo Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, are expected to carry on with a new singer.

Top names for climate change
Bon Jovi, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Korn, Fall Out Boy and AFI are among a host of major names who will perform at a series of seven concerts to be held across the world on July 7, under the banner name of Live Earth - The Concert For A Climate In Crisis. The aim of the event is to raise awareness of the need for climate control. The shows will happen in London, Sydney, Johannesburg, Shanghai, Japan and the USA.

Rush For May
Rush are to release new album 'Snakes And Arrows' in early May. It's been produced by Nick Raskulinecz. An audio sample from the first single, 'Far Cry', has been posted at

Shorts Cuts....Web reports that a new AC/DC album, called "Strap it on" is in the latter stages of completion have been denied by the band's label, Albert Productions .... Ex-Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg is likely to be out of action for at least a year after accidentally stabbing himself with a screwdriver (hello?) .... Uriah Heep have signed to Sanctuary Records for their 21st studio album, scheduled for release in mid 2007 ... The surviving members of The Doors and The Grateful Dead received Lifetime Achievement Awards at this years Grammy's, which incidentally in this rock lover's opinion were the most sterile and boring ever ...

More Classic Rock?
I can highly recommend the About Classic Rock website run by Dave White. Not only does Dave host one of the most knowledgeable classic rock blogs on the Net but the site itself is very entertaining and informative. There are always great indepth stories on the artists and the rock quizzes are addictive. If you are like me, a classic rock fan, then the weekly About Classic Rock newletter is a must. Sign up at

More rock on R2K......
Suffering from Rock withdrawal symptoms on a Tuesday night? Well then tune the dial el pronto to Barney Simon's show between 8 and midnight every Tuesday on Radio 2000 (or R2K as Barney calls it) for the best in South African rock plus gig guide, albums reviews, demos, new releases, news from around the country and much more...... Unmissable!.... Also don't forget to catch Michelle Constant between 1pm and 3pm Monday-Friday for news, music, interviews and loads of cool stuff.... and of course.... Mo G on the morning drive, weekdays 8-10am... Exclusively on Radio 2000.
Live Gigs
Boulevard Blues Band
21st Berties Mooring, Gordons Bay
23rd Corner Bar, Durbanville
25th Guzzlers, Durbanville

Jim Neversink
4th March Tempos, Randburg (with The Hellphones)
5th Cool Runnings, Melville

Jack Hammer/Piet Botha
16th Café Barcelona, PTA
17th JHB Art Gallery (solo gig)
24th Impala Bike Rally, Hartebeespoort
2nd March Steak & Ale, Centurion, PTA
3rd March Bertie's Mooring, Gordon's Bay (with Jonathan Martin)
4th March Lord Nelson Hotel (with Jonathan Martin)
8th March Die Boer, Durbanville CT
12th March Dorp Street Theatre, Stellenbosch

Josie Field (unplugged) & Laurie Levine Duo
19th Cool Runnings, Melville
25th Tings & Times, Hatfield PTA
3rd March Radium Beerhall, Orange Grove JHB

Cutting Jade, Japan and I, Southworld, and The Sasha Lee Band
18th Tempos, Kya Sands, JHB

16Stitch, Southworld, Silent Running
22nd Tanz Café, Bryanston
23rd Back 2 Basix, Westdene
24th Café Barcelona, Pretoria

10th March Roxy's, Melville

Wickhead, Subrosa, Knave, and Unlisted
25th Tempos, Kya Sands

Running With Scissors, Unlisted, 21Guns
22nd Back 2 Basix, Westdene

Running With Scissors
11th March Tempos, Randburg
19th March Cool Runnings, Melville

Lonehill Estate and two guest bands
27th Feb Back2Basix.

Cutting Jade and Lonehill Estate
28th Reach for A Dream charity event at Hoerskool Wonderboom Pretoria.

Farryl Purkiss
15 Feb - Society Durban (with Josie Field and Baz Corden)

Nu Folk featuring Jim Neversink, Laurie Levine Duo, The Bang and Lusk
25 February Back2Basix, Westdene

1st March Back2Basix, Westdene
2nd March Randfontein Show

Southern Gypsy Queen
21st Mystic Boer, Bloemfontein
24th March Dorp Street Theatre, Stellenbosch

Stoned Goblin
24th Gandalf's, Cape Town

Zenith, Bastille and Stereo Zen
21st Independent Armchair Theatre

Pay To Play *** A Live Nirvana Tribute In Cape Town
24th Feb @ The Corner Bar, Durbanville


Splashy Fen Festival
5-9 April Underberg KZN…See for artist lineups


Snap Wine Bar, Morningside Durban
20th Gonzo Republic / Tim Pepper
27th Clock-Struck June / Exit the Fall

London Calling, Fairview JHB
16th Touched By Nausea, Solitary Confinement, Hasten The Storm, Oi!Rothol.
23th The Bang and Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP)
9th March Swamp Stomp with The Kosmonauts, The Death Valley Blues Band and Swivelfoot

You say it's your birthday...
February 9
Carole King - 1942

February 17
Rickey Medlocke - Lynyrd Skynyrd

February 18
Robbie Bachman - Bachman Turner Overdrive - 1953
Yoko Ono - 1933
Dennis DeYoung - Styx - 1947

February 19
Tony Iommi - Black Sabbath - 1948
Mark Andes - Firefall, Heart - 1948

February 20
Jerome Geils - J. Geils Band - 1946
Walter Becker - Steely Dan - 1950
Randy California - Spirit - 1951
Jon Brant - Cheap Trick - 1954
Lew Soloff - Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1944

February 21
Paul Newton - Uriah Heep
Jerry Harrison - Talking Heads - 1949

Courtesy of
About ClassicRock

Birthday Archives

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Benjy Mudie
Benjy Mudie with Void in the late 70's - click for bigger picture Benjy Mudie 2006 - click for bigger picture
Then Now

Benjy Mudie is a self confessed 'rockaholic' with little chance of recovery... a music obsessive whose entire life has been spent in search of the lost chord... from discovering Jimi's "Are you experienced" at 13, he has constantly devoured music through lp's, singles, tapes, cds, dvds, books, magazines, film, concerts, radio, tv and the internet. His entire working life has also been music related: from running a record store and later joining WEA Records in the mid 70's through to his 21 year A&R/Marketing stint at Tusk Music where he signed some of the biggest names in South African rock and pop. The last 8 years have been spent nurturing new talent at his indie label Fresh Music and reissuing classic albums as part of it's ongoing Retro series.... To say that 'music is his first love' (to paraphrase John Miles's classic song) is somewhat understated.


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