LEGENDARY ROCK GUITARIST LESLIE WEST ANNOUNCES HIS SIXTEENTH SOLO ALBUM, “SOUNDCHECK”, TO BE RELEASED ON NOVEMBER 20
Soundcheck is the sixteenth solo album by legendary rock guitarist Leslie West. It follows 2011’s critically acclaimed Unusual Suspects, which featured contributions from such accomplished guitarists and close friends as Billy Gibbons, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather and Joe Bonamassa, and 2013’s Still Climbing, which included blistering duets with the late, great Johnny Winter, Jonny Lang and Mark Tremonti.
For this new release, Leslie lays down some of his most inspired musical magic to date with the assistance of true rock royalty: the renown British guitarists Peter Frampton and Brian May, ex-Jeff Beck keyboard virtuoso Max Middleton, vocalist extraordinaire Bonnie Bramlett and the late great Cream bassist and longtime friend of Leslie’s, Jack Bruce. Back in 1972, Leslie made musical history with Jack when they joined forces to form the super group West, Bruce and Laing. Soundcheck is co-produced and engineered by West’s collaborator Mike “Metal” Goldberg, who he shared, “helped me get my sound down on ‘Tape’ as they used to say, and did an amazing job as he always does.”
Leslie West (born Leslie Weinstein, October 22, 1945) first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 as the guitarist and singer in the groundbreaking rock band Mountain. West’s wholly unique sound, distinguished by beautifully melodic phrasing, his slow, wide vibrato, and a crushing guitar tone set the standard in the late sixties and early seventies for blues/rock guitar playing of the highest order. Along with the hugely influential Top Ten hit “Mississippi Queen,” Leslie’s brilliant guitar work serves as the driving force behind the Mountain classics, “Nantucket Sleighride,” “Never In My Life,” “Don’t Look Around,” “Blood of the Sun,” “Dreams of Milk and Honey,” and the incredible Jack Bruce composition, “Theme For an Imaginary Western.”
That one-of-a-kind signature guitar sound propels Soundcheck throughout, evidenced by such powerful tracks as, “Left By The Roadside to Die,” “Here For the Party,” “Empty Promises–Nothing Sacred,” “Going Down,” “Spoonful,” “A Stern Warning” and five other stellar songs. “I wanted to surprise myself with this record,” Leslie discloses. “On that very first track, ‘Left By The Roadside to Die,’ I initially played the synthesizer part on the guitar, but I thought it would be really cool to start the record with a sound other than the guitar. I decided to have my keyboard player David Biglin come in and re-do it with the synth. That synth part provides a great groove, which enables me to first come in with the acoustic guitar and then bring in the heavier electric guitars right at the second verse. Another twist is that I add some acoustic slide guitar on the track, with the guitar in a really unusual open D tuning. All of the strings are tuned to either a D or an A note-no thirds in any of the chords.” For the solo, Leslie lays down a blistering slide guitar solo that burns with the power and precision that has earned him the respect and admiration of multiple generations of guitar players.
Included among Leslie’s many fans and disciples are six-string luminaries such as Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, John McLaughlin, Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre, Warren Haynes, and Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple. Blackmore has stated that Leslie’s phenomenal playing on “Mississippi Queen” served to redirect the course of Deep Purple’s music in an instant, ultimately resulting in the brutal hard rock intensity displayed on Deep Purple In Rock. “I’ve always really loved Leslie West’s playing,” says Blackmore. “I remember being in a place in Germany, and Ian