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” and “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. In fact, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Schenker and Richie Sambora have all cited Leslie as an important influence on their own music.
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.
But Leslie has never been one to rest on his impressive laurels. His boundless creativity has often involved him in projects that take him outside his traditional roles of guitarist, singer and songwriter.
In 1986, he acted alongside Tom Hanks and Shelley Long in the hit comedy film, The Money Pit and has lent his distinctive voice to the popular animated series, Beast Wars Transformers which ran for three seasons on the WB network beginning in 1996 before going into syndication. He has also contributed the theme music to the new WB show, Mutant X.
Leslie has long been a popular personality on the Howard Stern Radio Show and was Musical Director for the shock jock’s FOX series, as well as for the late comedian Sam Kinison. Most recently, he lent his production and songwriting skills to an album by Atlantic Records’ modern rock group, Clutch, and has just released his own instructional guitar DVD, Big Phat Ass Guitar.
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 voice of their own. When Leslie hits a note, you know it’s him and that’s what makes him one of a kind.