Leslie West, the legendary guitarist, vocalist and original founding member of MOUNTAIN, died at the age of 75 years.
Lesliebrother, Larry West Weinstein, confirmed the musician’s departure for Rolling Stone.
West had a cardiac arrest at his home near Daytona, Florida on Monday (December 21) and was rushed to a hospital where he never regained consciousness.
Earlier today, Dean guitars, with whom West has had an endorsement agreement for a number of years, issued a statement saying: “With a heavy heart we are saddened to hear about the passing of #Dean Artist and part of They can family, Leslie West. Legendary and unique. Rest in peace.”
Dean guitars Manager Evan Rubinson added in a separate tweet: “To a man I truly loved more than most – the funniest, most honest guy I have ever met. #RIP #LeslieWest”
The news about WestHis deteriorating health was first broken by his brother who took to his Facebook page Monday to say it Leslie was seriously ill and near death after his heart stopped and that he was put on a ventilator.
“I pray for all your prayers,” Weinstein wrote in a recently deleted post. “[Leslie‘s wife] Jenni is by his side in Florida, but it does not look good. Thanks Jenni, he would not have reached that far without you. “
Weinstein went on to say, “His heart gave out and he’s in a fan. Maybe it’s not coming through the night.”
Earlier today, TWISTED SISTER singer Dee Snider, who is a friend of Leslie and Jenni, and has been in touch with the family, tweeted: “The last hours on this earth for the amazing Leslie West of MOUNTAIN. His voice and guitar will be silent, but his music will live on forever. I am crushed. Prayers for him and his wonderful wife, his stone, Jenni who is with him now. @lwestmountain “.
Snider continued to recognize West‘s massive influence on rock music, writes: “Leslie West and MOUNTAIN is one of the founders of heavy metal. His explosive, powerful guitar playing and seering solos helped define the genre. Participates in guitarist collections with Leslie I saw ALL the guitarists bow to him (yes even @eddievanhalen) … And his influence on HIP HOP (You heard me!) Is undeniable. His song Long reading has been sampled on over 750 hip hop tracks including Jay-Z 99 issues. What an incredible force @lwestmountain was! “
Born Leslie Weinstein, West first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 as a guitarist and singer in the groundbreaking rock band MOUNTAIN. Included among Leslie‘s many fans and disciples are six-string fixtures such as Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, John McLaughlin, JETHRO TULL‘s Martin Barre, Warren Haynes and Ritchie Blackmore of DARK PURPLE. Blackmore has stated that Leslieis phenomenal playing on “Mississippi Queen” served to redirect the course of DARK PURPLE‘s music in an instant, which ultimately results in the brutal hard rock intensity shown on “Deep Purple In Rock”.
To Barre, meet Leslie in 1970 served to inspire the writing and play on JETHRO TULL‘s most successful album in the band’s history, “Aqualung”. “Before I went into the studio to record [1971’s] ‘Aqualung’, I met Leslie, whose game I absolutely loved, ” Barre revealed. “Leslie is known for his affiliation with Les Paul Juniors, and right after meeting him, I picked up a 1958 Junior because his sound was so incredible. I would say he is the only guitarist who has ever influenced me directly. “
Leslie was also influential in the development of music for WHO‘s masterpiece, “Who’s next”. In early 1971, he was invited to record with WHO to the band’s original New York City Plate plants sessions for the album, which triggered a close friendship with WHOleader Pete Townshend. Said Pete: “Leslie gave me a really good Les Paul Junior with a pickup on it that I could use on ‘Who’s next’and Eric Clapton gave me an old Strat. They both gave me really good instruments and I still have those instruments today. Along with my Gretsch Chet Atkins, the three guitars were the only ones I used ‘Who’s next’. “
Another fan of Lesliewas none other than Jimi Hendrix, with whom Leslie stuck in famous New York City clubs like Ungano and elsewhere.
“I met for the first time Jimi while I was recording “Climbing!” by Plate plants and he was in another room, mingling ‘Band Of Gypsys’, ” Leslie reminded of. “Jimi came in and after hearing the first track, ‘Never in my life’, he looked at me and said, ‘That’s a big riff, man.’ I started shaking! There’s a good picture of us playing together at Ungano, and Jimiplayer Felix [Pappalardi‘s] stall. Get to know and play with Hendrix is one of my greatest life experiences. “
A life-threatening battle with diabetes costs money West most of his right leg in 2011.
“I’m lucky it was not one of my hands, otherwise I would be screwed,” West said later. “It was a difficult match and after the amputation I did not know if I would ever or could perform again. But a month later I played on Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp in New York City and I heard my guitar on stage and that was it. I knew I had to keep going. “
In 2009 West married his wife Jenni. They exchanged promises on stage at Woodstock 40th anniversary concert. West credited her for saving her life – first with her love and then by making the difficult decision to have her doctors amputated while in a coma.
With a heavy heart, we are saddened to hear of the passing #They can Artist and part of the Dean family, Leslie West. Legendary and unique. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/sGmk4pF011
– Dean Guitars (@DeanGuitars) December 23, 2020
To a man I truly loved more than most – the funniest, most honest guy I’ve ever met. #REST IN PEACE #LeslieWest https://t.co/UGGlZsxD0o
– Evan Rubinson (@EvanRubinson) December 23, 2020
Just heard Leslie West is dead. One of the greatest guitarists, singers and songwriters in the world; inspiration to many of us!
Now he wants to be reunited with one of the greatest bassists of all time, Felix Pappalardi.
RIP, Leslie#Mountain #Legend
Joey DeMaio @realJoeyDeMaio December 23, 2020
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