Leigh Stephens interview
Hi Leigh! I’m really pleased to have you on my magazine. How are you these days?
I am fine. I am recording a new Leigh Stephens cd for the first in 7 years. I just finished recording, producing, arranging and playing all the guitar and bass on Tracey Adamis new CD “Sometimes Life Is Fair” http://www.traceyadamis.com/
First I would like to talk about some of your projects from these days. You are senior digital media designer, illustrator and you just produced a brand new CD for artist, Tracey Adamis. You also provided all the guitar parts on the album. Would you like to talk about your current occupations and perhaps a few words about new CD you just produced?
I really had a good time with this CD because she let me interpret her songs in my style and totally trusted me with her project.
There has been so much said about Blue Cheer, and I would like to ask a few questions regarding some of your other works. Perhaps if we can start with the very beginning. Were you in any bands before Blue Cheer, any releases from then perhaps?
No releases before Blue Cheer.
Where did you later meet Dickie and Paul?
I met Paul in and around Fairfield, Ca and Davis, Ca. He was in a band called the Oxford Circle. Dickie the same thing. He was in a band called Group B.
So after Blue Cheer you recorded your solo album called Red Weather. The album has really atmospheric leads and it’s full with mysterious lyrics. I would like if you could share some memories from producing and recording this LP? What can you say about the cover artwork?
This LP was recorded at Trident Studios in London by Robin Cable. The artwork was taken from a photo at the old Sutro Baths in San Francisco, ca and incorporated into an original artwork. I forget who did that.
Your next project was called Silver Metre. Beside you, there were also Pete Sears on bass, keyboards, Jack Reynolds on vocals and Mick Waller on drums. It’s pretty interesting record with cover of the theme from Jesus Christ…I heard you played only one show together?
No we did a tour of the states with Traffic pretty much. We only did one show in England.
Would you like to tell me how did you come together and what can you say about production and recordings?
I was living in London and Mickey Waller just appeared having been part of Jeff Beck Group. He introduced me to Ronnie Wood and we started to rehearse at the Stones studio in Bermoundsey. Woodie ended up going with the Faces and Pete and I ended up meeting Harry Reynolds that had a friend with a lot of good songs to yet be recorded. Turns out his friend was Elton John and we took around 4 or 5 songs of his and did them on the Silver Metre album.
I would be also very glad to know how did you come up with the name and cover artwork?
Silver Metre is a song by renowned B3 player who’s name escapes me at the moment. Heard it over at Keith Emerson’s place and really loved the name. The artwork was a working maching by a local artist.
Pilot was a new band formed by you and Mick Waller (ex-John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Jeff Beck Group) who already played on your own solo album and in Silver Metre. The line-up also included Bruce Stephens (of no relation to you but did replace you in Blue Cheer for a while and he was also in Mint Tattoo) plus Martin Quittenton from Steamhammer. Would you like to share a story behind the band formation and some experiences that happened to you?
I just did the session work on that album then went back to the states to rehearse for next one but it didn’t work out.
Cast of Thousands is your next album. I heard from some interview, that you don’t like it very much. I don’t know why, because in my opinion horns, backing vocals, guitars and all the rest are mixed together very good…
Anyway later you were signed to Motown with a band called Foxtrot and you recorded an album, but It was never released, do you know if the recordings still exists, cos I would love to hear them!
Cast of Thousands sucks in my estimation. Should never have been recorded. Foxtrot on the other hand is quite good but never released by Motown.
What were you doing thru ’80s, ’90s and till now?
I know you recorded Chronic album and in 2004 you released High Strung / Low Key. Would you like to talk about it? What were some of your inspirations?
Chronic was very good. I am proud of that CD. High Strung should never have been released. As a matter of fact when the supply runs out you will never hear it again.
I hope this interview didn’t bothered you too much. I’m really happy you took your time and answered a few questions. Would you like to share anything else with your fans?
Yeah for all the faithful out there, the new CD coming up is really going to be a good one. I like to call it Nouveau Surf for now. A new genre of instrumental music.
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2011
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