MOUNTAIN - America's First Heavy Metal Band
By Martin Popoff
In the consensus of many, that is indeed the utterance, that Mountain, through its seminal Climbing! And Nantucket Sleighride albums in '70 and '71 respectively, became America's first heavy metal band. Now those records, in addition to the band's Best Of Mountain (each went gold in America) are being reissued with bonus tracks. As well, the band is touring (the Toronto date is TONIGHT - March 25 at Club 279), in conjunction with a new DVD called Mystic Fire, also the name of the band's latest studio album.
"Well, you know, the funny thing is," begins guitarist, vocalist and warhorse Leslie West, "I'm a blues player but I didn't really have roots in the blues. My roots were The Who, Hendrix, Cream. And it's funny, I start filming this TV show for VH1 Classic that they called Metal Mania, that I'm hosting. And I got it because most of the groups cited Mountain as the first American heavy metal group, even though we weren't. I didn't know it was called heavy metal then. I mean, it's nice that Ritchie Blackmore, Alice Cooper, Sammy Hagar has really great things to say about us. At the time, I just liked plugging the guitar in and feeling my balls vibrate. It's different from playing soft music. And I'm into the dynamics of playing loud then getting soft, like an orchestra. But there's nothing like... not that it hurts your ears but it's like, it fills you up."
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