MOUNTAIN - Purple Deep, Mountain Climbing! Page 2
by Martin Popoff
Says Laing on West, "Well, I think, I'm going to be a little bit prejudiced and biased, but I think Leslie is one of the most underrated guitar players in rock history. I mean, the fact is, he's got a character, he's got a personality, which sometimes overwhelms his playing. He's a big person and a big personality and big character. So I feel that sometimes it's detrimental to his credibility. But it shouldn't be. I think, just in terms of his contribution, you ask any player. You ask Ritchie Blackmore. I mean, JIMI HENDRIX was a big fan of Leslie's. He did an interview and he said one of his favourite guitar players of all time was Leslie West. JEFF BECK... ask some of the old guys, some of the new guys. WARREN HAYNES is going to join us, from GOV'T MULE, because he's a big fan of Leslie's. So in terms of his contribution, I think his tone and his lyrical playing, probably surpass a good deal of players. He's slow; he's not the fastest guitar player in the world. He never wanted to be. He likes to consider himself a slow hand. His style is very spontaneous. When we work together, most of the tracks, ever since the beginning, have been caught at the beginning of the recording sessions. We don't spend a lot of time going over them, trying to be precise and pretty about things. I think a lot of what Leslie does is from the gut, from the soul, and he doesn't really... although he plays beautifully, I don't think he make things beautiful, you know what a mean? I don't think he goes out of his way to perfect things till they become too precious. I think he's a gritty, lyrical player."
Currently, the band is touring the double live Eruption CD (see www.mountaintheband.com for more), but next up, the band tackles BOB DYLAN. "We're doing a record now called Mountain Electrifies Dylan, and we're going to have a few guests on it. And again, he's arranging and taking Dylan songs, which have the very best lyrics and beautiful melodies, simple melodies, and he's charged them right up. And we have the blessing of the Dylan compound, his publishers etc, which is great. We're really excited about it."