This whole thing started with the Beat!!..I didn't really care about the context..Hollywood Musical,
Big Band, Dixieland, Lawrence Welk, Beer Barrel Polka, Hawaiian War Chant..If it moved
I was moved..I was 7..the next year Elvis hit the scene and it was all over baby..I was officially
a rocker!! ”When other kids were out playing baseball, I was watching American Bandstand”
(from my song "Strung out on Strings")..I was completely mesmerized by the sound and beat of
rock n’roll..and it was the guitar for me..I didn’t actually get one until I was 11, it was a $12 Stella
and lessons at the YMCA..learned all the open chords there.. it was the perfect way to begin.
I tried Jazz guitar and Classical…liked them both but it still wasn't rock.. Then one day the Ventures
found me in the local supermarket..well I found them but it seemed as if they had been waiting
there just for me..I listened to them everyday and marveled at the guitars on the cover..Fenders!!
The local music store in Phoenix was Ziggy’s Music and they HAD FENDERS!!..I would go there
after school to dream..I wouldn't think of playing one until I was a better player..in the meantime
I got a Sears Silvertone I finally found the guitar teacher I was looking for.. Mike Condello. He
played with the Stage 7 Combo the most popular band in Pnx. at the time. I was his only student..
I don't think anyone else bothered to ask .. Every week I would go to his agents office with a
record..he would take it home and then the next week he would teach me the songs..my ability
grew with every lesson. One night a little while later I was at the after game dance at Camelback High
for two reasons, I loved to dance and I would watch the guitar players . Well, at this particular dance
the band "The Ferndocks" were playing way too many slow songs for my taste. During the second
set I went up to the guitar player and asked him why so many slow songs? He said that it was because
the Counselors said they could only play 1 fast song for every 5 slow songs. For some reason..probably
my pre-punk attitude I said "They didn't say I couldn't play fast songs!" Next thing I know the guitar
player takes off his Strat, hands it to me and says "O.K. here you go." I'd only dreamed of playing in
a band at this point..so I go for it. I get up on the stage and say,"Lets do Wipe Out like the record."
My friends were all down front and cheered when it was over. I virtually floated off that stage.
I was hooked. At school on Monday students were coming up to me saying how they saw me at
the dance. It took me a week to come down from that moment..actually I'm still high from it!
I talked my best friend Michael Boicourt into learning Bass. In the meantime I played a solo version
of Miserlou at the high school talent show..1st place! Afterwards I was approached by two Seniors that
wanted to start a band, Freddy on rhythm guitar and Carl on drums. With Michael on bass we played
a few gigs then Freddy left and was replaced with Rupert Loza, from Michael's school and the Jaguars
were born. Carl the drummer left and was replace with Brian Garno.This was my Junior year 1965..
we were initially a Surf instrumental band..(in the middle of the Arizona desert..but I dreamed of surf.)
Then the Beatles and Stones and the rest of the British Invasion showed up so..
Now we played all the 60's hits..I was making $50-$100 a weekend..gas was 18 cents! a gallon..so I was
doing O.K.! We played in a Battle of the Bands at Stage 7 where the Spiders were the house band.
We were going to do a cover of the Who's My Generation as our big number. Well, before we played, someone
stole my fuzztone! Somehow Glen Buxton found out and loaned me his..thats GB!
During the summer of '65' I gave guitar lessons and Michael Bruce was one of my friends
and students. During the summer of '66' we recorded a couple of sides as the Wildflowers.
Then off to college in Hawaii..(my surf dreams came true.)
I started the first inter-racial band on Honolulu called the Blues Crew, which later morphed into
Lukes Pineapple Store . We played the first Hawaiian Pop Festival with Moby Grape and Canned Heat
headlining.. Wish I still had that poster!!
I moved back to Pnx. in 67' and joined the biggest local band Thackery Rocke..did that for about a year
and then I formed Joshua..we lived the rock life in the desert..no neighbors, so we could play any time
day or night. John Jeffords sang, Michael PeSavage played bass and Donald Lindley was the drummer
and Clapton was the band dog..
This was the first project that Donald and I did together. While we were in the desert the various members
of the Alice Cooper Group would come out to visit and party and play music. After Joshua ran its course
I had a cover band called the Cisco Kid which lasted about a year then it was off to London, England to
see where a lot of my musical heroes came from. I drove from Pnx. (5/1/72) to Conn. and stayed
at the Cooper mansion until June 18th when I left for London.
I found a job in London at Kensington Market selling woman's clothes. What a concept!!
Met a new byrd everyday. The Market was a favorite hang out for rockers..and a place to work
until you were famous..Rodger and Freddie from Queen worked down the isle from me..
While there, the Alice Cooper Group came over for a short promotional tour ..I had a great time
going to the gigs and parties. Hung out at the Speakeasy and talked with Jeff Beck,
Ronnie Lane and John Entwhistle among others. A very exciting time in the life of a boy from the desert.
I was awakened one morning (Sept 20, 1972) to the sound of my doorbell..it was a telegram..my first.
All I knew about telegrams was from the movies and they were usually bad news.
I was sure that someone had died..Much to my surprise it was from the ACGs' manager,
Shep Gordon, asking me to contact the office. It was"very urgent." I did, and I was told that they wanted me
to play on the new album, within 5 days I found myself in First Class on my way to New York. On the plane
I began to wonder why. What about Glen? I felt a little weird. So, the first thing I did when I
arrived at their mansion was to go up to Glens' room. We said "hi" and he asked me why was I there.
I told him that I was there to play on the new album..he said "Cool." and that was that.
That night there was a rehearsal and Glen didn't bother to come downstairs.
Seemed strange to me...I figured maybe later.
Well, as the days went by.. no Glen. The band ate meals together but he was never there..he ate in his room.
I just assumed that he was staying in his room to get high and be with his fish and his girlfriend. I came to
that conclusion because no one was talking about his absence, and I could not think of any other reason
why he would not want to play on his bands record.
It wasn't until many years later that I found out , much to my embarrassment after telling people that his
absence was due to substance abuse, that he was in fact doing that in protest.
I found out that he didn't want anything to do with working with Michael Bruce or Bob Ezrin.
It was a situation that had developed over time, and I have no more details than that.
After a couple weeks ( Oct 8th ) the Record Plant mobile truck showed up and we began recording
Billion Dollar Babies. We had a pretty difficult time getting any decent takes. By the 19th things were going
so poorly that Bob Erzin wanted to pull the plug..but it was decided to press on once the band got to London.
We arrived in London (Nov 4th) and started recording at Morgan Studios the next day.
Name any famous English artist and they all recorded at Morgan.
Harry Neilson and Rick Grech. Even though I started that jam, as usual, I am in none of the pics.
It began during a break while I was talking with Marc. I started playing a riff similar to his hit "Bang
a Gong" and he asked if he could play Michael Bruces guitar . I said yes and off we went. Rick Grech
picked up Dennis Dunaways bass and Neal sat down at his drums. We had been playing for about
an hour when a highly inebriated Keith, Harry and Alice showed up. Bob Ezrin was very excited!!
This was the era of SuperGroup jam records and he figured he had one of his own beginning to form..
Well, he set up a mic for the three singers, started rolling the tape..here comes GREATNESS!! Well, the
first thing out of Keith Moons mouth as a singer, (I was bummed he wanted sing instead of playing drums..
I think Neal would have given up the drum chair for Keith.. no problem...)
was "I blew a dog"!! and it all went down hill from there. Ezrin got pissed off , stopped the tape and
threw everyone out of the studio!! So much for that Superduper Session... After a couple of more weeks
we went back to New York and finished the album. They were done with me, so back to Phoenix
for the Holidays. Really didn't know what I was going to do next. I wanted to build a trio, drums, B3 and me..
but couldn't find a B3 player in Phoenix., that could fill in the bass parts with the foot pedals..
New Years eve at about 1 a.m. in the morning I got a call from Joe Greenberg, Shep Gordons partner
at Alive Mgmt., asking me if I was interested in touring with the band..I thought about it for less than
a second and accepted...the details were to be worked out later. I went East on Jan. 5th (1973) to
Greenwich Conn. to the estate and started rehearsals on the 6th..this would be the rehearsals for the...
Initially the band thought it would be cool if I wore a Gorilla suit on stage, I really wasn't up for that!
Though looking back on it, I probably would have had a lot of publicity as as opposed to NONE
if I had done it. When rehearsals began, once again Glen was no where to be found. This time
he was recovering from a life threating bout of pancreatitus. No one expected him to make the tour.
After a few weeks Bob Dolin was brought in to augment the bands sound with piano and Mellotron .
We spent 8 weeks putting together the show. With about 2 weeks to go, Glen comes back,
so Bob Dolin and I went over to his house to teach him the songs that he didn't know..
I was stoked that he had returned. I was hardly ready to take his place in the band.
After all there was only one GB! The rehearsals went well. We used a chalk board to
work on the song list. One of the breaks in the show was accompanied by a tape of Modest Moussorgskys'
"Night on Bald Mountain". In parenthesis next to the title, Dennis Dunnaway , (a very witty man)
had written.."Leslie West gets a haircut."...We took a two week break at 1st of Feb., and Neal and
I went to Jamacia..where I almost drowned!! Went back to Conn. and finished rehearsals on the BDB stage.
March 1st the BDB tour debuted in Kitchner..a very rough beginning. The stairs to get on the massive
BDB stage weren't at the gig !?!, so I had to climb up a make shift stairway to the stage..well as I climbed
up the last step my pants split!!..Had no time or extra costume to change into, so I played the whole
show with my balls hanging out behind my guitar!!..lol. I took my jacket off for my curtain call and everyone
flipped out and told me "Never do that again!". Now guys play shirtless all the time..I was ahead of the curve.
tour was three months long, fun, educational and successful and ended the
first week of June 1973.....