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Leigh Stephens
Leigh-stephens
Stephens in the late 1960s.
Background information
Birth Name Leigh Stephens
Born Late 1940s
Occupation Musician, Special Effects Technician, Painter, Illustrator, Photographer, Golfer
Genres Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Surf
Instrument(s) Guitar, Vocals
Years active 1966 - Present
Labels MCA, Philips, Captain Trip
Associated acts Blue Cheer, Pilot, Silver Metre
Website Official Page

Leigh Stephens is a guitarist best known for being one of the founding members of Blue Cheer. Despite his tenure in the band being very short he left a lasting impact upon the band and even the rock industry as a whole, being ranked #98 on Rolling Stones' "Top 100 Guitarists of All Time".

BiographyEdit

Blue CheerEdit

Blue Cheer RARE 1967 DEMO vers of Summertime Blues04:48

Blue Cheer RARE 1967 DEMO vers of Summertime Blues

Stephens founded Blue Cheer alongside Dickie Peterson and Eric Albronda, who would soon relegate to producing duties as Paul Whaley would take over on the drums. Amidst multiple performances in 1967 & 1968, the band would record their first two albums with Stephens. Vincebus Eruptum and Outsideinside both came out in 1968. By the time the latter album had come out, Stephens had left the band citing a disinterest in the band's heavy drug usage.

Stephens would reunite with Peterson for a one-off performance with drummer Prairie Prince at the Chet Helms Memorial Tribal Stomp in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on October 29, 2005. The band performed "Out of Focus", "Doctor Please" and "Summertime Blues".

Chet Helms Tribal Stomp Memorial Golden Gate Park12:41

Chet Helms Tribal Stomp Memorial Golden Gate Park

Silver Metre, Pilot and FoxtrotEdit

Stephens went on to form Silver Metre in 1969 after moving back to San Fransisco. With Pete Sears, Micky Waller (drummer), and Jack Reynolds (singer) Silver Metre recorded one album at Trident Studios in London, England. Their self-titled album was released on the National General Records,[2] produced by their manager, FM rock radio pioneer Tom Donahue. Notably, the album contained three Elton John/Bernie Taupin songs, two of which, "Country Comforts" and "Now They've Found Me" (aka "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun") had not yet appeared on an Elton John album. Silver Metre broke up in 1970.

He then formed a new band, Pilot, which featured Waller, guitarist Bruce Stephens (who had been a replacement member of Blue Cheer), bassist Neville Whitehead, and Martin Quittenton. They signed to RCA Victor Records and released a self-titled debut album in 1972, after which Stephens left the group. His next band was called Foxtrot and featured keyboard player George Michalski, bassist/vocalist Gary Richwine, and drummer David Beebe. They signed to Motown Records and recorded an album in 1974, but it was never released.

Solo CareerEdit

He signed a solo deal with Philips and moved to Great Britain, where he recorded his debut solo album, Red Weather (February 1969).\

His 1971 album, And a Cast of Thousands featured among other musicians, his fellow bandmembers from the above-mentioned band, together with the power trio Ashton, Gardner & Dyke, together with the two sax players from If, Dave Quincey, Dick Morrissey, and Jethro Tull bassist, Glenn Cornick. Stephens has went on to criticize the album in later interviews.

Stephens would eventually release three more albums in a further departure from the heavy psychedelic rock he was known for. Chronic With a K was released in 1999, High Strung/Low Key was released in 2004 (An album Stephens would later criticize) and A Rocket Down Falcon Street in 2013.

Personal LifeEdit

Stephens was born in San Fransisco though in a period of his life had moved to England for a brief time before moving back to San Fransisco at one point raising thoroughbred horses.[1] He currently lives in Sacramento as a digital media artist. [2]

Along with being a musician, Stephens is also noted for being as a special effects technician, fabricating and painting a variety of creatures, animals, automobiles and insects for the motion picture industry. Stephens had done work for Dances With Wolves, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, The Abyss, License to Kill, Gross Anatomy and Tremors to name a few.

BandsEdit

  • Blue Cheer - Guitar (1967 - 1968, 2005)
  • Leigh Stephens - Guitar, Vocals (1969 - Present)
  • Silver Metre - Guitar (1969 - 1971)
  • Pilot - Guitar (1971 - 1972)
  • Foxtrot - Guitar (1972 - 1974)

DiscographyEdit

With Blue CheerEdit

Solo AlbumsEdit

  • Red Weather (1969, Philips)
  • And A Cast Of Thousands (1971, Charisma)
  • Chronic With a K - Ride The Thunder (1999)
  • High Strung / Low Key (2004)
  • A Rocket Down Falcon Street (2013, Self-Released)

Misc. Band AppearancesEdit

  • Silver Metre - Silver Metre (1969, National General Records)
  • Pilot - Pilot (1972, RCA Victor)

Guest AppearancesEdit

  • Tracey Adamis - Sometimes Life is Fair - Guitar and Bass (2010)

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Archived Rolling Stone ArticleAccessed 13 June 2016
  2. Vintage GuitarAccessed 23 May 2016

Template:Blue Cheer

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