Leslie West - Still Climbing
The New Album Released 28th October 2013 Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group
Featuring guest appearances from Johnny Winter, Mark Tremonti(Creed & Alter Bridge), Jonny Lang and Dee Snider (Twisted Sister)
Originality, excitement, honesty and survival are all part of what makes a legend, and those qualities ripple through every song on Leslie West’s upcoming release.
The new album is a testimonial to the strength and durability of West’s artistry. Born October 22, 1945, as he approaches his 68th birthday, West has packed some of the most soulful and searing vocal performances of his half-century career into these 11 tracks. His guitar has never sounded more massive or riff-orientated.
West, who ascended rock’s Mt. Olympus with Mountain in a historic performance at 1969’s Woodstock Festival, accomplished all of that despite a life threatening battle with diabetes that cost him most of his right leg in 2011, just after his previous Mascot Label Group release "Unusual Suspects" was recorded.
"I’m lucky it wasn’t one of my hands or I’d be screwed," says West. "It was a difficult struggle, and after the amputation I didn’t know whether I’d ever want to or be able to perform again. But a month later I played at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy
Camp in New York City, and I heard my guitar on stage and that was it. I knew I had to keep going."
Following the success of "Unusual Suspects," West approached the new release with vision of tying the albums together. "The new album is a sequel to Unusual Suspects, where I had friends of mine that include Slash, Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather, Joe Bonamassa and Billy Gibbons come to the studio and play," West explains.
This time Jonny Lang, Johnny Winter, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and Alter Bridge and Creed’s Mark Tremonti do the honours. "What’s different on "Still Climbing" is that I wanted my guitars to sound as big as I look. So I used four of my Dean Signature model guitars with my Mountain of Tone humbucking pickups. I plugged them into my Blackstar amps - no pedals - and turned them up loud and raw, and what you hear is exactly what I did in the studio. These Blackstar amps deliver everything I need without 'confidence' pedals. I played one of the early tracks we recorded for Slash, and he said, ‘That is as heavy as it gets.’"
"Still Climbing" - Track Listing
01. Dyin’ Since The Day I Was Born
(With special guest Mark Tremonti)
02. Busted, Disgusted or Dead
(With special guest Johnny Winter)
03. Fade Into You
04. Not Over You At All
05. Tales Of Woe
06. Feeling Good
(with special guest Dee Snider)
07. Hatfield or McCoy
08. When A Man Loves A Woman
(With special guest Jonny Lang)
09. Long Red
10. Don’t Ever Let Me Go
(With special guest Dylan Rose)
11. Rev Jones Time
(Somewhere Over The Rainbow)
"Still Climbing" is co-produced by West and Mike "Metal" Goldberg, who engineered all of the sessions. Songs like "Dyin' Since The Day I Was Born," "Hatfield or McCoy," and "Busted, Disgusted or Dead" establish a new litmus test for "heavy."
The latter features West and Johnny Winter on duelling slide guitars. West also gave up smoking cigarettes after a bout with bladder cancer, so it’s no wonder many of Still Climbing’s numbers explore the theme of survival and, ultimately, triumph. To that end, West avows, "Not only am I lucky to be here, but because I stopped smoking my voice is now stronger than it’s ever been - as strong as my guitar playing."