The latest episode of Alex Skolnick’s Osiris Media podcast Moods & Modes remembers Mountain guitarist Leslie West who sadly died on December 23, 2020. The podcast touches on West’s huge influence on hard rock, heavy metal and beyond as well as Leslie’s unique guitar setup and more.
Episode 19 of Moods & Modes opens with Skolnick talking about the influence of Eddie Van Halen who also passed away shortly after West, and how Leslie was a precursor to Eddie as far as the mark he left on hard rock and heavy metal. “In between Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen, there was Leslie West,” Skolnick said. Alex also plays a clip of Howard Stern’s own tribute to West with Howard calling Leslie his “hero.” Skolnick goes on to discuss West’s heavy influence on a number of guitarists including Van Halen and UFO’s Michael Schenker whose brother Rudolf founded the Scorpions.
Skolnick also plays a clip of West talking about one of his influences, Cream, and how he got serious about music and guitar after taking LSD at a Cream concert. Leslie would go on to form Mountain with Cream collaborator Felix A. Pappalardi, who produced Cream’s landmark 1968 album Disraeli Gears. West and Pappalardi would also co-write Mountain’s biggest hit, “Mississippi Queen.” Alex talks about how Mountain was influential on bands like AC/DC and Kiss and also touches on how West’s influence went beyond rock and into hip hop with Leslie’s song “Long Red” being sampled by JAY-Z on “99 Problems” and Kanye West’s “Barry Bonds.”
Additionally, Skolnick welcomes Guitar Magazine’s Brad Tolinski to talk shop about Leslie’s unique amplifier setup, picking style and more. Listen to Alex Skolnick’s entire Moods & Modes podcasts remembering Leslie West below: