Tales of Rock – Leslie West, Mountain Co-Founder, Dies at 75

Leslie West, the co-founder and co-vocalist/guitarist of Mountain, has died. He was 75.

West’s death was confirmed by Dean Guitars who wrote, “With a heavy heart, we are saddened to hear about the passing of #Dean Artist and part of the Dean family, Leslie West. Legendary and one of a kind. Rest In Peace.” Dean Guitars CEO Evan Rubinson shared his personal condolences via Twitter writing, “To a man that I truly loved more than most — the funniest, most honest guy I’ve met.” An exact cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

News of West’s health started to make the rounds on social media on Monday (December 21.) West’s brother, Larry West Weinstein, wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post (transcribed by Blabbermouth), “I am asking for all your prayers. [Leslie’s wife] Jenni is by his side in Florida but it’s not looking good. Thanks, Jenni, he wouldn’t have made it this far without you. His heart gave out and he’s on a ventilator. May not make it through the night.”

Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider shared via Twitter, “The final hours on this earth for the amazing Leslie West of Mountain. His voice and guitar will be silenced but his music will live forever. I am heartbroken. Prayers for him and his amazing wife, his rock, Jenni who is with him now.”

Snider added, “Leslie West and Mountain are one of the founding fathers of heavy metal. His explosive, powerful guitar playing and searing solos helped define the genre. Attending guitarists gatherings with Leslie I saw ALL guitarists bow down before him (yes even @eddievanhalen). And his influence on HIP HOP (You heard me!) is undeniable. His song Long Read has been sampled on over 750 hip hop tracks including Jay-Z 99 Problems. What an incredible force @lwestmountain was! He’s still with us but leaving very soon. Love and prayers for you my friend.”

Formed in 1969, Mountain’s original lineup consisted of West, bassist/vocalist Felix Pappalardi, keyboardist Steve Knight and drummer N. D. Smart. The band’s debut album, Climbing!, was released in March 1970 and featured their most popular single “Mississippi Queen.” Over the course of its 50+ year history, Mountain would release eight studio albums, five live albums and become one of the most influential hard rock bands of all time.

West was the subject of a recent tribute as part of “The Hanukkah Sessions,” a covers series by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and producer Greg Kurstin. Grohl and Kurstin released a cover every night of Hanukkah paying tribute to notable Jewish musicians. On the third night of Hanukkah, Grohl and Kurstin released a blistering cover of “Mississippi Queen.”

In the cover’s YouTube description, Grohl and Kurstin wrote, “Talk about making a mountain out of a mohel … named Leslie Weinstein at his bris, the singer of our next band built a wailing wall of guitar as Leslie West. Check out our take on a track from Leslie’s monolithic band, MOUNTAIN.”

 

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Nobody Gets the Point of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

“Yea, I get it. If they have a use for you, they’ll accept you.”

Happy Holidays!

 

https://time.com/5479322/rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer-history-origins/

Since no disposable coffee cups have prompted any holiday outrage this year, that pent-up aggression has seemingly found a new battleground: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. The classic 1964 stop-motion Christmas special has come under increased media scrutiny. For instance, there was a video posted by The Huffington Post, which assembled a handful of Tweets from people who have just now realized that Santa Claus is kind of a prejudiced asshole in the beloved story.

Nobody Gets The Point Of 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'Huffington Post

This naturally being the most important issue of 2020, it prompted many on the right to publicly rebuke the somewhat tongue-in-cheek video, including a Tweet from the president’s son (who we guess needed a distraction from his massive legal problems) and an entire segment on Fox News decrying the left for seeing racism and misogyny in a harmless Christmas fable that certainly contains no social commentary that would, say, contradict their entire worldview.

Of course, these aren’t new observations. People have been analyzing the subtext of Rudolph for years. It’s not difficult to interpret the story of a reindeer bullied because of his appearance and an elf who isn’t accepted by his conservative society as a lesson on the perils of discrimination. And it’s not just these two. We find out there’s an entire community of “misfit” toys. With society having turned its back on them, these exiled toys live under the rule of some kind of, um, winged lion demigod?

OK, we're not really sure what that's all about.

OK, we’re not really sure what that’s all about.

But it’s downright impossible not to see a broader commentary, given the context in which Rudolph was made. The summer of 1964 saw the U.S. government pass the Civil Rights Act, ending segregation and banning “employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” According to the book Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: An American Hero, “Rudolph displayed the same generational disruptions that defined the counterculture during that era.” It adds that “part of the appeal was the show’s willingness to mirror changes in the American family” — meaning these themes weren’t incidental, but were why the special was so damn successful. Producer Arthur Rankin Jr. points out that the reason the show has resonated for so long is that the issues of bullying and rejection are universal among children: “I think all kids are looking for guidance. I think all kids feel slightly inferior.”

So both sides of this argument are misguided. Yes, Rudolph does contain scenes wherein the denizens of the North Pole act like bigoted D-bags, but that doesn’t make it problematic. And to deny that any of these elements are present in Rudolph is straight up missing the entire point. It’d be like reading A Christmas Carol as a fun little story about spooky ghosts, or watching It’s A Wonderful Life and thinking that the moral is “Don’t hire your useless relatives.”

Continued reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolph_the_Red-Nosed_Reindeer_(TV_special)

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/movies/2020/11/15/christmas-special-rudolph-figures-auction-368-000/6302519002/

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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