Tony Iommi (BLACK SABBATH) has paid tribute to MOUNTAIN's Leslie West, who died Wednesday (December 23) at the age of 75. The iconic guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and storyteller suffered cardiac arrest at his home near Daytona, Florida on Monday (December 21) and was rushed to a hospital, where he never regained consciousness.
Earlier today, Tony took to his social media to write: " So sad to hear the news of Leslie West's passing. He was a great guitar player and his band MOUNTAIN were one of the first band that SABBATH supported on our early tour of America. We struck up a great relationship on that tour - they were a really good band and Leslie's playing and sound was just superb and he was a great singer too! When they came to the UK to tour he brought a gift of a similar Gibson to what he used on stage ....he was a really nice guy and will be sadly missed. RIP".
Weinstein was born in New York City, and first emerged in the scene as a member of THE VAGRANTS. A few years later, he and Felix Pappalardi formed MOUNTAIN, a band that was amongst the first to pioneer the genre later to become known as heavy metal. Hits that include "Mississippi Queen", "Theme From An Imaginary Western" and others established an indelible voice and guitar tone that remains legendary to this day. In 1969, West brought his presence to the stage at Woodstock.
As the decade turned, he formed WEST, BRUCE AND LAING with his bandmate from MOUNTAIN drummer Corky Laing and CREAM's Jack Bruce. In, 1971, West contributed to THE WHO's "Who's Next" sessions in the city, performances which can be heard on the 1995 and 2003 reissues of that cornerstone album.
Alongside his significant contribution to pop culture as the face of MOUNTAIN, West appeared in films that include "Family Honor" (1973) and "The Money Pit" (1986). He was a regular guest on "The Howard Stern Show", and over the course of decades remained a periodic visitor alongside enjoying a decades-long friendship with the talk show host.
West was inducted in to the Long Island Music Hall Of Fame in 2006, and appeared on dozens of other recordings from a vast universe of artists. Samples of his performances lived a secondary life on the masters of a who's who of hip-hop and rap stars.
The guitarist is renowned for helping popularize the Gibson Les Paul Jr. model with P-90 pick-ups to create a tone that is undisputedly his own. More recently, he enjoyed a long relationship with Dean Guitars, releasing several signature models.
West is survived by his wife Jenni — whom he married on stage after MOUNTAIN's performance at the Woodstock 40th-anniversary concert in Bethel, New York on August 15, 2009 — brother Larry and nephew Max.