Gary James' Interview With Leigh Stephens Of
Blue Cheer is sometimes referred to as a pioneer of Heavy Metal and even Punk Rock. Based out of San Francisco in the late 1960s, Blue Cheer would go on to impress Rock fans the world over. Guitarist Leigh Stephens fills us in on the group.
Q - Leigh, are you the last surviving member of Blue Cheer?
A - I don't know. I think the drummer is still around somewhere in Europe.
Q - Is there still a Blue Cheer?
A - I don't know if there is or not. There certainly shouldn't be. I can't stand those bands that tour with only one remmaining member.
Q - You lead your own band, don't you?
A - I am in the process of talking to local people about promoting my new CD.
Q - Did Blue Cheer ever perform on the same bill as The Doors?
A - When I was with Blue Cheer we never played on the same bill with The Doors.
Q - Before Blue Cheer had a record deal, could you guys make a living performing or did you all have to go out and find day jobs?
A - We played clubs and concerts to survive.
Q - You must have crossed paths with the likes of Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead, didn't you? Did you think to yourself we've got a nice little scene going on here? Now, if we could only share it with the world.
A - We were already sharing it with the world. Word spread quickly. By the time George Harrison came to visit the Haight, we were all gone and moved out of the city.
Q - Did you like these descriptions of your music as Acid Rock or Psychedelic Rock?
A - To this day I don't know what that means. People like to attach labels to everything they hear. I don't pay much attention to them.
Q - Whose idea was it to record "Summertime Blues"?
A - It was Dickie's brother who suggested that we do the song in our six piece Blues band format.
Q - As you look back, was it a good time to be in a West Coast band in the 1960s?
A - It was a great time to be on the West Coast. I am a native San Franciscan and very proud of our city.
Q - Where do you see your place in the history of Rock music?
A - I don't see my place in the history of Rock, mainly because Rock is not finished. It's still going strong.