Leo became a professional musician at the age of 16. As a founding member of the band Ten Years After he's been an on-stage eyewitness to some of the most pivotal moments in Rock and Roll history. In 1962 with his band The Jaybirds along with guitarist Alvin Lee he performed at The Star Club in Hamburg, Germany where only a week earlier The Beatles had polished up their act. Leo was hired to play in the club's house band with Tony Sheridan and yet still found time to guest at the Top Ten Club with guitarist Albert Lee.

Like The Beatles, The Jaybirds returned home to England, made the move from their hometown to London and secured their first recording contract with legendary record producer Joe Meek. From 1963 to 1966, as well as playing and managing The Jaybirds, Leo worked as a session musician, toured as a sideman with pop acts of the day, appeared in a play in London's West End and played a residency with poll winning British Jazz Guitarist Denny Wright.

In 1967 with a name change to Ten Years After, a residency at London's famous Marquee Club and a debut album out on Deram Records, the band were on their way

In August 1969 their now legendary encore "I'm Goin' Home" was captured on film at The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, exposing their jazz blues rock amalgam to an even larger audience of movie goers who were blown away by the intensity of the band's performance when the academy award winning documentary was released.

Between 1968 and 1975 constant touring playing shows like The Miami Pop Festival, The Isle of Wight Festival, The Toronto Peace Festival, The Newport Jazz Festival and all other important musical events brought the band's music to a global audience. Leo estimates that the band performed to in excess of 75,000 new fans a week. Almost four million people a year not counting those who saw the band in the film 'Woodstock'.

In 1975 Chrysalis Records hired him as studio manager to re-equip and run Wessex Studios in London. He was later to go on and build two commercial studios of his own. His production credits include UFO, Magnum, Waysted, Procol Harem, Frankie Miller, Richard and Linda Thompson, Brigette St John, John Martin, Kevin Coyne, Sassafras, MotorHead, Hatfield and The North, The Bogie Boys, The Winkies, Chris Farlowe, Chevy and many more. Other projects have been stage musicals, cartoon soundtracks and film and music videos. He has released two CDs with his own band Kick and his songs have been used in television and film.

In 1997 his songwriting ability was spotted by Nashville publishers Hayes Street Music who signed him as a staff writer. After several years of commuting from the United Kingdom he made the move to Nashville. Aside from writing and producing, Leo has been guest bassist on CDs by Savoy Brown. Leslie West, Fred Koller, Danny Johnson and has toured extensively with former Buddy Guy guitarist Scott Holt.

His interests outside music include the paranormal, alternative medicine, martial arts and all new technology. He is a vegetarian, married with two grown-up sons and currently resides in Nashville. When not on tour with Ten Years After, he's active as a songwriter, musician and record producer/engineer.

Leo plays: Bass Guitar

Date and place of birth: 30th November 1943 in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

Visit the official LEO LYONS website

Leo can be contacted at LeoLyonsbass@aol.com


"I’ve been Ten Years After’s bass player for more than forty years and own some very some desirable basses but it never occurred to have a bass built to my own specification. It was my son Tom, who’s also our guitar tech, who turned me on to Warmoth.

This year is the bands’ fortieth year anniversary and Tom suggested he put together a special bass to celebrate the event. Thank you, Tom. My new bass is a 1954 P Bass® clone with a swamp ash body with a quilted maple top dyed red. The neck is has a rosewood fingerboard with a 1-1/2 nut width. The pickups are Nordstrand P/J with a U retro active Eq made by John East.

The bass looks great and plays like a dream. It’s like a cross between my first Fender® 1960 P Bass® and my 1962 Jazz Bass®. Three things are different. The finish quality is vastly superior, the fingerboard is faster and with the pickups and EQ it’s much more versatile in tonal range. I love it so much I’ve already ordered the parts for my next one.

When I played Woodstock I wouldn’t have traded my 1962 Jazz Bass® for anything, but then again they didn’t make Warmoth guitars back in 1969.

Thanks to Gregg Stewart and all at Warmoth for your help in making it possible."

Leo Lyons

My 40th Anniversary Warmoth Bass

by courtesy of Leo Lyons

by courtesy of Leo Lyons

St. Louis Blues Festival 2000






Thanks to Rod Steanson for his research needed to locate this valuable piece of Ten Years After History.
It documents where and when Leo Lyons came across the name for the band.
A name that didn't  tie them down to any one style of music.
Our thanks also to Axel Zirkel for taking the above photos of Leo's Copy - for use with permission, on our website.





In 1975 CHRYSALIS hired Leo as a studio manager to re-equip and run Wessex Studios 

Quote from Gary Brooker Interview:

"I can remember Leo Lyons telling me that when the eight and sixteen track machines first got into England nobody knew how to use them."

Leo Lyons Biography 
by Guy Lee



Leo, Vince Converse, Ric Vince and Leo

"Bad Like Jesse James"

Various - From Clarkesville To Heaven ( A Tribute To John Lee Hooker) Various - From Clarkesville To Heaven ( A Tribute To John Lee Hooker)
Released October 07/02

I Want To Hug You - Zakiya Hooker, Johnnie Johnson, Bobby Murray
I'm In The Mood - Jack Bruce, Gary Moore
Bad Like Jesse James - Leo Lyons, Ric Lee, Vince Converse
Will The Circle Be Unbroken - Various
Baby Lee - Gary Brooker, Andy Fairweather-Low
Groundhog Blues - Tony T.S McPhee, Dick Heckstall-Smith
This Is Hip - Mick Taylor, Max Middleton
Crawlin' King Snake - Peter Green Slinter Group
I'm Leaving - Tony T.S. McPhee, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Clem Clempson
Little Wheel - Gary Brooker, Andy Fairweather-Low
Giving Me The Business - Greg's Eggs
Hobo Blues - Jeff Beck
Serves Me Right To Suffer - Gary Moore, Jack Bruce
Red House - John Lee Hooker, Booker T, Randy California




Scott Holt and Leo Lyons

For the past 7 years Scott has also been playing with his own band when not on tour with Buddy. Along the way he released his first album, Messing With The Kid, on EMC records and in 1999 with the release of his second album, Dark As The Night, he had to make one of the hardest decisions of his life—to leave Buddy Guy’s band and set out on his own. He really couldn't do justice to both Buddy and his own band now that he was getting pretty busy touring on the heals of his new release. So in December of 1999 he gave notice and got Buddy’s blessing and has been touring with his new band ever since.

Scott’s new band consists of Tom Larson on drums and Leo Lyons on bass. Lyons, who is from England, just happens to be one of the founding members of the rock band, Ten Years After (with Alvin Lee). Leo first saw Scott Holt playing in Nashville near the end of 1999 and was quoted as saying, " Scott Holt is the most exciting guitar player I have seen since 1967. I can't wait to start touring with him."

Scott’s show at the Whiskey Junction kicked off with no preliminaries, he just plugged in and began playing "Messin' With the Kid." He set the house on fire the rest of the night with one of the highlights being his exciting walk out in the audience using what must have been a hundred foot guitar chord—carrying on that flashy tradition he learned from Guy who learned it from Guitar Slim. Carrying on in the tradition of Hendrix, Guy and the Kings, Holt’s guitar playing is strong and fast and has moments of brilliant clarity. He is definitely a player to be reckoned with.

Abbreviated text courtesy of Ray Stiles, April 7, 2000

"I have the utmost respect and love for Leo and am thrilled to hear that he's doing what he loves, which is playing music.
 As for touring in Europe, I want to tour there very badly. I haven't been to Europe since I was with Buddy Guy some 5 or 6 years ago.  We have a new record coming out on Oct.28 in the states and soon to follow in Europe. I hope we get to come over soon and see you. Until then Peace."

Scott Holt, Sept, 30th, 2003       Scott's Website




1974 1975 1976
Apart from changing UFO's direction from that of art or space rock, Michael's presence helped the band to climb out of relative obscurity and become a major chart act. Reaction to 1975's "Force It" proved that the band was steaming forward, creating for themselves a strong European following. Michael's talents were quickly developing, as is evidenced in such classics as "Let it Roll", "Shoot Shoot", and "Mother Mary". "No Heavy Petting" of 1976 was with producer Leo Lyons.

Quote from Phil Moog (U.F.O. - 2002)

How did you team up with TEN YEARS AFTER? Leo Lyons produced your album, "No Heavy Petting", and Chick Churchill played on it.

We was with Crysalis, and Chrysalis used to manage TEN YEARS AFTER. So Chris Wright, the label's head,  said, "Oh, let's get down to the studio with Leo." We said, "Yes, why not?" That was how that came about. It wasn't our decision but it suited us, and it was great, working with Leo. 


In 1974, UFO recorded the Leo Lyons-produced Phenomenon, which gave the band an international breakthrough and the single hit "Doctor Doctor". Subsequently, UFO toured for a longer period of time with session guitarist Paul Chapman. 1975 saw the release of the Lyons-produced  Force It, which featured a guest appearance from keyboarder Chick Churchill of Ten Years After. In 1976, UFO hired keyboarder Danny Peyronel and then recorded the Lyons-produced No Heavy Petting, which became a commercial success. 

Leo  produced UFO - Live at the Roundhouse

Leo  produced Michael Schenker 1972 - 1993 "Into The Arena"



Produced and Engineered by Leo Lyons, 1975





October 1979 sees the release of their follow-up album, 'Magnum II.' Stronger songs and better production (by former UFO producer Leo Lyons) lead to crticial acclaim and the beginnings of commercial success. The band tour Europe with veteran Stateside rockers Blue Oyster Cult, finishing up in December with a series of shows at London's Marquee Club to be recorded for a potential live LP.

Leo also produced the 1980 Magnum Marauder, 1998 Magnum Spirit: A History






LEO - The Author

with assistance from co-author Gary Patterson
Patterson’s third book will be released by Simon and Schuster's Fireside Books in the Spring of 2004. It is called "Take a Walk on the Dark Side: Rock and Roll Myths,Legends and Curses." He is currently working on a memoir with Jamie Oldaker, long time drummer for Eric Clapton. He is also assisting Leo Lyons of Ten Years After fame with a memoir entitled "The Reluctant Psychic", a work detailing Leo's special psychic gifts and his coming to accept and develop those abilities.

"I think Leo is an incredible person and I'm blessed to call him a good friend." 

Gary Patterson - Website

Ten Questions For Leo Lyons:
From the answers supplied in June 19, 2001

Question 1.
Leo, Would you tell your fans why you decided to become a bass man rather than a guitar player, as this was the age of the guitar gods, with Alvin Lee, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Leslie West, Pete Townsend, Jimmy Page, Richie Blackmore and a host of others?

Answer 1:
This may come as somewhat of a surprise to many people, but I started taking guitar lessons at the age of eleven. My guitar teacher introduced me to some other players and we formed a band called "The Phantoms". We rehearsed twice a week and then played maybe once or twice a month. There were four guitarist in the band at that time, and Bob was the only guy who owned his own amplifier, so he naturally became the lead guitarist of the group. So, at this point I had the choice of either playing rhythm guitar or else plugging into his amp and start picking out the bass lines on my guitar. The rest as they say is history, as I chose the latter. Although I still play the guitar, but I have no desire to play in a band in that capacity. I really think well and truly like a bass player.

Question 2.
We have all heard the stories about many rock n´ roll bands in the 1960's and 1970's trashing their hotel rooms, but I never heard any stories about Ten Years After doing these ridiculous acts, was it that you guys were angels, or was it just that the press wasn't much interested?

Answer 2.
Ten Years After were never really into trashing hotel rooms, although I can tell you there were a few minor incidents involving certain people while we were on the road for long periods of time.

Question 3.
During the middle 1960's when your group, then known as the "Jaybirds" went to play in Germany at the famous "Star Club" in Hamburg and following the Beatles visit there by just a few weeks, can you tell us what kind of music the band was playing during that period?

Answer 3.
Alvin and I played the Star Club in Hamburg in 1962 and that was one week after the Beatles. Our set list at that time was all Rock and Roll, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and Jerry Lee Lewis to name just a few. It was pretty much the same as all the other bands were playing during those days.

Question 4.
Can you tell us, how loud was Ten Years After compared to the Who?

Answer 4.
That's a difficult question, I'm not sure about that. The Public Address Systems (PAS) were not as refined and as powerful as they are today, and in fact we all used the same or similar equipment. In a large venue I'd guess we were about the same level. In a smaller venue maybe The Who were louder. I will bet that John Entwistle always played louder than me, because Alvin always had this thing about my bass being too loud!

Question 5.
Leo, what do you remember the most about Woodstock at the time Ten Years After played that festival, and a year before the Woodstock movie was released in 1970?

Answer 5.
I remember that the late sixties and early seventies was a great time to be around, and I really consider myself to be very fortunate to have been a part of it all. Woodstock was fantastic to play but then again so too were all the other festivals, such as The Isle of Wight, The Texas Blues Festival, The Toronto Peace Festival, The New Port Jazz Festival, The Singer Bowl Concerts that were held in Central Park, both The Fillmore East and Fillmore West, and The Windsor Jazz Festivals among many others that we have played during that time period.
But it was Woodstock that was singled out because of the movie, but in fact the film does not just represent the gig itself but is a documentary of an era. What I do remember the most is the rain, the mud, having no sleep, no food, no hotel room, but more than anything else I remember the crowd and being on stage playing to half a million people.

Question 6.
Leo, what do you consider to be your three most memorable performances with Ten Years After?

Answer 6.
There are so many highlights from all the years of touring, that it is very difficult to pick out only three, but if I had to, I would say The Marquee Club in London, the very first time that we headlined there, the Fillmore's of course and the Woodstock Festival. I think these three gigs in their own way were the pivotal points when the band really broke through and made a positive connection with the audience. I also remember so many enjoyable gigs and I'm sure that everyone has their own favourite one that they could point to as well.

Question 7.
Leo, if you had the chance to do it all over again, what would you do different the next time around?

Answer 7.
For me, and from my vantage point, I had an onstage view of rock history being made and I loved every minute of it. It has to be the best and ultimate job in the world, to be paid to enjoy oneself! So, what would I do differently? I would look out for myself more than I did, and not expect others to have the same ethics, loyalties and standards that I set for myself.

Question 8.
Leo, there's something that has always bothered me, can you tell me who actually picked the songs for the Ten Years After set-list?

Answer 8.
I did up until around 1970 and then everything changed and it then became impossible to get Alvin to do any new material at all, and for that I feel I must apologise to all of our fans who requested the many songs that we never had the chance to perform live for them.

Question 9.
Right now, EMI has just released a double cd set called Ten Years After Live At The Fillmore East 1970, this being July 19, 2001 would you tell us about your feelings on this newly discovered material?

Answer 9.
I personally feel that the Fillmore CD is a good recording of Ten Years After playing at its peak, when the fire was first lit under it.

Question 10.
Now for the last but not least obligatory toughest question of all.
Leo, do you think there will ever be the realistic possibility that Ten Years After with Alvin Lee will ever perform together again, either live or in the recording studio?

Answer 10.
As some of you may or may not know by now, Alvin and I had a falling out, (a parting of the ways as it were, as we don't see eye to eye any longer) and although I bear him no ill will, he may feel differently towards me. I believe that he has no ambition left beyond doing the minimum number of gigs necessary to sustain his lifestyle. Right now, the Alvin Lee Band suits his needs, because no one who is working for wages will be in a position to argue the point. Of course, that's his personal choice, but as for me, I want to do so much more. I love playing live shows and will be on tour next year with a new project, in which I hope to meet all the fans. As for any more Ten Years After gigs with Alvin? I really doubt it at this point, but "Never Say Never" they say, it's happened several times before.

Our thanks to Dale Manning for the use of his questions and answers from Leo Lyons, and also to Leo himself - as Dale has said "Thanks to Leo Lyons for his honesty". May I also expound on that statement to include: Leo's loyalty to his family, friends and fans.
His integrity, his ethics, his morals and his values, and everything the man stands for and represents in his lifetime.



Technical Talk From Leo Lyons:

My Bass Gear:


1960 Fender Bass 1962

Rickenbakker 1971

Wal Bass 1990

My Bass Gear:
Over the years I’ve tried out many amps, basses and accessories, including a self built unit, but my first real bass was a one pickup “Hofner President” which I played through a Vox – AC15 bass amplifier. Much of my equipment throughout the 1960’s and into the 1970’s with Ten Years After included the following.
A Jazz Fender bass from 1962. It also became something of a trademark after playing this bass in the movie of the Woodstock Festival. Over the years I’ve owned and sold two other Jazz basses but I’ve always kept this one. In fact, I traded for it with Ian Hunter in 1962 in exchange for my 1961 Fender Precision plus a small amount of cash to go with it, fifteen pounds to be exact. Ian has often suggested over many years that he gives back the money in exchange for a commission on all the shows that I’ve played with that bass!

I’ve used a 1955 Fender P Bass that was found for me by Billy Gibbons in a pawn shop in Houston Texas.
An Acoustic Fretless bass, which was a very unusual prototype made by the Acoustic Amplifier Company.
Also I used a Rickenbacker Stereo bass that I distinctly remember playing on the Ten Years After songs,
I’d Love To Change The World” and also on “Working On The Road”

Double bass…..

As far as amplifiers go:
Watkins amps were supplied by my old friend Charlie Watkins of WEM. Charlie is a great guy and a true music fan who’s contributed a great deal to the British music scene,
particularly with his Public Address Systems. Watkins made good amplifiers, but with the heavy touring schedule of Ten Years After in the States, we had to forgo our product loyalty and change to Marshall Amplifiers for their ready availability in the United States.

In Marshall I used a 100 watt bass amplifiers, two and one for a spare, powering 4 by 12 cabs, which my roadies and I spent many hours up at Jim Marshall’s factory in Hitchin just trying out different impedance resistors on the amps input stages in order to get them “Sounding Just Right”.

For bass guitar strings I used La Bella 760 flat wound. Hard on the fingers but good on the tone.

Warwick Streamer Stage Two Professional, with EMG active pickups, Hans P. Wilfer who is the owner of Warwick turned me onto these basses when we met each other at an “Out In The Green Festival” in Germany about twelve years ago. Now this is my number one bass guitar.

Wal – I bought this active bass from Pete and Wal at Electric Wood. Some of you will recall me playing this bass in the mid 1980’s on the 25th Marquee Anniversary Special Video.

For Amplifiers:
I used Galleon Krueger 1100 watt amplifier with Galleon Krueger 4 by 10 inch speaker cabinet with a midrange horn and crossover. This is currently my main rig (set up) and I am extremely pleased with it.

Trace Elliot AH500 powering two 4 by 10 cabinets and one 15 inch cabinet.

Very often on a fly in and fly out show I will hire amps that are similar to the ones listed above, with Haake 4 by 10 cabinets. They have a great transient response.

Bass String Reprise:
I have been using Elites – 40 to 100 gauge. Elite strings sound great. They’re made by an English company that’s associated with The Bass Centre.
I also change my strings after every fourth show or else I break them. It has nothing to do with the quality of the strings, it’s me, I’m just a very heavy-handed player.

Best regards,
Leo Lyons

In 2002 forward, Leo is using Lakland bass guitars – The Joe Osborn Signature Model


Joe Osborn Signature Bass

The Joe Osborn
Signature Series Bass

No Average Joe
A case can be made that Joe Osborn is the premier studio bassist of all time. Here’s the evidence…Joe played on: Travelin’ Man, This Diamond Ring, Eve Of Destruction, Monday Monday, Poor Side of Town, Windy, Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In, Wedding Bell Blues, Dizzy, (They Long To Be) Close to You, Cracklin’ Rosie, I Think I Love You, Bridge Over Troubled Water, I Am Woman, Top of The World, Delta Dawn, Billy Don’t Be a Hero, Please Mr. Postman…And those are just the Pop Rock #1 Hits!

What Joe has done on the electric bass is nothing short of staggering. The list of artists with whom he has worked reads like a “Who’s Who” of popular music, and includes: The Mamas and the Papas, Johnny Rivers, Rick Nelson, Simon and Garfunkel, The Carpenters, The Fifth Dimension, Glen Campbell, The Association, Neil Young, and America to name a few. Joe holds four Hat Awards from The Academy of Country Music, was the recipient of Bass Player Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and his list of Billboard hits runs as long as a country mile.

Joe Comes Home
Joe Osborn played his original 1960 bass on more than two hundred Top 40 pop singles and over four hundred Top 40 country singles before he decided to set his vintage axe aside to give it some R&R. The ‘60 gave Joe a tone and playability that no other bass was able to match…until now! Our collaboration with one of the music industry’s most influential electric bass players yielded a masterpiece of simplicity and usability.

With Joe, we labored over the design of this instrument to combine the leading edge of sixties technology (the slim neck and narrow nut, the offset-body balancing, and concentric control knobs) and applied today’s leading edge technology (graphite reinforcement, enhanced neck joint, passive pickups by Lindy Fralin) to create a contemporary classic.

Now With 25% More String!
The Lakland Joe Osborn 5-Sring
The Joe Osborn Signature model is available in a 5-string version. This bass – which we like to call the JoBo 5 – has the same "updated classic" tone as our original Joe Osborn 4-strings, but is combined with the modern design appointments that make our 5-strings work. You know what that means…

More definition than a dictionary!
35 inches! That’s the scale length of the new JoBo 5 and the reason all LAKLAND 5’s sound so good, so low! When you talk about clarity, tautness and tone in regards to the low B, you’re talking about our passion!

Visit Joe's website for more about this legendary bass player who continues to be a vital part of the music community.

Leo Lyons - Woodstock 1969



A Fan's Story:

“Sometimes Your Wildest 
Dreams Do Come True”

  John Kenney 

I  bought my first Ten Years After album in 1967 as soon as I saw it in my local store in Framingham, Mass. Hard to remember now if I had “Undead” when I first saw them in 1968 at the Carousel Tent in Framingham where TYA was opening for Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. I was immediately stunned by the interplay between the musicians, especially Leo and Alvin. From that day on Guitar and Bass players have been it to me. My recollection is that they did about an hour-long set, and the crowd was just in frenzy by the time the boys left the stage. It was summer we were just drenched in sweat from screaming, dancing to their music. THEN Frank and the boys came on stage, my first experience as to why other artists were fools to let TYA open for them, after 20-25 minutes the crowd booed Frank and the Mothers off the stage, THAT’S right OFF the stage. People were screaming for TYA, and the promoter finally came on and said that TYA were all packed up and it would take to much time to set back up. He apologized for Frank’s attitude and hoped we would return for other shows there. My friend Dennis and I hung with some folks in the parking lot who were in various stages of disbelief in what we all saw in TYA. I knew then that I would do anything to see TYA in the future. I have since that time seen TYA over 30 times and Alvin solo over 15 times, and Leo twice with Scott Holt.

My dream had been since 1968 to meet Leo and Alvin, Ric and Chick. I have been fortunate that many times I was near the front of the stages in the New England area over the years. I had been fortunate to be able to shake hands with Leo many times from the stage while he was playing! Always awe struck he could play and move the way he did no stage, just none stop action. I had always wanted to be able to meet and talk with him, ya right me and how many other thousands of people wanting to do the same thing LOL.

Well it is now 1989 and TYA are on the “Pre-Vue” Tour for the “About Time” album, I think they did 10-12 dates with a return the following year for a full tour with Nazerath. My friend Stacey and I went to the show at the Paradise Club in Boston in Nov. of ’89. On the way down to the show WBCN radio station announces a surprise for that nights show and to keep listening. Later they announce that the TYA show will be broadcast LIVE from the Paradise!! I said to Stacey WOW we are going to see a show tonight, I know going out live will further push these guys. We arrive and get in he front of the line, right behind Diane Bolivar it turns out many years later! As we enter there are a couple of new posters of TYA on the wall, I go and steal one, Sorry Diane. J, it now hangs down in my Rock Hall of Fame. Stacey and I sneak down front and I get to shake hands with Leo again. Stacey was right in front of Alvin for a bit. I keep getting closer but no conversation yet. Yet another AWESOME show and TYA do several songs from “About Time”, including “Bad Blood”, I am spacey if they play “Working In A Parking Lot”, have to relisten to the broadcast.

Then nest year we see TYA twice once at the Hampton Beach Casino in N.H., where again I have connections and we sat right down front and I went up into the lighting area with my friend for some songs. Get to shake hands with Leo again.J The next show was at Old Orchard Beach in Maine. No contact here as it is mobbed.

No TYA for years after that, THEN “A Day In The Garden” is announced. By this time I have met Diane and Matt thru the AL web site at the time. My wife and I get tickets as does Diane and her friend and we all agree to stay at the hotel up from Bethel, N.Y. We get there on Thursday Aug.13th and TYA play on the 14th. Diane and us meet up and agree that we will take one car to the concert the next day.

That night my wife Elaine and I go across the street to this family restaurant very small kind of divided in two by a small planter divide from the bar and restaurant area. My wife and I was in the restaurant part a small aisle of 2 feet or so from our table to the table across from us. We were about half way through our dinner and a gentleman with whitish hair and handlebar moustache, turquoise jewellery and dungaree jacket…I lean over to my wife and go “Oh my God that’s Leo Lyons coming at us”, she says no you haven’t seen him in years, it’s not him. I say “Hey it may have been a while but I would know Leo anywhere”. Well as he gets near us I smile he nods at me and sits down at the table right across from us. You can all imagine that my mouth just hit the floor, he knew I knew who he was. Then I look up again and here is Alvin coming down the aisle with Chick and John Hembrow and a couple of other people. Now my wife is convinced! I take the chance and get up from my table and take a step and say “Hi I have seen you all since’68 and came down here from Maine just to see you guys tomorrow. Alvin says thanks and Leo thanks me as well and shakes my hand AGAIN
J. Well my wife says that maybe tonight we will order a desert! I agree, so we sit there finishing our meal and desert very slowly, it just complete disbelief that TYA is eating right across from us. My wife goes to the manager and quietly tells them that they have “Stars” on their restaurant, they had NO CLUE who they were. It was fun watching them trying to order some wine, the restaurant did not carry full bottles, just sort of half size bottles, so a few were brought to their table. That was funny. I think they were well, treated after thatJ. Well we stopped staring and ate and finally reluctantly left the restaurant.

          The next day we all go together and Diane and I actually make our way down front about two rows of people back from the stage. Diane starts talking to the people in front of her and she gets around to saying we’re in the Fan Club and the people say then “ hey we should be down front” and give up their spaces to us! Wherever you folks are THANK YOU! Well Alvin and Leo both recognize us and nod at us and we think we are being seen on the INFOSEEK live web broadcast at the camera is on Diane and I a lot, but the broadcast was of poor quality we were to learn later. Another spirited performance and the only show by TYA in the states that year. Were we lucky? You bet.

          Fast forward to the TYA tour of 1999, where they play the Hampton Casino Ballroom in N.H. Diane, JP my friends all agree to meet at my house in Scarborough, Maine. My wife and I rent a Chevy Suburban so we can all ride together to the show. I have bought a block of eight tickets right down front in front of Alvin and Chick. Diane calls Matt in Australia and leaves her cell phone on so he can “hear” the show; it is the first time we get to “yalk” to Matt. JP can’t make the show due to college finals; another of my friends comes up from Mass to see the show. Turns out Herb Staher is sitting at a table right behind us, so we all get to meet the future author! We all have a ball and Leo comes over twice to shake my hand from the stage. Stacey whom I refer to as “Stacey the stage slut”, believe me threes a story there for another time.J Stacey is sitting right of the feet of Alvin literally inches way {the tables at the casino start right at the lip of the stage equal height}, and at the end of the show Alvin leans over and personally hands her his guitar pick! I’ve been seeing TYA for how many years?, and she gets the pick! I never have. Being petite and blonde has its advantagesJ. We all just have the best time they were really on this night and the only downer was that they played essentially their 1969 set. Nothing from any of the latter days. But they sure seemed into it the place was nuts by the end of the show.

Later in 1999 I go to a conference in Nashville, Tn. For a  week. On Thurs. night I knew at that time Leo was spending considerable time in Nashville in fact living there some of the time. Well in my hotel room I get out the phone book and look up Leo Lyons and find just one. I’m like nah can’t be, so I call my wife and say Hey I found a Leo Lyons in the phone book should I call? She says to me Hey wake up you think a man of that stature is going to have a listed phone? Sure call it won’t be him so you just say sorry wrong number. Well now that she has bummed me out with some rational thinking I decide to give it a try. I call and after several rings and answering machine comes on and in a VERY English accent says “ Hell I’m not home right now leave me your name and number I’ll get back to you” I am STUNNED!! I say Hello Leo I am John Kenney we have shaken hands many times over the years and met at the restaurant outside Bethel. I used to write for small music newspapers and was wondering if maybe I could interview him sometime for a story? I leave my home number in Maine. Well 25 minutes later the phone rings in my hotel room, I think it’s my wife checking in to see if I called. I answer the phone and it’s LEO!!!! He has caller I.D. and called me here at the hotel. I’m as you can well imagine just tongue tied at first. I finally explain that I used to write when I was on the road as a Sound Man form Jan. 79 – Sept. ’83 full time 330 dates a year or so. We talk a bit he shares that he is writing a book about his life in music. So we talk for about 20 minutes or so and he gives me his private Email address at the time. So since that day I have been incredible fortunate to have some conversations with Leo.

          It is the year 2000 late April and my friend Stacey and I are in Nashville again this time for the bi-annual “Wolf- Fest” the fan celebration of “Steppenwolf” with the current band and alumni from over the years. It goes from Fri. night through to Sun. am breakfast. Saturday the events end by 6pm. By this time I know Leo is playing n the Scott Holt Band. That night they are playing at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville!! So, I had brought with me some TYA /KICK memorabilia along with my Steppenwolf memorabilia. I bring my Pics from ’69 and my KICK cd inserts. We sit at a small table about half way back on an aisle. The place is jammed, seems like a regular happening place for blues type music and good sized place. Well facing the stage and next to it are large windows. I can see Leo loading in his own gear and setting up. Well I don’t drink much anymore two beers and I am on my wayJ.  So Stacey and I are drinking and Leo starts walking up the aisle at us, he nods as he goes by, little did we know the dressing room was behind us. Well few minutes later Leo was walking back up to the stage and I felt someone lift up my hair in the back and look at my “Day In The Garden” T’shirt I am wearing. Leo comes around from behind me {Stacey has seen him coming}, and says “Hey we were there! I say Leo it’s me John, he say Oh MY God I do know you from the restaurant in Bethel and the shows at the Hampton Casino! Leo pulls up a stool and spends the twenty minutes he has before the show with us. Stacey and are struck by how kind Leo is to us, no attitude at all, we are just in heaven! Well they hit the stage and the band is really amazing Scott is quite the guitar player and singer and the drummer Tom Larson WHOA!! What an awesome first set, some known blues tunes and some of Scott’s. As they are heading back to the dressing Scott nods at us as does Tom and Leo. Well couple minutes later quite to our surprise Leo pulls up a stool and spends the ENTIRE time between sets with us having a Bud Light beer. I’m pretty drunk, and smoked out as is Stacey by this time, we aren’t driving and on a musical holidayJ so I ask Leo about his band KICK and how much I enjoy those albums. He tells me he still writes with one of the guys when he is back in England. We learn about his two sons his love for horses and what he hopes will happen with Scott. Leo very kindly signs all my TYA memorabilia and my KICK materials. When the set starts all kinds of people come over to our table asking, “Is that really HIM”? I say sure is and people were looking at all my stuff.

As it’s time to hit the stage again Leo introduces us to Scott and Tom. They play another impressive set and leave the place screaming for more. We stagger out and get a taxi back to our Steppenolf Hotel, where we blabber to them about what we just saw. One of the guys from Sweden is wearing a TYA tour shirt from Europe. We become friends and see him again at the 2002 Wolf Fest.

I stay in touch with Leo through Emails and learn the SHB will be playing the HOB in Cambridge, Mass. In a few weeks. I go to the HOB web site and see they are a giveaway tickets contest for the show. I enter and you guessed it I win two free tickets to the SHB show!! I call Stacey as my wife can’t go that night and she immediately jumps at the chance to go. Well we go down that night early get some dinner get our tickets early and enter as soon as the doors open. It is a long hall type place with famous blues artists in ceramics high up on the wall, no seats. Stacey and I get a beer and stand down about 6 feet way from the stage on the right. We’re looking around and upstairs you can see the soundboard and what appears to be the dressing room area. I see Tom upstairs and nod to him. Next thing Stacey and I know Leo is they’re greeting us and telling it how good it is to see us and remembers us well. Tom then comes down and we get to spend the while time before the show with them. Leo apologizes for not being able so spend more time with us tonight but they are playing just one long set tonight. We say are you kidding this is more than I ever dreamed in meeting him. Tom Larson was also a lot of fun, nice and an incredible musician. I think he has a web site TOMLARSON.com. Well about an third of the way into the show which is packed Scott who must be 6’3” or so…comes down off the stage and comes right over to Stacey and whispers in her ear. I am standing behind her to keep her from being trampled, Stacey is barely 5’. Scott tells her to put down her beer, she hands it to me and Scott gets behind her with Leo looking right down at us from the stage, and proceeds to take off his beautiful white Stratocaster and puts around Stacey’s shoulders so Stacey is now facing the stage with Scott behind her on his knees playing this screaming guitar while Stacey is holding it!! She is in disbelief and Leo is looking down grinning ear to ear at her. Stacey is playing guitar with LEO LYONS!!! This goes on for a good ten minutes people are swarmed around us, finally Scott takes his guitar back and Stacey takes her beer and chugs it! She is totally in disbelief!!..Rack another one up for “Stacey The Stage Slut”! At the end of the show Scott, Tom and Leo all come by and thank us for coming to the show. Thank US? You’ve got to be kiddingJ. What an awesome show. We sadly learn later that Scott has decided to take a different

 direction with the band and Leo leaves as does Tom a short while later. A real shame Scott didn’t know what he had I think.

A short time later in the mail arrives a package from Nashville return address L.Lyons, I have no idea what it is. I open it and Leo has sent me a KICK T-shirt you see me wearing in these pictures I sent Matt and Dave and Brigitte. What a gesture from Leo. I write and thank him profusely I suspect I may be the only one in the states with a “Tough Trip Thru Paradise” KICK T-shirt, I treasure it. Leo tells me in an Email that there is a whole concert of KICK he has but it hasn’t been mixed and may out it out in time. I begged him to release after what I heard on the Hank Davison and Friends “Real Live” cd, which has two KICK, cuts on it and one with Alvin by the way.

Leo has been very kind to me over the years as you can see and shared with me things that I never ever expected to hear from one of my original guitar heroes. Things that I believe he wished kept private and I honor and respect that. It has been quite an honor, and we are still in touch on occasion. Leo knows that when he hits the states that if at all possible I am my friends and wife will be there.

Leo I can’t thank you enough for everything and I know Stacey feels the same way. She still gets goose bumps when we talk about the HOB showJ.

See your dreams can come true even if it takes years.

Peace to all.            

Thanks to John Kenney for his contribution


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